Sunday, November 25, 2012

WAWeekend: Autumn in the Islands

The ‘sea breeze’ was more an icy wind that made us stuff our hands into coat pockets for warmth. Evening came silently, as we stood at the end of the deserted marina dock, a usual summertime hub of activity. 

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On this night we were alone watching a sunset that was not the red blaze for which San Juan Island is known, but a calming  autumnal palate of pastels.. 

VeniceSanJuanIsl 288It had been several years since our travel compass had pointed us in the direction of the San Juan Islands, to the north of Seattle. Like so many travelers, we are guilty of taking the close-to-home wonders for granted.

In 2011 the San Juans were ranked the #2 place to visit in the world by the The New York Times and the #3 best place for a summer visit by National Geographic.

There are many from which to choose, San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw, perhaps better known than Blakely, Decatur, Stuart, Waldron and a myriad of other small islands that make up the group.

They are close enough to Seattle (about a 90 minute drive to Anacortes, the city from where the ferries depart) that it is possible to do it in a day or overnight trip, but by giving ourselves two nights on San Juan Island we had time to explore its west coast and southern tip, both places we’d never visited.

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We drove the two-lane paved road that loops through forested areas and emerges to stunning views out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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We had the road to ourselves on this crisp Friday morning in early November. In the summer months we’d have been watching for bikers on this popular route, but on this day we were able to concentrate on Mother Nature’s handiwork.

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If You Go:

Map picture

Getting Around: Took our car on the ferry so didn’t need to rent one although they are available on the island.  Our cost (car, driver and passenger was $55 round-trip).

Eating: Restaurants abound in Friday Harbor. We ate some fine pub grub at Herb’s Bar,  which claims to be the oldest operating bar in town.

Accommodations:  Click this link San Juan Chamber of Commerce for information.
Not to be missed: Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm (and products store), Pelendaba Lavender farm, and San Juan Vineyards

Thanks for visiting today. Hope to see you on Travel Tuesday. If you’ve not yet subscribed to receive these posts in your inbox, you can do so using the box in the upper right corner; or click the link a bit lower to become a follower and receive this in your reading list. Happy Travels!


  1. Spent a weekend on the San Juan's a few years ago and loved every minute of it. I'm sure the islands must feel dead from November well into March.

  2. Very interesting hear about these islands because we drove through Anacortes last year on our way from Seattle to Vancouver. Hopefully, there'll be a next time...

  3. The San Juan's are on our list, especially after reading about your experience. I'm saving this post for when we do.


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