Our family tradition: summer in the San Juan Islands

Standing at Turnpoint - the westernmost point in the United States - is like being able to see the entire world, all spread out before you

Every year, for almost twenty years (with a few exceptions, especially when the girls were really young), we’ve traveled to Washington’s San Juan Islands for our summer vacation.  It is so much like home to us that we got married at Roche Harbor, and we return there every year now.  We stay in the same place – Heron House – and make sure to observe our many traditions:
* ice cream from the kiosk on our way to watch colors from the dock
* dinner out at McMillans over the water
* boating to Stuart Island for a hike to (and picnic at) Turnpoint Lighthouse, the westernmost point in the United States
* doughnuts each morning from Lime Kiln Cafe
* wandering around the sculpture garden, to see what new art has been added and to check whether Alfred the Alligator is still there
* a quick (hah!) stop at the candy kiosk to stock up for the day ahead
* boating with Grams to Jones Island to hand feed the deer and have a hot dog roast and s’mores
* getting lucky enough this year to see orcas – not once, but twice – including the once-in-a-million chance of seeing them from Turnpoint Lighthouse
* kayaking in the nearby bays, and visiting a kelp bed that was home to over a dozen very curious seals
* watching the local theater company’s outdoor presentation of a Shakespearean play – this year it was Twelfth Night

On our way home, we always drive over Deception Pass onto Whidbey Island so that we can stop at Knead and Feed in Coupeville – the best breakfasts in the world!  Then we catch the Keystone ferry to Port Townsend and drive to Bainbridge Island, where we spend an afternoon and I can make my annual pilgrimage to Churchmouse Yarns & Teas (and don’t forget the world’s best ice cream at Mora!)  Then, the long drive home.

Here’s a photo essay of this year’s trip:

The view from the ferry dock at Anacortes - for some reason, the ferry ride over is one of my favorite parts of the trip!
The view from the ferry dock at Anacortes – for some reason, the ferry ride over is one of my favorite parts of the trip!
Watching the “traffic” from the ferry
The Hotel de Haro at Roche Harbor (you can see the town homes, including Heron House, in the background)
McMillans restaurant from the dock at Roche Harbor, with the church where we got married in the background
McMillans restaurant from the dock at Roche Harbor, with the church where we got married, in the background
Walking through the fields, forests, and around the pond at the sculpture garden
Doughnuts from the Lime Kiln Cafe
Doughnuts from the Lime Kiln Cafe
The sunset view of the harbor from Heron House
The sunset view of the harbor from Heron House
Watching colors and preparing for the cannon boom :)
Watching colors and preparing for the cannon boom :)
Rich and Bella, searching for seals
Rich and Bella, searching for seals
Emmersen putting her rowing experience to good use!
Emmersen putting her rowing experience to good use!
Headed out on our hike to Turnpoint Lighthouse
Headed out on our hike to Turnpoint Lighthouse
Gorgeous view of the fields and harbor, with Mt. Baker in the background, on Stuart Island
Gorgeous view of the fields and harbor, with Mt. Baker in the background, on Stuart Island
Standing at Turnpoint - the westernmost point in the United States - is like being able to see the entire world, all spread out before you
Standing at Turnpoint – the westernmost point in the United States – is like being able to see the entire world, all spread out before you

Orcas off of Turnpoint

Celebrating the world's best breakfast at Knead and Feed
Celebrating the world’s best breakfast at Knead and Feed
The remnants of a HUGE hot chocolate
The remnants of a HUGE hot chocolate
Alia says, I give these cinnamon rolls five stars!
Alia says, I give these cinnamon rolls five stars!
The view from Knead & Feed in Coupeville
The view from Knead & Feed in Coupeville
Coupeville's "marina"
Coupeville’s “marina”
Churchmouse . . . a mecca for yarnophiles
Churchmouse . . . a mecca for yarnophiles
Mora's signature blackberry ice cream
Mora’s signature blackberry ice cream
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