one of the great eatable delicacies in this world are the mussels from Penn Cove.
Penn Cove mussels are harvested year round using rope cultures by the oldest commercial mussel harvesting company in North America.
Penn Cove is located on Widby Island in the state of Washington.
here is a trivia question for you. what is the largest island in the continental United States? what is the second largest? if you answered Long Island, and Whidby Island you would be correct.
this morning i got on the 8am ferry from Port Townsend headed for Widby Island. crossed Admiralty Inlet which has currents that can get so strong that the Washington State Ferry system has to shut down the ferry because the engines they have in their huge ferries are not strong enough to successfully negotiate the crossing. amazing!
but today no problem.
traveling on the ferries in Washington State is a real treat. it forces you to relax as you cross the many and varied waters throughout the western part of the state. there are 10 different regular routes that operate every day of the year. it is the largest ferry system in the country measured in vehicles carried, and the second largest in the world. interestingly, the largest ferry system in the USA measured in passengers carried is the Staten Island Ferry in New York City.
this morning on the ferry i got my breakfast and then i settled down to do a jig saw puzzle.
yes, indeed. can you believe it! on the ferry there are at least three tables with jig saw puzzles that are partially completed, just entreating you to join in and work on it while you are traversing the waters of Puget Sound. for a guy who had not touched a jigsaw puzzle in half a century i have spent time working on jigsaw puzzles each of the last several days.
along with my trusty rented bike, i hop off the ferry and pedal the 7 miles to Coupeville, the closest town to Penn Cove. a town of only 1,000 residents but i learned that on this Saturday, at least, a town with a very active local populace.
on Saturday morning the residents had a choice of going to the Farmer’s Market held in the open space behind the library, or the Strawberry Social held at the Lutheran Church or the Lion’s Club annual flea market sale held at the high school. all of this going on this morning in the tiny community of Coupeville. America is alive and well.
not only was this level of activity a surprise to me, but also i was caught off guard by the weather. from the moment i stepped off the ferry on Widby Island the skies started to cry. but it was not a heavy rain, just a little bit of “liquid sunshine” as we say in the Pacific Northwest.
the other interesting eyeopener for me was being introduced to Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve which is something i had never heard of before. it is a part of our National Park system. specifically it is a rural historic district, that preserves and protects 19th century land use including farms and prairies, the pastoral setting, views and Coupeville. it is large, taking up 27 square miles, and almost 85% is privately held, with the federal government only owning 2%.
back to the phenomenal Penn Cove mussels. they can’t be beat. and this is where they come from.