Guemes Island General Store

Just a daytrip away

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

People often make fun of me for this, but I’m a devoted day-tripper. I am never happier than when behind the wheel of my hand-me-down mid-’90s sedan indulging my desire to explore the nooks and crannies of my immediate environs via back roads and less-beaten paths.

As such, I’ve traveled most miles of viable roads in Whatcom County and a good portion of those in Skagit County as well. For someone with a yen to explore her own backyard, Skagit offers a wealth of destinations and communities, each with its very particular charms and all worthy of getting up close and personal with. Over the years, I’ve spent time in nearly all of them, from Anacortes to Marblemount and points between.

However, the one place I have yet to visit is Guemes Island. Which is a shame because that’s where the Guemes Island General Store is located—but I’m fairly certain it’s about to be my new favorite day-tripping destination.

Before it was the Guemes Island General Store, it was Anderson’s General Store, a mainstay on the tiny island that’s just a five-minute ferry ride from Anacortes. It was bought by a married couple with big ideas in 2016, and they not only breathed new life into the old store, they also transformed it into the heartbeat of the entire tight-knit island community.

Lucky for me, we happen to share similar interests: being on the water, menu items with punny names (including a salad called the “Beet Down” and a sandwich dubbed “Hoagie Juan Kenobi”), fried cheese curds and, of course, live music.

I suffer from the delusion that very many things on this Earth were put there just for me, and the fact that there’s a place where I can see bands, be next to the water and stuff my face with fried cheese all at the same time is doing nothing to dispel that belief. Heaven, thy name is Guemes Island General Store.

Part of the draw of seeing music at the General Store is certainly its stunning locale (and the aforementioned fried cheese), but the other part is the venue tends to draw talent that belies the island’s relative inaccessibility, not to mention its limited population and services. They’ve played host to everyone from Karl Blau to Kuinka, and half the fun of checking out their schedule is to see who they’ve managed to lure to their pocket paradise.

On the near-future horizon, they’ll welcome Josh Clauson, founder of Flowmotion as well as Summer Meltdown, for a Sat., April 14 show. Clauson is playing in support of his recently released album Driftless, which he wrote with his wife Genevieve and recorded with some help from his friends in Polecat. For his Guemes gig, he’s enlisted Jacob Navarro and Robert Peeler to help create Clauson’s self-described “dream folk” that should prove an ideal soundtrack for the idyllic setting.

The following Saturday—April 21—is Earth Day, and with it comes an event intended to celebrate the planet while also bringing together the Guemes community as a whole. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own luminaries to illuminate the night sky and symbolize the light that radiates from within all of us. While everyone gets sufficiently lit, they’ll be entertained by the Peter Jackson Trio, who will come all the way from Anacortes for the night.

The final happening of the Guemes Island General Store’s spring calendar (as it currently stands) is Steve Meyer, who will bring himself and his nimble fingers for a night of piano music at the venue. But it won’t be Bach sonatas or Mozart concertos or Bach on his musical menu. Instead, he’s got lively New Orleans-style blues up his skilled sleeve, and if you’re not too weighed down by grass-fed burgers and plates of “daily dirty” fries, you might even be moved to dance a little—or a lot. What happens on the island, stays on the island.

What: The Josh Clauson Trio
When: 7pm Sat., April 14
What: Earth Day Celebration
When: 6:30pm Sat., April 21
What: Steve Meyer
When: 6pm Sat., May 11

Where: Guemes Island General Store, 7885 Guemes Island Road, Anacortes
Cost: Free

Pick and Go Silver Reef
More Music...
The Firefly Lounge
Happy birthday, baby bar

When the Green Frog closed and vacated the State Street space it had inhabited, everyone hoped the next person to occupy the spot would continue to operate it as a music venue. Many of us assumed if that were to happen, the new owner would be someone from our community—or at least that’s…

more »
Swedish shredders in Skagit

My appearance might not give it away, but I come from a very large Scandinavian family.

I don’t know that there’s any kind of Scandinavian family other than “very large,” but mine is bigger than most. A goodly number of us remain in the Motherland—where it seems like at least half…

more »
Karla Bonoff
She writes the songs

They say people judge you by the company you keep. Supposedly the quote comes from the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. But it’s also possible Aesop said it. The internet isn’t quite sure on this point. To me, it sounds like something that could come from either of them. Or…

more »
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Unstable by Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Silent Sky

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Tulip Festival Street Fair

10:00am|Downtown Mount Vernon

Spring Book Sale

10:00am|Fire Station #1

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Buffett Beach Bash

7:30pm|Anacortes Port Transit Shed

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Tulip Pedal Bike Ride

7:30am|La Conner Elementary School

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

COB Earth Day Work Party

9:00am|Fairhaven Park

Fun with the Fuzz

9:00am|Bellingham Police Department

Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament

9:30am|Bellingham Sportsplex

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Kiwanis Kids Egg Hunt

10:00am|Maiben Park

Cedar Dust Trail Ride and Party

10:00am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Plant Sale and Easter Events

10:00am|BelleWood Acres

Community Easter Egg Hunt

11:30am|Bellingham at Orchard

Obrigado Wines Tasting

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Jesse Otero Art Talk

4:00pm|i.e. gallery

Splinter Ideas, Halibut on the Moon

4:00pm|Village Books

Artist Workshop

6:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Skagit Valley College Drag Show

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Problem Child and Ten Miles Wide

8:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Blue collar comedy in Edison


Salsa Night

9:00pm|Cafe Rumba

Trove Web
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Tulip Festival Street Fair

10:00am|Downtown Mount Vernon

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Plant Sale and Easter Events

10:00am|BelleWood Acres

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Egg Hunt and Easter Brunch

10:00am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Bellingham Handmade Market

11:00am|Goods Nursery and Produce

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Barkley Village Egg Hunts

11:00am|Barkley Village

Easter Brunch

11:00am|Ciao Thyme Commons

Nina Gerber and Chris Webster

2:00pm|Nancy's Farm

Trove Web Village Books
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Earth Day Sustainable Food Fair

11:00am|Viking Union 565

Plant Diagnostic Clinics

4:30pm|Bellingham Public Library

Before the Flood

5:30pm|Pickford Film Center

Women's Backpacking Round Table Discussion


Swing Dancing Classes

6:00pm|Presence Studio

Healthy Desserts

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Student Poetry & Art Showcase

6:30pm|Burlington Public Library


7:00pm|Alternative Library

Salish Sea Early Music Festival

7:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre


9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Neil Berg Trove Web Village Books