Travel Advisory: Find the latest information HERE

What's New & Cool In The San Juans?

Many of our island inns and businesses have relaxed their cancellation policies to help guests book with more confidence. They have also gone beyond masks and hand sanitizer to create fun and engaging stay safe videos. For Island Inn at 123 West, it’s more than a pivot; it’s a pirouette! Check out its INNspiring examples of creativity and a sense of humor in the INN’s outreach:

Check-INN video – they send this to guests after they register online:

Get ready video – they send this to guests 3-days pre-stay:

Even their promotional rates are INNspired: 

Re_combobulate rate – If you’re feeling a little discombobulated these days, you’re not alone.  It’s been one heck of a ride.To help everyone ease back INN to their newest version of normal, they launched their re_combobulate rate.

This is just one example of how San Juan County businesses, parks, and public entities have thoughtfully and thoroughly prepared for visitors and are ready to warmly welcome them back when the County transitions to Phase 3 from Phase 2. We are fortunate that our outdoor options of hiking, biking, and kayaking allow for natural social distancing. However, the San Juan Islands community still respectfully requests visitors to do their part to help make its tourism restart successful, sustainable, and enjoyable for everyone. 

Bistro for Buck Bay

An Orcas Island favorite chef, Steve Debaste, has started a new venture – The Bistro, Oyster & Wine Bar at Buck Bay Shellfish Farm. It’s a dream coming true for both Debaste and Buck Bay owners Mark and Toni Hermiston, opening his own bistro for Debaste and a casual oyster and wine bar for the Hermistons. The goal of Buck Bay has always been to offer guests quality fresh seafood from Orcas Island. Debaste will be serving a menu of bistro-style plates along with his favorite south-of-the-border flavors, ensuring a new and bright culinary experience. Contact: Toni Hermiston or visit

Room for Cider

Madrone Cellars and Cider on San Juan Island has a new tasting room in downtown Friday Harbor. Wine and cider flights are available along with glass pours and bottle sales. They specialize in Sparkling Dry Unfiltered Ciders, Dry White Wines & Bordeaux Varietal Reds. Owners Shaun and Amy Salamida have a passion for organic and bio-dynamic farming and plan on planting a fully bio-dynamic and organic vineyard and orchard on San Juan Island within the next five years. Contact: Shaun Salamida; or visit

Sweet Strawberry Revival Story

In 2017, the Olga Strawberry Council—with the help of several generous donors and grants—began an all-out effort to bring back the almost extinct Marshall Strawberry to Orcas Island. The fruit, known as the finest eating strawberry in America by the James Beard Foundation, is a deep, dark red with an exceptionally bold, sweet flavor. In 2008, Marshalls were listed on Slow Foods’ “Most Endangered Foods” with just a handful of plants existing at the USDA’s Germplasm Repository in Oregon, having been destroyed in the Northwest by a deadly disease. Fast forward to the spring of 2020, and thousands of Marshall plants are flourishing on farms and home gardens from Deer Harbor to Olga, including their original home on Sunny Slope Farm as well as island favorites like Inn at Ship Bay and the organic garden at Doe Bay Resort. The Marshall has been reborn on Orcas for the community to enjoy as sweet jam on toast, sauce on dessert, or popped fresh off the vine, hopefully for years to come. As of this writing, the strawberries aren’t yet publicly available for sale or consumption, but that will change as the plants become established. For more information, contact Madie Murray at or visit

A Locus for Local Food

The San Juan Islands Food Hub (SJIFH) is launching an online marketplace for locals and visitors to order directly from local farmers, producers, and restaurant chefs once a week on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Island. SJIFH has invited island producers to sell through the Food Hub at no membership cost during the 2020 growing season to assist producers who have lost visitor markets due to the pandemic. The Hub offers everything from locally grown nursery starts, produce, and island-raised meats, to island-made products like soaps, tortillas, and cheeses. Producers update products they are offering weekly. As the fruit and vegetable harvest season begins and more producers join the Food Hub, the variety will increase. Check back often to see what’s new! Find details here:

Fledge on a Ledge

Doug Chapman, a writer raised on Orcas Island, has completed his new book “Fledge on a Ledge:” an entertaining opus about two peregrine falcons that nurture a family in an urban setting. Doug writes, “Peregrine falcons are the fastest animal on the planet (over 200 mph in a dive), and their amazing life cycle is made available within these pages, in a wonderful and exciting tale with thrills for all ages.” This book is also an eye-opening account that reveals the strength and endurance of the peregrine falcon after almost going extinct due to DDT. Order online here:

Girls Weekend Gone Wrong?

Jody Gehrman’s new thriller “Girls Weekend” takes the drama and emotion of a girls’ reunion trip to another level.  June Moody, a thirtysomething English professor, has been invited by her old friend (and longtime professional nemesis) Sadie McTavish to a baby shower at her estate in the San Juan Islands. The party gets off to a shaky start when old grudges resurface, but when they wake the next morning, they find something worse: Sadie is missing, the house is in shambles, and bloodstains mar the staircase. None of them has any memory of the night before; they wonder if they were drugged. Everyone’s a suspect. A Celtic knot of suspense and surprise, this brooding, atmospheric novel will keep you guessing as each twist reveals a new possibility.  Girls Weekend will be released on July 7, 2020.

Break for Beethoven

For their first major project since the coronavirus outbreak, the Miro Quartet will come together in-person to perform all sixteen Beethoven string quartets and the Grosse Fuge live for online audiences via the streaming platform Presented by the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, this 12-evening, subscription-based concert series is scheduled for July 16 to August 8—Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Following each live stream, the performance will remain online for on-demand viewing for 24 hours for ticket holders. The cycle takes the place of both the originally planned, in-person Miro Quartet performances this month on Orcas Island and the planned annual Chamber Music Festival in August. For further information, visit the websites of the Miro Quartet (, the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (, and

Just Right: A New Home for the Three Bears

A grizzly family has come to live at the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. Jim and Bonnie Towne originally commissioned the mama bear and her two cubs for their lodge in Colorado, and when they moved to San Juan Island, the bears came with them. Made of bronze, the friendly mama looks down on her two cubs from a grand 13 feet tall. She was named “Large Marge” by the Towne’s children after a character in “Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure.” Stop by and say hi to Large Marge and her cubs on your next visit to the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park! See art and social distance.

Something Fishy for Friday Harbor

Joining an ever-growing number of public art sculptures and murals in Friday Harbor, Alchemy Art Center on San Juan Island has undertaken an ambitious community mural project that, when complete, will be installed in downtown Friday Harbor. The vision for the mural began with the idea of interconnectedness. Here in the Islands, the delicate Salish Sea is an example of the complex interdependence we all share. Starting with a 15-foot King salmon, the plan is to create a rich visual exploration of the Salish Sea incorporating ceramic tile mosaics and painting. The King salmon will be made up of hundreds of ceramic tiles, each handmade by different community members. For more information, contact Maria Michaelson or visit

Growing Poems

More than vegetables and flowers are springing up in Friday Harbor. Among the greenery, you will now find poems, thanks to the Town of Friday Harbor Arts Commission’s (FHAC) Poetry Garden project. The Arts Commission sought poems from San Juan County residents, and final selections were made by Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna. The selected poems have been engraved on plaques and placed at Spring Street Landing below Downriggers Restaurant, near the San Juan Community Theatre, and the post office. Due to COVID, a celebratory unveiling is postponed, and a booklet of the selected poems will become available later as well. Meanwhile, take a quiet moment to enjoy some poetry. As the project states, “Poetry is a way of seeing our world through another’s mind.” The Poetry Gardens “have been created as a way of bringing poetry into our daily experiences.” The poems will remain in these locations for two years. Contact: Julie Greene 

Calming Cedar

Searching for positivity amid the chaos? Try the new Wildcrafted Redcedar hydrosol from Orcasong Farm and bring the serenity of Orcas Island forests into your living room. Harvested from fallen branches at the farm, then distilled and bottled onsite. Deeply sweet, uplifting, and resinous, Red Cedar is a sacred plant used extensively by native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. It is meant to bring protection and positivity. This makes it excellent for cleaning and refreshing spaces. For more information or to purchase online, visit

Zero for the Win

Washington schools may be closed, but when students return, some will be riding in new, zero-emission electric school buses, thanks to grants from the Department of Ecology. One bus will be headed to Orcas Island and another for Lopez Island. “When students are able to return to school, these new zero-emission buses will help them get there,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “This is a great investment in a healthier future for students and their communities. Funding from Washington’s Volkswagen diesel emission settlement will pay for the buses, which will go to 22 school districts. The first of the new buses are expected to arrive later this year. For more details, visit

