Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Favorite Places - Key Peninsula

My blogging friend Matt Rosenberg has featured the Key Peninsula twice now. It is a quiet place in south Puget Sound, Washington. But aren't all peninsulas quiet? After all, a peninsula is by definition a dead end and you don't pass through a dead end on the way to anywhere - unless there is a bridge off of it. The Key has two state parks. Penrose Point's shoreline seems more interesting to me. But Joemma Beach SP has 3,000 feet of shoreline, which is much longer. Don't walk past the "private property - no trespassing" signs. But if you do the beach continues another half mile and is very, very quiet. The Seattle P-I archive has a short feature article that focuses on an apple press and a B&B. I discovered the Key by going to a YMCA camp with our first daughter. Then the Presbyterians bought a camp there and my wife volunteered to work in the kitchen for 3 weeks one summer. Old impression: while she and our 3 young kids were there I went home to work and returned the following weekend. As I drove down the Key Highway around noon on Saturday I met my wife driving the other way (taking teenage volunteers for ice cream) and she stopped at a place with no place to pull over. I stopped and talked to her, but I was continuously checking the highway both ways for the traffic we were blocking. But we weren't blocking anyone. This was farther south, past Longbranch and the main highway had no traffic! It's not a cultural center, just country. There is a decent restored small hotel - B&B size. But no pack of artists, or anything. The big features are the beaches with park access. The largest town is Key Center. It has a first-class restorer of old stoves; but he is retiring and closing shop. Smaller, but more interesting is Home. It has a grid of streets, accessible, but rocky beach, two stores, restaurant, Laundromat, auto repair. But its Post Office is named "Lake Bay." What other town has the wrong name on its Post Office? Home started as some sort of a commune; the story I have heard is that the Postal authorities refused honor to the anti-establishment communal people by putting their name on an official Post Office. Google map. Your field of view depends on the size of your monitor. Click on "satellite" in the upper right for a dynamite satellite photo. The island on the left is Herron Island; it has on the order of 200 vacation homes on it and a private car ferry. To the lower right are McNeil Island and Anderson Island - a state ferry serves both. Strangely, the towns are not labeled on this map. Home is just NW of Penrose Point State Park on an inlet. Key Center - you have to scroll up and it's east of Vaughn Bay, close to a small inlet, Glen Cove. And Longbranch is no longer a town - the restaurant and store closed - it's on Filucy Bay. We sail our tiny boat in Case Inlet south of Herron Island. Update. Much better aerial photos. The Washington Dept of Ecology has low-level aerial photos of the shoreline done when the sunlight is low enough to add perspective. On these maps click on a red circle to explore the shoreline at that spot. West map - Key Peninsula is the land to the right. Joemme Beach State Park shows.East map - It's on the left here. Penrose Point State Park is not identified; it is the narrow spit above Delano Beach.

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