I know a lot of people in Western Washington who see the town of Anacortes as just a jumping off point to the nearby San Juan Islands. They drive right through, take a left at the stoplight before the quaint downtown, and continue over the hill to the ferry dock. Off they go.
However, when you talk to your friends about Anacortes as the destination, not just a jumping off point, they're at first surprised…and then very interested to hear more. I tell them that I've got just the place in town for them to stay - whether they're here to get a jump on the early morning ferry or to have a great time in this cool Northwest city. For this edition of Inns to Paddle & Sail to we head to the lovely Gateway Bed & Breakfast.
House & Grounds
The house is a Victorian home & looks classic inside and out, although it was built more recently in 1996. It's located in the Cap Sante neighborhood of Anacortes, just minutes from the water (more about that later), the marina, and town. The front patio and rooms look out into the neighborhood, some with views of the Guemes channel. It's a very quiet neighborhood and easy to walk around and explore. The house is spacious, modern, and super clean.
The Gateway currently has four rooms available. We stayed in the Fidalgo Suite - it's the largest and comes with the works. The highlight for us was the gorgeous sitting room looking out towards the grounds & water. There's also a claw foot tub with separate shower, kingsize bed, and the whole room is big-time spacious and comfortable. We were lucky enough to tour the three other rooms as well - all are unique and super cozy. One can even accommodate up to 3 guests.
Don't get me started about how amazing the towels smelled! I mean, as if the hypoallergenic bedding wasn't enough, the sooo-good towel smell and general cleanliness of this place is off the hook. Gateway has wifi that worked really well (do you hear that other inns across the Northwest!?!), and coffee/coffee makers are in all rooms. Coffee + reliable wifi = happy bloggers:)
Access to the Water
This is Inns to paddle & sail to after all! For paddlers, there's 2-3 launch site options that are really close to the inn. The closest is a public boat ramp next to Randy's Pier 61 restaurant (middle picture below). This one could be a little tricky - commercial boat traffic has the right of way - so it wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan. The great thing about this launch is it's so close to the inn.
Next up there's the Cap Sante marina. This one obviously works great for sailors too, Cap Sante has hundreds of slips for guest moorage. For paddlers, there's a nice, low dock on the north side of the marina, just 1/2 a mile away from Gateway (map below). The dock is open and we didn't see any info on launch fees so I wouldn't worry about it (there's another put-in at the south side of the marina too, but it's a little far from the inn).
The third launch site isn't really a option just yet. There's plans in the neighborhood for a park on the water/launch site right around the corner from the inn, only about 300 ft away! If & when this park becomes a reality, kayakers & SUPs will be swarming the Gateway (and I will be moving into the Fidalgo Suite permanently…kidding!).
Stuff to Do in Town
If you're lucky enough to stay at Gateway Bed & Breakfast in the summer you'll be able to enjoy thefarmers market on Wednesdays & Saturdays, just minutes from the inn. Also close is the Anacortes Museum & Maritime Heritage Center & several restaurants and shops on the main drag. We caught some happy hour at the A'Town Bistro and window shopped around town before heading back to the market for some live music. You're also really close to the popular Cap Sante Park which has a great lookout of the marina, the city of Anacortes, the San Juans, and Volcano Baker (that's what we call it:).
After writing about Gateway Bed & Breakfast and the city of Anacortes I'm ready to go back. I want to celebrate Anacortes as the destination before people start finding out! Mike & Nancy, Gateway's owners, are warm, inviting, & have done a great job with the place. It's clean, cozy, you're close to town and the water. They have reliable wifi & an easy to use website, they make a great breakfast, and the best part is - you're 90 minutes from Seattle & you don't have to wait in the crazy ferry traffic lines!
~Paul & Amber ETC
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