Problem: You've got that ancient ailment, spring fever. Symptoms include an urgent desire to escape cube, car, home or class. Solution: Super-quick getaway on the Edmonds-to-Kingston...

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Problem: You’ve got that ancient ailment, spring fever. Symptoms include an urgent desire to escape cube, car, home or class.

Solution: Super-quick getaway on the Edmonds-to-Kingston ferry on a sunny day. If you’re pressed for time, it takes four hours, tops; longer if you can linger. This spring break has it all for around $20: sloth-time in the sun; fresh, salty air; aimless sauntering; a really good meal. To make your trip even more satisfying, go on a weekday when the vast majority of noses are planted firmly to grindstones. Suggested itinerary:


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Washington State Ferries information: In Seattle, call 206-464-6400. Toll-free long distance: 888-808-7977.

For schedule information online: Walk-on passenger fares are collected westbound only: Adult, $5.40; senior (65 and older) and disabled, $2.70; youth, $4.40. (A 5-percent fare increase will take effect May 2.)

Edmonds information: Greater Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, 425-670-1496 or see

Kingston information: Greater Kingston Community Chamber of Commerce, or 360-297-3813.

Kingston dining:

Main Street Ale House is just west of the ferry dock. 360-297-0440. Lunch from $8-$16; dinners from $13-$23. Hours: Monday, 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m.midnight; Friday, Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.

J’aime les Crepes is to your right as you leave the ferry dock. 360-297-5886. Prices from $2 to $6; no credit cards. Seating includes a small bar inside and several outdoor picnic tables. Hours: Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Coming soon: The Kingston Farmers Market runs Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., from May 6 through October at Mike Wallace Park next to the ferry dock. Choose from fresh, local fruits and vegetables with vendors selling handmade arts and crafts. The market also offers baked goods, jams, pickles and honey. For more information: 360-297-7683 or

Buy your ticket at the Edmonds ferry dock, then wander one block north to Bracketts Landing and watch scuba divers at the underwater park — their black neoprene heads bobbing like olives in the surf. Or walk south to the sandy beaches of Marina Beach Park.

When you see the ferry coming, head on out, remembering that food service won’t return to the ferries until summer, so bring a snack and something to drink. Not too much, though; save your appetite for Kingston.

Since you have wisely chosen a sunny day, go to the upper deck and choose a diversion. You might lie down on one of the benches — head resting on backpack, arms folded over chest, smile spreading over face. Maybe you’d rather read, or if you’re Type A, you could even get in a 30-minute workout, power-walking around the deck, breathing deep the snap of salty air. Don’t worry about looking odd. People make allowances for the seasonally challenged.

Another on-board activity: Lean against the rail, resting your eyes by focusing on the distance, a welcome respite to the usual view of brake lights and computer screens. Cast your eyes west to the blue smudge of mountains or north where Mount Baker mounds up white on the horizon. Once the ferry curves into the Kingston dock at the outer reaches of Appletree Cove, you’ll walk directly into “old town,” which consists of a few blocks lined with restaurants and shops.

For that good meal you’re looking forward to, here are a couple of suggestions: first, the Main Street Ale House, which features lunch, dinner, and a smoke-free bar and restaurant. Eat in or on the deck.

The ale house offers a large selection of microbrews and a tempting menu. Highly recommended is the Salmon BLT — sumptuous excess with a thick chunk of salmon at the center. If you’re doing the low-carb thing, abandon the bread — it’s still a meal.

Kathi Gentry waits for dessert at a sidewalk table in front of J’aime les Crepes near the ferry dock in Kingston.

Or how about a classy picnic? Cross the street to J’aime les Crepes, where owner Paul Pluska hangs an authentic French sign on the walkway: Avenue des Champs Elysees. Choose sweet crepes with powdered sugar and lemon, or hearty ones with ham, egg, Swiss cheese, mushrooms and spinach. Grab an espresso and head to Mike Wallace Park, next door to the ferry dock and overlooking a picture-perfect marina.

Properly sated, and before taking the ferry back to your real life, spend a few minutes strolling along the waterfront, nodding to fellow travelers also stricken with spring fever. You just never know who you’ll meet. On one recent afternoon, Dori O’Brien from Bellingham walked with two of her children, T.J., 8, and Laura, 13. Their prize whippet, Zeta, had just placed first in its class at a local dog show.

“Zeta’s aunt is the No. 1 whippet in the nation,” Dori revealed. Now that’s something you don’t hear every day, something to go home and tell the family about.

Even a dog can enjoy a day on the dock, waiting for the Kingston ferry.

As you walk back to the ferry, note the public art, which tends to the marine. Near the dock, a pinkish concrete fishhead pokes up from the sidewalk, eyeing passersby.

Time’s almost up, but you still have half an hour on the boat back to Edmonds. Once again, climb to the upper deck and take a look back at Kingston, nestled picturesquely in front of the Olympic Mountains. Savor these last moments of your spring break. And if you’re still feeling a little warm? Try the Seattle to Bainbridge Island run, or boat it over to Vashon.

Repeat remedy as needed.

Connie McDougall is a free-lance writer who lives in Seattle.