Anacortes: Forget the ferry

Anacortes: Forget the ferry

Anacortes: Forget the ferry


“Annie’s Corsets” — that’s what my father always called it. 

It’s actually named for Anna Curtis, the wife of Amos Bowman, an early Fidalgo Island settler.

Nowadays, amid beautiful, watery surroundings, Anacortes (population: 15,778) offers art, shopping, good food, fresh brews and trails for walking, too.

The city faces Fidalgo and Padilla bays to the east, with the Cascade Mountains as a backdrop.

Historical murals by Bill Mitchell are worth the two-hour trip from Seattle. 

Anacortes history is told through the perspective of the business owners or builders of the buildings. In recent years, outdoor sculptures adorn many corners.

The port town also offers the W.T. Preston sternwheeler, the Anacortes Museum in a former Carnegie Library, live performances by the Anacortes Community Theater and monthly art walks on the first Friday of each month.

The art walk offers a variety of modern and conceptual to landscapes and fine crafts, at the Gallery at the Depot, Anchor Art Space, Anne Martin McCool Gallery, Scott Milo Gallery and the Samish Gallery of Native Arts, with live music on the street corners and inside the pubs and grills.

Anacortes is home, also, to an impressive collection of wines, at Compass Wines, a few blocks south of downtown.

Outdoor activities are abundant: from kayaking and pleasure boating, fishing and crabbing and whale watching, to a hike up to the top of Mount Erie.

For a peaceful, natural excursion, drive out past the ferry dock to Washington Park on Fidalgo Head, jutting into Fidalgo Strait, with a view to Burrows Island and the San Juans beyond. Skyline Marina hovers in the cove.

Or consider a short ferry ride to Guemes Island and a spin on the bike around the relatively level island. A trip around that island leads to Young County Park, with views of Jack Island, Vendovi Island, Samish and Lummi Islands and Bellingham in the distance. 

In the Anacortes Community Forest Lands (ACFL), Heart Lake Park offers hiking, biking, horse and motorcycles trails and freshwater fishing (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife rules apply). 

Trail maps are available at Anacortes Parks Department. Or hike at Lake Erie and Cap Sante Park, and walk the trail through the bay. Bowman Bay, Sharpe Park, and Deception Pass State Park also all offer trails through the woods. )To request maps of trails in Anacortes, call (360) 293-1918.)

One good place to eat is the Rock Fish Grill, or choose the waterfront views from the new Anthony’s.

You might as well forget about the ferry and spend the night.

SARAH ARNEY lives in the Stillaguamish Valley, where she enjoys walking, cycling, eating good food and sips of many kinds. 

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