This past weekend marked the 2017 Artist’s Studio Tour in Anacortes. Laura and I decided that we should check it out. We had a couple of other spots in the area that we wanted to explore, so on Sunday morning we headed in that direction.
The 98221 Artist’s Studio Tour is sponsored by the Anacortes Arts Commission. The number refers to the area zip code. It’s very much like the Greenville Open Studios that takes place in early November. Artists invite the public into their studios, not only offering works for sale, but also a glimpse into their creative process.
Technically Anacortes is the closest town to our house on Samish Island. We watch its lights from our living room window every evening. However, that’s across the bay and as the bald eagle flies. For us to get there involves a trip around Padilla Bay down to Highway 20, then across the Swinomish Channel to Fidalgo Island.
We decided on breakfast first. Laura and I had stopped at The Store for wine and some marvelous muffins a few weeks back and decided we had to come back sometime for breakfast. We enjoyed some very good breakfast sandwiches and some so-so coffee before heading out for the rest of our adventure.
Our first stop was at the studio of Anne Martin McCool. We loved her colorful abstract works. Laura purchased a couple of notecards with stylized herons. I was just as impressed with the studio itself, a small space that used to be a garage, but had been converted. It was a metal building, now with wide beams and lots of light.
From this gallery we were able to walk down the street to the studios of Alfred Currier and Anne Schreivogle. These works were very dramatic and huge, described as “estate pieces.” The prices matched their size. Some of these were quite beautiful.
We drove on downtown and had lunch, then sought out some of the galleries along the main drag of town.
The Croatian Cultural Center housed several other artists.
We rounded out our studio tour with a trip to several studios on Cap Sante. These places had fantastic views of both Anacortes and the bay. There was a mix of art, from traditional to avant garde.
We were done with Anacortes, though. Laura and I have been trying to do more walking while we’re out here. I had found a trail in Google Earth that looked like it crossed part of Fidalgo Bay along an old railroad trestle. It was just too intriguing.
The Tommy Thompson Trail is a rails-to-trails project begun around 2013. The trail connects the Port of Anacortes with March Point, a distance of 3.3 miles. We crossed several portions of the trail as we drove out of town. We found the section that was of interest of us off of Fidalgo Bay Road next to an RV park.
This section of the trail heads out along an old railroad trestle. A public art project at the trail head greets visitors.
There was a narrow channel to our left and the bay opened out to our right. In the small channel, only about twelve feet wide, we saw herons and various ducks.
Ahead of us we had blue skies, but behind clouds were building. We weren’t sure if we’d get some rain or not. The clouds rolled in to the north. We got a bit of mist, but that ended quickly and we got no more rain.
As we walked along the trail a family of otters jumped from the rocks into the water. They would occasionally dive under, then pop back up and stare at us.
Several seals also swam by. These were solitary and nowhere near as playful as the otters. For some reason I didn’t get a good shot of them.
Soon, though, we reached the trestle. Cyclists passed us and other walkers were out on the trail. Ahead of us was March Point and the Tesoro Oil Refinery. We continued across the bridge until we reached March Point Road, then headed back.
Across March Point Road we could see the remains of the railroad which formed the basis of the trail.
The tide was going out, but our otter and seal friends were still there. When we reached the end of the trail a totem pole from the Samish Tribe greeted us. Laura loved the trail and vowed that we had to come back.
It was a great day out and about in Anacortes. We discovered some new art and a new trail that we plan to visit frequently. I made a note of several other places I wanted to check out when I get a chance. Plus we saw some cool critters – a very successful day, indeed.