Foraging for Fish

This past winter, staff from the nonprofit Friends of the San Juans and a team of trained citizen scientists documented six new spawning beaches for Pacific sand lance, as well as two previously unknown surf smelt spawning sites. Coupled with results from the previous winter’s study, the number of documented spawning beaches in the San Juans has more than doubled from eight to 19. Pacific sand lance and surf smelt play an essential role in local and regional marine food webs; they are critical prey for juvenile and adult Chinook salmon (favored prey of Southern Resident orcas), seabirds, and marine mammals. When eggs are documented on a beach, that knowledge is added to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s habitat maps, which helps to guide shoreline protection and restoration efforts. For more information on the project, visit

Base for a Spill

To address the need for quick response to small oil spills in the Islands, construction on a new oil spill response operations base will begin this summer by the Port of Friday Harbor at its Jensen and Sons Boat Yard and Marina in Friday Harbor. When complete, the base will be the on-water location for the local nonprofit Islands Oil Spill Association (IOSA). Currently, IOSA’s oil spill response equipment is spread across the San Juans, in on-the-water locations such as the Port of Friday Harbor but also in parking lots and temporary storage sheds that aren’t as easily accessed. With a physical base that provides a central location where IOSA staff and equipment are ready, Port of Friday Harbor Director Todd Nicholson anticipates that oil spill response times will be improved significantly. It could also act as a command post in the event of a large spill in the area. Contact: Todd Nicholson

Signs of Nature

The Jakle’s Lagoon trail, part of the San Juan Island National Historical Park, is a favorite among locals and visitors. Regulars will notice a few new additions to this familiar trail. The National Park Service was awarded a grant from The Fund for People in Parks to upgrade a post-and-book nature trail to develop permanent, interpretive waysides with numerous pieces of original artwork for the project. Over the 12 panels, visitors can expect to discover more about Pioneer Species, Western Redcedar, Orchids, Woodpeckers, forest undergrowth, and more! For more information, contact Brandon Cadwell

Making the Salish Sea Plastic Free

Many environmental advocates are familiar with Plastic Free July as a campaign to reduce the use of plastic in our daily lives. In the San Juan Islands, the Plastic Free Salish Sea Campaign (PFSS) has launched with the creation of a dedicated website at The website will be the go-to resource for local information related to solid waste, recycling and how to reduce your dependence on single-use plastics. For those interested in learning how to become less dependent on plastics, PFSS has created “toolkits” that you can access through the website to explore alternative actions even during this pandemic!

Self-serve Firewood

Moran State Park on Orcas Island has installed a vending machine that allows guests to buy firewood, according to the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission’s Facebook page. Dancing Tree Farms and Services on Orcas has placed a mobile firewood vending machine at the park that allows guests to insert $7 and get a bundle of firewood. The wood will not harbor pests from other parts of the state since it is sourced on the island, the posting noted. The Parks and Recreation Commission said something like this could be a game-changer for campers and recreators during the coronavirus pandemic while people are trying to maintain their social distance. Park officials said if the firewood vending machine works out, they may add another machine at the park and consider adding this service to other state parks as well. For more information:

The Best Book

San Juan Islands author Susan Wingate has announced that her forthcoming novel “How the Deer Moon Hungers” has won the 2020 Pacific Book Review Award for best fiction work. “How the Deer Moon Hungers” is a coming-of-age novel in which the hidden horrors of juvenile detention facilities are exposed through the journey of teenage girl Mackenzie Fraser. “I am honored and ecstatic that How the Deer Moon Hungers has won the Pacific Book Review Award for best fiction,” said Wingate. “Writing the book was a labor of love and is a great coming of age story, and to see it recognized by industry leaders with this award is truly a dream come true.” How the Deer Moon Hungers is available for presale and will be launched nationally on July 15, 2020. For more information and ordering:

The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau is bringing you a fresh twist on our usual “What’s New and Cool in the San Juans” to instead share some new mid-summer events and highlight stories of local resilience and creativity when faced with the COVID-19 health crisis. Find inspiration from a captain offering virtual wildlife tours, a wedding officiant providing virtual wedding ceremonies and so much more…

Cool Things on the Horizon & Creative Coping,  San Juan Islands Style


On the Horizon

Outstanding in the Field (date may be subject to change) 

Ursa Minor is very excited to announce that Chef Nick Coffey will be participating in another Outstanding in the Field dinner event this July, this time on his home turf of Lopez Island. The dinner will be at nearby Flint Beach Ohana Farm, which is keeping the agricultural history of San Juan County alive with their large flocks of pastured sheep for meat and wool and free-range laying hens. Prepare for a feast of uniquely Lopez-local ingredients – from oysters, blackberries and salmon, to cattails and reindeer moss. Plus plenty of Flint Beach pastured lamb, of course. Tickets and event updates: -flint-beach-ohana-farm-2/

Emerald Isle’s Dining Style

The extremely talented chef Mary Wills will be tantalizing passengers’ palates aboard the Nawalak this season, Emerald Isle Sailing Charters’ vessel. Mary is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, and she’s studied extensively in Italy with Michelin star chefs. Mary has cooked at a few of the top restaurants in the world, including the famed Le Cirque, and she’s excited to share her galley artistry with Emerald Isle guests.  Find out more:

African Twilight

Trailblazing photographers & adventurers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher record a disappearing culture of Africa before it is too late. The photographs, seen for the first time at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, cover 15 years of pioneering work that brings us the dazzling diversity of African ceremonies, rituals & culture. Bringing the personal connections and meaningful understanding for which they are renown, the women capture the broad cultural diversity of the sacred rituals of birth, death, courtship, leadership, healing and more.  The landmark exhibition, running June 4th--September 8th, transports us to a world of connections between individual and community, body and soul, land and people. Watch for A Conversation with Beckwith and Fisher – They are coming to Friday Harbor – come meet and hear them!

Food, Wine and Chefs

Fermented Love

Lopez favorite Ursa Minor has introduced a line of fermented pantry items for anyone wanting a taste of the Islands at home. The restaurant menu is well known for evolving with the changes in the seasons, but during the height of each season, staff are hard at work preserving the extra bounty that is available to them. The lineup for this first offering includes house-made vinegar and fermented/pickled veggies. These products are available alongside take-out meals and selections from their wine cellar for pick-up on Lopez while the dining room is temporarily closed.

New Owners for Orcas Hotel

The Orcas Hotel has been a welcome beacon at the Orcas ferry landing for around a century, and was love at first sight for chefs John Cox and Julia Felder. Cox writes, “As the inn’s most recent custodians, we hope to preserve the history of the property and at the same time, add our own fingerprints to its legacy. Despite both being trained chefs with a background in fine dining, we have no intention of ‘rebuilding the wheel.’” Cox and Felder purchased the hotel in early 2020, and had only been open a few weeks when Inslee issued Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, shuttering many businesses. So they created the Sunday Supper Series. For a fixed price you will get a chef-prepared dinner with beverage pairing delivered right to your doorstep. They are offering the service as a four week subscription. Each delivery includes a family style dinner for two and beverage pairing. The cafe remains open for curbside pickup, including take-and-bake pot pies.  Find the details here:

Arts and Artists

Clay for Connection

Alchemy Art Center's studios are temporarily closed to classes and membership, but they are introducing a series of free art opportunities via live Zoom classes. Zoom Clay Club for kids will be every Tuesday afternoon, and each week will feature a new technique using clay that can be picked up from Alchemy and other supplies that can be found around the home. Zoom Sip ’n’ Sculpt will be on Friday evenings - a creative and social clay class for adults looking for connection during social distancing.  These classes are free thanks to a grant from the San Juan Community Foundation, but donations are appreciated. To learn more and register:

Kits for Kids

Art for Orcas Kids is offering free weekly age-appropriate art packs to help parents keep boredom at bay during social distancing. Local teaching artist Brook Meinhardt and her son Henry recently picked out random recycled items from the Orcas Exchange to include in the kits. Kits include exercises, activities, and at least one project, plus links to art fun websites. Older kids (10-18) have a graphic novel (novella) comic option. Kits can be ordered by emailing

Wine and Soul

Orcas Island Winery has put out a call for artists, musicians and poets “to spread your incredible LIGHT and take over our Instagram and Facebook and new Youtube channel for Orcas Island Winery ... if the people can't come enjoy wine, music and art; let's bring wine & soul to the people!!!” Contact: Tera Landman

Activities & Exhibits

Legacy Goes Live

Maya’s Legacy Whale and Wildlife Tours may not be able to take passengers on tours, but anyone can join them from their homes on livestreamed tours via Instagram or Facebook. The owners expressed, “our hope is that this real time experience will continue giving folks at home the chance to replace the stress and anxiety of current daily life with a few moments of the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands.” Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for the most current details on what they are seeing and when they will be out next.

