On day one of our Roamin’ Holiday, we decided to visit two islands that I have long been fascinated by, but have never quite gotten around to exploring. We took a ferry from the mainland, which is always fun, and then drove over a bridge to get back home. The place names alone are a delight.
We went from Useless Bay to Shelter Bay, crossing Deception Pass in the process. We passed by (in no particular order) Mutiny Bay, Heart Lake, Double Bluff Park, Guemes Channel, Grasser’s Lagoon, Snee Oosh Road, Dugualla Bay, Doon Way, Similk Bay, Ala Spit, Cranberry Lake and Strawberry Point. I could fall in love with these islands just by looking at a map.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how huge Whidbey Island actually is. It’s the 4th largest island in the continental United States. It’s nearly 169 square miles of land. Fidalgo Island is an additional 41 square miles. Needless to say, there was much to see.
While crossing these islands, you can get lost in forest primeval, or look at farmland that seems to stretch beyond the horizon, all without even glimpsing the gorgeous waterfront views. Whidbey alone boasts six state parks and three nature reserves.
Deer abound, and we did spend some time skirting the Donald Borgman Nature Preserve in hopes of spotting Bruiser, Whidbey’s only elk (I’ve written about him before), but sadly, had no luck finding him. He tends to hang out in that beautiful, unspoiled area, and who could blame him?
I loved how both islands are rural in the south, and more inhabited in the north. South Whidbey gets most of its income from tourism, farming, and art. North Whidbey is the home of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, and along with that comes apartment complexes, trailer parks, package stores and fast food. About half the island’s 67,000 residents live rurally.
On Fidalgo Island, the majority of the people live in the lovely town of Anacortes, which has a population of about 16,000. The late Burl Ives lived there. (I think of that every time I watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.) I look forward to visiting Anacortes again in less viral times, when I can visit the many restaurants and shops.
What follows are some of the photos we took during this leg of our journey. We also visited Fort Casey and Deception pass, but they both merit their own blog posts, so watch this space!
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