Marrowstone Island: A World So Near, So far
I zipped previous them, a city lady driving too fast down an empty country road. The elderly couple, out for a brisk walk, waved cheerily anyhow.
That is what you do if you live in the sluggish lane on a spot like Washington’s Marrowstone Island. You wave at cars, even these driven by speedy strangers.
I smartened up and slowed down to better take pleasure in this tranquil island. In spite of everything, why was I hurrying It is not like there’s anything to hurry to on Marrowstone, a six-sq.-mile island nestled near Port Townsend.
Let the San Juans have their ferry lineups, the cute shops, the super-sized second properties gobbling up the waterfront. Marrowstone is a rural hideaway for newcomers and the descendants of nineteenth-century farmers and fishers who settled the island.
Some islanders still work the land and sea or make music and artwork, while some commute to Port Townsend, a 20-minute drive away. Others are retired, simply enjoying nation life. And, yes, there are trip homes, including just a few huge fancy ones, on the prime waterfront on Marrowstone’s east shore. On a clear day their inhabitants can, in the event that they swivel their deck chairs, see each Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. Admiralty Inlet, busy with freighters and pleasure boats, is virtually at their doorsteps.
It is such views and the outdoors life that carry guests to Marrowstone. Actually nobody comes for the shopping. The island’s “business hub” _ and concerning the island’s solely retailer _ is the comfortably ramshackle Nordland Basic Store. Purchase groceries, fishing deal with or beer, or rent a small boat to mosey around the sheltered Mystery Bay out front. Or sit and sip espresso by the store’s wooden stove on a chilly day.
After shopping for my dinner fixings, I left Nordland, the island’s main “town,” and headed to Fort Flagler State Park, the massive draw on Marrowstone. The solar-dappled road wound via thick forest; a few deer grazed on the grassy shoulder, barely glancing up as I drove previous. A man in a pickup truck, his massive shaggy canine sitting virtually in his lap, waved as he headed the opposite manner. I felt as if I was a world away, not just some hours, from Seattle.
The basics (and more)
Who lives stone island tracksuit sale there: About 900 people _ a whole bunch extra on peak summer time weekends _ and lots of deer.
What’s in a name: Capt. George Vancouver named Marrowstone Level in 1792 after the whitish cliffs behind it made from what he called “marrowstone,” according to HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington State historical past. Nordland is named after nineteenth-century Norwegian immigrant Peter Nordby, who founded the Marrowstone settlement.
Ferry good: Marrowstone and neighboring Indian Island (a naval ammunition facility that keeps all however its south tip closed to the general public) are connected to the Olympic Peninsula by a bridge/causeway. No ferry mandatory. Nevertheless, from Seattle and factors east, you might want to take a ferry to the peninsula or drive there from the south, by way of Tacoma.
Locations to remain: Nothing fancy. The down-home Seaside Cottages on Marrowstone are at the south tip. In Fort Flagler State Park, there’s the hostel, campground and several other historic navy homes which have been was vacation rentals. There additionally are private cabin rentals around the island. See www.ptguide.com _ a Port Townsend-space guide _ which has links to rentals on Marrowstone. There are fancier locations to remain in Port Townsend, Port Ludlow or Port Hadlock.
More info: Fort Flagler State Park, 360-902-8844 or www.parks.wa.gov/. Washington State Tourism, 877-260-2731 or www.experiencewashington.com.
But tiny, bucolic Marrowstone has had its battles, principally about development and especially about hooking as much as a public-water provide (wells serve much of the island), which opponents concern would encourage more progress.
Peace within the park
Fort Flagler State Park was my place for the evening _ virtually literally. I’d booked a bunk on the 14-mattress Marrowstone Island Youth Hostel, housed in one of the park’s old army buildings. I was the only guest on a warm summer season weeknight.
It was a luxurious abundance of Spartan house; I cooked within the hostel’s communal kitchen and read in the residing room. For evening leisure, I walked for a couple of miles on the virtually-empty, sandy beach. Bald eagles drifted overhead and seals cruised previous, a stone’s throw from the Marrowstone Level lighthouse, as the sun set.
Fort Flagler sprawls over 784 acres at the north tip of the island. Once a nineteenth-century military fort, with heavy-duty gun batteries designed to protect the entrance to Admiralty Inlet (and thus Puget Sound) from enemy ships, it turned obsolete when the age of aircraft dawned. Along with its sister bases, Fort Worden at Port Townsend and Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, it was turned into a park. Now Fort Flagler has miles of seashore and forest trails, historic military structures and a campground, which is concerning the busiest place on the island with scores of completely happy RV and tent campers.
The following day, I explored the park’s small army-history museum and joined a tour of the batteries led by Dennis and Nelda Donovan, retirees who volunteer at the park all summer season. We clambered around the bunker-like batteries on excessive bluffs at the water’s edge. Dennis talked of the history, of the large guns and the males who served right here, as we walked by darkish passageways and concrete-walled rooms that held ammunition.
“Dennis likes forts; I like lighthouses,” mentioned Nelda. On Marrowstone Island, the couple gets each and much, rather more.