Winter in Gig Harbor

Restaurants, galleries, and a waterfront made for walking
Jim McCausland

It should take 30 minutes to walk to Finholm's Market at the head of Gig Harbor, Washington, from Old Ferry Landing Park at the bay's mouth. But you'll never make it that fast ― there are too many docks to walk and Kodak moments to catch, such as Mt. Rainier popping through clouds. If rain surprises you, find refuge in an espresso bar or a shop ― almost all are independently owned.

Gallery Row.
WHAT:
Waterfront gallery featuring Rebecca Baumgartner's intense pastels of Northwest landscapes. WHEN: Open daily. WHERE: 3102 Harborview Dr.; www.gigharborgalleryrow.com or 253/851-6020.

The Fine Art Inn.
WHAT:
Paintings include landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits. WHEN: 10-5 Tue-Fri, 10-4 Sat-Sun. WHERE: 8805 N. Harborview Dr.; 253/858-8055.

Harbor walk.
WHAT:
Orient yourself with this pretty 1½-mile walk. WHERE: Start at Finholm's Market (8812 N. Harborview Dr.) and loop around the west side of the water to Old Ferry Landing Park.

Rent-A-Boat.
WHAT:
In 1841, an American naval party named the bay after exploring it in a gig (a small boat). These days, kayak and powerboat rentals are the way to go, even in winter, thanks to the protected nature of the harbor (dress warmly). WHEN: Call for reservations. HOW MUCH: From $12 per hour. WHERE: 8829 N. Harborview Dr.; 253/858-7341.

Brix 25°.
WHAT:
After a flute of sparkling wine (which starts every meal here), indulge in sesame ahi and lavender crème brûlée. WHEN: Dinner daily. HOW MUCH: $$$. WHERE: 7707 Pioneer Way; 253/858-6626.

IsaMira Café.
WHAT:
Dockside cheese shop offers at least 60 varieties. Call an hour ahead for fondue. WHEN: 9-7 daily. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 3313 Harborview Dr.; 253/857-7511.

Java & Clay Café.
WHAT:
Paint a plate and have it fired. WHEN Open daily. WHERE: 3210 Harborview Dr.; 253/851-3277.

Info: Gig Harbor is 3 miles from Tacoma. For more info, contact the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce (253/851-6865).