Anacortes, I discovered, is one of those places people drive through on their way to somewhere else. To be honest, I myself wouldn’t have spent a weekend in this town on Fidalgo Island had I not arranged a home exchange with a couple of Washingtonians who wanted to spend a weekend in Vancouver.
As far as home exchanges go, it was one of the easiest I’ve ever arranged. We agreed to take care of each other’s cats, I asked my sister and a couple of friends to join me, and off we drove one Friday afternoon after work. In less than two hours, we pulled up to a house on a bay: our home for the weekend.
Unfortunately, we had to ditch the outdoor activities we had planned when the weather didn’t cooperate. Instead, we hid from the rain by doing a bit of antiquing, some book-shopping, and a lot of wine-buying in what my home exchangers told us was the “best wine store in the state.” The highlight of our many conversations with the Anacortes’ shopkeepers was hearing the story of Byron and Larry’s decades-old friendship after I asked the barista making up our lattes what they had done to rate windowside chairs with their names on them.
It was in the next shop, as I was paying for my purchase, that the shopkeeper asked me, “How do you Canadians find Anacortes?” I sure hope she was curious about what brought us to Anacortes, rather than astonished that we can read a map. At any rate, that’s how I took her meaning and that’s when it occurred to me that most people must zip through the town on their way to the San Juan Islands ferries.
Back in Vancouver, another friend told me she’s only been to Anacortes by boat. Whatever your means of transport, it’s a nice place for a mini-break.