Guemes Island Community Center Association

Enriching and Connecting Our Island Community


Events Calendar

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Guemes Island, Skagit County, WA, USA

Ferry Cams

⛴ Catch the Ferry

Ferry times are provided as a courtesy and without guarantee.

Ferry departs from Guemes approximately 8 minutes after the listed times below. Crossing time approximately 5 minutes. Round-trip time approximately 20-25 minutes.

*Wednesday 9:15 AM to Guemes and 2:00 PM from Guemes are hazardous materials runs only. No other vehicles or passengers may travel on these runs.
▼ Click here to show times

Community Messages

Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony

December 22


There will be a dedication of the new Church Peace Pole donated by Lynn Prewitt in memory of her husband, Norm Prewitt, on Saturday, December 22 at 2:00 pm at the Church. Cake and beverages will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the ceremony.


For more information about the international Peace Pole Project, visit


Guemes Chamber Music Series

December 23

Save the date for the Guemes Chamber Music Series Winter Concert. Guemes Island Community Center, Dec 23, 3:30 - 5 pm.


Featuring the musical talents of:

Nancy Bean, Violin
David Bean, Violin
Karie Prescott, Viola
Lloyd Smith, Cello



Performing the music of:
Bach, Farago, Debussy, and Christmas favorites


Tickets $25: Purchased at Door

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

December 24

Candlelight Service, Guemes Island Church, 5 - 6 pm


One of the sacred traditions on Guemes Island is the Christmas Eve candlelight service which is structured for little ones to enjoy also. Families gather to hear the Christmas story and sing carols. Weather permitting, we will sing our closing carol, moving outside with lighted candles to circle around glowing luminaries. This service is a great way to start your family Christmas celebration.


Telephone Directory Updates

It's that time again! The 2017-2018 Guemes Island Telephone Directory, published by the Guemes Island Property Owners Association (GIPOA) and now managed by the Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA), has reached its bi-annual update cycle.


We need your help before the end of the year! Directory listings are now online. Islanders easily can add and update their listings (both residential and business). In addition, by popular demand, a printed directory will be available after the first of the year. Your online updates before the end of 2018 will ensure that the directory continues to be a valuable resource to the community. We can't do it without you!


Click on the "Read more" below to learn how to add or edit your directory listings. GICCA and the entire Guemes community thank you!


To add your listing(s), select either Residential Signup or Business Signup from the “Guemes Directory” option in the menu bar at the top of this page. To edit existing listings, select “Link Request” to receive a private link that enables your edits.

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Weather Map

Mobile? Click 'Rain/Snow' tag for options

Island News

The Road Is Long – by Deb Strathman -

... but "The road to a friend's house is never too long." - Danish proverb

Pamplona -> [Güemes] -> Santiago (450 miles)

When Father Ernesto, Paqui, Miguel, and Marina, from Güemes, Spain, visited Guemes Island in April this year, I didn't divulge my intentions to hike the Camino de Santiago. I'd dreamed about completing the epic pilgrimage for years but, at that point, it was still just a dream. I had read books, watched movies, and talked about my dream, but taking the next step was a big commitment - and more than a little daunting. Ernesto's visit was the driver that put my "Camino wheels" (and, ultimately, my feet) into motion. I was committed to making my dream a reality - and maybe visiting Güemes, Spain as well! 

After talking with family and completing the necessary preparations and travel plans, my husband, John, our daughter, Gina, and I flew from San Francisco to Paris, to Madrid, and then to Pamplona, Spain.  On September 13th, we began the month-long walk from Pamplona to Santiago - 15 miles per day, carrying 15-lb packs. 

But this isn't a story about us or our Camino. It's a reminder of the special, lasting bond between two Guemeses and the extraordinary hospitality and kindness extended by the people of both ...

When I finally contacted Father Ernesto about our Camino plans, he was delighted to hear that we'd like to visit his pilgrims' shelter in Güemes. He made arrangements to pick us up near Logroño, a 2-1/2 hr drive from Güemes. After 4 days of walking from Pamplona to Logroño (with blistered feet, already!), we were really looking forward to seeing our friends and giving my feet a couple of days rest. Ernesto, Paqui, and Miguel were a sight for sore eyes (and feet)! There was much hugging and laughing. We spent the day touring the Spanish countryside, including some beautiful little seaside villages, and around the village of Güemes on our way to Ernesto's albergue.
View from the hills above Güemes, Spain
 We visited the 2 churches where Father Ernesto serves, including one that displays photos from his "Guemes world tour."

