Top 10 Marrowstone Island Adventures
A Year-Round Guide
OK - adventure might be a stretch. But if you’d like to fit some easy outings into your stay and leave with a true sense of the magic of Marrowstone, you’ve come to the right place…
Marrowstone Island is home to fewer than 1000 people, with likely half of those being Summer homes. So visiting in the off-season definitely has it’s perks. In the Fall and Winter, and even early Spring, Marrowstone is generally a pretty sleepy place. Travelers often visit to unplug, disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life, and do nothing, really!
However if you’d like to do something while you’re here without leaving the island, there are plenty of places to hike, discover or for the more adventurous, get out on the water. Here is our list of Top 10 Island To-Do’s:
Visit the Nordland General Store. It’s the hub of Nordland and boast a sweet little market where you can find local products like farmstead goat cheese, smoked salmon and delicious beers and ice cream. There’s also a tiny post office where you can mail off those cool Plum Nelli postcards we leave for guests! We highly recommend you grab an espresso, sit on the front porch, and greet the locals as they stop in from 7 til 7, daily. The owner’s name is Tom… tell him we sent you! (The NGS is located one mile exactly from Plum Nelli.)
Picnic on Indian Island. While you’re at the Nordland General Store grab some picnic-wares to take to the beach! Indian Island is a naval base, however the water side is public land and has ah-mazing beaches. Our favorite, assuming the tide cooperates, can be accessed from Portage Beach at Indian Island County Park. This can be found immediately to your right after you cross over the 116 Bridge (coming onto Indian Island and Marrowstone). There’s a parking area and a picnic pavilion, but once parked we prefer to go on down to the water’s edge. Once you meet the water, turn left and walk down for about 10 minutes. There’s a beautiful white sand bar that feels like a tropical beach in the Summer time! Our absolute favorite! When you’re done, you can walk up towards the woods and hop on the shady trail back to the parking area. (Please remember to always ‘pack it in, pack it out.’ We love our beaches and ocean and want to keep them clean!)
Taste some wines at Marrowstone Vineyards. What’s better than having a winery as your neighbor?! It’s literally a five minute walk from Plum Nelli. Yep, you read that right. After a long day of beach-combing or binge reading, you can walk directly to an uber local wine tasting venue with visiting food trucks and awesome live music during the Summer months. Highly recommended! (Upon exiting the Plum Nelli driveway, turn right, then take your first right onto Meade Rd. Over the hill you’ll find Marrowstone Vineyards. Check out their Summer Music Series.)
Pick apples at Plum Nelli. From late September ‘til December, we’ve got loads of apples to share. We’re happy to show guests which fruit is ripe and ready for the picking… just bring your own baskets and fill them up for a minimal price per pound compared to the grocery store. Plus, local apples are so varied in taste, and you get the experience of picking them fresh from the tree to then be turned into delicious pies, sauces and ciders! (You don’t even have to leave the property for this one!)
Hike at Fort Flagler State Park. You don’t have to venture into Olympic National Park to bathe in an old growth forest. All you’ll need is a $10 Discover Pass to access hundreds of acres of glistening beach hikes, gorgeous forest trails, and old military bunkers to discover throughout this gem of a park. For our favorite hour-long hike, park at Battery Bankhead and follow the trail uphill on left side of the bunker, through old-growth forest. Where it merges with the Bluff Trail, go right. You’ll shortly come to a series of old bunkers built into the Earth. Explore them, and then have a rest on top of the bluff - - overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound, Whidbey Island and Port Townsend. When you’re ready to head back, take the trail immediately across from the bunkers, bearing right at the “end” of it, then through a bit more forest to Battery Bankhead.
Eat an ice cream cone at Beachcomber’s Cafe. After all that walking, you might want to cool down. Drive down to the beach, grab a soft-serve ice cream cone at Flagler’s seasonal cafe, and watch to see what the fishermen and women pull in. There’s also a playground, great beach walking, and camping at that end of the fort.
Look for bioluminescence in Mystery Bay! These tiny marine organisms can sometimes cause the surface of the ocean to sparkle at night. They mostly form in warm-water lagoons with narrow openings to the open sea… when water temperatures are really warm and the sky is extra dark, sneak down to the bay and stick your hands or feet in the water. If you’re lucky, you might experience this magic!
Venture out to a geologic wonder, Nodule Point. At low tide, park at East Beach and walk south, towards Rainier. In about an hour the landscape will change fairly dramatically, and you’ll find Nodule Point. Here you can find volleyball sized round concretions formed in the Earth. It’s really cool, and sometimes you can find the nodules have been dislodged from natural causes. Lucky discovers might take one of the dislodged concretions home, or they might choose to leave them as found. You can learn more about this geologic wonder here. Remember you have at least an hour’s walk back. (This is a really special and fairly undiscovered spot… so please, never dislodge these formations on your own and always be respectful of Marrowstone’s lovely beaches and fragile bluffs.)
Kayak or SUP out of Mystery Bay. You can rent both stand up paddle boards and kayaks by the hour or day at the Nordland General Store. They have all the gear you need for getting out on the water, and it’s hard to beat a sunny day paddling through the cool ocean. Head out of Mystery Bay and left into Kilisut Harbor for a longer row... once you return, have a cold drink on the NGS dock.
Take in the sunset from Plum Nelli. Sunsets are good from anywhere on the island, really… but we do think the best sunsets happen at Plum Nelli, particularly from our sweet little Singing Frog’s porch. More of a sunrise lover? Those are taken in best with a hot mug of strong coffee on our Roost apartment’s eastward facing porch. Whether you prefer sunrises to sunsets, we promise there’s something for everyone to discover and love here.
That’s all folks! We’d really love to know which items on this checklist you enjoy… please share your favorites in the comments below, along with your photos on Instagram. Don’t forget to #plumnelli !