Anderson Island is simply unforgettable. A mere 20- minute ferry ride out of Steilacoom over the calm South Sound aboard the faithful Christine Anderson ferry has delivered many a visitor. From the ferry dock, a well-traveled two- lane road winds through the forest to the other side of the Island. Traffic lights? There are none. Just be sure to yield to the car on your right. If you Follow the main road to Oro Bay, you’ll see the silent strength of Mount Rainier rising regally in the distance with boats huddled in a small marina.
The old Johnson Farm is the heart of the Island and is home to the Anderson Island Historical Society, Museum, Island gift shop, and lush community garden. Here is where Islanders and tourists gather for countless seasonal activities. There is the Anderson Island Historical Society (AIHS) Archival Building, proudly built by volunteers and donors. It houses historical items and provides a large area for Historical Society presentations as well as a music venue, art gallery, and a meeting place for community gatherings. Local artists and photographers sell their one-of-a kind creations in the gift shop and at the island festivals and fairs. In the summer, there is a weekly farmer’s market, music venues, the annual fall Apple Squeeze, annual Fourth of July AIHS Salmon Baker and the annual Memorial Weekend Fair, which is the largest fund raiser for the Anderson Island Community Club (AICC).
In the summer, the Old Swimming Hole on the North side of Lake Florence is where children tirelessly dive and tumble into the water from a 10-foot high floating dock. Fishing is fine. Hunting? It is governed by the Pierce County hunting regulations. Most of the parks are managed by the Riviera Homeowner’s Association and are not open to the public – only residents and their guests. There is a marina on the East side of the Island that is owned & maintained by the Riviera, although guests are eligible to launch with a fee.
Scenic trails to hike include the new Jacob’s Point Trail, Andy’s Marine Park, and the Tom White Trail. Tiny Eagle Island, just a short kayak ride off the North side of the Island is home to only wildlife and is a secluded spot for a romantic proposal.
The one and only Café in the center of the Island is a nice spot for a coffee date or lunch with a friend. Don’t miss the Burger Nights, and open mic. The Island store is where “If you can’t find what you want you must not need it.”
On the shore of serene Lake Josephine sits the Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant. There you might relax on the deck with a glass of wine after a golf tournament and enjoy a tasty menu offering or have a quiet dinner. Avid golfers enjoy intimate tournaments on the lush greens of the Riviera Country Club across the street. Once, sometimes twice a month, the Riviera Lakeshore Restaurant hosts a lively evening of karaoke. Local and visiting musicians and bands play live in the restaurant on occasion.
The volunteer fire department is the only fire department on the island, and is manned by discrete, caring Islanders dedicated to the health and safety of their community. If you see a small flashing green light in the car behind you, it’s a volunteer fire-fighter on the way to a call so be sure to pull over. Each year on Memorial Day weekend, the community hosts a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the fire department.
The Anderson Island school is in a category all its own. It’s like a step back in time 40 years with caring staff, only 2 small multi-grade classrooms, a cozy library, and a lunchroom with only 5 lunch tables. A vibrant booster club provides extra activities for the school children. The flow of donations to the school from generous islanders is ongoing, from new shoes to exotic fruits and vegetables for the children to try. Summer camps are run by Island volunteers. The original Anderson Island historic school house is now converted into a public gym is where teens meet for summer boot camp.
Housing prices on Anderson Island, including luxury waterfront and view homes, are surprisingly affordable. More than half the homes are vacation homes. There are approximately 1,000 residents year-round, increasing to 4,000 residents during the summer months.
If you go to Anderson Island, you may leave rested or you might leave restless. Getting there is easy— but leaving is hard: Once you are there you may not want to leave. You might even want to move there.
Lorena McPhail, Managing Broker, CRS