Products & Services

Island Indulgence

Practice self-care island-style with bath and kitchen items from the San Juan Island Inn Collection. Everything from cookbooks, robes and blended teas to bubble bath and the house-made fresh granola. A perfect recipe for indulgence!

Wine for a Week (or more…)

Wine makes for an excellent antidote to all the coronavirus news, and Doe Bay Wine Company can help with their new Weekly Wine Club. Each week they will email out a list of favorite wines that focus on small producers, sustainable practices and excellent values. Owner Cole Sisson says, “We will highlight regions, winemakers and wineries that we’ve interacted with on our journey. We will encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. Drinking can be an adventure in your glass. And we love adventures.” For more information, and to order wine to be shipped regionally or delivered locally, email Cole or visit /

Order INN

Can’t drop INN to the Island Inn at 123 West?  Order INN – and the Friday Harbor hotel will come to you!  As travel restrictions have INNcreased, so have orders from our online experience shop.  A mainstay since 2012, their online experience shop has helped guests enjoy luxuries normally found off the coast of ordinary INN the comfort of their own home.  Amp-up your overnights with luxurious linens or refresh your morning regimen with our energizing bath amenities.

Speaking of home, they hear that those are offices these days, so they've added an Office INN bundle!   If working from home has you wishing you were here, they've got you covered.  These Island Inn exclusive goodies will turn your drab digs INNto a dynamic workspace.  Re_fuel your INNovation engine with a little INNspiration from your pals INN Friday Harbor.  Score an Office INN bundle today!

Lavender Lends a Hand

When you think of hand sanitizers, we're willing to bet your mind immediately jumps to something that's clinical (found in a doctor's office), smells terrible and dries your hands out (ouch). Consider instead this sanitizer from OrcaSong Farm using farm-grown lavender, Vitamin E, and aloe vera along with isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Use with abandon. Order sanitizer from Orcasong.

Sweet Island Comfort

Orcas Island’s Girl Meets Dirt is still shipping while social distancing and is happy to keep sharing some of that sweet island flavor. It's time for comfort: top-notch PB&J's, Shrub Hot Toddy's, and the perfect cheese + jam pairing, though a spoon is perfectly acceptable too. For the month of April, for every ten cases they sell wholesale, they’ll donate a case to a regional food bank. As owner Audra Lawlor says, “Because everyone deserves comfort in these times. We appreciate your support – we're in this together.” You can view their wholesale guide here.

Spirits into Sanitizer

Orcas Island Distillery, makers of the award-winning West Island Whiskey, has halted their usual production to distill hand sanitizer instead. With the assistance and cooperation of partners like Island Hoppin’ Brewery, Ray’s Pharmacy, Island Market, Boathouse CiderWorks, and Anacortes Brewery, the sanitizer will be donated to first responder government services, public works, and essential businesses. For Charles West, it is the personal impact of COVID-19 as well as the public need that motivates this response. His son, an Incident Manager and National Guard Flight Medic, and daughter-in-law, an Emergency Department physician, are working on the front lines. As a result, Charles and his wife are caring for their grandchildren as their children are helping the rest of us. For more information, email

Virtual Weddings

Orcas Island officiant Didier Gincig is offering couples the opportunity to still say ‘I do’ with social distancing by performing weddings via Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. The requirements are that the witnesses observe the couple signing the marriage certificate, and that they sign the certificate saying that they did so.  That means that the witnesses must observe – potentially, electronically – the couple signing; and that the certificate would need to be mailed to the witnesses and/or officiant, whoever is participating in a location other than where the couple are, for signing. Don’t let COVID-19 get in the way of starting a new life. Contact: Didier Gincig or (360)298-0362;

 Nature and Stewardship

Junior SeaDoctors

SeaDoc Society, a nonprofit focused on the health of the Salish Sea, has organized their resources for parents trying to handle their kids’ education at home. Games, videos, and activities cover a range of subjects from birds and mammals to the intertidal zone and local geology. Explore the depths of the Salish Sea from the comfort of your living room. Start your journey here.

Wild Images for Wolf Hollow

To celebrate the beauty of spring, Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center invites you to share your photos of local wildlife. Whether you’re out for a walk, working in your yard, or watching from your window, take a moment to enjoy the antics of your local wild creatures, then take a photo and email it to Don’t forget your name and where you took the shot. They’ll share the best and funniest on Facebook and its website.

Just an Island Minute

The “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order from Governor Inslee might have postponed the guided walks and other events from the San Juan Preservation Trust, but they’ve found a way to reach out and share the beauty of the San Juans. “Just a Minute in the Islands” is a series of vignettes made by staff members sharing nature in their own backyards. Watch here:  Have ideas for the next one, or want to share your own? Email Sierra O’Connell  

Fresh from the Salish Sea

The Northwest Straits Foundation is proud to present "Salish SeaFresh – From Tide to Table,” a video series exploring the relationships among habitat restoration, sustainable seafood and local businesses. In the premier episode, they visit with Tele Aadsen, of Nerka Sea-Frozen Salmon, and Jake Hacker, of Aslan Brewing Co., as they share their passion for marine conservation and a vibrant seafood industry in Bellingham, WA. Watch here:

The Islands Go Electric

Island E Cars on Orcas Island is San Juan County’s newest car dealership and the only “exclusively EV” dealer in the region. Their goal is to provide area residents with a relaxed and easy shopping experience when considering buying a clean late model pre-owned electric vehicle. Serving all of San Juan County and beyond. Contact: David and Kim Griffin (360) 375-5423;

Winter Edition 2020

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Dropbox of photos:

On the Food and Farm Front

Bon Voyager

Chef Jon Chapelle, acclaimed former chef de cuisine then executive chef at the popular Doe Bay Cafe, has switched gears and opened Voyager Sandwiches and Seafood in downtown Eastsound, Orcas Island, with his partner Sara Lucia. As Jon says, "After cooking 'fancy' food, we wanted to do something casual, where we would want to eat on a daily basis. We drew inspiration from PNW ingredients like local shellfish, seafood, and mushrooms as well as some of our favorite foods from our travels. Our bestselling sandwich has been our pork bahn mi. We fell in love with bahn mi sandwiches in Vietnam years ago." The menu also features seasonal salads, small plates, and bread from several islands-based bakeries. Contact: Jon Chapelle (360) 298-9261;

New King in West Sound

Renowned chef Raymond Southern, together with wife Holly, has taken over the historic Kingfish Inn and West Sound Cafe, now called Kingfish at West Sound. The restaurant is partnered with nearby OrcaSong Farm. They are working together to choose vegetables, fruits, and flowers to augment the farm's already extensive offerings, with more locally-grown options to come. Guests will taste how the relationship between the earth, sea, and delicious dishes is woven throughout this outstanding restaurant.  Contact: Holly Southern (360) 376-4440 info@kingfishinn.com  

Girl Meets Dirt Meets Expansion

What started with a booth at the Orcas Island farmers market has become nearly a household name—Girl Meets Dirt Heritage Preserves—with a profile in Saveur magazine and a segment on the Today Show. The popular shop in Eastsound is expanding to add a tasting room and "give the kitchen a little breathing room." They offer informal tastings and delicious samples daily and welcome you to come by and see what's cooking (the glorious smells are complimentary too!), and shop the full lineup of everything they make—including the hard to find super small-batch reserve jams. Contact: Audra Lawlor;

Barn Owl Goes Big

Lopez Island's Barn Owl Bakery, a beloved supplier of wild-leavened baked goods, is kicking things up a notch in 2020 with the purchase of Grayling Farm, a former homestead-turned-art gallery that has been vacant for several years. Sage Dilts, the owner of Barn Owl, said, "We knew right away that this place would be our home, our bakery, a community gathering space and art gallery, farm, and heritage grain center. We saw the potential to bring back the Grayling as a community hub, where folks from around the world can visit, learn, teach, eat, farm, and share about bread, grains, and working with the land." The new space and baking capacity will make it possible to utilize an online shop for mail order bread to ship favorites to fans further afield. Contact: (360) 468-3492; granary@barnowlbakery.com

