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