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Experiencing Fall on San Juan Island – For the First Time!

Fall arrives in Friday HarborGreetings from the newest blogger for the inn! My name is Libby, and I’ve just joined the team. I’m thrilled to be here, and also thrilled to be experiencing the “off season” here on San Juan Island for the first time. I’ve been coming here during the sunny, exciting summer season for the last three years, and have recently made the island my permanent home. I was born and raised in the south, so there are so many things about the island that are vastly different from what I’m used to! Some of you may be wondering what the island is like this time of year, too, so I will do my best to keep you posted during the next several months on what I’m experiencing. Some of the most interesting aspects of fall here thus far:

FOLIAGE! I come from a place where we go from green to dead and back again with no in-between, so the seasons changing is a foreign concept. Walking through town on a crisp fall day like today and seeing the piles of leaves strewn haphazardly down the sidewalks is a glorious sight to behold. It’s as if someone purposely decorated the streets that way, with splashes of deep yellow, earthy brown and vibrant red. It turns nearly every corner in town into a postcard-worthy scene.

The ever-present chill in the air is also something that will take some getting used to for this Florida girl. One of the best things about the San Juans is our geographical location – it puts us smack in the middle of what we call the rainshadow. Two different mountain ranges – the Cascades on one side, and the Olympics on another – form a protective barrier around the islands, keeping us safe from the worst of the weather that typically ravages the rest of the Northwest. It’s bound to get cooler and wetter as we descend further into the off-season, but it won’t be too bad! I am grateful for the cozy feeling of curling up in front of a fire with a warm mug of tea in my hand – the weather here right now makes me want to do that all the time!

Finally, it’s very interesting to watch as the streets slowly empty of visitors. A couple of weekends ago, we had an influx of people in town, but all of them seemed to have left for the season. A quiet, slow-paced feeling has settled over our fair town – a sense that the time has come to wind down and settle in for the winter. It is vastly different from the manic, go-go-go urgency that characterizes Friday Harbor from May-September! It has its own charm, though, this sleepy little hamlet that it has become.

If you think you might fancy a journey to the island to see what the fall is all about, give us a call – there’s always room at the inn! I thank you for reading, and I look forward to keeping you updated on the experience of fall and winter on San Juan Island.


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