|San Juan Islands, Washington
Last year we won a drawing
for a weekend getaway. We could go any place served
by Kenmore Air.
Like any passionate traveler, I struggled to choose
just one place. In the end, I decided the best place
for a weekend getaway was Friday Harbor, in the San
Courtyard at Friday's Historic Inn
Travel by Floatplane
We departed in a seaplane from the Kenmore
Air terminal at Lake
Union in Seattle, where checkin had included revealing both our weight and
that of our luggage. Weight was strictly monitored. We had prepared for
this by weighing baggage at home. A few other passengers were repacking in
the terminal to reduce the weight they
than pay excess baggage charges.
After a short flight with a water landing,
we were deposited on the dock. We hadn't arranged for
our innkeepers to meet us and so we were on our own to
carry our luggage through town and find Friday 's Historic
Flying to the island was fun but it meant that our explorations
were limited to the sites and activities within walking distance. Fortunately
the bustling little town of Friday Harbor has a variety of things to
see and do.
Float plane lands on Friday Harbor
A Place to Stay
Inn, which we discovered
was about two blocks from the docks, both charmed
and delighted us. The charm of the parlor where guest
check in was enhanced by the enormous rock fireplace.
Our suite had two bedrooms, a living
dining area. The wet bar was furnished with hot
beverages and a microwave. Best of all was the bathroom
jacuzzi for two and the spa robes. We indulged
at least once a day.
Still, we didn't come
to stay indoors and so out we went each morning. On
the way out the door we indulged in a complimentary
breakfast of muffins, fresh fruit and delicious coffee.
Front Street Ale House, Friday Harbor, WA
|Exploring Friday Harbor
|Front Street runs through town to the Harbor. It is
lined with interesting shops and restaurants. We ate
delicious burgers at the Front
Street Ale House and watched as employees loaded
cases of their best beers to take to a local fair. The
brewing part of the business is known as The San Juan
|Just up the street in a store
called San Juan Hot Shop which carries only hot sauces
and other pepper related items, we indulged in a fascination
hot sauces by picking up a bottle of roasted pepper sauce
and another of the hottest sauce on the planet. The bottle
of heat called Pure Cap described itself as pure capsicum
extract in vegetable oil. Not even habanero sauce can
claim this level of heat. We actually had to sign a waiver
to buy it. The roosters made out of dried red peppers
were adorable. Across the
but I never did go in to browse.
Washington State Ferry arriving at Friday Harbor
|A Trip on the Ferry
|Like many travelers I like to travel "off season" so
that I can enjoy the place without the crowding and so
I meet more natives than other tourists. This does mean
that sometimes the tourist activites are not available.
|In the San Juans, life is oriented toward the water. We needed to
take a boat trip. By October the whale watching was over for the year,
as was kayaking. We decided to take the
ferry to Orcas Island instead. This was great fun. I
think of ferry rides as economical cruises and imagine
I am traveling the globe by ocean liner.
|China Pearl Restaurant
|I have a special memory of the China
Pearl Restaurant on Front Street.
I had a headcold which I told the waiter as I was perusing
the menu. He helped me choose items rich in garlic and
spices that he thought might make me feel better. He
recommended the Hot and Sour soup which he said they
made fresh each day. It turned out to be the perfect
combination of spicy
and flavorful. All of the dishes were especially well-prepared
|The Weekend was Over
|There is plenty to do in Friday Harbor even without a car. We wanted
a leisurely stay with plenty of rest, so we didn't rush
to see everything. We even ran out of time before we
climbed the hill up to The
Whale Museum. We dropped by The
Island Wine Company for a wine tasting and bought a couple of
bottles of wine but we didn't get to San
Juan Vineyards. It almost feels luxurious to be able to choose
and know that you had so much to choose from that you
couldn't do it all.
|by Dianne Bengtson
|photography by Steve Robertson
Choosing a Room at Friday's Historic
Each room or suite is lovely and unique. In
a usually homogenous world, here you really
do have a choice. You can have an extra-special
stay by thinking about your needs and what
of room appeals to you. The rooms are described
Harbor Inn's website.
|As with any accomodation, in addition to amenities,
think about your needs and preferences. The time
to find out is when you make the reservation. Ask
about flights of stairs, noise, ventilation, pet
family friendliness or privacy when you make the
reservation if they are important to you. No matter
where you stay
that make a big difference.
|We wanted lots of space, a king-sized bed and
a jacuzzi. A fireplace and ocean view were nice
but not "must haves". We chose the Bainbridge
Suite and were delighted with it.