Island Experience

A Slow Weekend on Lopez Island

Renew your soul with a getaway to the island they call Slopez

There's a reason even the locals call this mellow and beautiful island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State "Slopez". Things just move a little slower here. There are just a few restaurants and cafes, one charming and small historical museum, a few galleries and shops. A great little bakery. But the main reason people have a love affair with Lopez is the mellow lifestyle.

On the way to Lopez Village from the ferry, stop at the Whispers of Nature herbal labyrinth. Entry is by donation, and at any time of year you can take a moment to relax and shift to "island time" by walking the labyrinth, through lavender, fennel, mint and other herbs and feel your cares fall away. And a visit to the goats on the neighboring farm will make anyone laugh like Buddha.

In the center of Lopez Village, the Edenwild Boutique Inn is the perfect bed-and-breakfast to stay in, with quaint and cozy fireplaces. Owners Anthony and Christa Rovente are the ultimate welcoming hosts, offering advice on the best places to hike, kayak and ride your bike, and even have their own app where they map out their favorite places on the island.

If you want to stay off the beaten path, Midnight's Farm is an amazing little oasis. You can stay in a lovely house where the farm's other tenants, pigs, chickens, ducks, cats and a dog will show you around. Start your day by breathing and stretching away your cares at a yoga class at Down Dog Yoga studio that looks out over a misty pond where swallows reel over the water.

There's nothing like the calmness that comes from sitting on the dock with a cup of coffee and a tarot pack or a good book while the farm life buzzes around you. You might also be lucky enough to be on the farm when Barn Owl Bakery is baking their delicious breads in the bakehouse oven.

On a Saturday morning, grab a cup of coffee and a fresh made pastry and head to the farmers market, where you get a taste of what life is like here for locals. Grab some fresh goat cheese, bread or pastries or produce for your picnic. Or visit Blossom Grocery, the island's local natural food store, where you can find an array of local products for the ultimate picnic at one of the island's beautiful beachfront parks.

Many artists and sell their wares, from jewelry to paintings to fiber arts at the market in the spring and summer. Going home with a unique piece of handmade art can calm the soul by just looking at it, and take you back to this special weekend.

There's more art at Chimera Gallery, which is an art co-op where dozens of local artists show their amazing work, and you can also visit the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts where there's always a good show in their small gallery.

Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve, Photography by Shannon Borg

Spencer Spit State Park is a long, sandy spit just meant for a relaxing beach walk. Sit on the sand at Odlin County Park and watch the ferry pass in the distance, or hike through the woods at Shark Reef Sanctuary, listening to woodpeckers tap the trees, and sit on a bluff looking out at San Juan Island. When your weekend is over, the ferry ride is a calming reminder of your visit to paradise­—and that it will always be here, waiting for your return.