Ernesto's albergue isn't just a pilgrims' hostel. It's a large estate owned by Father Ernesto. Practically the entire village of Güemes is engaged, somehow, in helping at Ernesto's albergue. Volunteers bring food, help cook, help with maintenance, and many other tasks. Paqui and Miguel and several others are an integral part of the albergue’s mission. Many pilgrims who stop at the hostel for the typical one-night stay decide to come back and volunteer for weeks or months. Three meals a day are served to pilgrims and all that's requested in return is a donation. The complex has a library, a common room, and an ermita, where pilgrims can sit and reflect on their journey. Ernesto's collection of slides from his travels line the walls and ceiling of his study. Notes of gratitude from pilgrims from around the world are compiled into large volumes - each one a treasured gift. Many pilgrim guidebooks call this the best hostel on the Camino del Norte. It was definitely the best that we saw on our journey across northern Spain (of course, maybe we're also a little partial). 
Ernesto, Gina, Deb, and John at the Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto in Güemes, Spain
 Although we were pilgrims on the Camino, Ernesto insisted that we would not eat or sleep with the other 70+ pilgrims spending the night at his albergue that particular evening. Rather than twin beds or bunks in a large dormitory-style room, we had an entire living space, including 2 bedrooms and a private bath, in what was once was his parents' house (where Ernesto was born, 80 years ago), right on the grounds of the albergue.  Instead of the customary pilgrim's meal that we had experienced so far on the Camino, we ate with the wonderful staff in the large dining room - with mementos of Ernesto's travels and his life of caring for others covering the walls. The huge dining table was covered with plates of amazing food (Spanish paella, pasta with mushroom sauce, succulent roasted chicken) and lots of wine and other "merry-making" beverages. Dozens of volunteers shared in the feast. Barbara, a volunteer and former pilgrim from Dusseldorf, Germany, served as our translator.  There was much laughter and joy (no translation required) - obviously one big "family" enjoying a shared meal and time together. We were stuffed - and very "merry."
Paqui, Miguel, and other volunteers
 Our visit was short (parts of 2 days and 1 night) but we were grateful for the time we could spend together.  Ernesto, Paqui, Miguel, and Barbara drove us to Bilbao the following day.  We spent the afternoon and evening in Bilbao, where we visited the Guggenheim museum and participated in a "tapas tour." The following morning Gina flew to Barcelona and then home to California; John and I took a bus back to Logroño, where we picked up the Camino again - only 26 more days of walking to reach Santiago! 

My feet continued to be a problem; I was resigned that they would hurt for the rest of the trip. However, after a visit to a podiatrist in Burgos (5 days further down the road), a new pair of shoes, and another day of rest, things began to improve. 

About a week after leaving Ernesto and friends in Güemes, I received a text from them asking where we were - they wanted to take us out to dinner. "Wherever you are, we will find you."  What a fun surprise - and a little crazy, we thought. Were they really going to drive another 2-1/2 hr (one way) to have dinner with us and then turn around and drive back? Yes, they did! They found us in the sleepy little village of Castrojeriz (population 500). We shared another wonderful meal with these amazing people. Excellent food, excellent company - we felt so fortunate to be the recipients of their kindness and hospitality once again!
Ernesto, Paqui, Miguel, John, and Deb in Castrojeriz
After dinner, we said another fond farewell, with more hugs and smiles. Nineteen more Camino-days (~ 285 miles) awaited us when we set out again the following morning. We stayed in touch with our friends throughout our trip and shared this photo when we, finally, arrived in Santiago on October 16.
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral - a World Heritage site in Galicia, Spain
Amazing journey. Amazing people. Special friends. 

If you'd like to keep the "Guemes connection" alive, I encourage you to include Güemes, Spain in your future travel plans. In the meantime, if you're interested in sending holiday greetings to Father Ernesto and team, here's the mailing address: 

Father Ernesto Bustio Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto Calle el Albergue, S/N, 39191 Güemes, Cantabria, Spain
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Meet Your Neighbor

A Visit to Güemes – by Ian Woofenden - After hosting our visitors from Güemes, Spain when they were on the island in April, Lisa and I were delighted to have the opportunity to receive their hospitality at the Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto in Güemes, Spain in September. This hostel on the Camino del Norte was Ernesto’s birthplace and family home. Over the years, he and his supporters have turned it into a hostel that hosted more than 12,000 pilgrims walking to Santiago this year. 
We traveled to Europe, for the first time, to celebrate our 60th birthdays and to get a taste of places we’d dreamed of seeing in person. Scotland, Austria, and France were on the list, and seeing Güemes was a priority for us. We took a train from a village in France to the border with Spain where Ernesto, Paqui, and Miguel picked us up. (We were sorry not to see Marina, who is working and studying in Berlin.)
On the drive to Güemes, we got a taste of northern Spain’s coast and the Cantabrian countryside before landing at the albergue. Though I knew from our eight days with Ernesto and friends in our home that we were in the presence of a remarkable person, our three days at the hostel brought regular confirmation of his specialness. Ernesto is a person who has dedicated his life to caring for others while also having grand adventures—it seems like a great mix to me. 

