Pristine San Juan Island, a mere 65 miles north of Seattle, is a haven for wildlife at sea and on land alike. The iconic Orca and impressive Humpback whales along with the mighty Steller sea lions make the waters around San Juan Island their home. The island lies within the Pacific Coast Flyaway, which extends from Alaska to South America, making it a popular stop for migratory birds, like the majestic Trumpeter Swans or a waterdance of Loons. Spring is a marvelous time to see bald Eagles teaching their young how to fly, baby foxes frolicking on the prairie and baby seals waiting absolutely still on a rock waiting for their Mom to come back from dinner hunting.
My husband and I got married on San Juan Island and decided to return for our “Wood” (fifth) anniversary to the place where it all happened. That was precisely why we chose San Juan Island as our wedding destination in the first place: a breathtakingly beautiful place, yet not so far away that it would remain a once-in-a-lifetime destination.
With our lush valleys and temperate climate, it’s no wonder that agriculture is San Juan Island’s second largest industry. We are so grateful for that. Most restaurants serve some of our healthy, clean island-grown food. The Saturday’s Farmer’s Market in downtown Friday Harbor is a festive, fun affair. You will also pass by countless farm and flower stands on your way to the beaches and sites. The best part: some farms on San Juan Island will pleasantly surprise you with their unique offerings, special tours and ways to spend time there. Here is how you do it:
May is History Month on San Juan Island and is celebrated with walking tours, history talks and great events at the many historic sites. And what a rich, juicy, phenomenal history the isle has from its Native heritage to its first European settlers and from being a smuggler’s and hoodlum’s paradise to the Pig War and finally becoming American territory. The best part: San Juan Island’s history is experienced on the prairie and beaches of our National Historical Parks and by eating, sleeping and shopping in historic buildings. Here are 10 spots with fascinating histories not to be missed on your next trip to San Juan Island:
Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary – Spring on San Juan Island - Guest Blog by Lisette Wolter-McKinley
Lisette and her adorable family (soon to be plus one) visit San Juan Island every year. They created this lovely tradition for their cute son Jasper. On their last visit, Jasper went on his first whale watch tour, got to eat home-made pasta at a Farm-to-Table restaurant and skipped stones at South Beach.
It could be said that our Earth laughs in wildflowers. Nowhere is this more true than in April and May on San Juan Island. Meadows, mountains, forest floors and prairies are abloom with Fairy Slippers, Fawn Lilies, Blue Camas, Indian Paintbrush, Buttercups and more, much more. You can’t pick or replant them, they won’t keep. You just have to be there, in the moment, and enjoy their sweet smells and the way they sway with the wind. There are daffodil fields that some lovely soul planted on the prairie of American Camp and the meadows of English Camp. And wherever you go, you’ll find fresh flower stands on the roadsides, ready to adorn your hotel room or your home. Come on up and savor this precious time of the year with one of our favorite wildflower hikes on San Juan Island.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We’ve all heard the statistics. Not the ones about elephant consumption, but the ones stating that only about 8% of New Year’s resolutions are accomplished. The reason they fail so predictably is simple: resolutions are vague and broad, open-ended and overly ambitious. Goals on the other hand, tend to be specific and measurable. We here at the Bird Rock Hotel deeply believe in specific goals, personal growth, the power of being kind and present and that the best is yet to come. Check out our goals for the next year and see which ones are for you. Many are easily achieved on a San Juan Island getaway, just saying….
It’s that time of the year, when the veil between the living and the spirits is said to be the thinnest, when we light fires and lanterns, wear masks and costumes to ward of the ghosts, when we remember our dead and our saints and plead with them to let us make it safely through another Winter.