A Taste of Cider

Madrone Cellars & Cider will be opening a downtown Friday Harbor tasting room in Spring 2020. After two summers selling at regional restaurants, stores, and the San Juan Islands Farmer's Market, Madrone is happy to find a more permanent home on First Street. Madrone Cider has also been named a 2020 Good Food Award Winner. Every year, The Good Food Foundation strives to honor and celebrate producers who work towards and desire a sustainable and responsible American food culture. Madrone Cider's 2018 Reserve Blend won in the Cider category, along with thirteen other cideries nationwide. This is the third award for Madrone Cider to take home. In the 2018 Seattle Cider Awards, their Ginger & Lime won a silver medal, and their Kingston Blend won a bronze medal. Contact: Shaun Salamida;

Kitchen Boot Camp

Join Coho Restaurant chefs for Kitchen Boot Camp! They will be offering two sessions this spring that will help you bring the farm-to-fork flavors that you enjoy at the restaurant into your home kitchen. Chef Tim will demystify duck preparation, and Chef Jessica will share her gluten-free baking secrets. Register for one or both! $75 per person for three hours. Participants will leave each hands-on session with new skills, recipes to share, plus a $10 gift certificate to apply towards dinner. Contact: Coho Restaurant (360) 378-6330;

Walla Walla Winery Spring Showcase

Coho Restaurant will showcase select Walla Walla wines from Time & Direction Wines, Maison Bleu Winery, Abeja Winery, and Gramercy Cellars during four special wine dinner events this spring. Each five-course, locally sourced menu is specially tailored by Chefs Ryan and Tim to complement the featured wines, and guest hosts will walk diners through unique aspects of their wine production process and share tasting notes. Contact: Coho Restaurant (360)378-6330;

Salty Success

There's always something cooking at San Juan Sea Salt! 2019 saw the addition of their Passport Series, particularly the new Kimchi, Sriracha, and Spicy Thai salts rounding out the range of flavor profiles, along with new Cappuccino Caramels and the reemergence of the Steak and BBQ blends. 2020 is bringing the addition of several new flavors: Truffle Salt, Scorpion Salt, Scorpion Honey, Seafood Blend, and a surprise they're calling Hippy Gold.  Contact: Brady Ryan

New Arts Offerings, Exhibits, & Events

To Be or Not to Be…Female!

Orcas Island Shakespeare Society's summer production of Hamlet will feature, for the first time, an all-female cast. The Orcas Island Shakespeare Society was recently started by Michael Armenia who has been interested in plays by the bard for 37 years and specifically the play, Hamlet. As a writer, language and its use stokes his fire. He was quick to add, "enjoyment required, enchantment desired." His intention now is to "expose Shakespeare to the community" through "reading groups," "playing groups," (which are people who want to perform), and through encouragement and supporting community members who wish to produce different kinds of Shakespeare offerings. Contact: Michael Armenia

A Cascade of Poems

Seattle Poetics LAB (SPLAB), a literary arts-oriented nonprofit organization and the organizing entity of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, is presenting the seventh Cascadia Poetry Festival at the Multiverse on San Juan Island May 1-3, 2020. The Multiverse, a gallery and island cultural center, will provide an intimate setting for festival attendees to deep dive into the intersection of poetics and bioregionalism. In addition to poetry readings, there will be two panels and breakout sessions related to poet Robin Blaser, the practice of Cascadia, and the bioregion itself. Contact: Paul Nelson (206) 422-5002; splabman@icloud.com

Spring Into Wellness

The first annual Wellness Spring Retreat on Orcas Island is an opportunity to re-evaluate, re-focus, and re-imagine the direction you want your life to go. The backdrop for this intimate retreat is the top-rated Pebble Cove Farm, where you'll feel a sense of awe and wonder the moment you set foot on the property. Holistic Success Coach Daniel Marty will facilitate the retreat and introduce participants to powerful exercises and tools that enable you to see through a challenge, embrace all you can become, and take charge of taking the next step towards the healthiest, joyful person you can be. Expect morning meditations, holistic movement/yoga classes, and engaging group sessions where you'll explore a holistic approach to success and well-being on all levels in your life. Contact: Daniel Marty (206)718-7078 or Lydia Miller (360) 622-6460, pebblecovefarm@hotmail.com


The San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) isn't shy about displaying exhibitions that address hard topics like climate change, and the latest show is no exception. The Tempestry Project is an ongoing, collaborative, fiber arts project that presents climate data in a visual form through knitted or crocheted artwork. In the few years since the first Tempestry was knitted, panels have been created by fiber artists in nearly every U.S. state and more than 20 other countries. Multiple works are displayed together to show change over time. The yarn colors are standardized for each 5-degree temperature range. The project began in 2017 in neighboring Anacortes, Washington, and has since spread throughout the country and around the world.  The Tempestry Project will be on display at SJIMA through February 21, 2020.

Frozen Wind

The second season of Lakedale Resort's Sculpture Project series commenced last July with New York artist Anthony Heinz May. Over two weeks, Anthony completed a fantastic piece titled Frozen Wind. The piece resides in Lakedale's yurt village and was born of the need to top a 100-foot tree that had died. Instead of tearing the tree down, Lakedale invited Anthony to repurpose it into a work of art. In Anthony's words, "Part of the natural beauty of this tree is reconstructed to appear frozen in time, as if a human-made wind swept out across its original form…In the precarious balance between artificiality and the real, this tree captures the essence of modern dilemmas where the beauty of nature is warped by the dawning aesthetic of an omnipresent digital interface."

Falcon Meets Crow

As the daughter of falconers, San Island singer-songwriter Rianna "Emree" Franklin based her stage name on a falcon. Like her namesake, her career is soaring to new heights, like meeting inspiration and rock star Sheryl Crow on NBC's "Today Show" in December 2019 in a segment titled, "Women Who Rock: Music & Mentorship." Crow had career advice for Franklin, not just about being a woman in the music industry but especially about using trauma and pain in the songwriting process. At the end of the interview, Franklin played her first single, "Hurt Forever" for Crow. "I love it," Crow told Franklin afterward. "It sounds like a hit. I'm afraid to say that because you never know, but it sounds like a hit." To learn more about Emree Franklin, visit her website at  

New Products, Packages, & Experiences

Wavin' Wildflowers

This spring, Shearwater Adventures is excited to offer Island Wildflowers by Kayak! Every spring, a few island nature preserves in the San Juans are carpeted with colorful native wildflowers. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a leisurely paddle to one of these special islands. Shearwater uses stable two-person kayaks and provides all the necessary paddling equipment – no experience is needed. Shearwater's professional guides include detailed instructions, and they know where to look for the best wildlife sightings. Common sights include harbor seals, river otters, porpoises, sea stars, bald eagles, and more. Contact: Jeff Zbornik

Girl Paddle Power

Calling all Women! This summer, you can enjoy three days of kayaking and first-class camping on our Women's Weekend 2020 with Crystal Seas Kayaking.  Their "all-female kayak crew" will teach you new kayaking skills and help you build confidence as a paddler and camper. This weekend is all about laughing and having fun in a safe and encouraging environment; while creating new friendships with ladies who share your passion for the outdoors.  At the end of the day, you can relax while your guide prepares delicious, fresh and local, gourmet food and wine. Come alone or with a friend to experience our Women's Weekend 2020 with Crystal Seas Kayaking. Contact: Brooke Friesen (360) 378-4223;

Bioluminescence by Boat

Paddle the calm waters around Roche Harbor with San Juan Island Outfitters to see the phenomenon of glowing bioluminescent plankton. Stirring of the water by small animals, fish, and paddle strokes ignite the reactive plankton creating a phosphorescent glow. The Bioluminescent Kayak Tour will be offered around new moons during summer months only. Nothing short of magical, this twinkly trip is sure to amaze. Contact: Emily Schaller (866) 810-1483

Affinity for Doe Bay

Visitors and guests to Doe Bay Resort and Retreat on Orcas Island have always had the option of choosing an annual or seasonal membership to the Doe Bay Spa and Soaking Tubs. Coming in 2020, they're rolling out a new Affinity Membership so guests and neighbors can enjoy all of Doe Bay's exciting offerings while receiving substantial discounts on massage, Doe Bay Store purchases, and food in the critically lauded Doe Bay Café. Membership benefits include no fee for spa use with your membership card, a 20% discount on all purchases in the Doe Bay Store, Doe Bay massage, and lodging, and complimentary guest passes. Interested in learning more? Call the Doe Bay front desk at (360)376-2291 or visit

