Anderson Island a Three Hour Tour

Our blog is taking on a line-up much like TV Land's programming schedule. So in keeping with our tv classics theme, we set sail recently for an uncharted island retreat, "a three day tour."  Similar to the now iconic Gilligan and Skipper and their five passengers setting sail from Honolulu to a then uncharted island (later named Gilligan's Island).   We took a three day weekend trip to Anderson Island.  Where is Anderson Island you ask? Ro asked the same question. Anderson Island is the southern most island in the Puget Sound.  Think South Tacoma-ish and is accessible via a 20 minute ferry ride from Steilacoom.  

A little more than thousand inhabitants live on the island.  Or as we discovered waiting in the ferry line the proper reference is, "islanders."  If you don't navigate the ferry line correctly, the islanders will get out of their car and let you know the error of your ways (we witnessed this two times).  Ferry lines are self- regulated apparently by the locals (no cutting on their watch).  Ro could relate to the protective island mentality--being from an island herself (albeit a million times bigger).  Neither of us knew this, but the long shots of Gilligan's island were actually shots of Kane'ohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. 

Waiting for the ferry
We started our adventure to Anderson Island after work one Friday summer evening.  FloJo spent that day preparing for the trip by packing our golf bags, grocery shopping, prepping and packing up food and coolers of drinks (girl scout training-- be prepared).  As expected we got caught up in South Seattle/North Tacoma traffic, which is never fun fighting the throngs of Seattleites trying to get out of town for the weekend.   We finally arrived at the Steilacoom ferry a little after 6pm.  The ferry was set to leave at 6:30pm so we thought sweet we'll get on that one.  Little did we know we were in the back of the proverbial bus (like dead last) so we ended up waiting for the 7:30pm.  During our wait, besides watching and learning this ferry's unwritten rules, we also learned there were four weddings scheduled to take place on the island that weekend.  No wonder we didn't make the ferry!  Ro suggested we crash them and make our own version of the Wedding Crashers.

Luckily, it was a gorgeous evening to be out on the water and the ride was short and sweet.

Ro loves Instagram

After a short ferry ride and wait for it.....a TWO minute drive off the ferry, we arrived at our destination.  FloJo booked this quaint little cottage called the Yew Tree Cottage and it was glorious!  It's a decent sized cottage situated with a nice lawn (perfect to play bocci ball) and surrounded by tall evergreen trees.  Yew is a perfect name for the cottage as it's a term used for various species of trees and the cottage was surrounded by trees.  

We took a quick tour of the three bedrooms, 1.75 baths.  Complimented by a big porch with sitting area in the front and a large deck area in the back to lounge and BBQ.

Cherries in whiskey swimming pool

By the time we arrived at the cottage it was dinner time.  As soon as we unloaded the car, FloJo started making our dinner.  The theme for the dinner was cherry and bourbon.  We started out with Manhattans which she soaked bing cherries in Jack Daniels for three days prior to the trip (they were very happy cherries).  As an appetizer, she made a salad with a vinaigrette dressing, goat cheese, bing cherries and pistachio nuts.  It was definitely restaurant quality.

For our entrees, FloJo BBQ'd a rack of beef ribs, corn on the cob and a portabella mushroom.  She made an AWESOME bourbon BBQ sauce (that she made up cause she's creative like that) for the ribs, but forgot it at home.  However, she did make a cherry butter sauce to dress the corn on the fly to make up for the BBQ sauce miss.  Ro thought the ribs were truly exceptional even without the bourbon sauce.

BBQ dinner on the back porch-- Anderson Island style!
We finished with pound cake drizzled with cherry syrup (leftover from the cherry's soaking pool).  And you're right it was just as good as it sounds.

The next day we had a lazy morning (which Ro loves and fully embraces).  For brunch, FloJo made a zucchini quiche with ricotta cheese, mushrooms and pretty Thai basil flowers from our garden...YUM!   We treated ourselves to mimosas as well.

We decided around noon that it was time to leave our cozy cottage and venture out to see if the island had any shopping.  We stumbled upon the one grocery store on the island and let's just say we're glad we packed in our own supplies.  The store left a lot to be desired.  Let's just leave it at that.  We did buy a 6 pack of 1/2 Moose Drool and 1/2 Summer Honey beer from Big Sky Brew.  FloJo loves this stuff and thinks of our friends Kenna and Dana (who lived in Montana) every time she cracks one open-- cheers ladies!

