San Juan Islands

No… they are not next to Puerto Rico but in the sound and strait just west of mainland the state of Washington 90 miles north of Seattle. You can see the Spaniards were settling all along the west coast of North American long before the northern Europeans arrived. That is why so many cities begin with San, for example, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco. The San Juan Islands are a spectacular archipelago and home to pods of wild orcas, seals, and eagles, osprey, herons, snow geese and many other birds. We saw all of these but missed the orcas, as both of our ferry boat rides were after dark. (Dillon and I went whale watching several years ago and saw lots of orca.)

There are many uninhabited islands and three large islands; Orcas, San Juan and Lopez; each with their local charm. These three islands are inhabited by farmers, retirees, artists, and seasonal visitors. Orcas Island has an upscale resort Rosario and Morgan State Park. In the center of the park is a tower where one can see 360 degrees of snow-caped mountains and sailboats; a very spectacular view. San Juan Island has Friday Harbor often visited by day trippers.

I have visited Lopez several times. Last week in the midst of winter, it was still charming as long as you like 40 degrees with precipitation. Yes, it rained a lot but never so much as to stop our activities. My son, Barney, and grandson, Dillon, went clamming at low tide after 9pm in the pouring rain. Yes, they got wet but we got lots of clams and mussels. I did not go out in the canoe this time. Just being on the small beaches with Sammy Jo watching all the birds come and go was very relaxing. We even saw a seal come into one of the coves. The next day all three boys brought home five Dungeness crabs that were delicious!

Barney, Dillon and Sammy Jo

A great part of a trip like this is, no cell phones, no television, no street lights … just us.

About alwaysharriet

With thirty years experience in corporate and leisure travel consulting, Harriet Ahouse has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and worldwide. An avid scuba diver, she understands the requirements of travelers both on land and in the water. On the European scene she has offered traditional and personalized travel itineraries throughout the continent--Italy, France, and England are some of her favorites. As a Virtuoso Agent, she also has extensive resources to enhance her expertise in designing individual destination travel itineraries--and honeymoons--worldwide!
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