Update! Patrick Yearout of Ivar’s Restaurants emailed that the popular Mukilteo eatery is looking to hire some good staff. Here is what he writes:

  • We have seen an increase in foot traffic in the area, which has been a welcome addition to the Mukilteo waterfront. There are a lot of folks (especially our friends from Whidbey Island) checking out the new terminal and all the construction going on, and it’s only a 5-8 minute walk from the ferry parking lot to our Ivar’s restaurant and fish bar.


  • The Fish Bar has seen its sales slow down a bit now that the ferry parking lot is not right across the street, especially with quick snacks such as ice cream cones and cups of Ivar’s chowder. But when the sun is out and the weather is nice, we still serve plenty of guests either waiting for the ferry or who have walked over from Lighthouse Park.


  • Our full-service restaurant remains busy for lunch, dinner, and our daily happy hour from 3-6pm (often beating sales from the same weeks in 2019). Our view from the dining room and the deck has really opened up quite a bit now that ferry terminal has moved, which allows for some amazing sunsets and whale watching opportunities.


  • Due to the still-strong sales, we continue to hire team members for both summer and permanent positions at the Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing restaurant and the fish bar. Interested candidates can see a list of our open positions and submit resumes or applications at https://apply.jobappnetwork.com/ivars, or they can text the word IVAR to 85000 to apply right from their phones.


South Whidbey connects to the mainland via the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry, which transported more than 3 million passengers last year. This is Whidbey ran a story Jan. 8 about the new Mukilteo multimodal ferry terminal honoring our Salish Sea people’s tribal heritage and recalling their ceding of land to white settlers in an 1855 treaty.

Sunset reflects in calm waters at Mukilteo Lighthouse, built in 1906.

Meanwhile, our photographer David Welton reminisced about the days when the ferries docked at the former Mukilteo Landing, a third of a mile away. While waiting for the ferries in the past, he enjoyed exploring the neighborhood with his camera. Here are some shots he especially likes. More photos can be found on his Facebook page. Have favorite ferry memories or photos you would like to share? Please respond in the comment section below or email your photos to thisiswhidbey@whidbey.com and we will publish them. 

Ferry dock and Mukilteo lighthouse beacons in fog from ferry deck
Bound for Clinton, members of the annual Oyster Run biker rally.

“I picked scenes you won’t see any more,” David said in a phone call. “You could walk to Ivars. There’s the dock that we’re not using anymore. It seems to me that everybody loves the ferry, but hates to wait. It’s part of life on Whidbey Island.”

This photo of the Johnson girls won David Welton first place at the Edmonds Art Festival
Gazing out from ferry ‘pickle fork’ at former Mukilteo Ferry dock. Mukilteo lighthouse is in the background
Georgia Edwards, David Welton’s wife, and Hawkeye, her Bouvier des Flandres, who enjoys Ivar’s soft serve ice cream

Meanwhile, my husband Bill Poss, said the new ferry loading design will hopefully keep us cooler in the summer. Instead of broiling drivers’ left arms and faces in the afternoon sun while facing west to Whidbey Island, the ferry’s new configuration has drivers facing north. We shall see if the wait gets easier during the long summer days.

What it looked like when we waited for the ferry before.
Roiling water in the wake of departing Mukilteo ferry at former landing dock

The first Mukilteo/Clinton ferry sailed in 1911 and the first car ferry sailed in 1919. South Whidbey Historical Society has a photo showing the original ferry dock, the pilings now north of the former ferry dock location. The first humans to cross Possession Sound were the Snohomish and other tribal people of the Salish Sea, who paddled in their canoes. Learn more about our island’s indigenous canoe culture at the Hibulb Cultural Center on the Tulalip Reservation near Marysville.

Mukilteo Lighthouse with holiday lights and ferry in the background
An excavator reinforcing the pilings at the base of Ivar’s Restaurant
When he commuted to the mainland, David Welton left his car in the Mukilteo lot Monday through Friday. But on Nov. 19, 2012, he found the lot was flooded following a rain deluge.
MV Cathlamet leaves the Clinton ferry dock bound for Mukilteo. The ferry is used occasionally on the route

One memory that stands out for me is a day in October, 2007, when 50 mph winds whipped through and caused super high waves over the  MV Cathlamet. Meanwhile, a docked ferry at Mukilteo crashed against the pilings, destabilizing the ferry dock and pilings at nearby Ivars. Ferry service was disrupted until repairs were made.

Passengers disembark in the rain from the Mukilteo Ferry at its former terminal.

We may take ferry crossings for granted, yet take a moment to consider that we travel on a highway made of seawater. On your next trip, note the sights: birds, sea lions, gray whales, orcas, trains and the edge between land and water. Let us know what you discover.

Michael, a ferry ticket man from the past, when the toll booths were at the Ivar’s location.
View from the bridge above the ferry: colorful freight train loaded with airliner fuselages above Mukilteo Ferry terminal.


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  1. I also remember that day in November 2012 when the parking lot behind the Diamond Knot flooded; my little commuter car was toward the back and had about 6 inches of water in it; a friend with a dry truck ferried me out close; rolled up my suit pants, got in, and it started; most water drained out going up the hill; insurance covered all the repairs – which the detail shop really did a good job on; the radio/sound system was fried; then the City of Mukilteo covered the deductible. After that we were allowed during the period of April-October to park in the lot across from the Lighthouse; I knew I was officially retired when I did not renew my parking spot.

  2. From Kristine Schoolcraft: The Merrimac ferry crosses the Wisconsin River. I have taken our kids on this annually on our way home from up north vacations. We travel to Baraboo then through Devils Lake State Park and on to the ferry. Now Brad and Melissa’s lake house is just up the road Lodi side from the ferry landing and ice cream shop. If you are in Wisconsin this is a great experience for your kids or grandkids.

  3. Just learned from a reader that a car belonging to Jose Sanchez Diaz, who went missing in August 2015, was found by divers in July 2016. Mr. Diaz’s remains were identified by sheriffs. During the recent ferry relocation, a crane removed the car. Rest in Peace, Mr. Diaz.

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