Elopement Escapes

Whether you arrive by air or by sea, the grounds of the historic Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites are a remarkable location to celebrate an elopement. They've designed a variety of packages beginning at just $899 to help get planning started, including food and drink options, floral and ceremony design, video and photography services to capture the special day, and luxury add-ons such as in-room massages, gourmet dining at its own Coho Restaurant, and even private round-trip flights to the Island from Seattle. Contact: Molly Sheridan (800)965-0123; 

Nature and Stewardship

Greener Clipper

Travel service provider Clipper Vacations has become a member of Green Marine, a voluntary environmental program for the maritime industry in North America. "Minimizing our environmental impact is a responsibility we take seriously," said David Gudgel, Clipper's CEO. And from David Bolduc, the executive director for Green Marine, "It's great to see the Green Marine program gaining more recognition within the ferry sector to reduce waste and to operate in a cleaner, green, and more sustainable manner. Clipper Vacations participation will help them clearly benchmark performance and pursue continual improvement." Green Marine's environmental certification program provides a map for ship owners, port authorities, terminal operators, and shipyard managers to voluntarily reduce their environmental footprint.  Contact: Scott Meis

Forest School in Session

Kaleidoscope Forest Preschool on Orcas Island is the first licensed full-day outdoor preschool in the nation – where instead of gathering around cubbies inside, kids play in the "mud kitchen," whittle spoons, and go on nature hikes. The preschool takes place entirely outdoors in all weather conditions from September through June. The curriculum is fluid, focusing on learner-led outdoor play that encourages curiosity and exploration. Amber Paulsen, Kaleidoscope's director, says outdoor schools like this are a proven way to combat "nature-deficit disorder" – the growing gap between human beings and nature. Her students, aged three to five, are thinking about their relationships to nature more, and are more self-aware, physically and emotionally. Outdoor early education has been popular in Scandinavia for decades but is recently becoming more prevalent in the United States.  Contact:  kaleidoscope@orcasonline.com

Changing the Planet with Road Scholar

Not-for-profit Road Scholar, the world's largest educational travel organization, is launching six community-based programs as part of a series called Our Changing Planet, aimed at helping participants understand the local impacts of global climate change, and more importantly, outlining actions communities are taking to mitigate and adapt to these changes. In the San Juans, participants will be able to see the efforts to protect marine life, promote Leave No Trace, and work towards food and housing sustainability. "We developed this new series of environmental learning experiences to provide insights into the science behind global warming and to learn about real-life solutions being practiced throughout the U.S. Participants will also learn what they can do in their local communities to protect the environment and will take away a deeper understanding of this complex issue," said James Moses, President, and CEO of Road Scholar. Learn more at or email Randy Martin

Beaverton Forever

The San Juan Preservation Trust (SJPT) and the San Juan County Land Bank have teamed up to protect the Islands' largest freshwater marsh in Beaverton Valley on San Juan Island. In 2019 the Land Bank purchased acreage connecting two existing preserves at opposite ends of the marsh, creating a newly consolidated 500-acre publicly owned nature preserve. The newly acquired property ensures permanent protection of the rural character and striking vistas at the edge of the county's most populated area. The marsh also acts as a giant filter and sponge, serving the vital functions of freshwater purification, storage, and aquifer recharge.

Awards and Anniversaries

The 40th Expedition

San Juan Kayak Expeditions, the Island's original sea kayak outfitter, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020. After living and paddling throughout the San Juans, Tim Thomsen started San Juan Kayak Expeditions to share his passion for paddling and the natural beauty of the islands with others. Tim, now joined by wife Sally, still owns and operates SJKE today. They will be celebrating the 40th anniversary all season long, so be sure to check out the specials on or their Facebook page to enjoy some savings, gifts, and prizes! Stop by their colorful outdoor kiosk at 275 A Street in Friday Harbor anytime this summer, call (360) 378-4436, or email  

Sailing past 50

Sponsored by the San Juan Island Yacht Club, the 50th Shaw Island Classic Sailboat Race will be Saturday, August 8, 2020. The race starts from Friday Harbor and circumnavigates scenic Shaw Island in either direction, arriving back in Friday Harbor for a lasagna dinner served by First Mates at the clubhouse. Contact: Jim Corenman (360) 378-5156

Cruising into 2020

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, ranked as the 8th most traveled airport in the U.S., is forecasting another record year in 2020. A testament to the Port's commitment to international aviation growth—a larger, more efficient, and welcoming International Arrivals Facility will open in 2020. The Port of Seattle has also just won its second Cruise Critic Award for Best North American Homeport 2019. Cruise Critic, the world's largest online cruise resource, additionally named Seattle' Cruiser's Choice' in their Top 5 Destinations of 2019. Contact: Patti Denny

Autumn Edition, 2019

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Grand Openings, Lodging Upgrades

Breakfast and Bed

Setting itself apart from other island lodgings, Otters Pond B&B is more of a “breakfast & bed,” as the new owner, Amanda Zimlich, is a Northwest native and a classically trained, professional chef. The breakfasts at Otters Pond B&B are quickly becoming legendary amongst her guests, as she offers a unique and delicious breakfast each morning, prepared using organic ingredients from her garden and island farms, and eggs laid fresh each morning by her hens, The Golden Girls. Otters Pond Bed & Breakfast is a boutique luxury five suite inn situated at the water’s edge of Otters Pond, next to Moran State Park- a birder’s paradise. Contact: Amanda Zimlich  

Thyme for Main Street

For the last two decades, Eliza and Chris Morris, the wizards behind the curtain of Island Thyme Bodycare, have been developing their soap and skincare line and connecting with customers at local stores and farmers markets. The longtime dream of creating a more permanent storefront came true when they took over Crow Valley Gallery in the heart of Eastsound. Now called the Island Thyme and Crow Valley Shop and Gallery, the space will continue to showcase the work of other local artists. The first official art opening starting this August will feature the work of Susan Mustard, who works primarily in oils but also makes collages from old book covers. Contact: Eliza Morris

New Piper for Point to Point

There’s a new kid on the block at Point to Point Air, a popular on-demand air taxi service between the San Juan Islands and destinations across the Pacific Northwest. The Piper Cherokee 6, PA 32-300 is called the "Big 6" by pilots and aviation enthusiasts. A low wing, fixed gear aircraft that is capable of seating up to 6 passengers (5 comfortably) will get you quickly to your destination. While you travel at 140 mph or more, you will enjoy the recently upgraded paint and leather interior with modern GPS based avionics. The Cherokee 6 has front and rear baggage areas with two doors for loading, a door at the front of the aircraft as well as a large double door in the back. Once airborne, Seattle to Friday Harbor is only 40 minutes away! Contact: Jeanne Howe

Food, Wine, and Chefs

Raw Deals at Friday Harbor House

There’s no better way to enjoy summertime in the Pacific Northwest than unwinding with fresh seafood, craft cocktails, and panoramic views. Located on the restaurant’s Portside deck, The Raw Bar at Friday Harbor House offers the freshest local seafood--from Washington oysters, mussels, and scallops to tuna poke, Dungeness crab, and more. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the harbor view--frozen margarita in hand. The Raw Bar at Friday Harbor House is open daily through October, noon - 5.p.m. Contact: Megan Filarski

A little bit sweet

Friday Harbor Chocolates has added Keto-friendly, no sugar added, and CBD-infused truffles to the array of mouthwatering temptations. The sweets shop specializes in handcrafted chocolates from accomplished chocolatiers in the San Juans as well as mainland Washington and Oregon. Try one (or several!) today with owner Aylene’s selection of Ports and Northwest-made dessert wines, including varietals from San Juan Vineyards and Lopez Island Vineyards. Contact: Aylene Geringer 

A sip of the Salish Sea

Tea Salish Sea invites you to experience the taste of the islands, right in your cup!  They're growing tea here on San Juan Island and blending it with the flavors of the islands, along with carefully selected teas and spices from around the world.  With delectable and new tea flavors like their Sea Salt Assam, Dandymint and Rosemary Beet Green, plus classics like Steamwhistle Black Tea and Sencha Green Tea, Tea Salish Sea has your new favorite tea waiting just for you.  Visit us at, email, or phone (888) 822-4337 to learn how you can taste a cup of the islands!  And be sure to join us for the San Juan Island Farm Tour - they'll be there with our friends at Dancing Seeds Farm.

