Friday Harbor, Sunday Birthday

Last weekend marked a major celebration weekend. My 32nd birthday, Lindsay and Daniel’s 4th anniversary, and Lindsay’s last week of school for the foreseeable future. Time for a weekend getaway! Destination: San Juan Island, five hours north of Portland in neighboring Washington.

Jeff and I meant to hit the island back on Memorial Day but those plans fell through. With a paid car ferry ticket already in hand, we decided to give it another go – especially since the islands have quite the reputation going for them, such as making #2 in New York Times’ list of “41 Places to Go in 2011.” (Guess what? Still worth going in 2012.)

Looking out into the Salish Sea *

Looking out into the Salish Sea *

The San Juan Islands are impressive: the archipelago boasts 172 islands, with the Olympic Mountains to the southwest. While the San Juan Islands supposedly host the greatest concentration of bald eagles in the continental U.S., and have nearby pods of killer whales, but all we saw were lots of deer. And alpacas and a lone camel, but I have a funny feeling they’re not native creatures.

We took the Friday evening ferry from Anacortes to the town of Friday Harbor, located on the east side of San Juan Island. After dropping our bags at the Friday Harbor House (three short blocks from the ferry dock), we discovered a gem of a tavern. Herb’s. A band was playing, the beers were flowing, the locals were grinding on the dance floor, and the four of us toasted the weekend.

After a farmers market stop Saturday morning, we set out to drive around the small island. With a chill in the air and an on-and-off mist, we almost felt like we were in Ireland or something. Especially with the rolling hills and wild grasses spanning so much of the land. We stumbled across South Beach, an awesome, pebbly, beachwood-covered stretch of coast. So strikingly unique! We paid a quick trip to Cattle Point, the southern tip of the island that’s home to the Cattle Point Lighthouse, before heading to the super-quaint Roche Harbor. (Which, by the way, looks like an amazing little place for a wedding.) Quick bocce ball game, lunch at Madrona Grill, and we were back to Friday Harbor to take it easy before the evening.

Since Saturday was my birthday eve, we did the fancy dinner thing and went to Backdoor Kitchen, where my personal highlight was the coconut cream pie. We caught a surprisingly awesome band (live music night #2 for us) called The Wingers at the Rumor Mill. More awkward dancing. I don’t know what it is with those San Juan folks (or tourists), but they bust some crazy odd moves.

Sunday was basically a travel day, taking the ferry back to the mainland and trucking back to Portland. Overall, a perfect getaway weekend, and a perfect way to ring in the beginning of my 33rd year on earth. 🙂

Enjoying our Westside Pizza, which we ordered from the ferry boarding line

Enjoying our Westside Pizza, which we cleverly ordered from the ferry boarding line

Boarding the ferry! (Amazingly quick, efficient process)

Boarding the ferry! (Amazingly quick, efficient process)

Leaving Anacortes, Washington for San Juan Island

Leaving Anacortes, Washington for San Juan Island

Ships passing in the night

Ships passing in the night

One of the Olympic Mountains, I believe?

One of the Olympic Mountains, I believe?

Our shipmates on our 1.5-hour journey

Our shipmates on our 1.5-hour journey

Carbing up at the Friday Harbor Farmers Market

Carbing up at the Friday Harbor Farmers Market

The Northrup Street posse at the beachwood-covered South Beach

The Northrup Street posse at the beachwood-covered South Beach

Teacher-turned-yogi Lindsay *

Teacher-turned-yogi Lindsay *

South Beach and Chuck Taylors

South Beach and Chuck Taylors

Jeff surveying the land from Cattle Point

Jeff surveying the land from Cattle Point

Hello, deer!

Hello, deer!

Scenic stop along our travels

Scenic Westside Preserve stop along our travels…

...and this is me 10 seconds before *

…and this is me 10 seconds before *

Jeff thoughtfully looking into the distance *

Jeff thoughtfully looking into the distance *

Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm

Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm

The quaint, beautifully-lanscaped Roche Harbor

The quaint, beautifully-landscaped Roche Harbor

Random camel sighting

Random camel sighting

Walking into Backdoor Kitchen for my b-day dinner

Walking into Backdoor Kitchen for my b-day dinner

Friday Harbor (the view from our hotel)

Friday Harbor (the view from our hotel) – check out the ferry disappearing into the fog!

Chillin' after the last continental breakfast of the trip

Chillin’ after the last continental breakfast of the trip

Friday Harbor!

Friday Harbor! (Another hotel view)

* Pictures courtesy of the photo-master Daniel Stark. On his iPhone.

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