Island escape: Rejuvenate body and spirit in Anacortes – The Seattle Times

As we leave summer behind and gear up for the busy schedules of fall and winter, it makes sense to pause for a bit to work on rejuvenating both body and mind. Luckily, Seattle isn’t too far from an ideal place to do this: Anacortes. This beloved island town is known for its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere.
For a true retreat, book a long weekend at Heartfelt Retreats. If the name doesn’t ring a bell it’s because it only opened last March, but Heartfelt managed to beat the odds and remain open throughout the COVID pandemic. The only artist-themed retreat in the area, Heartfelt Retreats offers art and painting lessons for all skill levels.
Yvette Nuemann, principal partner at Heartfelt Retreats, emphasizes that you don’t need any prior art experience to take advantage of these workshops and classes. “In addition to the workshops, some guests just want a painting lesson so we’ll do a couple days’ worth of painting lessons and they can structure it however they like,” says Nuemann, who is a professional artist. “I work with people to see where they’re at and what they want to learn. We make it very relaxed.”
The property also features a music room and a library full of wonderful books. There’s a chapel building on the property where guests can go to for some quiet time. “It’s got a fabulous view over the water and you just get quiet introspection time,” says Nuemann. The chapel has yoga mats and meditation cushions so if you’re looking for the opportunity to meditate in a quiet and comfortable spot, the chapel is the place to go.
If you’re traveling with a partner who is looking to find their peace outdoors in nature, fear not! Heartfelt Retreats has a private beach on Similk Bay, directly across from Kiket Island. Kayak and paddle board rentals are available at the hotel, so visitors can leave from the private beach and head to the island.
The property also has bikes available to rent, which is another way to get to Kiket Island. “It’s less than four miles away riding and it’s pretty flat, so it’s not a heavy lift for most folks who just want to get a little exercise outdoors,” says Nuemann.  
Treat yourself to a spa day at The Apothecary Spa. This award-winning spa offers a wide variety of treatments such as massages, facials and body treatments.
Anna Holm, owner of the Apothecary Spa, recommends a body treatment for visitors coming in as we head into fall. “The body treatment is especially nice because you’re able to exfoliate away a lot of the summer grime and get your skin ready for the fall season,” Holm explains.
The spa’s most popular body treatment is the Honey Glow Body Wrap, which exfoliates your entire body in a warm wrap of honey. “It’s an all-over dry brushing, then you get painted with this honey heal glaze that’s amazing for your whole body,” says Holm.
Apothecary also offers customized wellness treatments. Holm says many people call Apothecary knowing that they want to come to the spa, but they’re either new to spa treatments or it’s their first time going to a spa. Staff will offer guidance by asking questions like “what is your goal in coming to the spa?” For some, it’s to address body pain. For others, it’s just to treat themselves and relax. After gathering the relevant information, they’ll make a recommendation for which treatment best suits your needs.
If spending time in nature is the best way to rejuvenate your spirit, you’ll find no shortage of spots in Anacortes. Nuemann recommends Washington Park, a 220-acre park that offers camping, picnic sites, and a scenic loop road.
Mount Erie is an excellent option for hiking. At five miles round trip, you’ll get a good workout and still have time for other activities on the same day. The Anacortes Community Forest Lands also has over 50 miles of trails all over the area, many of which lead to lakes.
Nuemann also recommends the Anacortes Marina, especially on a clear day. “You get a beautiful 360-degree view from there when it’s clear,” she says. “You can see the Canadian Rockies and the Cascades.” And on a really good day, you can see both Mount Baker and Mount Rainier in the same view.
If you’re looking for a spot to meditate or simply relax and appreciate the gorgeous views, Holm recommends Cap Sante Park. You’ll drive up a windy hill and at the top, there’s a little spot where you can safely climb out onto the rocks that overlook the water. “You can bring a picnic or your favorite wine,” says Holm. “It’s just a great place to sit, be still and contemplate.”
Anacortes, on a drive-to island, offers the ultimate Northwest getaway. Spend a day or weekend experiencing everything from seaside recreation to forestlands, casual cafes to elegant dining, quirky to sophisticated shopping, art galleries to antique shops, and unique accommodations.

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