Exhibits & Activities

Natural Art

The three fall exhibits at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art showcase important aspects of the natural world. Food for Thought by Robert Dash offers a micro perspective on how one part of nature–our food–is connected to climate change. Tide of Transitions by Cathryn Mallory was inspired by the vast kelp forests of the Pacific Northwest. The Natural World of Malcolm Curtis Ross shows off Ross’ love for his extensive garden and local forests. Madrones are a favorite subject as he captures their varied colors through the four seasons. Exhibits open September 27th and run through December 9th, 2019. Contact: Diane Martindale

San Juan Island Half

Run where the sea meets the sky – on San Juan Island.  Coming May 2020, Orca Running is proud to present the San Juan Island Half, featuring quite possibly their most scenic course.  The course is stunning, and the island is a wonderful place to spend a weekend. Bring your family, run the race, and then stay to explore the island and make memories together.

Lighting up the night

This season Shearwater Adventures is excited to introduce their new evening Bioluminescence Tours (2-hours in duration) launching from Orcas Island. In late summer and early fall, the bioluminescence is at its peak. They use stable two-person kayaks and supply all of the necessary paddling equipment. No experience is needed. Shearwater’s professional guides provide detailed instruction, and they know where to look for the best wildlife sightings. Common sightings include harbor seals, otter, porpoise, sea stars, bald eagles and more. Contact: Jeff Zbornik

Kayaking with a twist

Outdoor Odysseys has partnered with local Washington breweries, wineries, and yoga studios for a twist on their classic kayaking trips! They run Beer and Kayaking trips with Icicle Brewing from Leavenworth, Bellingham's Wander Brewing, and Seattle's Fremont Brewing. Their wine trips are with Boudreaux Cellars of Leavenworth, and their yoga and kayaking tour is run with various yoga instructors from the Seattle area.  Contact: Christina Deierling (360) 378-3533

Adventure on Lopez

Western Washington tour company Outdoor Adventures has brought their love of adventuring to Lopez Island, offering kayaking tours and rentals at Spencer Spit State Park. Explore the Salish Sea on one of their tours, from early morning excursions to sunset paddles, and discover the Islands from a pelagic perspective. Contact; Bryan Turek

Nature and Stewardship

Killer Socks

It started with Salmon-Safe beer to benefit the SeaDoc Society, and now there’s a new Orca Sock from KAVU to benefit San Juan Island’s Center for Whale Research, the leading voice for the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (orcas). The Orca Sock features rad killer whale patterns in a wool/synthetic blend, and twenty percent of the profits from their sales will go toward the study and conservation of orcas. The new Orca Socks will sell for $25 and available at KAVU stores in downtown Seattle, Ballard, and online at  

Access Granted

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board have awarded San Juan County nearly 4 million dollars in grants for projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat. Among the projects is the purchase of ten acres along the western shore of Lopez Island for a public beach and for launching hand-powered boats. The area is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail. Rarely used in the past because there was no way for paddlers to launch or take out, this project will fill the gap. Orcas Island’s Moran State Park will expand with the purchase of 55 acres that will extend the park’s trail system and give visitors access to the shoreline for the first time.

Keeping It Clean

A new sewage pump-out for recreational boaters is now open at the Shaw Island General Store. Longtime owners Steve and Terri Mason hope it will be both a convenient amenity for customers and help protect the water quality of the Salish Sea. Funded by Washington State Parks’ Clean Vessel Act program, the new pump-out facility provides service in a high need area and adds to a much larger network of pump-out facilities across the state. Boaters should call the store ahead of time for service at (360)468-2288. 

Awards and Anniversaries

Ale Accolades

San Juan Island Brewing Company brought home the gold medal at the 7th Annual Washington Beer Awards for their Quarry No. 9 Pale Ale in the English Pale Ale category. This is the second Washington Beer Award for the two-year-old company—their Bull Kelp ESB won a bronze medal in 2018. Don’t miss their Oktoberfest on October 12th! Contact: Sean Aylward

An Excellent Storm Season

San Juan Island author Susan Wingate received a 2019 Book Excellence Award for her psychological thriller Storm Season. Drug abuse is a key element threading through the action, and Wingate hopes the story will resonate with women who have children at-risk, and that they will come away from it feeling empowered to overcome the odds. The Book Excellence Awards is an international competition dedicated to recognizing both independent and traditionally published authors and publishers for excellence in writing, design, and overall market appeal.

Super Stars

Friday Harbor High School’s Aerospace Design Team, also known as Island Orbital Technologies (IOTech) became World Champions at the 2019 International Space Settlement Design Competition World Finals. Alongside teams from four other schools – India, Uruguay, Canada, and the U.S. – IOTech created a 60-person aerospace corporation, Rockdonnell, which won this year’s world finals at the Kennedy Space Center, Center for Space Education. Their 50-slide design briefing is the result of an incredible amount of work, collaboration, communication, design, redesign, compromise, ingenuity, and imagination.

Dropbox of hi-res images:  

Summer Edition, 2019

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Grand Openings, Lodging Upgrades

Boathouse on the Bay

At the heart of Doe Bay Resort is the Boathouse. Once a simple storage space, it’s coming to life in 2019 as both guest lodging and event space. The main floor will have two bedrooms with water views, a den, and two baths, including a steam shower room. Upstairs, the top floor will have some of the best views on the property, and the open floor plan, commercial kitchen, and fireplace make it a natural for intimate wedding receptions, yoga retreats, and private concerts. The Boathouse will open for reservations in August. Contact: River Augenstein; 

Room in the Cattails

Historic Victorian bed-and-breakfast Old Trout Inn has added a new pond-view room. Though there is a microwave and refrigerator, guests can enjoy an exceptional breakfast (made by a former White House chef!) and choose to have it elegantly presented in the dining room, in the privacy of the room, or on the deck while admiring the many types of birds that frequent the pond. Contact: Henri or Nicole  

Outlook’s new lookout

The Outlook Inn has just completed an expansion. Five luxury rooms located across the street from the New Leaf Cafe overlook Indian Island and East Sound. Called the Water’s Edge Suites, each room boasts freestanding soaking bathtubs, fireplaces, and original art. The newly completed Water’s Edge event space [500 sq. ft/44 sq. meters] and outdoor waterfront lawn provide stunning views and the perfect place to hold a small reception for weddings, and business or wellness retreats. Contact: Sara Farish 

Food, Wine, and Chefs

To market, to market

Following an extensive remodel, The Market Chef re-opened for its’ 18th year of business on May 13th, 2019. Customers will find more than a fresh coat of paint; a new revolving seasonal sandwich menu, the addition of new retail space and regional beer, cider and wine on tap complete the menu. Owner Laurie Paul has sourced unique, locally made, culinary-themed housewares and her favorite specialty grocery items, and you will find them in the new retail space, available to browse while you order lunch. The new “On Tap” program means that customers can now enjoy a pint or schooner of beer, hard cider, Nitro cold brew or glass of wine with their lunch or afternoon snack. Contact: Laurie Paul

All for wine and wine for all

Amid 60+ hour corporate work weeks, Southern California traffic, chaos, and a brand new beautiful baby boy, Wesley and Tera Landman quickly saw this wasn't how they wanted to raise their son, Winston. So they set off in pursuit of a place where they could plant deep roots and join a community that aligned with their life values. During this search, they vacationed on Orcas--"their happy place"--and it all clicked. Driven by their family-first approach to life, they set out to invest in a family business--and Orcas Island Winery was simply waiting for them. The Landmans will retain the award-winning winemaker behind Orcas Island Winery's premium Washington State wines as they apprentice and begin crafting their own wines, a multi-year endeavor, including their ultimate goal of producing an estate wine. Contact: Wesley and Tera Landman orcasislandwinery@gmail.com

Remodel at Roche

Historic Roche Harbor Resort is renovating two of their waterfront restaurants. The floor in the Madrona Bar and Grill was lowered to match the deck, and with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, the outdoors comes in for a delightful al fresco dining experience, perfect for summer. Classic McMillin’s Dining Room needed a little extra TLC due to the age of the building (built in the 1880s). A brand new kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows replace the 60s-era wood paneling and bring the vivid island sunset inside. Executive Chef Bill Shaw and his team are still finalizing a new menu, but fan favorites like the 40-day aged prime rib will make a reappearance when the restaurant reopens in July. Contact: Sam Niland,  

Makeover for Mia’s

Island favorite Mia’s Café on Orcas is getting a makeover with new owner Shawna Hanan. Hanan will keep the breakfast and lunch schedule, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Starting in the fall, Hanan hopes to arrange a regular schedule of guest chefs to present pop-up dinners. The back of the building will become a separate coffee shop run by Hanan’s business partner Whitney Page. Witty Coffee and Donuts will offer single origin espresso from Counter Culture Coffee Company and caffeine-free options like beetroot lattes and selections from the Orcas company Enchanted Forest Tea. Customers will be encouraged to bring their own mugs.  “We are overlapping everything,” Page said. “Shawna is serving my coffee in the restaurant, and her baked goods will be in the coffee shop. We both love the earth and are very sustainably minded.”

