Memorial Observation Deck
Hiring on to the Washington State Ferries in 1953, Ralph "Larry" White served the Washington State Ferry system until retirement, and ultimately served as Assistant Deputy Director.
He originally started as a ticket taker on the Edmonds - Kingston route, and these observation decks were conceived as a tribute to him by three of his Edmonds high school and life long friends.
The observation decks provide a view of the open water and of ferries arriving from Edmonds, but are not easy to get to due to the traffic from the ferry. The only official route goes along Washington Avenue to the traffic light, then down the walkway almost to the ferry slip itself. Here, you will find these observation decks.
They are, however, easy to visit if you find yourself stuck in a ferry wait in the holding area. If you are going to wait here for a while, you might as well walk over to the observation decks: after all, you know you are not going to move until the next boat arrives and it has completely unloaded.
- Road Trip
Village Green Park: Picnic Shelter and Orchard
Other than the picnic shelter, a small playground and the tennis courts, there isn't a whole lot in Village Green Park of a developed nature. There is a skate park, but getting to it from the main entrance of the park requires some bushwacking through some pretty wild suburban tangle.
However, perhaps one of the good features of this park is that it is left in old orchard, with the grass under the trees mowed. On a nice day this would provide some nice general purpose open space to just enjoy a day.
The picnic shelter was closed "until further notice" when I visited.
The park is connected to downtown Kingston by a sidewalk on the north side of West Kingston Road, which is three blocks up the hill from the Ferry Terminal.
There is a plan to put a community center in the park at some point in the future, but there is already a community center at the library.
North Beach Park
This small beach park is easy to overlook as there is only one way down to it, and it involves trying to get across the inbound and outbound traffic from the ferry terminal and walking down a long sidewalk along the existing ferry lanes to the walkway that goes down to the beach.
The beach is small, but it appears to be mostly sand, and many Puget Sound beaches are actually gravel. Thus, this beach represents a bit of a rarity for those that are used to beaches being sandy places of refuge.
The best indication that there is a walkway down to the beach is a small blue sign that is somewhat visible to those exiting the ferry by car. On foot, the best option to get here is to head for Washington Avenue and cross at the traffic light by the bakery. Then, head down hill along the sidewalk (see photo 4) until you come to the staircase marked with a blue sign, seen in photo 2.
Mike Wallace Park: Home of Market and Concerts
Directly west of the ferry terminal and therefore very easy to get to and to find, Mike Wallace Park is somewhat part of the marina in Kingston as well as providing a limited amount of public activity area. There is a band stand that is covered, benches along a concrete waterfront walkway, and a selection of plants. There are flower baskets hanging here and in bloom even in September.
There are two public restrooms, but they are tiny and for wheelchair access it may be better to use the nearby Washington State Ferry Terminal restroom. At least one of the restrooms in the park are not wheelchair accessible.
The park is fairly small, and is only about 500 feet / 150 meters along the water.
During part of the year this park is the home to the Kingston Farmer's Market and various concerts and some other events.
- Arts and Culture
Public Utilities District Forest and Trails
As with Quiet Place Park on the opposite side of Ohio Avenue, the PUD Trails are in an area of semi-preserved forest (again there are a few invasive species but mostly things seem somewhat under control - at least for a wild forest preserve).
The trails are on the property of the local water district (a public utility district) and are maintained by the Great Peninsula Conservancy and the Kingston Trail Committee.
The entire park is on a fairly steep slope, unlike Quiet Place Park where the trail system is mostly flat. The primary trail runs essentially north-south beside a small stream at the bottom of the canyon, but connecting trails by necessity must run up the steep sides of the canyon.
The easiest access point is from downtown Kingston, where it is possible to walk north on Iowa Avenue until it ends, and turn left onto 3rd and then right onto Illinois Avenue. You then come to a gravel ending of the road at what should be 4th Avenue, but is in reality more of a named gravel driveway. This is the 4th Avenue Trail, and it is possible to follow it along the southern edge of the park. Look for the trail entrance to the park on the north side of 4th. There is no parking on any of these streets as they are much too narrow.
There are various entrances to the park, including one directly across Ohio from Quiet Place Park, but this route allows one to enter the park going uphill, and then return going downhill. The trail descends quite steeply from the entrance on Oak, so you would have to climb back out of the canyon if you enter from there.
Another entrance to the park is at Ohio Avenue and 4th Avenue, which has a short wooden staircase set into the hill connecting the bottom of the canyon with the higher graded roads in the area.
A number of local birds are seen in the park, including various woodpeckers (including pileated).
In May there are a number of trillium that bloom in the park.
There are no public restroom facilities in this park.
Photo 1 shows the entrance to the park that is across Ohio from Quiet Place Park.
Photo 2 shows the typical trail in the park, cut into a steep bank.
Photo 3 shows the entrance to the park on the 4th Avenue Trail.
Photo 4 shows the typical trail at the bottom of the canyon next to the small stream that runs this course.
Photo 5 shows the staircase at Ohio and 4th that leads down into the park.
- Hiking and Walking
Quiet Place Park
There really isn't too much to this little park. It is semi-preserved forest (there are traces of invasive species here and there but mostly free of the usual suspects) located in some reasonably quiet streets on a hill above downtown Kingston. The park is only 10 acres, and the only improvements to the park are a bench or two along the trails. A trail map is located at the "main entrance" to the park, which is on its north end.
There aren't even any trash cans here, so be prepared to pack out whatever it is that you have packed in.
How to Get Here:
The suggested way is from downtown Kingston to head north on Ohio Street about 1/2 a mile. The forested area on the right is the park. Vehcle parking is on the shoulder (see photo 3) but this is not a very wide area and so many vehicles may not fit parked here. It is also possible to walk up the hill of Ohio Street from the ferry terminal, but the road is narrow, and though there is a gravel walking area on the east side of it this makes it hard to see oncoming traffic. A better way of getting here on foot is to go to 4th Avenue, go north through the forested Public Utility District Forest, and at the first bridge over the creek deep in the forest turn right and go up the hill. It is then possible to cross Ohio Street and go directly into Quiet Place Park without walking beside the busy road.
- Hiking and Walking