Washington: Orcas Island

Orcas Island Sunset

On one of our visits to Seattle, my parents were nice enough to dog-sit our fur baby so that we could get away for a romantic weekend alone. OK. To be honest, we are really not the “romantic” type, but you would be surprised by how hard it is to get away together once you have a dog. ESPECIALLY if you are college students and can’t afford to board your pet all the time. It was really great to go on a mini vacation and explore, just the two of us. It was also a nice change of pace from our normal vacation mode. As mentioned in a previous post, we like to move around and see everything at turbo speed in order to fit the maximum amount of activities into a short amount of time because, number one, we are cheap, and,number two, we don’t get a lot of time off. Well…Orcas Island is not the type of place you go when you want to move quickly.  It is the largest of the San Juan islands, located of the northwestern corner of Washington state. To get to the islands you must take the ferry from Anacortes, so the islands are pretty quiet and isolated…at least they were for us. We traveled there in the middle of the week in May and the place was dead! It was actually really nice! We spent most of our time there driving and admiring all of the beauty the island has to offer. Most of the two days we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We hardly saw any other visitors at our hotel or in Eastsound, the small town where most of the shops and restaurants are located. It was so peaceful and GORGEOUS and a nice change of pace from how we usually approach sightseeing.

The Ferry ride is a great introduction to the islands. If you’re lucky enough to go on a clear day (haha, good luck with that in the pacific northwest) be sure to find a nice spot on deck to admire the scenery.

Seattle May 2012 058We stayed at the Resort at Deer Harbor. I don’t normally recommend specific lodging, but we were really impressed with our stay. The staff was above and beyond friendly. They gave us so much good advice. The private cabin was awesome. We loved watching movies from our bed AND couch, as the flat screen rotates. which was nice and cozy when the weather was a bit frigid out. Also, the room had a beautiful view of the harbor, private hot tub, and fireplace. It’s a very quiet and peaceful location. Most of the restaurants and shopping are in Eastsound, which is about 10-15 minutes away so we had to suffer an arduous drive across this AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL island whenever we wanted a bite to eat. It was AWFUL, I tell ya (if you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm, let me clarify, it was a really pleasant drive so we barely noticed the distance).

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As an added bonus you also have a window so you can see into the shower from your bed, which really comes in handy…never. Seriously though, this feature makes no sense. What if you are traveling with a friend…or parent…or sibling. Why would you want this?

 

Seattle May 2012 085The first night we drove to Eastsound to grab dinner. There aren’t a lot of budget options, but we found some pretty good pizza. Plus, there was a gelato place across the street. How convenient!

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The next day we just drove around and explored the island.

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We visited Moran State Park, which is the highest point on the islands. You can see for miles and miles and miles and…you get the idea. All the way to Canada. Have I mentioned that this island is lovely? Well, it is. Just lovely.

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The next day my parents and my brother Christopher met up with us. We went kayaking with Chris while my parents explored. For someone with weak, spindly arms it was a pretty killer workout. Maybe don’t start out with 3 hours if you have the arm strength of a grandma. No, that’s not fair. My grandma has WAY stronger arms than I do.She kneads bread dough and gardens, while I do…nothing. Let’s just say I couldn’t raise my arms above my shoulders for a few days/weeks. Anyway, it was cool even if our guide was evil and made us go faster than my muscles knew how.

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