Leader's 18th Holiday Lights Tour: A million points of light

Patrick J. Sullivan, psullivan@ptleader.com
Posted 12/20/16

Whether you spend three months or an afternoon decorating your property with an outdoor display of Christmas lights, it’s all good.

Maybe due to health, budget or time, your display is not what …

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Leader's 18th Holiday Lights Tour: A million points of light

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Whether you spend three months or an afternoon decorating your property with an outdoor display of Christmas lights, it’s all good.

Maybe due to health, budget or time, your display is not what you may have wished. That’s OK, this 18th edition of the Holiday Lights Tour prepared by the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader attempts to list the brightest, boldest and most easily seen outdoor displays. It’s intended to be a guide for people who like to see lights, without having to do their own random hunt.

We’re sorry if your display did not make the map. Maybe your lights were not up, or on, when our tour crew went by; no disrespect intended.

The Port Townsend and Port Hadlock/Irondale maps accompanying this story should be enough to get you to the brightest neighborhoods, and you can see other homes along the way.

Off the map, we have plenty of recommendations. Here are some highlights:

IRONDALE

Irondale Road, leading from Rhody Drive (State Route 19), brings you to light central. Turn onto Irondale’s Seventh Avenue to see a series of yards, extending this year onto Maude Street.

Sad to say the house along Irondale Road with the famously upside down Christmas tree in the front window appears to be empty this year. There are a number of decorated properties off Seventh and Fourth avenues, for example.

PORT HADLOCK

A neighborhood on the border between Irondale and Port Hadlock is a must-see location. Neighbors on West Montgomery Street, just up the Irondale Road hill from the “Jesus Is Lord” sign are at it again including lights strung high across their street.

Across the way, follow the glow to see a yard packed with lights, including a king-size Grinch. Enjoy the all-white house (this year with colored bursts out front) at the end of Cedar Avenue, and see more along West Market Street. Keep on going to find Fir Circle, which again is party central with one yard in particular being full of inflatables. (My favorite part of Fir Circle? The small Santa pig atop an RV.)

Cedar Avenue, D Street and the Maple Street loop on the water side of Irondale Road have their fair share of attractions.

Chimacum Creek Estates has homes that shine big on the map.

Of course, a fan-favorite tiny house on dead-end Blanche Avenue belonging to John and Anna McConaghy is again big on lights. The big tree in their yard alone has 5,000 lights.

PORT TOWNSEND

Again this season, the two places with the most lights in Port Townsend are not far from one another on State Route 20 (Sims Way): The Smith property near the city limits, and Ken Kelly’s Vintage Hardware building at the Thomas Street roundabout, McPherson Street and Sims Way.

Carol Wise has continued the tradition her mother, Millie Smith (who passed away four years ago), started on the parcel near the city limits. Wise switched to LED lights this year, about 14,000.

“My mom liked a lot of lights, and I took it to the next level,” Wise said. “I’d like to have more, but I’m out of power. Girl needs a subpanel.”

The display includes a mix of inflatables, plastic and wooden figures, and a classic Jesus in the manger scene. Also, the lights are kept on 24/7 during the holiday season.

“My mom wanted the people who go to work at oh-dark-thirty, like the mill workers, to be able to enjoy it early in the morning,” she said.

Within three blocks of Vintage Hardware, on McPherson Street, Thomas Street and Parkside Drive, are more great displays.

What is it about tiny houses that make them shine so bright? Check out the display on Hancock Street just off Sims Way (across from the former transit barn) and two houses on Eighth Street between Hancock Street and the Sea Breeze Trailer Park.

Tucked at the end of a dead-end section of McClellan Street off 14th are dual yard displays.

Another longtime favorite at 4321 Lopez Ave. could be seen from space; it’s just off San Juan Avenue, across the street and around the corner from Blue Heron school. There are a few other nice displays on Lopez, too.

Nearby, look for the star atop the house at 2041 McNeil St., a block off San Juan Avenue between 20th and 22nd streets.

Downtown, along with snowflakes and white lights on storefronts, the Courtyard Café building stands out on Quincy Street. Along Sims Way, Sunrise Coffee at the corner of Haines Street sparkles.

The Uptown business district has holiday lights, and so do a number of homes.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the “happy face” on the Lux family home at 1680 Monroe St. on Morgan Hill, a fixture since the 1960s. This year, there’s also a smile on a mobile home along Sheridan near 12th Street.

The historic J.W. Griffiths House on Morgan Hill, 2030 Monroe St., is nicely decorated.

OFF THE MAP

There are plenty of wonderful off-the-map scenes in places throughout East Jefferson County.

Our favorite Port Townsend–area scene this season is on Nelson’s Landing Road (enter from Discovery Road rather than Cape George Road) with a cluster of great displays.

At the corner on Prospect Avenue before the turn into Kala Point, check out a wide-ranging yard display.

In the Port Ludlow area, the Resort at Port Ludlow has a bunch of lights, and there is one sailboat in particular that stands out in the marina. In North Bay, there are nice displays on Cascade Lane and nearby, three homes on Cressey Lane use laser light technology to illuminate the whole house with one switch. Paradise Bay has one yard that sparkles with red and green lights.

The Barb and Glen Huntingford property shines the brightest along Beaver Valley (State Route 19), with multiple neighbors adding to the glow.

Eaglemount Rockeries on SR 20, a mile up from Discovery Bay, is a beacon in the woods, and there are nice decorations visible from U.S. Highway 101 of homes near Crocker Lake.

Downtown Quilcene has the community tree, and a variety of displays on homes and businesses, including the former gas station.

A special attraction this year in Brinnon is a family’s 1964 British double decker bus, lit up from the inside. “It’s a modest display, but Brinnon is a modest town, and it is the bus itself, not the quantity nor – dare I say – garishness, of the display that are novel and notable,” said Steve Walker. It’s located at 331 Dosewallips Road, across from Brinnon School.

Whitney Gardens and Nursery in Brinnon again has a display of lights. There is a donation box for the food bank in the driveway loop; if after hours, enjoy the light show while driving on Highway 101.

The largest number of Christmas lights on the North Olympic Peninsula are out, and on, at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn, between Port Townsend and Sequim.

If you are in Kingston to catch the state ferry, the marina is decorated to the hilt this year.

LAKE LELAND

Ashley and Bret Hoffman’s 11th year of outdoor decorations is bigger and better than ever before, in their second season at a hilltop residence at 1340 Leland Valley Road West, just off Leland Cutoff Road. The lights are visible from Highway 101.

The family started putting up the 60,000-plus lights in September, hoping to get it done by Thanksgiving. Mahan Tree Service came out to hang lights on an 80-foot cedar tree south of the house.

“New this year is the 375-foot lighted fence in the front of the house,” Ashley Hoffman noted, with about 4,500 lights.

People may drive by on Leland Valley Road (there is room to turn around), and/or turn under the candy cane arch to access the circular driveway. It’s OK to get out and walk around; just be aware the inflatables are secured with numerous tie-downs.

“It’s an insane amount of lights and a lot of work,” Ashley said. “But the display is so gorgeous, and so many people appreciate it.”

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