Coho Cares

In 2018, Coho Restaurant in Friday Harbor decided to stop serving salmon, a crucial food supply for the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. In 2019, they’ve taken their commitment to sustainable practices even more public by transparently listing all the farms and vendors who contribute ingredients to each entrée. Chefs Ryan and Tim have gone past farm-to-table and gone full nose-to-tail and root-to-bud in their cooking. “Take a bundle of kale,” says Tim. “We are using the leaves, cleaning and blanching the stalks to grill, then using all of the other scraps and making a pesto out of that.” On most weeks, he and Chef Ryan are close to 99 percent on usage.

Exhibits & Activities

Power of Potential

Alchemy Art Center is a new non-profit organization on San Juan Island, fulfilling a vital role as a place where artists of all ages can work, and where the larger community can explore artistic expression.  They offer ceramics, photography, and printmaking classes, as well as studio membership. Alchemy is open to both locals and island visitors. They host weekend workshops in all of their studios, as well as classes for adults and children. Contact: Maria Michaelson alchemyartcenter@gmail.com

Tree of Life

Cedar has been a “Tree of Life,” providing material for many uses. Humans have approached the cedar tree with respect, skill, and knowledge. This year’s featured exhibit at the Orcas Historical Museum is titled: Cedar. Co-curated with Rivkah Sweedler, it contextualizes cedar in nature, history, and art and includes photos from the Museum’s archives, baskets, tools, and more. The exhibit includes an interactive cedar processing station that allows visitors to touch, smell, soak, and beat bark. Contact: info@orcasmuseum.org

Remodel at Roche

Historic Roche Harbor Resort is renovating two of their waterfront restaurants. The floor in the Madrona Bar and Grill was lowered to match the deck, and with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, the outdoors comes in for a delightful al fresco dining experience, perfect for summer. Classic McMillin’s Dining Room needed a little extra TLC due to the age of the building (built in the 1880s). A brand new kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows replace the 60s-era wood paneling and bring the vivid island sunset inside. Executive Chef Bill Shaw and his team are still finalizing a new menu, but fan favorites like the 40-day aged prime rib will make a reappearance when the restaurant reopens in July. Contact: Sam Niland,  

Makeover for Mia’s

Island favorite Mia’s Café on Orcas is getting a makeover with new owner Shawna Hanan. Hanan will keep the breakfast and lunch schedule, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Starting in the fall, Hanan hopes to arrange a regular schedule of guest chefs to present pop-up dinners. The back of the building will become a separate coffee shop run by Hanan’s business partner Whitney Page. Witty Coffee and Donuts will offer single origin espresso from Counter Culture Coffee Company and caffeine-free options like beetroot lattes and selections from the Orcas company Enchanted Forest Tea. Customers will be encouraged to bring their own mugs.  “We are overlapping everything,” Page said. “Shawna is serving my coffee in the restaurant, and her baked goods will be in the coffee shop. We both love the earth and are very sustainably minded.”

Coho Cares

In 2018, Coho Restaurant in Friday Harbor decided to stop serving salmon, a crucial food supply for the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. In 2019, they’ve taken their commitment to sustainable practices even more public by transparently listing all the farms and vendors who contribute ingredients to each entrée. Chefs Ryan and Tim have gone past farm-to-table and gone full nose-to-tail and root-to-bud in their cooking. “Take a bundle of kale,” says Tim. “We are using the leaves, cleaning and blanching the stalks to grill, then using all of the other scraps and making a pesto out of that.” On most weeks, he and Chef Ryan are close to 99 percent on usage.

Exhibits & Activities

Power of Potential

Alchemy Art Center is a new non-profit organization on San Juan Island, fulfilling a vital role as a place where artists of all ages can work, and where the larger community can explore artistic expression.  They offer ceramics, photography, and printmaking classes, as well as studio membership. Alchemy is open to both locals and island visitors. They host weekend workshops in all of their studios, as well as classes for adults and children. Contact: Maria Michaelson alchemyartcenter@gmail.com

Tree of Life

Cedar has been a “Tree of Life,” providing material for many uses. Humans have approached the cedar tree with respect, skill, and knowledge. This year’s featured exhibit at the Orcas Historical Museum is titled: Cedar. Co-curated with Rivkah Sweedler, it contextualizes cedar in nature, history, and art and includes photos from the Museum’s archives, baskets, tools, and more. The exhibit includes an interactive cedar processing station that allows visitors to touch, smell, soak, and beat bark. Contact: info@orcasmuseum.org

New Products & Apps

Sea Salt is Made for Grilling!

Popular San Juan Island Sea Salt is looking forward to the warmer weather with their new grilling blends. The new steak blend is smoky and peppery with mustard and coriander notes to round it out. The BBQ blend features tomato and paprika and is the perfect seasoning for anything cooked over a fire. Contact: Brady Ryan

Check in while you ROAM

The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) ROAM app is a free mobile application that provides an option for pleasure boaters to report their U.S. entry to CBP via their smart device or a tablet located at local businesses to satisfy reporting requirements. In limited areas, travelers arriving in remote locations may also be eligible to use the CBP ROAM app. Contact your local POE to confirm arrival notifications via the CBP ROAM app are accepted. Travelers should download the CBP ROAM app on their web-enabled smart device. For more information:

Writings and Musings

Skully from Shaw

Dagney Skully and the Pendulum Bead Strings is the adventure of nine-year-old Dagney Skully and her family living at Shaw Island County Park. As her family struggles to make ends meet, Dagney accidentally comes across some information about a scandal that could create an unrepairable catastrophe. Written by San Juan Island author Sarena Schumacher, who describes Skully as “more than just a book. It is an attempt to create a movement of positive interactions between people through goodwill and the notion of paying-it-forward.” 

Nature and Stewardship

Lean, Green, Ferry Machines

For Earth Day, Washington State Ferries launched their two-year Sustainability Action Plan that outlines goals and actions for greener ferries and terminals. The plan presents six focus areas: greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, biodiversity, water, waste, and community impacts and engagement. Among the tactics are plans to remove dangerous creosote-coated timber from Puget Sound, develop an electric hybrid ferry program, and implement operational efficiencies to reduce fuel consumption. Contact: Hadley Rodero (206) 470-0524

Whale Wise

Following new orca recovery bills passed by the Washington State legislature this spring, the Be Whale Wise guidelines webpage has been revamped to help educate and empower boaters to be whale stewards. This includes the Whale Warning flags that are available to boaters who want to alert others to the presence of whales, urging everyone to slow down and prevent negative human-whale interactions. For more information:   

Read for the whales

Saving Our Oceans is a robust accounting primarily of plastic pollution slowly blanketing the oceans (and earth). The author also covers the illegal slaughter of whales and dolphins, the International Whaling Commission, and most importantly, a chapter on what we individually can do to help stop the cataclysmic catastrophe that is unfolding on this planet. Saving Our Oceans is informative and infuriating, but ultimately, it promises a bit of hope. Proceeds from sales will be donated to the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor. For more information:

Awards and Anniversaries

Orcas Island one of New York Times’ Places to Go in 2019!

Orcas Island is listed in the #33 position on the New York Times world list, published January 9th.

The Times captions its photo: “A small Island is attracting big-time foodies.” It goes on to say, “The horseshoe-shaped Orcas, one of the largest islands that make up the San Juan archipelago, has gained fame in recent years for its impressive tide-to-table culinary scene and experimental wines, attracting among others, Oprah Winfrey.” With shout-outs to Doe Bay Wine Company, James Beard-nominated rising star chef Jay Blackinton, the historic Outlook Inn for its luxury waterfront cottages (opening this summer) and the expansion of Moran State Park; it’s a powerful testament to the allure of Orcas Island.

