Lighthouse Keeper: The New Dream Job

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The email got me dreaming: Seattle mag writer Joe Follansbee sent word that his new book, the Fyddeye Guide to America’s Lighthouses, is now available. Joe, a consummate storyteller and maritime expert, has a boundless enthusiasm for these beautiful and historic beacons, as do I, after a weird and wonderful week I spent living in one as a "lighthouse keeper" a few years back.

I’ve never known a week like it. Eight of us loaded up a Suburban with seven days’ worth of supplies—because once you make the low-tide careen across the shifting sands in the custom-outfitted truck, there’s no going back until pickup time, a week later. No car, no grocery store, no errands.

Spending a week stranded at the end of Dungeness Spit near Sequim might sound like hell to some—especially when you factor in that this is a working vacation (mow the lawn, hoist the flag, polish the brass, give tours to the intrepid souls who make the 5-mile trek down the longest natural sand spit in the U.S.) and given that I paid to be there. But the gorgeous keeper’s house is packed with amenities (satellite TV, WiFi, etc.). And those sunrises—complete with cavorting seals—and the solitary walks on the beach…well, I would go back there today, if I’d thought to get a reservation in last year!

Must join New Dungeness Lighthouse Association to be a keeper; $35/year. Week’s stay is $275–$350/adult. Book well in advance; newdungenesslighthouse.com.

 

 

Road Trip: Concrete and East Skagit County

Road Trip: Concrete and East Skagit County

Enjoy a scenic drive and stay out in eagle country
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View the eagles during the Skagit Eagle Festival; snap a pic and enter it by January 15 in the Skagit River Bald Eagle Center’s 20th anniversary photo contest. Go win it!

WHERE: Concrete and east Skagit County.

WHY: Eagles are flocking to their spectacular winter getaway—why not join them? The Skagit Eagle Festival (1/1–1/31; concrete-wa.com) happens every January weekend, and your car makes a perfect blind for snapping pictures without scaring off these magnificent birds. Celebrate along the Skagit River with arts and crafts, wine tasting, photography tours and river rafting for eagle spotters.

NIGHT OWLS: Check out the Concrete Theatre, built in 1923 (45920 Main St.; 360.941.0403; concrete-theatre.com), updated for films, live music and events during the festival. early birds: Stop by 5b’s Bakery (45597 Main St.; 360.853.8700; 5bsbakery.com) for quality gluten-free baked goods and more for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, there’s Annie’s Pizza Station (44568 State Route 20; 360.853.7227; anniespizzastation.net), whose handcrafted cuisine would be a hit even in a town bigger than Concrete, population 753.

RULE THE ROOST: Spend the night in one of Ovenell’s Heritage Inn log cabins, located on a historic ranch across the river (46276 Concrete Sauk Valley Road; 360.853.8494; ovenells-inn.com). Pick up a steak or two—the cows are raised right there on the ranch—and throw them on the provided barbecue. Had enough of eagles? Elk, deer and coyotes are known to roam the ranch on a daily basis.