(100 entries!) As a freeway-phobe, I'm always looking for escapes that don't involve too much driving. This morning I wanted to try something new, and Anderson Island looked pretty inviting.
The island is actually a pretty quick trip from Tacoma. A ferry makes (somewhat) hourly trips from Steilacoom, a half hour drive from Tacoma if you take the back roads.
We bought our tickets, then got in line for the ferry. Vehicle tickets include the driver, but passengers 5 and over have to have their own ticket. There's a lot of waiting involved in the whole ferry boarding process, it helped to get us in the mood for the slower speed on the island. We didn't get the brand new Steilacoom II ferry, but the trip was just the right length (about 20 minutes) for the kids and I to walk up to the passenger deck and get some good advice from an island native about where to go to eat. (Note to self - next time, pack a lunch.)
Where do you go to eat on Anderson Island? You go to "the restaurant," of course. There's only one, at the Riviera County club, which owns a large portion of the island. The food was your basic burger and fries ($6-$10) type thing, except for a few Big Ego Specials, like the "Surf and Turf." ($17.95) They also had kids menus and crayons to keep the kids occupied. The service was very friendly, if a little more interested in chatting everyone up than delivering the check. Mostly, it's just a beautiful spot to sit and look out the window. The Riviera restaurant is situated right on the shore of a lake, surrounded by large picture windows. To get to "the restaurant," go straight from the ferry terminal, following the road to the left, and take a left at "the store." Keep following the signs until you are sure you've missed it.
After lunch, we headed out to Andrew Anderson park for a long hike.
Andrew Anderson Marine Park has some gorgeous hiking. My youngest was sure she'd be bored and terribly disappointed, until she discovered how wonderfully squishy the trail is. Large portions of it consist of logs and tree stumps strategically placed around a watery, mud-filled trail. This actually made it more fun for the kids, they liked the challenge.
Despite the mud, the trail was easily managed by a four year old and a six year old. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with a very young child, however. There's enough slipping and sliding on the logs to make walking with a baby backpack pretty hazardous.
At the bottom of the trail came the real pay off. As we walked, we could hear water and trees rustling, and eventually we came to a sign for "Paradise Cove." Down a somewhat steep trail, we turned a corner and saw this:
The trail opened out into a secret-seeming cove, accessed by a long rickety dock that ends just too far to reach the beach on the other side without sturdier wading gear than we had with us. The kids were fine with just walking out on the dock and admiring how far we had come, before beginning the long hike back to the car.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Anderson Island Part II!
Anderson-Ketron Island Ferry
Steilacoom Landing Facility
56 Union Avenue
Steilacoom, WA 98388