Worthington Park in Quilcene emerged from 2022 as truly a year-round destination – welcoming private and public events for every season. Families booked overnight stays at the newly opened and restored Victorian mansion over the winter holidays – and more and more visitors are seeking out the Park for unique and memorable experiences. We have most recently invested more time and resources in promoting our Park as a special place for weddings. While Worthington Park increasingly offers a unique experience for private events, every year it has also expanded its schedule of public events.
First up this year will be the third annual Gravel Unravel “gravel grinder” endurance bike race, returning to the Park on June 17. The event is produced by Peninsula Adventure Sports out of Port Angeles in partnership with Worthington Park. Gravel Unravel is a race series, with the Quilcene race – Bon Jon Pass Out, the second of three races. Participants can choose one of three different distances, all summiting Bon Jon Pass in the Olympic National Forest.
See some nice footage of WP in the gravel race promo for Bon Jon Pass Out.
Signup early for this fun event at: https://peninsulaadventuresports.com/events/quilcene-gravel-unravel/
Back by very popular demand in July is the Up, Up, Up Circus for their third year. Founded in 2020, the troupe is a non-profit touring circus ensemble bringing their performances to all over the Hood Canal region. Their stage is a flatbed truck with a hand-cranked crane for aerial acts and a 100 year old baby grand piano for live music. As in years past, the circus will be followed by an outdoor movie on Linger Longer stage – free to the public. Families gather at the Park’s Linger Longer meadow for this event to be entertained for the entire afternoon and evening in a beautiful setting.
August 11 will also see the return of the Annual Tasting Gala which, in partnership with local wineries, breweries, and distilleries, is held in the afternoon where visitors enjoy libations and live music under majestic shade trees alongside the historic pond.
The annual Quilcene Oyster Races half marathon, 10K and 5K, presented by Pacific Seafood, are also returning to the Park on September 17. This year they have teamed up with two other nonprofit Olympic Peninsula races – the Rhody Run (May 21) and the North Olympic Discovery Marathon (3-4 June) for a series they have called Olympic Summer Running! Runners can now look forward to participating in three great summer foot races across the Peninsula in jaw-dropping locations to benefit those in need. Register early and use Olympic23 for a 10% discount on all races here.
The fall will also bring the very popular Sheep-2-Shawl Quilcene Fiber Festival (now scheduled for October 7) – showcasing regional fiber artists and our local wool industry. Last year’s event brought a record number of vendors and attendees and for the first time encompassed much of the Park’s 10 acres. This year’s event is expected to further expand its offerings.
To Our Donors… we so appreciate the 10 years of support you have given to our vision of Worthington Park. It probably seemed like a pipe dream to many of you who have seen enthusiasm crushed by circumstance. We certainly had our challenging days but I believe our mantra of “OK… this is the two steps forward and one step back dance” saw us through many a setback. Also, there was the “we know how to do this… we have done it before and it will play again, we know” dance. All of you supported us during these dances and helped us get through them. We are most grateful.
Our 2022 played out like this: the Mansion was rented most weekends, we sponsored two athletic events, four community events, four school and youth related events – all the while knowing that Quilcene enjoyed the large meadow and grounds as folks do in our beautiful park setting. We feel that we accomplished many things during 2022. Our Volunteers… they are the backbone of this amazing project and they have joined us willingly. We are most grateful to all of them. Our need for volunteers in 2023 remains as we have a new challenge – the Museum extension. Estimates from two years ago, when we applied for funding to upgrade the Museum, have unfortunately proven to be inadequate. We have to adjust and rely on our volunteers more than ever to help complete the project. The extension will be accomplished …but the time frame will likely be extended. We have developed a new business plan and this will help us with our challenges and spur us onto new operational opportunities. We are pursuing new revenue streams, like weddings and other family events, which will utilize the entire Estate, all the while keeping true to our nonprofit status and our commitment to our community and Museum visitors. We have undertaken another monetary campaign for extra landscaping needs and to augment the Museum’s estimated completion costs.
All of these are hard realities, yet we remain debt free with energy to solve our challenges. Again, thank you Donors and Volunteers for 2022, and here’s to 2023.
