You won’t find Cedar Cove on a map of Washington, but you can’t miss it if you follow the descriptions given in the books by Debbie Macomber, a best-selling author of women’s fiction. Cedar Cove is “the town you’ll love to call home” just across Sinclair Inlet from Bremerton. You might know it as Port Orchard.
Macomber has lived in Port Orchard since 1986, and over the the last dozen years she has spun tales about its fictional twin. She published twelve books in the Cedar Cove series. Through the eyes and hearts of her characters (Olivia, a judge; Justine, her daughter; Grace, the librarian; etc.) Macomber’s readers experience the loves, sorrows, secrets, and ambitions of life in a small waterfront town.
Macomber makes no secret that she based Cedar Cove on her beloved Port Orchard. Bremerton, the navy shipyard, the ferries crossing Puget Sound, Seattle, the UW, and many other familiar names appear on page after page. They become stage, set, and backdrop for the characters her readers can’t get enough of. When Macomber ended her Cedar Cove series in 2011, fans wrote asking for more. The new Rose Harbor Inn series — also set in Cedar Cove — was the result.
She transformed Port Orchard into her own literary world, and changed the names of streets and landmarks, but they are not impossible to decipher. The fictional Victorian Tea Room on Heron Avenue, for instance, is Macomber’s own tea room on Bethel Avenue — across the parking lot from her yarn shop (pictured here). The oft-mentioned Pancake Palace just down the road is the very real Family Pancake and Dinner House. The library, also common in Macomber’s books, is a block from the waterfront in both Cedar Cove and Port Orchard. Both waterfronts, real and imagined, boast a marina, a park, and a totem pole.
The most striking constant about the Cedar Cove series may be the book titles. Each book is known by an address. 16 Lighthouse Road, 50 Harbor Street, 1105 Yakima Street. It’s as if Macomber was telling her readers: “Here’s where these wonderful friends of yours live. Come visit. You can catch up over tea.” In today’s list, we have lined up the fictional Cedar Cove with the real Port Orchard. The characters from the book series don’t actually live on these streets, of course, but you might come to realize that the real town lives in the books.
DEBBIE MACOMBER’S CEDAR COVE
Cedar Cove Address
|16 Lighthouse Road||SW Bay Street|
|204 Rosewood Lane||Dekalb Street|
|311 Pelican Court||Arnold Avenue E|
|44 Cranberry Point||Bay Street
|50 Harbor Street||Bay Street
|“5-B Poppy Lane”
(a novella published in the anthology Hearts Divided.)
|E. 2nd Street|
|6 Rainier Drive||Division Street|
|74 Seaside Avenue||Lidstrom Road SE|
|8 Sandpiper Way||Smith Street|
|92 Pacific Boulevard||Sidney Avenue|
|1022 Evergreen Place||Mitchell Avenue|
|1105 Yakima Street||(undetermined)|
|1225 Christmas Tree Lane||(undetermined)|
- This summer (July 20, 2013), Hallmark Channel will premiere “Cedar Cove”, a 2-hour original movie starring Andie MacDowell. The movie, based on the book series is the launch for the channel’s first scripted TV series.
- The Cedar Cove book series ended with 1225 Christmas Tree Lane, but the Rose Harbor Inn series, set in Jo Marie Rose’s bed & breakfast, continues to explore life in the fictional town of Cedar Cove. Book #2, Rose Harbor in Bloom, will be released in fall, 2013. The fictional inn, by the way, is based on a real Port Orchard B&B: the Cedar Cove Inn on Seattle Avenue.
- Macomber has also written nine books in the Blossom Street series which is set in and around the shops of a fictional Seattle lane. One of the shops, A Good Yarn, happens to be the name of Macomber’s own yarn shop at 1140 Bethel Avenue in Port Orchard. The next book in the series, Starting Now, will be published in April, 2013.
- More information about all of her books and “Mrs. Miracle television” movies for television (Hallmark Channel) is available on her website.
PHOTOS: Debbie Macomber by Dana Gregory Meyer, courtesy Random House. A Good Yarn Shop by Steve Campion.
SOURCES: I have been familiar the Cedar Cove series for several years. I’ve seen it circulate while working in a library and know people who have devoured all the Cedar Cove and Blossom Street books. It wasn’t until I learned of the author’s yarn shop, however, that I started to see the Cedar Cove/Port Orchard connection. Researching this article and list, I consulted Debbie Macomber’s website, read several articles about the author and several of the Cedar Cove books themselves. Finally, I visited the yarn shop and wandered Port Orchard with both fictional and real maps in hand. The street equivalents listed above were my approximations based on that information.
P.S. Okay… You might find Cedar Cove on a map, but it’s not a town. There is a small cove on Hood Canal using that informal name. We also found at least one street by that name.
See also our Fictional Washington list.