Monday, September 12, 2011

Why is Mercer Island one of North America's Most Charming Islands?

Mercer Island: Home to Fantastic Fall Foliage
Every once in awhile I will read a list in a magazine, or online along the line of "Best", "Biggest", Most Fun", "Smartest' or some other attribute with the list pointing to what someone by some criteria decides deserves to be on the list.

This happened today whilst reading Fox News online, in a story titled "North America's Most Charming Fall Islands."

The premise of the list of islands is set up with the following paragraph...

Come autumn, Mother Nature's dazzling palette is the No. 1 roadside attraction. While it's great fun to drive through a forest of gold-and-crimson trees, sometimes you need a rest from the hair-trigger braking that's required on packed country roads. In an effort to minimize stress, we sought out places where you can see fabulous fall foliage without the crowds. These 12 dreamy islands have forest vistas interrupted only by sailboats, farm stands, and lighthouses.

Most of the Charming Islands I've never heard of.

The islands in the article are Vancouver Island, British Columbia; Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, New York; Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia; Sheffield Island, Norwalk, Connecticut; Monhegan Island, Port Clyde, Maine; Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls, Canada; Assateague Island, Eastern Shore, Virginia; Grand Isle, Lake Champlain, Vermont; Mackinac Island, Michigan....

And Mercer Island, Washington.

Mercer Island?

This article is recommending going to Mercer Island to view fall foliage away from packed county roads? With forest vistas interrupted only by sailboats, farm stands and lighthouses?

Below is how the Fox News article described Mercer Island...

MERCER ISLAND, King County, Wash. Enjoy the perfume of fresh cider and the spice of organic pumpkin pie from restaurants serving locally sourced food. Color-seekers in Washington State often head to Mercer Island, across from Seattle in Lake Washington, for its rare autumnal palette of changing leaves. This island of 6.2 square miles was once a retreat for the wealthy and has since become an upper-middle-class community of about 22,000 residents. Yellow-and-gold hues set the tone along the bike trails that crisscross the region. Find the best foliage in 113-acre Pioneer Park on the southern side of the island, where you're likely to see tamarack, vine-maple, red-alder, and Pacific-dogwood trees. The island's restaurant community, with its organic country cred, is a huge draw. Case in point is Bennett's Pure Food Bistro, whose meals contain ingredients sourced regionally and prepared without artificial additives. The menu changes seasonally, but at any given time you can expect to find fresh seafood straight from the waters off the coast of Alaska and vegetables foraged from Washington State. 7650 SE 27th St.,, entrées from $14.

Mercer Island is a very nice location. If you are fortunate enough to live there it usually indicates you are very well off. Mercer Island is the most populated island in a lake in the United States.

I am sure there are some nice trees on Mercer Island. I've pedaled my bike across Mercer Island a time or two. I have driven all over Mercer Island. I do not remember ever thinking, wow, look at the colorful leaves on that tree.

Now, Whidbey Island, that's another story. Whidbey Island is a little less than 170 square miles, size-wise, compared to Mercer Island's slightly more than 6 square miles. Whidbey Island has a population of almost 60,000 compared to Mercer Island's 22,000. Obviously the population density is much greater on Mercer Island.

Which Island do you think you'd see a lot fewer people on as you drove around looking at leaves? You guessed right. Whidbey. Not only that, on Whidbey Island you will actually find some forest vistas and lighthouses. On both islands you will be seeing the sailboats the article mentioned. Whidbey Island has the added charm of a lot of rhododendrons, blooming colorful in the spring. And ferry boats to and from the island. And Deception Pass Bridge to take you off the north end of the island to another island, called Fidalgo, from whence you can find another bridge to take you to the mainland.

There are no ferry boats to Mercer Island. But there is a very cool floating bridge that will take you to Seattle. Where you can also find some colorful fall foliage.