After our hike at Andy's Marine Park, we piled our muddy selves back into the car and drove over to the Old School House at Wide Awake Hollow. The kids had spotted it on the way to the park, and it served as a nice carrot on the trail back. This one room school house remained in operation until the late 1960s, when the Anderson Island school district joined with the Steilacoom schools.
Now on the official register of Historic Places, the building is preserved as of all things, a Fitness Center, which was locked yesterday. We could peak in and see that the inside was relatively untouched, aside from the fitness equipment. It's a gorgeous spot, though, with a very old school playground featuring a real see saw (of course, my youngest fell off immediately) and a slide several times the height of the average child.
There's also a couple of nicely-maintained picnic tables. Next visit, I think we'll plan to have lunch there. I didn't really get a picture of just how beautiful this spot was, but it's definitely going to be on our list of favorites from now on.
After the Old School House, we drove back up the road to "the store," The Island General Store, the only retail on the island other than the museum gift shop. The General Store is not filled with old-timey knickknacks and penny candy, but as the functional center of town it's a much better place to get a true sense of what Anderson Island is all about than any tourist trap would be. The girls got juice boxes and animal crackers, while I asked the very kindly clerk for directions to the museum. He was more than happy to take his time, get out a map, and give us directions while a line formed behind us. The store also has a small selection of ice cream, and of course there's an espresso shop next door. (This is still Washington, after all.)
We only had about twenty minutes to check out the Johnson Farm Museum before they closed at 4 pm, but that was really enough time. Until the larger part of the museum opens later in the season, it's pretty much one room full of artifacts at the rear of the Museum Gift Shop.
Outside, there's a farm house, barn, orchard and garden that make up the larger part of the experience when the volunteer-run museum is really in full swing. The kids had a great time doing their best Little House on the Prairie impression, running up and down the big hill. They will be hosting a special "Farm Day" event on May 26th (Memorial Day weekend), when more of the grounds should be open.
My printer was on the blink yesterday morning and we set off without a map, a ferry schedule, or any information about local attractions. Anderson Island is not the kind of place where all that preparation is necessary, all you need to do is ask a few people where to go and they are happy to let you know. There are plenty of other parks to explore, and with the slow pace on the island it's a wonderful place to take very young children or just yourself for a little relaxation. Getting there did cost us almost twenty dollars, but after the ferry there aren't many opportunities to spend too much money on the trip. Load up on gas and pack a lunch before you head out, and it's a beautiful and economical little getaway, right on our doorstep.