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Anacortes: A Nautical Paradise

Anacortes is our new favorite place … it just may be paradise. Located on Fidalgo Island, this small town of 15,000 is not quaint. What it is, however, is a place with an authentic grittiness and charm that comes from having a busy working port. Most visitors would find the industrialized port a distraction, but we enjoyed the blue collar vibrancy that emanated from the multitude of port activities … Washington State Ferry terminal, oil refinery terminals (busiest on the West Coast), shipyards, wharfs, marinas, the largest fishing fleet in the state, boat building, a seafood processing plant and even a rope factory.

The nautical roots of Anacortes are most preserved in the area designated as Old Town … the downtown area where remnants of the late nineteenth century development still stand. The area has been gussying up somewhat with a number of art galleries, cafes, antique malls and murals depicting scenes from historic photos. Unlike La Conner, however, this downtown doesn’t exist just to serve tourists, but to meet the needs of the community … like Burtons, a jeweler that’s been in town since the 1930’s.


One store that symbolizes Anacortes maritime history is the fascinating Marine Supply and Hardware store (originally named the Anacortes Junk Co). Founded in 1913, it is considered the oldest continuously operating marine supply store on the West Coast. This is no Home Depot … there are original oiled wood floors and an eclectic mix of marine gear and supplies stacked throughout the store.

Danny spotted these items on an upper shelf. Folks on eBay would pay big bucks for this "junk"!

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