Tuesday, July 22, 2008

La Conner and the San Juan Islands

Our stay at the Northern Lights Casino is limited to one week, so we move off the island onto the mainland at a private RV park in La Conner. This charming artist town is renowned for its many art galleries, sculpture gardens, world famous Rainbow Bridge & historic buildings including the Quilt Museum. Located on the very edge of the mainland due west of Mount Vernon, it connects by the Rainbow Bridge to the Swinomish Indian Reservation on Fidalgo Island.

Rainbow Bridge, La Conner WA (Photo taken in 2007)

Waterfront view, La Conner WA

Spirit Wheel, downtown La Conner, WA

This year we actually bought something in one of the art galleries; a beautiful handmade glass dish. Remember, everything we buy has to fit into Popeye, AND survive the trip.

A tight fit at the Potlatch Resort, La Conner, WA

We shoehorn ourselves into the no frills park, fortunately grabbing an end space, as I will need to back Popeye out. The turns are on the tight side for a rig our size. The best part of this park is its location, right at the wharf & an easy walk into town. This year I spot the best bumper sticker seen thus far: Buckle Up. It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car! Regrettably I dont get a picture, but it certainly makes a dent in my memory bank.

Typical shop, downtown La Conner WA

Sculpture Garden, downtown La Conner, WA

More art on the waterfront, La Conner, WA

La Conner is also world known for their tulip festival. Located on the edge of the Tulalip Valley, each year there are thousands of acres of tulips in bloom, right in the middle of tax season. . . . rats!

The ferry awaits at Anacortes, sailing to San Juan Island

Our next excursion is back on Fidalgo Island. For the first time, we park our car instead of driving onto the ferry, & buy walk-on tickets to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Usually we take the car in order to drive around San Juan Island & visit Roche Harbor, the British Camp, the alpaca farm, Lime Kiln Lighthouse to view the Orca pods, & the American Camp at the south end of the island. For some reason, we have never had the opportunity to walk all through Friday Harbor & visit all the shops. Thus we decide today is a good day to do just that.

Arriving at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island WA

Honey (look at that long hair!) downtown Friday Harbor (photo taken in 2007)

Alpaca Farm, south of The English Camp (Photo taken 2007)

Lime Kiln Light House, west side of San Juan Island (Photo taken in 2007)

The Ferry docks right in the heart of downtown. Besides interesting little shops, caf├ęs, the Museum of the Whale, you also get great views of Shaw, Orcas & Lopez Island, to name just the ones the WA state ferry system services. There are over 200 named islands in the Puget Sound, with ferry service to less than a dozen that I am aware of. We’ve met people who have lived on some of these remote islands for over 27 years & commuted by float plane or boat.

Bob enjoying lunch in downtown Friday Harbor

Over lunch, we get into a conversation with the waitress. She and her husband live on a boat in Friday Harbor & usually spend 5 months of the year travelling the Inside Passage. Now I’m really green with envy. She tells us they rarely go off island to shop as it usually winds up costing more; they buy things more because they see them, rather than need them. How true! How many items have you brought home only to stick in a drawer for “future” use?

One of the more plentiful crops on these islands is lavender. We stock up on lavender pepper & salt. The short bread is yummy too & makes a great snack on the ferry. Before boarding the 5:00 PM ferry, we walk around the docks ogling the neat boats. A harbor seal swims by & says hello. The day passes by all too fast, but the ferry is docking & it’s time for the return trip. Fortunately, the return trip offers stunning vistas of Mt. Baker & surrounding islands.

A local swims by to say "hello"

A picture perfect afternoon

Everyone rides the ferry

Pulling out of Lopez Island on the return trip

We're treated to stunning views on the return trip

Hope you enjoy the pictures. Coming up: a rushed trip through Idaho, Montana & finally, a 3 day stay in Theodore Roosevelt National park.

1 comment:

juliegallant said...

keep the wonderful pictures coming, we are really enjoying them all!