Marrowstone Island: A World So Near, So far
I zipped past them, a metropolis lady driving too fast down an empty country road. The elderly couple, out for a brisk walk, waved cheerily anyhow.
That’s what you do if you reside in the slow lane on a spot like Washington’s Marrowstone Island. You wave at vehicles, even these driven by speedy strangers.
I smartened up and slowed down to raised get pleasure from this tranquil island. In any case, why was I hurrying It isn’t like there’s something to rush to on Marrowstone, a six-sq.-mile island nestled near Port Townsend.
Let the San Juans have their ferry lineups, the cute outlets, the tremendous-sized second homes 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 nonetheless work the land and sea or make music and art, while some commute to Port Townsend, a 20-minute drive away. Others are retired, simply having fun with country life. And, sure, there are vacation properties, together with a few large fancy ones, on the prime waterfront on Marrowstone’s east shore. On a transparent day their inhabitants can, if they swivel their deck chairs, see both Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. Admiralty Inlet, busy with freighters and pleasure boats, is virtually at their doorsteps.
It’s such views and the outdoors life that carry visitors to Marrowstone. Certainly no person comes for the procuring. The island’s “industrial hub” _ and in regards to the island’s only store _ is the comfortably ramshackle Nordland Common Retailer. Buy groceries, fishing sort out or beer, or rent a small boat to mosey across the sheltered Thriller Bay out entrance. Or sit and sip coffee by the store’s wood stove on a chilly day.
After buying my dinner fixings, I left Nordland, the island’s foremost “city,” and headed to Fort Flagler State Park, the large draw on Marrowstone. The sun-dappled street wound by thick forest; a couple of deer grazed on the grassy shoulder, barely glancing up as I drove past. A guy in a pickup truck, his huge shaggy dog sitting practically in his lap, waved as he headed the opposite approach. I felt as if I used to be a world away, not just a few hours, from Seattle.
The fundamentals (and extra)
Who lives there: About 900 people _ tons of more on peak summer season weekends _ and plenty of deer.
What’s in a reputation: Capt. George Vancouver named Marrowstone Point in 1792 after the whitish cliffs behind it made of what he called “marrowstone,” in accordance with HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington State historical past. Nordland is named after 19th-century Norwegian immigrant Peter Nordby, who based the Marrowstone settlement.
Ferry nice: Marrowstone and neighboring Indian Island (a naval ammunition facility that keeps all but its south tip closed to the public) are related to the Olympic Peninsula by a bridge/causeway. No ferry essential. However, from Seattle and factors east, you will need to take a ferry to the peninsula or drive there from the south, through Tacoma.
Locations to stay: 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 historic military homes which have been become trip rentals. There also are personal cabin rentals across the island. See www.ptguide.com _ a Port Townsend-area information _ which has hyperlinks to rentals on Marrowstone. There are fancier places to stay in Port Townsend, Port Ludlow or Port Hadlock.
Extra data: Fort Flagler State Park, 360-902-8844 or www.parks.wa.gov/. Washington State Tourism, 877-260-2731 or www.experiencewashington.com.
However tiny, bucolic Marrowstone has had its battles, principally about growth and especially about hooking up stone island pink hoodie to a public-water provide (wells serve a lot of the island), which opponents fear would encourage extra growth.
Peace within the park
Fort Flagler State Park was my place for the night _ almost literally. I’d booked a bunk at the 14-bed Marrowstone Island Youth Hostel, housed in stone island pink hoodie one of many park’s old military buildings. I used to be the one visitor on a heat summer time weeknight.
It was a luxurious abundance of Spartan area; I cooked within the hostel’s communal kitchen and skim within the residing room. For night entertainment, I walked for a number of miles on the nearly-empty, sandy seaside. Bald eagles drifted overhead and seals cruised past, a stone’s throw from the Marrowstone Point lighthouse, because the solar set.
Fort Flagler sprawls over 784 acres at the north tip of the island. As soon as a 19th-century navy fort, with heavy-responsibility gun batteries designed to guard the entrance to Admiralty Inlet (and thus Puget Sound) from enemy ships, it grew to become obsolete when the age of aircraft dawned. Together with its sister bases, Fort Worden at Port Townsend and Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, it was turned right into a park. Now Fort Flagler has miles of beach and forest trails, historic navy constructions and a campground, which is about the busiest place on the island with scores of comfortable RV and tent campers.
The next day, I explored the park’s small military-historical past museum and joined a tour of the batteries led by Dennis and Nelda Donovan, retirees who volunteer on the park all summer time. We clambered around the bunker-like batteries on excessive bluffs on the water’s edge. Dennis talked of the history, of the large guns and the males who served right here, as we walked via darkish passageways and concrete-walled rooms that held ammunition.
“Dennis likes forts; I like lighthouses,” stated Nelda. On Marrowstone Island, the couple will get both and much, much more.