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How to Plan a San Juan Island Getaway - The Husband Edition

Guest Blog from Brian, repeat Bird Rock guest

It had been a harrowing week and it was only Monday. I know, right? We have teenagers. Enough said. After both boys announced sleepover plans for the weekend, my wife talked me into going to San Juan Island for a getaway. We spent our honeymoon there, some 17 years ago, and love the place. I’m not the spontaneous type at all and usually leave all trip planning to the Missus.

So she called to make ferry reservations only to learn that the Washington State ferries were full for vehicles that Friday. She cheeringly said: “No big deal”, but I know my wife and it was. The mother of my children, the love of my life needed an island getaway this weekend and gosh darn, I would make that happen!

Not sure where to start, I called the Bird Rock Hotel, where we had stayed on our honeymoon. In the San Juan Suite on the top floor, overlooking the harbor, with a balcony and a bathroom bigger than our kitchen at home.

Kris, the front desk manager, upon hearing my sob story, explained to me that I have options!

  1. The Washington State Ferries release the last third of their spots 48 hours before. So if you call to make a car reservation and all the spots are taken, just wait until 48 hours before your travel date, then try again.
  2. Leave the car in Anacortes, walk on the ferry: you never need a reservation, you will not be turned away.
  3. Fly up with Kenmore Air from Lake Union and rent a car from M&W in Friday Harbor

When Kris said that the San Juan Suite is available and on a 20% off special if we stayed two nights. I knew what to do: not tell my wife anything, reserve the room and make ferry reservations first thing on Wednesday morning.

Kris got me all kind of ideas. Their sister hotel, the Earthbox Inn & Spa has a full service day spa; whale watching and kayaking had started up in March; the hotel could arrange for flowers, champagne or chocolates in the room. I decided on a bottle of bubbly with a note saying:

“Thank you for being my wife”.

Kris made us dinner reservations at the Vinnie's Ristorante, a lovely Italian place across the street from the hotel. My wife loves their Scampi. I booked her a nice long Soothing Sea massage at The Spa at Earthbox for Sunday morning. I felt giddy with my secret.

Friday rolled around. The boys went to their friends. I packed for both of us, something I have to say I may need some more training in. Then again, when I later sheepishly said “we can buy anything I may have forgotten on the island.” I received one of those smiles that melts my heart!

I got my nature loving wife into the car under the pretense that we were going to the Kenmore Park & Ride to see about 50 Herons nest at sunset.

When we passed Everett, she guessed what was coming. 

The weekend was a huge success. I highly recommend it.


Guest Blog from Brian, repeat Bird Rock guest

"What a delightful place to stay!...

The staff is wonderful and the little extras

make it a comfortable place to stay."