In 1791, Spanish captain Francisco Eliza sailed into the natural harbor of what is now Port Angeles and became the first European to behold the area. He named the site Puerto de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, "Port of Our Lady of Angels," from which the current name is derived. President Abraham Lincoln designated Port Angeles as a federal city in 1862, the only other being Washington, D.C.
Today Port Angeles, population 18,397, depends upon pulp and paper mills as well as boating and fishing. It also is a tourist destination with hot springs and the Olympic National Park in the area. Nearby Hurricane Ridge is noted for its spectacular overlook of mountain ranges. Ediz Hook, the four and a half-mile sandbar that forms the harbor, offers a panoramic view of the city and the Olympic Mountains.
A U.S. Coast Guard air rescue station is here and the Lower Elwha Indian Reservation lies northwest of the city.
Weather conditions in Port Angeles during May can be almost anything from rainy and blustery to sunny and warm. You should be prepared for anything!
Here are some websites describing Port Angeles:
- The Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce site is packed with information about the city's unique history, attractions, events, and weather conditions.
- Basic facts about the city itself can be found at the official city website.
Aerial view of Port Angeles backed by the Olympic Mountains
Port Angeles is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, one of the most scenic areas in the United States. The peninsula is home to a very diverse set of scenic attractions ranging from genuine rain forest to mountain splendor to wide sandy beaches. You can easily go from Sea to Ski in 45 minutes!
Hurricane Ridge is a very popular tourist destination. It is an easy drive from Port Angeles over well maintained roads. Hurricane Ridge offers breathtaking views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the interior of the rugged and spectacular Olympic Mountains. Check the local weather before taking this worthwhile excursion.
There are three wineries in Port Angeles to tour: The Black Diamond Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and Olympic Cellars. A wine tasting trip is often scheduled during one of the activity days so check the official schedule and the unofficial postings at the Esprit Registration Desk if you want to participate in a wine tasting tour.
Port Angeles is home to several fine museums and art galleries. The Fiero Marine Life Center is located on the pier adjacent to the Red Lion. Finally, you might consider a day trip or two before or after the conference.
The immensely popular "Twilight" book and movies have also put Port Angeles on the map (and the smaller town of Forks on the Pacific coast; about a 1 hour drive through the Olympic Forest). During the summer of 2009, the Peninsula Daily News reported that 16,000 people a month were passing through the tiny Forks visitor center, with most of the traffic related to "Twilight" and increasing as a book or movie release approaches.
Port Townsend is a quaint little town noted for its Victorian architecture. Port Townsend is a short, scenic one hour drive from Port Angeles.