Anacortes … “The Key West of the Northwest”


Anacortes … The “Key West of the Northwest” – I’d love to be able to say I coined that phrase, but sadly, no. It was this guy…

mural guy bill mitchell

Bill Mitchell, Anacortes Mural Artist

If you’ve spent any time driving through the quaint maritime hamlet of Anacortes, Washington, you’ve no doubt spotted the murals in the downtown area. Native son, Bill Mitchell created the murals starting back in 1984 and today there are 125 works of art located around the village.

I spotted Mitchell once last year. He was tooling around in a motorized contraption the likes of which I had never seen before. (The ride he’s captured in above.) I had no idea then that he was the paraplegic artist who created the murals. I wish I had because I may have had the courage to ask him about his work personally.

Instead it only took a quick Google search of the Anacortes Mural Project to get lots of information on both Mitchell and the murals themselves, albeit with a much less personal touch. Mitchell, known as a character in his own right, has done a wonderful job of injecting character into his work. That fact that he is also a town historian gave him plenty of inspiration to draw on … literally.

In an interview a few years ago, Mitchell, called Anacortes “The Key West of the Northwest”. Because it’s sort of the end of the road, meaning you either turn around or take a ferry to continue your journey. I’ll admit I laughed out loud when I first heard that. I mean Key West is on my bucket list too and I never would have put the two places in the same category.

But, after thinking about it for a bit, I think I agree with Mitchell. It doesn’t take long to realize you’re in a marina, port, fishing community. Just pop into any business on Commercial Avenue and you’re more likely than not to see someone still in their deck boots and wet from a day’s work on a boat. Stop in for a local brew or bite to eat at one of the cozy pubs along the strip and chances are you’ll overhear a fish tale or two.

True, the weather doesn’t usually cooperate when you’re looking to partake in some fruity, umbrella-capped, rum drinks on the sand at sunset. But, there certainly is a laid-back, “island time” feel to the place. I think the “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!” mindset goes a long way to make visitors feel like Anacortes is an experience – not just a destination.

And now, without further ado, here are just a few of Mr. Mitchell’s wonderful murals …











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I guess the Bootleg Cab is as good a place as any to leave off. LoL There are so many to see! If you’re ever in this area of the state, take the time to make Anacortes a must see. It’s worth the trip! Like the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce says… “Coast in. Hang out.” šŸ™‚


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About Wendy

I am a full-time RVer living a nomadic life with my husband as he travels throughout the United States for his career. Our mobile castle is a 38 foot 5th wheel with all the comforts of home and office. I do a little freelance writing here and there. Maybe someday I'll finish that novel. In addition to writing, I've developed a passion for health and fitness. It's taken my nearly 50 years to really nurture this passion, (eeeek!) but now that I'm on board I'm loving the journey. As a matter of fact, I love it so much I decided to become a full-time Team Beachbody Coach. Contact me today if you'd like to be a part of one of my private Motivation and Accountability Groups on Facebook or if you're interested in the Team Beachbody Coaching opportunity.

5 thoughts on “Anacortes … “The Key West of the Northwest”

  1. Love them. I’m not sure if we’ve been, but when we do again, we’ll have to keep our eye out for Bill.

    • It’s really a cool little town. I went into town a few times just to see if I could catch a glimpse of him…. and you know, pester him for a photo op šŸ˜‰ LoL but never spotted him. Maybe if you catch him and get a pic you get back on Ellen!!! šŸ˜€

    • Oh you’re the lucky girl Lynne! We want to get to Keys in the worst way!! I just saw some pics today from some friends down there and it just looks absolutely gorgeous! One of these days … one of these days. šŸ˜‰

      • Well it’s funny. I grew up in Florida, but did not make it to the keys until about 12 years ago! Hub and I rode down on our bikes, took the slow roads down one side of Florida and back up the other side. It is definitely a trip not to be rushed. Everything in the keys is slow. šŸ™‚

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