Content by Toni Shiurba Published on October 6th, 2017
Need a break from the fast pace of city life? Want to try some small town charm? Well, put on your best waterproof boots and most stylish parkas for a trip to the Jewel of Washington State-the San Juan Islands! We’ll show you why this island is a hidden gem for a winter getaway.
Day 1: Friday Afternoon Arrival
Upon arriving, swing on over to Fairweather Park where you are met with our spectacular totem created by renowned master carver Susan Point. Take a moment to learn what the Indian maiden holding the paws of a mountain lion represents. You’ll be amazed at the artistry.
From there, amble down the wooden boardwalk of the marina. Pleasure crafts, classic sailing boats, exotic yachts and commercial fishing gillnet and seine boats bob on the waves, tethered in their slips. Walk the docks. Sign on for a winter fishing experience. Or try a wildlife and whale-watching excursion. Popeye, a local Harbor Seal legend with only one eye, might favor you with his antics for food.
Treat Yourself at Coho
After your boat excursion, treat yourselves to an intimate, gourmet meal at the Coho Restaurant. Choose from fresh caught salmon, island grass-fed beef, local oysters and island grown produce. The food is guaranteed to nourish your body and please your palate.
Goodnight, Sleep Tight
Day 2: Saturday’s Alright
Renew your enthusiasm on the best day of the week… Saturday!
You Whale Become an Expert
After your Friday boat trip, you can shore up your knowledge of our marine life at the world famous Whale Museum. Let the real-life skeleton of “Sooke” amaze you, a young Orca who died from unknown causes in 2012. Listen to the clicks and whistles of the Orcas haunting calls. These vocalizations are used to communicate with other members of their pod and to echolocate prey and objects involved in navigating the seawaters.
The Whale Museum is a short walk from the ferry landing at 62 First Street North. Admission for students (including college students with ID) ages 5-18 is $3. Seniors are $5. Adults cost $6.
Lunch with the Local Bunch
Toy Store Story
If you were able to leave the kids home with Grandma, perhaps bring them back a stuffed orca from The Toy Box on First St near Herb’s Tavern. Every aisle is packed with kid-friendly toys, games, puzzles and books. The scene here is truly enjoyable for all ages!
After you’re set with a souvenir for the little ones, treat yourselves to a little browsing in our book store, art galleries, clothing and housewares shops. Unique items that you will want to make a part of your home.
Treasures of Artistic Expression
Venture up one more block to the San Juan Island Museum of Art. Notable for its glass and metal beams, the design of this building is definitely “modern”. This beautiful museum exhibits many artists, including those regional- and keeps it updated!
Visit at 540 Spring Street, Friday Harbor. Hours are Friday through Monday from 11am to 5pm. The cost is $10. Members and those 18 and under are free.
Day 3: Sunday Road Trip
Bring a car? Meander from our small town down Roche Harbor Rd to the opposite end of the island. Trust us, you’ll like what you see.
Discover San Juan Island Sculpture Park. Art for the outdoor enthusiast. Twenty, unmanned acres of inventive construction type stuff that needs space to exhibit. Trails and a natural pond are part of the backdrop of mesmerizing, often mobile, pieces of art. Each of the 150 sculptures is for sale.
The address is 9083 Roche Harbor Road. Open from dawn to dusk this Park asks for a small $5 donation.
No, Not Llamas. Alpacas.
Before heading back to Friday Harbor to catch the 1:55pm ferry, how about some tactile fun? Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm and Country Store can help. With 70 alpacas grazing the fenced pastures, you’ll feel like you’re in a storybook. Cream-colored, espresso brown, camel colored and black cuddly-faced animals provide the soft yarn that is for sale at the store.
Not a knitter? That’s ok. Browse the fine sweaters, scarves, hats, socks and plush toys. Weather a little chilly? Purchase a throw to curl up in. This store can provide unique, Christmas gifts not readily found in the big city. No parking issues or long lines involved.
The Farm and Country Store is open from 11am to 4pm daily through March. The address is 3501 West Valley Road.
Let the San Juan Island Inn Collection host your new winter adventure. With a room at one of our inns and dinner at our restaurant, it will be a real breath of fresh air.