One of the adages we have come to embrace here at Worthington Park is “The turtle wins the race.” We realized several years ago that it will take many years to fully achieve the envisioned park-like setting for our ten acres. That effort really began in 2013, with the purchase of the property from the Worthington family. Each year we glance back, look at our accomplishments, always wishing we could have accomplished more. Such was the case for our landscaping labors of 2022. Our major focus of establishing a new 1,500 square foot lawn with planting beds surrounding the mansion was delayed by extensive rains that saturated the clayish soils. Without an adequate irrigation system to keep any new seed bed moist, completion was delayed until early autumn. We are however very pleased with how the effort did complete.
Each year we glance back, look at our accomplishments, always wishing we could have accomplished more. Such was the case for our landscaping labors of 2022. Our major focus of establishing a new 1,500 square foot lawn with planting beds surrounding the mansion was delayed by extensive rains that saturated the clayish soils. Without an adequate irrigation system to keep any new seed bed moist, completion was delayed until early autumn. We are however very pleased with how the effort did complete.
Our overarching goal for 2023 is to maintain what we have achieved to date, and gradually add functional and visually appealing appointments to the grounds. Included in our landscaping vision is the creation of an irrigation system, additional plantings for the mansion grounds, and newer grounds keeping equipment. We have also just recently taken the first steps in preparing another small site for dedicated outdoor events (think weddings). With tree relocation and rough grading behind us – rock picking, top soil addition, fine grading and seed sowing lie ahead. Our time frame for completion for the foreseeable future will be paced by the availability of helpful hands and funds.
We have accomplished much, yet have much left to do. Our gift of being able to offer the ten acres for everyone to enjoy couldn’t be accomplished without the continued support from you, our friends of the museum. We continue to marvel, with a sincere thanks to all.
The big news is: WE COMPLETED THE WORTHINGTON MANSION CONSTRUCTION IN EARLY SUMMER 2022.
This construction mile stone was attained after ten years of dedication by many volunteers, Museum members, community supporters, great contractors, government and private funders. With completion of the construction project and successfully meeting all our conditions set by the Jefferson County Conditional Use Permit we opened our doors to rentals on July 1.
The mansion is a show stopper and all the great attention to detail by those involved in the construction and restoration is on display. Judging by comments left in the mansion’s guest journal, the Quilcene Historical Museum has delivered a real pearl for guests and our community. With construction complete on the mansion, our attention has shifted to the Museum. On the drawing board are plans to expand Museum storage space and thus make improvements in displays and access to donated objects and reference materials. Watch us grow.
These past 10 years our Museum was focused on renovating the Hamilton-Worthington House. With that restoration effort completed in 2022, we turned our attention to renovating another historical treasure – our Museum.
The fall and winter have been a busy time in the museum. A motivated volunteer group has taken on the task of utilizing the remaining WSP Heritage funds – and a lot of elbow grease – to add storage space, install an HVAC system (for much needed cooling and climate control), cataloging the museum’s artifacts in a database tool and refresh the exhibits.
Our main mission is to preserve the history of Quilcene/Brinnon and South Jefferson County. The museum is “bursting at the seams” with history so we’re working to expand the north side of the building with a storage room. If all goes as planned with permitting and costs – work would start in March and complete by early summer. The “new” garage is being leveraged as temporary storage for items as we await the new storage area. A motivated group of our volunteer docents have adopted various exhibit areas to refresh them and help better convey the history of our community (photos included in this report). In addition, the entry room to the museum is getting a new look to make it even more welcoming to visitors. A museum database tool (Past Perfect) was purchased, and the electronic cataloging of items has begun. A team of volunteers is starting with the physical artifacts and will be moving on to documents and photographs in the future.
We are excited about these long overdue investments into the heart and soul of our enterprise
Worthington Park Quilcene: A Year-Round Destination
Read more about upcoming events and overnight accommodations here in the spring 2023 edition of Tracing the Fjord magazine.
Keep up with fun event highlights and news at https://www.facebook.com/WorthingtonParkQuilcene and we’ll see you in Worthington Park!