We then moseyed on to the "Farmer's Market" at historic Johnson Farm.  We saw a sign at the store and another sign for it coming off the ferry the night before stating the hours were from 11am - 1pm.  With all the signage we figured this must be the happening place on the island.  We did wonder why it was open for such a short period of time, but it was a clue.  We found out why when we arrived, which was close to the 1 pm quitting time for all THREE of the vendors that were there.  As we pulled the car into the lot, all eyes were on us and it was clear to us we were not islanders.  Of course, we were the only customers there at the time-- awkward!  We reluctantly got out of the car and made our way toward the first vendor who we didn't find particularly friendly (or any of them for that matter) even when we made our compulsory purchase an onion (we were terribly disappointed they were out of fresh eggs).  We were done perusing the "market" and it's meager offerings in just under two minutes and that's with a transaction included.   We decided to take a side trip and explore the huge garden in back of the farmers market stalls.  It was a beautiful sight with multi-colored dahlias mixed in with tomatoes, beans, corn, purple/black peppers, and the list goes on and on.

We made our way past the garden and in the back was a gift shop and the Anderson Island Historical Society museum.  It had a lot of artifacts and history about the island.  There was no rhyme or reason to how the museum was organized and we did our patented two minute scan and dash tactic. We came, we saw, we wasted no time leaving.  When we stepped outside of the gift shop we instantly noticed an old barn in the background and wooden folding chairs looking over a hoopa in the foreground.  Clearly one of the four weddings was taking place here.

After taking in the beautiful scenery, we headed out to the island's one golf course.  We decided to play eighteen holes instead of nine because it was only ten dollars more.  We realized after we purchased that it's really a nine hole course in which we would play 2x.  It was a decent nine hole course with various homes surrounding it.  The best part was we had it all to ourselves and we definitely took advantage of it.

Since we didn't have the luxury of using a golf cart, after nine holes of golf we were stick a fork in us done and what else?  Hungry!  We decided to eat lunch at the Lakeshore  clubhouse, which was across the street from the golf course and it looked over Lake Josephine (one of two lakes on the island).  We sat on the patio outside and again had it all to ourselves.  It was a super hot summer day, which us North-westerners cherish.  There were a lot of kids playing in the water and other people on their pontoon boats.  FloJo ordered a taco salad and Ro ordered a turkey club, which were ok but we were famished and we had low expectations.  The best part of the dining experience was a definite island moment.  Our waitress told us she'd be back in fifteen minutes just as we were finishing our meals-- she had to go pick someone up from the ferry.  We pretty much had to wait for her because we hadn't paid yet.  When she got back, we asked her about the sign hanging in the bar suggesting that patrons buy their return ferry tickets there.  We questioned it because normally in WA state you only pay once and it covers a round trip.  Apparently it was an islander joke on tourists.

View from the clubhouse deck

We went back to chez cottage and took a much needed nap.  When we woke, it was dinner time.  Chef FloJo was back in the kitchen starting us out with scallops and a salad with melon, peaches, prosciutto (Ro's fave) and shredded parm.  Again, restaurant quality.  For our entree, FloJo was back on the grill firing up salmon on a cedar plank, which Ro learned helps give the fish a smoky flavor.  Even though the board had been soaked in water for several hours it ended up going up in flames towards the end of the cooking session.  The fish was rescued just in time.   She also made a refreshing corn salad from the remains of last night's corn on the cob (made extra).  We were so full we didn't manage to get to dessert, but we did enjoy a delicious sangria with dinner.

Eve, the cottage owner, has a binder with a laundry list of things to do on the island.  Some examples include: using the cottage bikes for a tour of the island, golf,  making home-made ice cream, board games, reading a book, fishing, clamming or crabbing.  The list seriously goes on and on!  The cottage has a magic closet that has most of the supplies needed for said activities.  Reading the list alone made us tired.  What did we decide to do on our last day on the island then?  Stay indoors and watch DVDs from the ample Yew Cottage collection.  We truly embraced island life and chilled out the rest of the day.

Aloha!  Live life with flavor and fun!


  1. Hi Ro,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Anderson Island to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!


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