A Day on San Juan Island
My husband's grandparents have traveled all over the world, and last summer I asked his grandma where her favorite place to travel to was.
“Oh,” she replied, “Probably New Zealand. Or the San Juan Islands.”
Good news! We were headed to the San Juan Islands the next week. They're a chain of islands off the northwest coast of Washingon State. Although my husband and I haven't spent a lot of time in Washington State, we have spent a lot of time on the Oregon Coast, and it is our favorite place. So our hopes were high for the San Juan Islands. And the San Juan Islands did not disappoint.
To begin with, the harbor looks like a daydream. I wrote about our ferry ride to the islands here, and the view of the harbor as the ferry pulled into dock is one of the most picturesque views I've ever seen. The very first thing when we got off the ferry was get ice cream! Friday Harbor Ice Cream Co which is right off the ferry dock was highly recommended by friends and I 100% agree with them. That ice cream shop is a must! Especially the lemon meringue pie ice cream. We were on a big ice cream kick this trip and I wrote a post all about the ice cream we ate so if you want more mouthwatering details click here.
And don't forget the street performers. I have no idea if this is a regular occurance, but when we got off the ferry there was a man playing a chicken banjo. What I mean by that is he was playing a banjo with his hands and pumping a chicken puppet with his foot. We had to hold our kids back they loved it so much. He also had a dog, so between that and the chicken my kids thought he was the best.
We stayed at Friday Harbor Inn and Suites that night, which was great for us because the kids had their own room. Grandma Mary mentioned that Lime Kilm State Park is a good place to spot orcas so we headed over there in the morning. The lighthouse acts as a sort of visitor center/vault of scientific studies about orcas. They keep track of where and when orcas are spotted and even can tell "local" orcas from ones passing through for migration. The guide inside knew tons of fascinating information and stories. Unfortunately we didn't see any orcas while we were there, but it was still a really great place to spend the morning. And my kid yelled "orca!" at all the pictures of orcas anyway, and especially at the statue, so it was probably just as exciting for him.
In true PNW style Lime Kilm State Park had blackberry bushes overlooking the water. We picked all the blackberries we could reach and ate them on the spot. My son picked blackberries of all colors- red, green, and black. I asked him how the green and red ones tasted and he said, "Yummy." and kept on eating them, so content. One of those mom moments where you're like, HOW? But no harm done, so you just let them do their own thing.
I think the rugged coastline of the island is so breathtaking.
We also stopped at Pelindaba Lavender Farm. I've been seeing pictures of lavender farms pop up all over Pinterest for years and so I was really excited to visit one. The farm is nestled in the hills and driving out there reminded me how much I miss living in the country. I grew up in the fields and forests and farms of central Michigan and then moved in HIgh School to the fields and forests and farms of central Tennessee. I miss the green fields edged in trees, and how when you drive down the road you see nature, not houses or stores or other cars. Fields, trees, ponds, sky. Lavender farms. We wandered the rows, looked at the different types of lavender, pointed out dandelions and bumble bees. Felt fresh air on our face. Explored, discovered.
We grabbed fish and chips for lunch from The Bait Shop (delicious!) and then headed back to the Ferry to go over to Orcas Island. We also managed to buy our son an orca shirt. He put it on immediately, refused to take it off for three days, and threw a big tantrum when we finally got it off him. If that's not a successful vacation souvenir, I don't know what is.
I've been (slowly) documenting our trip, it you'd like to read about the other legs of our trip, check out any of these posts. And if you liked this, please share it!