It was pretty tough to top our amazing time on San Juan Island. Orcas. Alpacas. Crab Mac & Cheese….
But as we rolled our suitcases up the deck at Friday Harbor Marina, a little wet from the unexpected rain shower we experienced overnight, we were determined to make our experience on Orcas Island every bit as memorable.
Now that we had checked ‘See Orca Whales’ off of our list, there wasn’t as much pressure to stand outside in the drizzly grey weather. But I still found a few reasons to stay outside on the deck. With the marina layer laying low, the trip from Friday Harbor to Orcas Island took on a mystical feel.
And although we didn’t see any whales during our trip, perhaps we saw an even more unusual sight. A bald eagle swimming.
With giant breaststrokes, we watched it swim towards the shore. I’m not sure why it was in the water, but it didn’t seem to be struggling. Perhaps it had caught something in its talons that it wasn’t willing to give up, something worth a few wet feathers.
Before we knew it, the 50 minute ride from San Juan Island to Orcas Island was complete and we were approaching Orcas Village, with its crown jewel – The Orcas Hotel.
The Orcas Hotel first opened its doors to guests in 1904 and has kept its Victorian heritage charm. And this would be our destination for the night…
But first, we had a few adventures to take on:
East Sound was our first stop. Jerry was determined to enjoy a few tasty treats at Brown Bear Baking. And who am I to prevent him from his wish!
We strolled the streets, shopped the shops and got down to the nitty gritty on the beach.
And then off to Deer Harbor to enjoy an afternoon sail with Captain Ward and his sailboat Aura.
We may not have been the best sailing companions, since Nathan and I were juggling 2 phones and work calls, but he treated us well and took us out for a beautiful sail where we saw harbor seals and enjoyed our time out on the water.
From on the water to 2,409 feet above sea level, within an hour of stepping off the boat, we were gazing at the panoramic views at Mt. Constitution, the highest point on the San Juan Islands.
It was beautiful and we just had to take advantage of the views for a family photo. We did pack the tripod, so I guess we should at least take it out of its bag once…
But then we got a little crazy. The timer was set, there was running involved. We didn’t always make it, but the end result was everyone was smiling, because we were laughing so hard and also amazed that I made it down the rocks each time without falling on my face!
Finally, we made it to the stone observation tower, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. The tower offered panoramic views of the surrounding islands, the Cascade Mountains and even over to Canada!
As we made our way back down to sea level, we got a little distracted by these moss covered cement stumps – all that remained from some old guard rails it looked like.
And of course, we saw just a few deer on our way out – since it was prime dinner time.
After dinner at Madrona Bar & Grill in East Sound, we eased our way back to The Orcas Hotel. And there it was, awaiting our arrival.
A great place to end our day on Orcas Island, and a wonderful way to complete our family vacation in the San Juan Islands!