“We did not know what was in store for us when we moved across the country to Grymm’s “hometown” of Port Townsend, WA. There was no plan, no dream and no idea what we were going to do for jobs when we arrived.” Within a few days of our arrival, Grymm interviewed and obtained a job within the industry that he had spent the better part of 20 years in, and Gussy went way out of her comfort zone from school teacher and arts administrator, to innkeeper at a local hotel. It was not long before Grymm Dupp realized that working within his trained industry was becoming a chore and he decided it was time to leave.
“I called Gussy while I was on my way to work and told her I just can’t keep doing this any longer” When she questioned him on what his plans were he responded with “I am quitting, and we are going to start our own business within the week.
With a background in theatre, Gussy felt what was needed was something entertaining, theatrical and different for the tourists who flock to the City of Dreams. While looking online for business opportunities they came across an advertisement for a pedal taxi. After meeting with the seller, a deal was struck and Tour Port Townsend was born.
“If anybody would have told us that Grymm would be transporting folks through town on a pedal taxi someday, we both would have laughed” Gussy was on board with this new plan, but she knew that a standard pedal carriage would not draw the crowds needed to make a living. After the first season, her thoughts proved out to be true and they decided to “upgrade” the pedal taxi. Being in an old victorian era city and great fans of steampunk, the carriage was converted into a Victorian inspired carriage. That was the secret. The second season, many couples enjoyed an evening ride through town, and Grymm started telling stories he had learned about the city and it’s interesting past.
About this time, Gussy recalled trips to Florida with her parents when she was a wee lass, and one of the highlights was always the ghost tours of haunted St. Augustine.
That’s when the light bulbs went off and not only did the pedal taxi get a makeover, so did the company. We changed names to Port Townsend After Dark and started telling ghost stories and other tales of a twisted nature.
“I would uncover and research the history, and then help Grymm develop the storyline around the event.” One day, Gussy casually mentioned that one of the stories they were working on was particularly twisted, and that is when inspiration struck and Twisted History Tours was born.
“I have found my passion” states Grymm as he reflects on the history of this tour company.
Gussy is the inspiration behind most all the twisted tales we tell. Hours are spent looking through old books, newspapers and historical archives and Grymm spends many of his free hours talking to families who have called Port Townsend home for generations. It is these stories that keep guests coming back over and over again. “We don’t just tell tidbits of history” states Gussy “We weave a tale and the city is our stage.”
“That is the trick, the secret to our success I think. We are not tour guides retelling of events from the past, but are storytellers.” It has been six years now and Twisted History Tours is showing no sign of slowing down. With the leadership of Gussy and Grymm Dupp, and the skills of Pixie Dupp THT is doing better than ever. Though they both admit that without the help of different people, the company would not be doing as well as it is now. Not just individuals, but other companies that offer services to tour companies to help them manage the business.
“One of the best moves we have made is with our online booking company. GoDo not only handles our bookings online, but through constant communication, they help identify trends in the industry as well as help market our tours.”
“Combine that with our amazing storytellers and what the guests receive is the best possible tour they can attend” Gussy added. “There is no end where this can go” said Grymm “ We started with a seed of an idea, and through careful cultivation, Twisted History Tours will be a forest of ghost tours throughout the region.
And indeed, it looks like the telling of stories and hosting of great special events, they will see that forest soon. Active in 2 cities, Port Townsend and Port Angeles, there are plans of expanding into Astoria, Oregon and Deadwood, South Dakota within the next year. There are also talks of absorbing several other tour companies throughout the country.