Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rosario Place Names

We wanted to visit Rosario Resort on Orcas Island while we were staying on Whidbey Island. But I read in a 2009 visitor guide that the resort was closed for renovations due to a recent change in ownership. Imagine my surprise today when I looked at the web site ( and found this statement:
"We are excited to announce that Rosario Resort on Orcas Island in Washington State’s San Juan Islands is now reopen for its Centennial year."

What a disappointment! I don't know if we'll be able to get there now that we're another ferry ride and most of the length of Whidbey Island away from the ferry that goes there. It would be over 3 hours to drive there, not counting the added time to arrive early for ferries, and even more to accommodate their schedules. Oh, well, we'll just put it on our "bucket list" for another time. In the meantime, we've thoroughly checked out the web site.

By doing further research, we were able to answer the question "Why was it named Rosario Resort when it was built by Seattle Shipbuilder Robert Moran?" I can only guess that it was named after Rosario Strait, although I couldn't find specific reference to that.

And here's how the strait was named, from Wikipedia: 1791 Francisco de Eliza gave the name Gran Canal de Nuestra SeƱora del Rosario la Marinera to what it now the Strait of Georgia. In 1792, George Vancouver explored the region and gave the Strait of Georgia its present name. He did not provide a name for Rosario Strait. In 1847 Charles Wilkes, during the Wilkes Expedition, gave Rosario Strait the name Ringgold Channel after one of his officers. Then in 1847 the British Captain Henry Kellett reorganized the British Admiralty charts, in the process removing the "pro-American" names given by Wilkes and affirming pro-British names and Spanish names. He affirmed the name Gulf of Georgia (Strait of Georgia) given by George Vancouver and used a shortened version of Eliza's name for the Strait of Georgia to replace both Wilkes' and Eliza's original names for Rosario Strait.

We did see several other instances of the name Rosario in this part of the world, however. In Anacortes, I happened to spot Rosario Market as we drove by, and I barely got this not-so-great photo.
From Rosario Place Names

We found Rosario Rd, just off SR-20.
From Rosario Place Names

Rosario Beach was nearby...we saw it on the GPS before we saw the sign...
From Rosario Place Names

From Rosario Place Names we drove to it and walked around. It's a small beach, but fairly clean except for these remnants of an old dock.
From Rosario Place Names

Walla Walla University maintains a Marine Lab there.
From Rosario Place Names

And the best thing: locals all knew how to spell our name! They didn't always understand the addition of "Del" in front of "Rosario," though. I had to make a quick trip to a dentist with a broken crown, and I became "Rosario, Sharon Del."

We finished this beautiful day with a pretty sunset.
From Whidbey Island


  1. Sharon, doing a great job on the blog, LOVE LOVE LOVE the sunset!!

  2. Hi Sharon and Don! Just stopped by your Blog and got caught up on your travels. Sounds like you've been having a wonderful time. Hugs, Jan and Chuck


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