Walk with me … in Anacortes

Entrance to the Historic Downtown area

If you are at all familiar with my Instagram account Adventures In Graying, you will know we have a particular affection for Anacortes, WA. Located on Fidalgo Island, it is surrounded by the Salish Sea on three sides, and the LaConner Channel on the fourth, is blessed with great beauty, and a lifestyle devoid of big box stores. Like other seaport locations in Washington State (especially Port Townsend), it had grand dreams of becoming the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, or of a new railroad crossing the North Cascades, the Seattle and Northern Railroad. 

It was first settled by railroad surveyor Amos Bowman in 1877; he named the city which was incorporated in 1891 after his wife, Anne Curtis. Land speculation ran rampant through 1890, with fabulous homes being built, along with a robust downtown. There was a huge crash in 1891 when the development company went broke. Many left town, but fishermen and loggers (among others) moved in, and thrived for decades.

One of the historic brick buildings in downtown. Every garbage can in the downtown and marina area has a label from salmon that was canned there

Today many of the original buildings survive downtown, the stately homes have been restored, the fish canneries are almost all gone or melting back into the earth, and the last lumber mill burned to the ground years ago. This historic area is where we decided to go and get our walking exercise in recently, and we loved it so much, we have to share.

The aptly named Majestic Inn. Seriously, a must-stop for a quick lunch, Happy Hour or fine dining dinner!

You know you have reached the historic part of downtown when you see their proud arch. Still very vibrant in this challenging time, this is a great place to spend a day checking out the mom and pop shops, fabulous restaurants, and the famous Anacortes Arts Festival (hopefully returning in 2021). Several blocks of the main street are cordoned off, filled with all types of arts and crafts, along with food vendors, and live music with a wine and beer garden. But I digress. One must-stop is the Majestic Inn, built in 1890, and beautifully restored. They have both fine dining, and a cozy, intimate bar with a great selection of wines, beers and appetizers.

Just a couple of blocks west takes you to the historic neighborhood. I am absolutely captivated by the mix of Victorian, Craftsman, and other turn-of-the-century architecture. 

Sticking closer to the water, you will see the last remains of what had once been known as the Salmon Canning Capital of the World. There are still two (although appearances would say 1 ½) working fish processing plants left here. History says that this may have been the first place where Washington fishermen headed off to Alaska in the 1890’s to catch crab.

There are also a couple of micro parks along the water – really, walking this neighborhood is the only way to find them. They offer beautiful views of the Guemes Channel.

And this is but one small area in Anacortes! I haven’t even mentioned Washington Park, or Cap Sante Park and the marina area, or the Community Forest Lands! Maybe next time.

A photo may be worth a thousand words, but an in-person visit is worth a thousand photos.

Can this paint job be saved? Days 26 – 30 of ESD

Nice countertops and backsplash, but cabinets CLASH!

To paraphrase Chief Joseph, “From this day forward, I will paint no more forever.” I have been well and truly humbled by my attempts to successfully paint the cupboard doors. Previously I had to contend with a horrible orange-peel finish, sanding and repainting the fronts of every door, then letting them cure. I flipped them over yesterday, fully intending to mount them back on the cabinets. I really can’t describe my feelings when I turned them back over and found that the paint had run and puddled all along the back edges of the doors. I had to take my putty knife and scrape it all off, then repaint – two coats – every edge. Today, no matter what, no matter how they look, they WILL be remounted! Afterword: we got them mounted! And they look great, from a distance! Need to touch up a couple of small spots, and then I can put “PAID” on this job. Whew-hew!

Kitchen after, pretty happy overall with how it turned out (don’t look too closely)

While my life has been consumed by painting, fixing, painting, painting again, fixing, and yes, even more painting, there has been a couple of bright spots in our lives – literally. The sun came back out, and brightened up our lives! It also highlighted how long the grass had gotten in our lawn, and how the weeds had taken over our flower bed over the last six months. It actually felt great to get out and fire up the trimmer/weedeater and plug in the lawnmower and make the yard look better. I put on a bit more fertilizer to keep it green, then went around back to check on Terri. Wow! After pulling a wheelbarrow’s worth of weeds, we could see the garden again! 

So, I need to back up a few weeks. Terri absolutely loves California Poppies and Sweet Peas, and we often can’t find them at local nurseries, so when we were at Lowes awhile back, I saw seed packets for these flowers, and then we found “peat pellets” and trays to start seeds, so we decided to give it a try. It was fun to watch them sprout and grow, but the challenges mounted, and we struggled to keep them healthy and alive. The survivors were planted yesterday, a bit earlier than weather would dictate, but it was now or never. Our big challenge now is figuring out how to get our plant starts when we dasn’t enter our plant purveyors. We are really going to miss grabbing a wagon and filling it up with plants that catch our eye, debating colors, sizes, and where they will go in the yard. 

