Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Weekend Wanderings: San Juan Island

Brighten up your spring with this beautiful island’s laid-back draws and dynamo deals.

We already know that the San Juan Islands dazzle in summer months, showing off in shimmering, sun-kissed, soul-soothing ways we cannot sufficiently put into words. But did you know that these islands hold a special charm in winter and spring months, too? Here are just a few reasons we suggest you beat the crowds and switch over to “island time” sooner rather than later. 

San Juan beauty dazzles, by Corinne Whiting

San Juan beauty dazzles, by Corinne Whiting

San Juan is a breeze to get to, thanks to ferries that regularly push off from Antacortes and seaplanes that make the journey even speedier. Beginning May 19th, Clipper Vacations offers another appealing option that combines easy transport from downtown Seattle (to Friday Harbor), with an awesome wildlife adventure thrown in the mix.

Small-town charm in Friday Harbor, by Corinne Whiting

Small-town charm in Friday Harbor, by Corinne Whiting

Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes is a lovely, 82-acre oasis that appeals to every type of traveler, thanks to its variety of accommodations that range from cozy lodge rooms and private log cabins to BYO-tent camping spots and canvas “cabins” that give glamping a whole new allure. Lakedale’s glampground opens from April through September/October (weather dependent) and features 23 sites; think luxurious “tents” furnished with a queen-size bed with pillow-top bedding and flannel duvet, a table and four chairs, a full-size futon that sleeps two, plus perks like the nightly delivery of two fleece-covered hot water bottles. Breakfast in the Mess Tent includes granola, pancakes, fresh fruit, bagels, hearty oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, juice, plus coffee, hot chocolate and tea.

Courtesy Lakedale Resort

Courtesy Lakedale Resort

Looking to get really pampered out among the towering trees? Book a brand-new, 350-square-foot Canvas Cottage, which means lakefront sites that feature king-size beds with flannel duvet covers, your own bathroom complete with shower, a daybed sleeper (extending to king-size) for your kids or friends, a table with four chairs and a glitzy chandelier (yes, we said chandelier!).

Courtesy Lakedale Resort

Courtesy Lakedale Resort

The Lodge breakfast spread, by Corinne Whiting

The Lodge breakfast spread, by Corinne Whiting

This season, check out packages like “Hey Girlfriends! Because…” (through April 30), tailor-made for a gals’ getaway. Enjoy 10% off your stay when you book a room at The Lodge, a cozy Log Cabin or the entire Lake House, as well as perks from festive libations and a cheese platter to spa products sourced from local Pelindaba Lavender Farm.

Courtesy Lakedale Resort

Courtesy Lakedale Resort

From April 1 through May 31 (excluding Memorial Day Weekend), “Spring Break, not Spring Broke!” rewards families who stay in the Lake House or a Log Cabin with bonuses like a fishing package, bundle of firewood, s’mores kit and a one-hour voucher for the newly installed Aqua Cycles. From May 1 through June 15, “Glampsters Awake!” means 20% off your entire stay when you book one of the coveted Canvas Cottages or Cabins.

Captain Hobbes navigates, by Corinne Whiting

Captain Hobbes navigates, by Corinne Whiting

Activities abound on San Juan Island, whether you’re into outdoor adventures or the arts. Through June 6, check out a twice weekly dinner-and-movie series organized by The Friday Harbor Film Festival and Mike’s Café and Wine Bar. In Friday Harbor, enjoy tasty pub fare and fresh, seasonal seafood dishes (as well as a refreshingly welcoming vibe) at Cask & Schooner. Or, relish a delicious and locally-sourced meal—with elevated water views—at Friday Harbor House.

Hike Mt. Dallas (the highest point on the island), sip local cider, brandy and gin at Roche Harbor’s San Juan Distillery, get a history lesson at intriguing spots like American Camp and English Camp, or try to glimpse whales and other sea life at Lime Kiln State Park. To get out on the water and even closer to aquatic residents, enjoy intimate excursions with highly knowledgable Captain Hobbes on San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours. Once aboard his 30-foot, six-person vessel, you’ll have a great chance of spotting harbor seals, bald eagles, Dall’s porpoises, an array of sea birds and—if you’re really lucky—minke, humpback or gray whales.

o Orca spyhop, Captain Hobbes Buchanan

And of course, if you’re wanting to island hop, check out other nearby gems like Lopez and magical Orcas, where Doe Bay Resort & Retreat gets rave reviews for its soothing soaking tubs and delicious onsite restaurant.

Beat the crowds, and book soon. We promise you’ll come back feeling renewed, refreshed and in a chilled-out “summer” state of mind.

About Corinne Whiting

Corinne, an east coast native who relocated here from the other Washington in 2011, was bit by the travel bug early on. She lived in Strasbourg, France (during her junior year at Georgetown University) and in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she got a masters degree in Cultural Studies. She feels very grateful to have explored incredible spots on our globe ranging from Bolivia and Egypt to Turkey and China, but there are passport pages yet to fill (and travel tales yet to be written!). After serving as associate editor at Where magazine in D.C. for five years, Corinne has embarked on a new adventure here in the PNW as a freelance writer and photographer, contributing to publications like National Geographic Traveler, the Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine, Amtrak's OnTrak, 1889 Washington, 1859 Oregon, Visit Seattle and so on. She loves exploring this incredible corner of the country while debunking the rain myths, upping her coffee quotient, hearing heaps of live music and finding her Zen near the water as often as possible.
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