We met in Port Gamble Washington, which is only a short distance from Seattle (though you have to take a ferry across which takes some time). Port Gamble is the town where The Empty Coffin series takes place and is a nestled in the woods along the water (sort of on a bluff above the water. It’s an adorable town with only a couple streets that are comprised of cute houses turned into little shops as well as a General Store (which has always been the General Store) and the Post Office which is also a theater. The homes are all somewhat similar in appearance as I believe they were mostly build around the same time. Some have been added on in different areas giving each a unique shape. They are all well maintained and have gorgeous yards. Some with just the green grass and others full of gorgeous flowers and well landscaped. The town definitely has a unique feel to it and I immediately fell in love.
We met in front of the General Store and I first met with Sarah from Sarah’s Random Musings and Benji at The Non Reluctant Reader and we chatted while waiting for everyone else. I have met Sarah before and I know Benji from his blog, but hadn’t met him yet. My husband and kids were with as well.
Before long Gregg Olsen and the others arrived and we trekked over to an old haunted house where we got to walk through to tour it. It had awesome fireplaces and gorgeous windows. It’s not lived in and is falling apart, but is still beautiful. And yes, it is haunted. While a paranormal investigator confirmed it, I did feel a presence in the upstairs bedroom and had a bad case of vertigo. I don’t like people to think I’m crazy, so I’ll avoid talking about that, but I definitely believed there were ghosts in the house.
After walking through the house we sat down for lunch. Gregg provided us with the most delicious lunch EVER. It was a portobello mushroom ‘burger’. I’m vegetarian so was very happy to find it was something I could eat! Unfortunately I can’t stop thinking about it’s deliciousness… It’s sold at the cafe in the General Store so if you ever visit, that’s what you must eat!
While we ate Gregg talked about his books. The YA books, Envy and Betrayal as well as his adult true crime books. I wanted to take notes so I could share everything with you guys, but I had my kids with me and I was struggling to feed them and keep them quiet at the same time. So I know I missed a lot, but what I heard was really interesting and I’ll definitely be picking up more of his books. I asked him how many hours a day he writes and he said that he writes 1,000 words a day. Some days those words aren’t any good, but he writes them anyway. The next day he revises. It’s interesting how different each authors style is. He doesn’t do outlines either, he lets the creativity take over. We also learned more about the true stuff he drew from. He has twin daughters so he used true experiences with them in the books. As a matter of fact, we got to meet one of those daughters as she was there and chatted with us a bit.
After the discussion and eating we moved outside where we walked up to the cemetery. The cemetery is in the book and is absolutely beautiful. You can see the bridge where the awful event happened (I don’t want to spoil it, but if you’ve read Envy you know what happened on the bridge) from up on the hill. And there’s a beautiful view of the water as well. I just noticed that the bridge doesn’t show up in the picture, but it’s just to the left behind the trees.
We did a group photo while up there and everyone chatted a bit before we moved down the hill to see all the houses. In Envy the houses are numbered and in real life they are too. Not like the address number, but by house number. They have an address as well. Unfortunately I don’t remember which house is which as far as the numbers go, but I did get some pictures.
We then moved on to where we got to meet a paranormal investigator and she talked about the different hauntings in town. It also turns out that the first house we visited will be featured on one of those television shows that is about hauntings (I don’t recall which one). It was all fascinating and didn’t surprise me one bit. It just feels like a haunted town. And it’s not like a scary haunted either, but I just feel them there.
After that we walked on seeing a few other sites before ending up at Hailey and Taylors house. This house is the oldest house in Washington that has been continuously occupied. We got to tour the inside but it was the outside that was truly impressive because the current resident most definitely has a green thumb!
Before saying goodbye Gregg gave us all goodie bags (okay, we got the goodie bags before the group photo). And in them we each got Envy, Betrayal, an awesome Envy charm bracelet, a Sterling notepad and a pen, a hangman game pad and in addition we were given books about the history of Pope and Talbot which has a good section about the history of Port Gamble (it was fascinating!).
It was an AMAZING day and I want to say a HUGE thank you to Gregg Olsen for doing all that he did and to Gail who helped put it all together. We had to drive several hours to get there, but we turned it into a weekend away and it was totally worth it! And I think Port Gamble will be a destination for many trips in the future!
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