Whole lot of yummy!

New normals: We continue to do our primary grocery shopping using Fred Meyer’s online app and delivery/pick-up options. There continues to be challenges, but so far so good. Just curious – anyone else spending 50% or more than normal on their groceries? On the  other hand, our larder has never been as well stocked as it is now. We are continuing trying to get out and walk on a regular basis; today, we had a “picnic” at our favorite viewpoint – staying in our car, and rolling the windows up when people thoughtlessly passed right by us. Afterwards we found a nice new place to walk, with fabulous homes and amazing views of the Salish Sea. I buy megamillions lotto tickets maybe twice a year; if we win, we will be house shopping there! And we continue to eat very well; check out this fabulous frittata we made for breakfast!

When we win MegaMillions…

We have been overjoyed at the return of the sun, and the burst of new growth we see whenever we venture outside. We miss our little outings where we could randomly decide to stop somewhere for lunch or happy hour, or shop and actually get the exact items we wanted. We miss being able to meet with our friends, and attend church. But we are very blessed to have every need met, and to continue to stay safe and healthy, and we hope for the same for you.

Day 9 & 10 of ESD – picnic and more!

Years ago, Terri on iconic fallen tree at Washington Park
Picnic all set up at our favorite spot

Today again dawned bring and clear,pretty amazing for the PNW in the spring, so we HAD to get out. We initially thought about going to  Deception Pass, but I dillydallied about with another project for a bit, so Terri suggested going to Washington Park. Located on an incredibly scenic peninsula in Anacortes, WA, it has 200 acres of mixed forest lands, and tons of shoreline with the  Salish Sea. We have been going there to picnic and enjoy for years; one of our favorite spots in this land of beautiful places. 

Over the years, I guess we have made a bit of an art form of picnicking. We bring our own chairs and table. We have either a picnic basket, or a picnic backpack we bring, depending on how far we anticipate walking to the perfect spot. We bring a tablecloth, cloth napkins, dinnerware, a small cutting board on occasion, and often a chilled bottle of Rose’ with unbreakable wine glasses.

Okay, it was only 52 degrees today, but we dress for the weather, and also have a small blanket when needed for extra warmth. Our favorite place to picnic is on the north side, where we get to watch lots of marine traffic pass us by, including our iconic Washington State Ferries on their trips to and from the incomparable emerald jewels, the San Juan Islands. We often see seals, eagles, diving birds, and today, two Navy birds flew in formation over us. And (generally) everyone kept their distance.

Weathered madrona

Not content with the couple of hours we spent soaking up the views there, we headed around the tip of the peninsula to where it faces south. There are multiple trails on the headlands here – just pick one, and start walking! We took one we knew offered spectacular views of the sea, and southern islands, and headed out. The rocky headland has many areas of exposed bedrock, showing the many and deep scars of glacial carving as they slid down from their mountain heights to finally melt in the rising sea. This is hardscrabble land, with stunted, twisted, wind-blown trees and purple and yellow flowers no more than 5mm across or less. 

Tiny flower

We walked the trail until it petered off at a cliff still maybe 100’ above the churning passage below us, where we deemed it wise to stop. We backtracked, then found other trails wending through the woods, finally ending up at the Havecost Monument, a nice granite tribute to the pioneer couple who homesteaded here, then donated all the land to the city. Talk about an enduring legacy! We headed home, satiated with the wonder and beauty of Creation.

Day 10 started off with me getting up early for my exercise routine, and then a perfect lack of communication from me, which I’m blaming on the unique stresses of this moment. We decided to head out on some hitherto unexplored back roads, in hopes of finding homesteads being reclaimed by nature and/or ancient equipment being left to rust in peace. Instead, we found another hidden gem of a valley, filled with beautiful showcase homes on 5 – 50 acres. And so far from anything! While we were driving, we got a great call from John and Jeannie, who had travelled to Arizona for spring training, but who fled home as the realities of possible closed state borders became a bit too real. So great to hear from friends!!

Odd yard art

Not finding a suitable place to eat our lunch, we knew we were close to Arlington, so we headed there. The first park was great, but all the restrooms locked up tight, and well, you know. So we headed downtown, found a great pocket park in the city center, with picnic tables and open restrooms!  We enjoyed our minor repast, then headed back home, hoping to walk a local trail for a bit. Once there, though, we found we were both exhausted. I’m pretty sure it’s taking a lot of our energy to fight the daily stress and challenges we see, and guess that it may be affecting you, too. Practicing self-care, we took the time to rest our eyes for a bit.

So, on to the next project – seeing if I can place an online order with Costco! Then on to crafting another great dinner, watching Chopped or Beat Bobby Flay while we eat instead of a steady diet of non-nourishing news. Stay healthy, friends!