Visiting the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest

We’ve enjoyed the last five or six days, traveling around the San Juan Islands, in the Pacific Northwest, with good friends.

While living on the west coast for the last 45 years, I’ve always heard people talk about the natural beauty of the nearly two hundred San Juan Islands, originally inhabited by the American Indians.

Our first stop was La Conner, Washington, after landing in Seattle. La Conner, is a charming small town, about 45 minutes from Anacortes, Washington, where you board the ferry, for the islands. This is where we spent our first evening, enjoying great restaurants, shopping and lodging! We stayed at the Wild Iris Inn, which I highly recommend!

Other than the fact that I was dying to paint the walls a different color, the room was wonderful! It had a fireplace, dreamy bed, back porch with a jacuzzi tub, gourmet cookies in the room and a decadent breakfast the next morning. This was not a low-cal adventure!

The next morning, we headed to the ferry, in Anacortes, on our way to Lopez Island. This is a very sleepy island. I’m sure that it’s a great destination for hikers and kayak lovers, but I’m not one. Plus, the weather was wet and the house we rented was truly dreadful, in need of a design intervention, or possibly a wrecking ball! Thankfully, the sheets were clean and the beds were comfy, so we rested up!

On our second day on the islands, we ferried over to San Juan Island, the big island, for one of our best weather days. The town is lovely, with a great book store, marina, farmers market and restaurants.

Our last adventure was to Orcas Island. I would say that Orcas Island was my favorite of all. We stayed at the Orcas Island Hotel, a friendly 100+ year old hotel, right near the ferry terminal. But, if I ever return, I’d stay at the Outlook Inn, in East Sound. We ate at the delightful New Leaf Cafe, part of the Inn, where I enjoyed an incredibly delicious fresh grilled halibut dinner.

There’s also wonderful shopping in town! Lovely people everywhere! Thankfully, independent book stores have not become extinct, as they have in other parts of the country. They serve as a community meeting place, a resting place, to enjoy a cup of coffee and get a sampling of the locals living there.

We met Hedrick and Susan Smith at the coffee shop, along with their dog, Ziggy. In talking with this charming couple, we found out that he had recently published the book Who Stole the American Dream and was a speaker and formerly a bureau chief at the New York Times. he didn’t mention that he was a Pulitzer Prize winner. At 80 years old, he had the vitality of a man a decade younger, at least. They live on Orcas, during the three summer months and in Washington D. C., the rest of the year.

Thanks to Hedrick, we were directed to Moran State Park, which takes you to the top of the island.



We climbed a hundred year old stone tower, to take us even higher!

The railings were smooth, from decades of wear. We were in awe of the whole experience. Truly magical!

Now, several generous meals later, wearing my spandex leggings, we will head back on the ferry, to the mainland soon!

Looking forward to being home and at the Shop! Lots to catch up on. Thanks to dear Patti, for holding down the fort, while I was gone!


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  1. One of my favorite places on the planet! Glad you got away and took a deep breath.d

  2. Oh, that sounds so peaceful and relaxing! Shopping, bookstores, trying out new restaurants, beautiful scenery….my kind of vacation! I’m so glad you took the time off! 😉

  3. Wow what an adventure!! I really enjoyed the trip through your lens!
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  4. I anticipate learning more about your adventure tomorrow night at the painting class. I so look forward to seeing you for more inspiration & whimsy!

  5. Phenomenal photos Barbara…never been to the Pacific Northwest….definitely on my bucket list…looks like you all had a wonderful time in that little piece of heaven!!

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