Want to touch up your insider knowledge of Port Angeles? Considering sending your noisy neighbors on a long weekend to the West End? Forgot some of the best places for your family to stay in town?
Author Jeff Burlingame, an Aberdeen native, took on the large task of sharing the wonders of the Olympic Peninsula in a new handbook that might fit anyone's traveling needs.
His “Moon Olympic Peninsula” covers the natural features, places to stay and local eateries and wineries while providing both short and long weekend itineraries for major attractions peninsula-wide.
Burlingame, an award-winning biographer, recently received an Image Award from the NAACP for his book “Jesse Owens: I Always Loved Running.” He lost out on the award the previous year to Condoleezza Rice.
Some of the other popular icons he's covered include Malcolm X, Hilary Clinton and John Lennon.
At first, Burlingame didn't think there were similarities between biographies and travel guides, but he found that both genres teem with historical research.
During his research, he drove the U.S. Highway 101 loop several times and made repeated direct trips to all of its cities.
“I spent a lot of time walking through places with a camera, a notepad and a recorder,” he said. “I spent a lot of time following up on the phone and on the Internet.”
In a way, Burlingame said he spent his whole life researching the peninsula.
“While others are spending their summers traveling to warmer climates, I still can be found exploring the peninsula,” he said. “There's so much to see and do.”
Sequim is featured in a nine-page section with several of its attractions mentioned throughout “Moon Olympic Peninsula.” In other interviews, Burlingame said he's mentioned Sequim the most because of its lavender and its rain shadow.
“I love to pop Sequim's average annual rainfall totals on interviewers who focus on how much it rains on the peninsula,” he said.
“And the fact that I have seen a wild cactus in Sequim. I think some people have a hard time believing me. The facts are pretty eye-popping to many.”
If he were to do one thing in Sequim, he'd bike the Olympic Discovery Trail.
His other highlights include seeing the Dungeness Spit — “which really is a national treasure,” he says; the Olympic Discovery Trail — “Sequim is home to the prettiest portion of the trail, in my opinion."; the Sequim-Dungeness Museum & Arts Center's exhibit center and Old Dungeness Schoolhouse; the lavender farms; Open Aire Market; and staying at Lost Mountain Lodge.
Through his travels, Burlingame said changes have come to most of the peninsula, specifically economy-based.
“The two that stand out in my mind have been the revitalization of Port Townsend and the 'Twilight'-related changes to the Forks and LaPush areas,” he said.
After writing “Moon Olympic Peninsula,” Burlingame finds his audience to be anyone not from the area. But he thinks locals can take a lot from it, too.
“How many Sequim residents actually know where their town's name came from, why it sits in a rain shadow instead of places further south or the whole story behind the Manis mastodon?” he asks.
“My book explains all that and more. Just because you're from the area doesn't mean you won't learn something from the book. I am from the peninsula and I learned tons.”
Burlingame is considering other destination books while compiling more information and updates for the second edition of “Moon Olympic Peninsula” in a few years.
For more on Burlingame, visit www.jeffburlingame.com. To learn about more Moon Travel Guides, visit www.moon.com.