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Originally published Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM

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Stay and explore Port Angeles

After visiting the Elwha, enjoy the restaurants, lodgings and sights in Port Angeles.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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One of the pleasures of visiting the Elwha is that it’s on the outskirts of Port Angeles, allowing a true wilderness experience with a soft bed and hot meal at night, if that is your pleasure, instead of camping.

Scallops with mango, anyone, at Sabai Thai restaurant (sabaithaipa.com)?

Or how about the Angus burger and garlic fries at Michael’s Fine Dining (michaelsdining.com). Or try the buttery homemade coffeecake at the Black Bird Coffeehouse (theblackbirdcoffeehouse.com/), or the java and pastries at The Haven on First Street, just across the street from Port Book and News (portbooknews.com). Note, by the way, the oil paintings on the wall at Port Book and News by local artist Peter Malarkey, who is documenting the changing landscape on the Elwha River.

No trip to Port Angeles is complete without a trip to Swain’s (swainsinc.com), the best general store on the Olympic Peninsula (flannel nightgowns for $12!).

For something special, stop in the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s Heritage Training Center and gallery (elwha.org). Buy a latte and sit in the grand hall, enjoying the sound of the fountain, and check your email for free in one of the training rooms. In the gallery, you’ll find in addition to mass-produced goods, a very special collection of authentic, one-of-a-kind art pieces and jewelry for sale made by Indian artists from the Olympic Peninsula. The traditional homeland of the Elwha people includes the river and all the land surrounding it.

There are dozens of places to stay in Port Angeles. For a modest price and clean room, I like the Downtown Hotel (portangelesdowntownhotel.com). With a bathroom down the hall, it’s just $45 for one bed.

Other favorites of mine in town include the bookstore at the Clallam County Historical Society Museum (clallamhistoricalsociety.com), with rare and hard-to-find regional titles.

Lynda V. Mapes:

lmapes@seattletimes.com

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