Washington: Friday Harbor and San Juan Island

In the last post I talked about how chill and quiet life on Orcas Island is. If you want something a little more hip and happening, try San Juan Island. I’m not suggesting it is a booming metropolis or anything, just that there is a little more going on.  Friday Harbor has a few more shops and  restaurants to choose from.  It is right where the ferry comes in so you could just walk onto the ferry and visit for half a day without having to pay to get your vehicle there (which can be expensive, especially during the summer season). It’s also the best island for whale watching…supposedly….We almost felt a little older than our years–antiquing, visiting a used bookshop and a lavender farm–but we enjoyed ourselves.


We were lucky enough to go on a sunny day. I couldn’t get enough of the harbor. It was so beautiful.



Friday Harbor

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Friday Harbor 3

How cute is this used book store? Pretty adorable, I would say.


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We had lunch at the Hungry Clam. World famous fish and chips? I don’t know about that, but it was a good lunch and, when you have English blood in your veins, it’s kind of a requirement to have fish and chips when you are at the ocean.

Hungry Clam

Hungry Clam 2

Next we headed to Lime Kiln Point State Park. I don’t know what a lime kiln is, but this is supposed to be the best spot on the island for Orca sightings. We looked and looked and looked, but didn’t see anything. Sometimes we THOUGHT we saw something off in the distance and convinced ourselves it was a whale, but most likely it was just a wave crashing. We did see this little fella, though. Don’t worry I wasn’t creeping up on him (at least not TOO close). I used my telephoto for this picture.


Lime Kiln Point

There is a nice hike to the lighthouse if you want to get a closer look or just stretch your legs a tiny bit.

Lime Kiln Hike

San Juan Kayakers

Next we headed to American Camp at the southern end of the island (there is also a British Camp) and hiked down to Grandma’s Cove, a nice secluded beach. You can find the trail head on the south side of the visitor’s parking lot at San Juan Island National Historic Park.

Grandma's Cove

Grandma's Cove 2

There is also a lavender farm on the island with a store where you can buy all things lavender. My favorite were the food items (of course) like lavender hot chocolate and fudge sauce. Rumor has it that if you go on a busy Saturday they sell lavender lemonade.

Lavender Farm

Lavender Farm 2

And don’t forget, no trip to the island is complete without getting ice cream while you are waiting in line for the ferry. There is a place right across the street (to the left).



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.


untitled-1934A haunted house?





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.