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Tour of Port Orchard is ‘eye opening’ for Seattle concierges
Concierge and Seattle native Richard Powell said he’d visited Port Orchard several times while living in the Seattle area.
But he has never experienced Port Orchard like he did during a recent tour of the city. Powell was one of a dozen concierges from Seattle who toured Port Orchard and Bremerton on March 20. The group were members of the Seattle Hotel Concierge Association.
Powell, a concierge for The Westin Seattle for 23 years, said he now sees Port Orchard in a different light.
“I went in thinking I knew Port Orchard one way and left knowing a totally different city,” he said. “It’s exciting to have something so close and a new experience like that, especially when you’re born in the area.”
Powell said he’s visited Port Orchard before, but has never been around some of the locals.
“I’ve never had the experience to be with the people who live there and to share their wonderful city with the passion they have,” Powell said. “It was great.”
He said he was impressed with all the work going into the downtown area, including the Bay Street Pathway and indoor market.
Powell said the ease of getting to Port Orchard is appealing, but he thinks the Washington State Ferries system and the foot ferries should be talking to each other more than they do for making connections.
“If people knew they could take a nice hour-long ferry ride to Bremerton, then a 10-minute ride to a nice little town and have a map of what’s available,” Powell said. “Once the indoor market is finished, that will be a nice attraction and convenient for people.”
Powell said if people knew more about the restaurants and antique stores, he feels more people would come to Port Orchard.
For people who do antiquing, I think they could fine a better price for an item than if they stayed in Seattle, he added.
“It was a great tour and concierges share their experiences with one another,” Powell said. “My experience was wonderful.”
Andea Fahland, director of Partnership Services for Visit Seattle, said the tour was an “eye opener.”
“The tour was incredible,” said Fahland, who visited Port Orchard for the first time. “The whole experience was amazing with the hospitality and graciousness of the Port Orchard team.”
Fahland said tourists want to have an experience with travel, water and views.
She said Port Orchard offers “down home” hospitality, along with the city’s waterfront.
Fahland said getting information out about what the city and area offers is important.
“It they could see what is here, tourists may spend several days here,” she added. “There something for families and there something for couples. Getting exposure and information to visitors is important.”
Last year, there were 10 million people who visited King County, spending about $6 billion, Fahland noted.
She said she is planning a trip to Port Orchard with her family in the near future.
After the group toured Bremerton, they came to Port Orchard on the foot ferry. Mayor Tim Matthes welcomed the group and made their way to the One Ten Lounge.
“I think we were able to show them we have a lot more to offer here than what they thought,” said Don Ryan, president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association. “Logistically, we are only seven miles from downtown Seattle.”
He said the experience of coming over here is what people enjoy.
Ryan said the group visited the Cedar Cove Inn where they got a chance to see the city from a higher viewpoint. “Because our town wasn’t ready to show, we showed everything from above,” he said.
Bay Street Bistro owner and chef John Strasinger provided food for the group at the Cedar Cove Inn.
After touring downtown, the group visited the Gold Mountain Golf Course, where representatives from the course and McCormick Woods Gold Course met the concierges. Joining Gold Mountain Manager Mark Knolwes was Daryl Matheny, golf pro, and Shawn Cucciardi, manager at McCormick Woods Golf Course.
Gold Mountain also supplied food and beverages for the group.
“They did a great collaboration of the golf courses in the area,” Ryan said.
He said the group also met representatives from The Sidney Museum and Fathom o’Fun Festival.
Jerry McDonald, of Bremerton, help organized the tour. It his third year of bringing concierges to the area. “I think coming over to Port Orchard and seeing what’s going on there was helpful,” he said.