Fall is our favorite time of year. The island takes on a slower rhythm and this year’s Indian summer couldn’t have been better. We never tired of each day’s spectacular sunrise followed by a sunset that was even more colorful and vivid than the next. There was a bright blue sky without a cloud to be seen. There was a winter chill in the air.
The 7th annual Savor the San Juans featured gallery walks and visual art festivals; farm parades and tours; farmer’s markets, 3 for $30 and special event dinners; and theatre, concerts and other performances throughout the islands. The first annual Bite of the San Juan Islands, the last Sunday of October, paired local chefs and restaurants with food producers under the same roof at Brickworks. For $2, 4 or $8, you could savor local bites and libation from more than 30 restaurants, distilleries, breweries, wineries and other producers. If you needed to work off your overindulgences of savoring or sipping, there were plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy – hiking, biking, and whale watching and kayaking.
Day tripping to other islands is another favorite fall pastime. You can catch an afternoon interisland ferry, have time for a hike and dinner on Orcas or Lopez before heading back to Friday Harbor for the night. We were lucky enough to spend an afternoon on Orcas hiking Turtleback Mountain in early November. The San Juan Preservation Trust has been expanding the trail system and each visit we explore new side trails. There are many new benches for a picnic lunch or to sit and take in the majestic views. The Gary Oaks restoration project is in full swing on the site as well. Thank goodness we worked up an appetite for a fabulous dinner at Inn at Ship Bay. We enjoyed a leisurely farm to fork dinner. Everything was perfectly exquisite especially the charcuterie platter featuring house made Speck prepared from Mangalista pigs they raise on-site. With a belly full of food and our soul satiated, we headed back to Friday Harbor.
The 2nd annual Friday Harbor Film Festival was another success. Filmmakers traveled from all over the world to share their films and be available for Q & A. The downtown was quite a buzz November 9-11 with filmmakers, producers, volunteers and audience members vying to screen more than 40 documentaries available each day from 10 am – 10 p.m. Due to overwhelming audience demand, the festival serendipitously extended the festival a fourth day to repeat a few more screenings of popular films. The Audience Choice Award went to Return of the River, about the Elwa dam removal and subsequent restoration efforts to the environment and salmon runs. They are already planning for 2015 and will accept submissions after Jan. 1, 2015. Throughout the winter, they will host screenings from this year’s festival twice per month on Tuesday evenings at the Grange.
We hope you agree that fall is a great time to visit!