San Juan Islands

Chalk it up to too much Grey’s Anatomy, but riding the ferry was definitely on the agenda for the greater Seattle area. Luckily, we for once got up early and actually headed out as planned – we made it to Port Angeles over an hour in advance as advised, and as we drove through the gates the toll-takers yelled to each other that they only had 13 spaces left for Friday harbor – phew!

Not surprisingly for Washington, the weather was gray and pretty chilly, which made sitting outside on the ferry a bit challenging for someone like me who hates being cold. We managed to find some semi-sheltered areas where we could still see the beautiful scenery. We headed for the largest of the San Juan islands, San Juan (go figure). Nick was all excited because apparently our port of arrival, Friday Harbor, is a common destination on flight simulator, so he felt like he’d already visited the tiny island! The islands claim to fame are that they were disputed territory between the British and Americans long after they’d settled most of the US/Canada border, and there was very nearly a war after a British solider killed an American pig who got into his garden…I kid you not. They are very fond of this whole story and sadly we missed the re-enactment of the incident. Instead, we happened upon a sign for ‘Barrel tasting with the wine maker’ at the San Juan Vineyards – much more our style! For $10 we got 8 wine tastes each, including two not yet released wines from the barrels, plus a full glass of wine and a bbq with all sorts of gourmet sides – and a whole afternoon of entertainment! It was such a chilled, laid back atmosphere – no one breathing down your necks while you sip and are forced to try to come up with something intelligent to say about the wine, other than ‘yum’. And best part was we only had to drive a tiny distance back to the ferry on a 25 mph road that only went one way…The wines were so very tasty – VERY surprisingly, my favorite was actually the rose – I never like pink wine!

Friday Harbor is a very cute little town – lots of antique shops, jewellery, nice little cafes. After we parked the car in the line for the return ferry, we had some time to roam around and shop. The weather turned gorgeous on the way back, and we were able to see all the little islands and gorgeous boats out sailing around.

We’d only planned to stay a few hours on the island, but had so much fun that we ended up getting into Seattle much later than expected. We had another fun time trying to find a place to stay in Seattle – I think we’ve learned our lesson about getting in too late. We finally managed to find a little hotel in the center of the city for pretty cheap, and went out to enjoy the Saturday night atmosphere…unfortunately, the drive took a lot out of us, so we didn’t make it very far past dinner. But what does it matter – every night is a Saturday as far as we are concerned!

One of my favorite sights from the day – there was an alapaca on San Juan island that must have just recently been sheared. I’m not sure if this is usual or not, but it looked like they had shaved it to look like a giant poodle, with puffs of fur in odd places! Also, randomly, the owner of the vineyards had a camel on his farm. I thought I’d drank too much and was imagining things, but luckily it was confirmed by the vineyard staff…

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