The hostel is decorated throughout with evidence of the huge number of people who have benefited from his love, care, and sense of humor. Everywhere you look, there is artwork, appreciations, posters, and more from and about the people who have been influenced by Ernesto and his helpers. The place is full of talent, love, and good humor that seems to never falter, even while a new batch of 30-100 pilgrims arrives every afternoon. 

Lisa and I were particularly pleased to share and enjoy music with Paqui’s wife and others from the community one afternoon and evening. We were tickled to hear lots of American music in their repertoire and to enjoy their robust harmonies. There was lots of laughter as well. 

We toured both of the local churches that Ernesto serves, and got a great view of the small community of Güemes from the tower in the center church. We also took a day trip to Picos de Europa, a gorgeous mountainous region where Ernesto served early in his career as a priest. There and around Güemes, everyone seemed to know and revere Ernesto—there was a familial warmth that was obvious. 

We were able to hear Ernesto speak to one of the pilgrim groups in the round building on the albergue property that is dedicated to meditation and contemplation. I was particularly amused at how often Ernesto would tease or make jokes; he is a person who has done and accomplished so much, but has not lost his childlike humor and a humble sense of his own small place in the universe. Paqui and Miguel and several others are integral parts of the albergue’s mission, and the spirit we saw shining from them on the island is shared with pilgrims, volunteers, staff, and visitors. 

We had the opportunity to chat with some of the pilgrims, and even more with the hostel staff and volunteers. With some frequency, pilgrims who stop at the hostel for the typical one-night stay decide to come back and volunteer for weeks or months. While we were there, we connected with volunteers from Spain, Netherlands, and Columbia who were there to help—and to soak up more of the congenial spirit of the place. 

 Our visit was brief, ending with a ride to the nearest international airport in Bilbao. It left us with a lovely taste and a wish to return, perhaps to walk some of the Camino, or to spend time helping at the hostel. I encourage islanders with European travel plans to consider a stop at this small place that shares our island’s name. The place is quite scenic; the people are extraordinarily hospitable and kind. Building more connection between the village of Güemes, Spain and Guemes Island was our pleasure, and could be yours too.Read less

2018 GICCA Annual Report & Community Outreach

The 2108 GICCA President's Annual Report is now available. Click here to read a summary of our busy and productive year, including a reminder of upcoming events for the remainder of the year.


The Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) would like to thank you for your generous donations over the years. We’d also like to let you know that you should have received a letter in the mail that requests your continued support (view here). The letter provides information about the types of events hosted at the Hall (our “island living room”) and the Murray Read Pavilion this year. We hope you’ve been part of one or more of these activities. Your donations help sustain our building and grounds and ensure that we can continue to offer programs, events, and services that enrich and connect our island community. We hope you'll read this letter, take pride in our community, and be motivated to give generously. We simply can't do it without you!


Your donation can be made using the stamped, self-addressed donor envelope you received in the mail. However, if you prefer the ease of donating online you can click here and use your PayPal account or a credit card on our secure website.


Every tax-deductible donation makes a difference, regardless of size. Thank you in advance for your community-minded support.

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Click on the image above to shop and support Guemes Island Community Center Association. Your purchase makes a difference – at no additional cost to you!

2019 Ferry Haul Out

The Guemes Island Ferry is scheduled to be out of service February 24 through March 18, 2019.

During the ferry shut down, passenger-only service will be provided by Arrow Launch Service. In addition, Skagit Transit will provide shuttle service on Guemes Island starting February 24. The ferry is tentatively scheduled to return to service on March 19, 2019.

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Fun Factoids

Quite Interesting: Lettuce is a kind of daisy. Both belong to the same botanical family as thistles, dandelions, chicory and nipplewort.

Helpful Links

On Deck

Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of AmazonSmile purchases to their customers' chosen charitable organization. Guemes Island Community Center Association is registered on AmazonSmile. So, if you’re already shopping anyway, why not let Amazon make a small donation to GICCA - at no additional cost to you or GICCA!

How does it work?

  • Click on the AmazonSmile box (right) which brings you to the AmazonSmile GICCA page
    (you might want to bookmark that page to easily find it again).
  • Sign in to Amazon as usual.
  • Then, just shop as you normally would!

Click here to see how much you have made GICCA smile. Thank you!