seattle sights: day trip to san juan island

One of the advantages of knowing someone who lives in a particular city is having this person act as an unofficial tour guide.  You say to this person, “we’d like to go on a day trip somewhere in the Seattle area to see some sights, but we’re not sure where.  Do you have any ideas?”  And off they go, coming up with a few very good options, some of which are places that they, too, would like to visit.   In the end, it’s a win-win situation.

We wanted to get out and explore more than just the city of Seattle, but keep it relatively low key (ie. no vigorous hiking trips or excursions of that type).  Jason suggested San Juan Island, and being pretty go-with-the-flow when we’re on vacation, we gave the idea a thumbs up and left Jason to take care of the finer logistical details.

We set off in the morning from a rainy Seattle.  From a weather perspective, it wasn’t looking very promising, but then again we were starting our travels to Anacortes, about an hour and a half drive north of Seattle… we were bound to have better luck as we got closer to the island, right?  I was optimistic that day.

Well, indeed it was looking promising.  By the time we arrived in Anacortes to the ferry terminal, it was sunny but still with a very cool breeze – perfect weather for island wandering, in my opinion.  We were destined for Friday Harbor of San Juan Island, where we’d spend our day exploring various points of interest.

The ferry ride itself was fairly short.  The area around the harbor was bustling with visitors.  We quickly disembarked and started off our adventure by heading to one of the scenic viewpoints to get a taste of the ocean.

It’s refreshing to see be out near open water.  Living in landlocked Calgary has me craving this kind of openness once in a while.  It really was a breath of fresh, crisp cool air.

Rocky seems to be enjoying it, too.

Dinosaur egg rocks!

After taking in the sights, we headed for the Pelindaba Lavender Farm.

Multiple rows of beautiful lavender of varying types.

We headed into the visitor’s center to have a look around.  There were rumours of lavender ice cream being sold at this place… I was intrigued.  You know how I feel about ice cream.

They offered a ton of lavender goodies, including an array of sauces and chutneys.  What’s great about Pelindaba is that their products are local, organic, and handcrafted.

And the rumours were true – chocolate lavender ice cream!  We split a pint amongst the 4 of us and polished it off sitting in the beautifully appointed patio area at the back of the visitor center, soaking in some sun and the lingering aroma of lavender.  As for the ice cream itself?  A rich, creamy chocolate base with a very distinct lavender flavour that wasn’t too overpowering.

Feeling renewed from the lavender farm visit, we headed for another scenic viewpoint, this time to see if we could spot some Orcas.

Can you spot the Orca?  It was tough to catch them breaching the water.  First, being so far away, and second, they were too quick at times.

Our last stop was at the Llama Farm for a quick visit.

This llama seemed completely oblivious to visitors.  He was just happy to sit and eat.

Lastly, we wanted to fill our bellies with some food before heading back on the ferry to the mainland, so we ended up at Cask & Schooner for a quick bite.

Can’t go wrong with Fish & Chips.  It was perfectly fried, crispy cod with what seemed like a mountain of delicious fries.  I easily polished it off and enjoyed every bite of it.

With our bellies full and content, we waited in the queue to get back onto the ferry for the journey home.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, perfect for putting around the island for a relaxed, low-key day trip.

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