Meet Your Neighbor

Meet Your Neighbors - Greg and Marlene Kleven

The Long Road To Guemes

Sometimes the truly unexpected happens for all the right reasons.  This was our recent experience on our road to the “other” Guemes.


My wife Marlene and I were recently staying in Spain, renting a flat in San Sebastian, using the city as our base to explore the Basque countryside.  During our three-week visit, our oldest son and his wife came for a short stay.  At the conclusion of their visit, we dropped them off at the Bilbao airport and decided to continue our journey west to the city of Santander, the capital city of the Cantabria region on Spain’s north coast, located at the mouth of the Bay of Santander on the rocky La Magdalena Peninsula. We were planning on having breakfast near the beach or the boardwalk.  Much to our surprise, however, everything was closed.  We should have known. This is a Catholic nation and it was Sunday morning. We eventually found a small coffee shop open.  We ordered two “café con leches” and “toasta” then decided to continue our journey, entering a random town in our GPS on the coastline that would that would take us off the freeway and into the countryside.


Within 45 minutes of driving to our selected destination of “Bayeu” we came upon the following road sign.

“Marlene,” I said.  “Look at this.  It’s a road sign for Guemes.  We have to go.”

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GIHS – The Dr. Is In!

The Dr. Is In!

Photo: Bill with brother Ted in 1956

Please join the Guemes Island Historical Society as it welcomes Dr. William Burlingame back to the island of his youth. Dr. Burlingame has graciously agreed to be our speaker for our June 11th meeting at the Guemes Island Church which begins at 7 pm.


Bill Burlingame grew up on Guemes—arriving with his family at age 8 in 1946 and departing when he graduated from AHS to attend UW. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology and then taught clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 35 years. Since retirement, he now treats children, adolescents, and families in his private practice in Chapel Hill.

Bill witnessed and experienced some of the most momentous events of the 20th century on Guemes—electrification, telephone service (the second coming), and school district consolidation. He knew well some of the more colorful of islanders (One Bubble and Horsey Hamill) and knew the mainstays of island culture from that era (Bill Veal, Cliff Weigle, Colonel Vonnegut). Please know that Bill has an encyclopedic memory, but that his Guemes memories are also those of a child and teenager. Presently he continues to work on his memoir of the island years which will include all of the above and much more.


The presentation will be followed by the GIHS regularly scheduled business meeting. All are welcome to attend. For more information please contact Tom Deach via phone at 360-708-2582 or email