Anacortes, WA for the Ferry to Sidney
Did I mention the traffic on I-5 in Seattle? Seattle has beautiful highways, a gorgeous freeway build back decades ago when Seattle traffic was a lot lighter, and mostly law abiding. The nature of the Seattle people is noticeably civil, but the traffic has doubled, and doubled again, and the roads are no longer adequate.
They have plans, great plans for better public transportation, more bike friendly routes, more adequate secondary routes, and in the meanwhile – traffic can be gridlocked.
We haven’t experienced any of it. We’ve been so lucky, arriving at a relatively low traffic time, arriving in great weather so there are fewer weather-related slow-downs and accidents. We never had a problem our whole time in Seattle, including this morning, as we arose a little early on a Sunday morning to make the trek from Edmonds to Anacortes. We are on the 0830 ferry going to Sidney, on Vancouver Island. We made our reservation months ago, as advised. We have received texts reminding us of our reservation and the need to be there 90 minutes before departure, so we booked an overnight in Anacortes to be sure to be there.
Early Sunday morning, there was light traffic, and we zoomed up the interstate, arriving with plenty of time to explore before lunch.
There is so much to love in Anacortes, but one of the things in the old part of Anacortes is something called the Anacortes Mural Project 1993.
The intent of the Anacortes Renaissance and Revival Confederation, which Bill Mitchell helped organize, is where the idea of murals first surfaced. Intrigued, he brought several images to the group’s second meeting, got a thumbs-up, and by the third meeting, took charge. “I had the time and the background, education, and experience to be able to head up a mural project and I had a work space.” Equally important was “enough talented friends that I felt I could put together a crew.”
The Anacortes Women’s Club sponsored the first mural – Fred White and his 1891 safety bike – for a scant $50. Mounted May 3, 1984, the mural was christened with a bottle of Miller Hi-Life. In a shower of beer and broken glass, the Anacortes Mural Project was launched.
Murals are sponsored by families, friends, businesses, the City, Chamber, and local service clubs. Mitchell owns the murals, to insure they can’t be moved to someone’s private residence. “This keeps the project together but it also makes me responsible for the maintenance.”
One of the original goals of the project was to inspire the town’s merchants to spruce up their buildings. It gratifies him that a decade into the AMP, the downtown had a new spirit. “People had been painting their buildings and there was a new feeling of optimism downtown that I would like to think we helped to create.”
Mitchell meant to end the mural project years ago but can’t seem to let go. There are still too many characters and scenes he’d like to capture. And if along the way he can inspire other towns to give it a go and recover their mojo, that would be just fine with him.
This is a joyful project, as you can see, each mural sponsored by the building on which it is posted. It gave us joy, too, discovering as many as we could. They are everywhere!
“Setrocana” mystified us, until we learned it is the name of a made-up mermaid, and is the spelling of Anacortes, backwards 🙂
Anacortes is on a peninsula/island surrounded by Puget Sound water traffic lanes. If you lived here, you could have a view that changes with the minute, weather, water traffic, aquatic life.
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