A Centennial Celebration

Lime Kiln Lighthouse turns 100 years old on June 30, 2019. The Friends of Lime Kiln Society’s birthday celebration includes lighthouse tours, live music and performances, silent auctions and raffles, arts and crafts, keynote speeches from the Coast Guard and Washington State Parks and lighthouse experts, and even a lighthouse anniversary wine label. An epicenter for research, education, and inspiration, this distinctive island landmark is considered one of the most photographed icons in the San Juan Islands. Lime Kiln Point State Park, also known as Whale Watch Park, welcomes 350,000 visitors from roughly 40 different countries every year. Contact: Erin Corra;

Winning Whiskey

Orcas Island Distillery’s West Island Whiskey was judged American Single Malt Whiskey Best in Category at the 15th Annual Judging of Craft Spirits. The whiskey, released in 2018, received both the Best in Category award and a gold medal in this year’s competition. Orcas Island Distillery continued the winning streak with another Best in Category for its Apple Brandy Eau de Vie, a title it has held every year since the apple brandy was first released in 2016. Contact: Charles West distiller@orcasislanddistillery.com

From 100 to 2000 in 15 years

Orcas Events started with only 100 chairs to rent, and now 15 years later, is the top event equipment rental company in the San Juans with over 2,000 chairs, a variety of tents, a vintage pine outdoor dance floor, and contemporary tableware featuring mahogany chargers and European-style crystal. They have also added 8’ high faux wood box planters that can help hide restrooms and give event staff a private location and be out of photos. Serving parties for 2 or 1,000, they can “orcas-strate” your dream. Contact: Veronica San Martin

Dropbox of hi-res images:

Media Contact:

Barbara Marrett

Communications Manager

(360)378-6822 ext. 8 

Early Spring Edition, 2019

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Grand Openings, Lodging Additions, & Chef Shuffles

Takeoff at Paine Field

Alaska Airlines launched their new North Puget Sound service from Everett’s Paine Field this spring, with 18 daily nonstop flights connecting to eight cities across the West – Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. This puts travelers an hour closer to Anacortes, the gateway to the San Juan Islands.

Outlook’s new lookout

The historic Outlook Inn is in the midst of expanding. Five luxury rooms located across the street from the New Leaf Cafe will overlook treasured Indian Island and Eastsound. Called The New Leaf Cottages, each room will offer guests freestanding soaking bathtubs, fireplaces, and original art. A small meeting space and lawn are also under construction, allowing the business to host additional meetings, retreats, and events. Contact: Sara Farish 

Friday Harbor House Goes Raw Out!

For Friday Harbor House, a new patio last year just wasn’t enough. This summer, they are opening an outdoor Raw Bar. Guests can expect a menu filled with oysters, ceviche, poke, crab, mussels, caviar, and seafood towers. Pair this briny rainbow with champagne, wine, a frozen margarita, a Bloody Mary, or beer on tap and watch the sun go down over the harbor. Contact:

Three Chefs are Better than One

As the saying goes, the sum is greater than each of the parts. The powerhouse trio of Chef Ryan Lockhart, Chef Tim Payne, and Pastry Chef Jessica Bryan will increase the capacity of Friday Harbor’s Coho Restaurant. Each night they will present and execute a more intricate a la carte menu along with a weekly Chef’s Tasting menu. This will allow expanded hours and services while maintaining and strengthening the relationships with local producers. Contact: Anna Maria de Freitas

New Opportunity for Outstanding Local Chefs

Drew Downing and Avery Adams have new roles as general manager and chef, respectively, at The Loft at Madrona restaurant in Eastsound on Orcas Island. They’ve put Matia, their popular pop-up dinner series, largely on hold to take on this challenge. The Loft, perched on one of the most breathtaking waterfront dining settings on the island, will continue as a bar and fine dining restaurant in the tradition of predecessors Christina’s and Allium restaurants. Drew and Avery will also offer The Loft as a private event space with fully customizable unforgettable dining experiences. The Loft’s large patio affords unparalleled views of East Sound fjord, an illuminated onyx bar, an open and airy dining room, local & fresh dining options, happy hour, and wines for all occasions. Under their direction, The Loft promises to be an exceptional addition to the renowned dining scene on Orcas Island. Contact:

Cider out of the Cellar

Madrone Cellars and Ciders is the new kid on the block of the San Juans’ local liquid arts scene. Since 2017, husband and wife team Shaun and Amy Salamida have worked with Bellevue Farms for their local hard cider apples, and also manage their estate vineyard for local grapes. In addition to the local fruit, they source from select vineyards and orchards in the Yakima Valley of eastern Washington. Visit the San Juan Island Farmers Market every Saturday, April – October, to meet Shaun and Amy and taste their local Sparkling Hard Ciders and Wines. Madrone Cellars & Cider is also available at Kings Market, San Juan Island Co-Op, and local restaurants. Contact:


Events & Activities

Snapshots of Soldier Life

Two new exhibitions, MY WAR and companion exhibit A War Never Ends open April 5th, 2019 and run through June 3rd, 2019, at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA), located at 540 Spring Street in Friday Harbor. MY WAR features the Vietnam War through the lens of the “average Joe.” The exhibition showcases photographs, poems and journal entries by twenty-five Vietnam veterans from around the U.S.. Complementing the pictures in the main gallery; the north gallery will hold a more intimate display called A War Never Ends. It honors the Vietnam wartime experience of San Juan County men and women. Their stories will be told through personal artifacts and statements that reflect their scars and memories, good and bad, from the war. Contact: Diane Martindale

On the Road with Meat Machine Cycles

Friday Harbor bike shop Meat Machine Cycles now offers scheduled as well as customized cycling tours on San Juan Island. “Our friendly and professional local tour guides have created sets of itineraries that will take you to all of San Juan Island’s most iconic locations and tourist hotspots. We offer a fun-filled cycling activity for friends and the whole family. We are currently offering History & Birding Tours, Sunset Tours, and customized tours for more personalized adventures,” says Seth Cox, owner of Meat Machine Cycles. Cyclists will be provided with a local professional guide, lunch, snacks, and traditional/electric bicycles.

A Sweet Spot for Skinny Tires

The upcoming Friday Harbor Bike Fest is the third annual bike ride sponsored by the San Juan Lions Club. In the past, this event was known as the Friday Harbor Bike-n-Brew. This year’s event will coincide with the 30th annual San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour. There will be numerous ride options, a 12-mile ride, a 20-mile ride, and a metric century. Other choices include the option to take in the San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour (approximately 37 miles) by biking from studio to studio or just choosing your own course on our beautiful island backroads.

Friday Night Wine

The Friday night tastings at Doe Bay Wine Company in Eastsound have been growing steadily, and on many nights the little shop finds itself bursting at the seams!  Moving forward, each Friday night tasting will feature three time slots. Each of these will be 45 minutes and limited to 12 seats. Those who haven’t reserved a spot will be accepted based on the room. Owners Cole and Stephanie believe this format will lead to a more relaxed and educational tasting experience with ample time, and space, to ask questions and interact with their special guests. Contact: Cole Sisson

PNW Women Come to Waterworks

Waterworks Gallery in Friday Harbor has a long tradition of reinvention in its 34 years. For the 2019 show season, they are introducing the concept of the Art AiSLE. The gallery dedicates a specific area every month to host a new body of work that highlights female artists from the Pacific Northwest. Starting in mid-April with Debbie Daniels. Working in oils, Daniels portrays the dynamic relationship of the lights and darks on the shores and in the local waters, capturing the depth and beauty of the landscape.

Awards and Anniversaries

A Centennial Celebration

Lime Kiln Lighthouse turns 100 years old on June 30, 2019. The Friends of Lime Kiln Society is planning a celebration that includes lighthouse tours, live music and performances, silent auctions and raffles, arts and crafts, keynote speeches from the Coast Guard and Washington State Parks and lighthouse experts, and even a lighthouse anniversary wine label. An epicenter for research, education, and inspiration, this distinctive island landmark is considered one of the most photographed icons in the San Juan Islands. Lime Kiln Point State Park, also known as Whale Watch Park, welcomes 350,000 visitors from roughly 40 different countries every year. Contact: Erin Corra;

Barn Owl Bakery Brings Home the Bacon

Sage Dilts of Lopez Island’s Barn Owl Bakery took home the grand prize in the NASDA Foundation’s Women’s Farm to Food Competition for 2019. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) created the Women’s Farm to Food Competition to support women leading agricultural and food businesses. As part of the grand prize, Dilts was awarded $20,000 to help grow her artisanal bakery. Find Barn Owl bread year-round at Blossom Grocery and the Orcas Co-op. Restaurants that serve Barn Owl bread are Vortex Cafe, Vita’s Wildly Delicious, Poutine, Catkin Cafe, Rosario Resort, and Ursa Minor. Contact: granary@barnowlbakery.com;   

Good Food for Girl Meets Dirt

Introducing Shiro Plum Tree Bitters, the newest product development from Girl Meets Dirt and just named a 2019 Good Food Awards Finalist along with classics like the Lemon Lavender Shrub, the Rhubarb Lavender Spoon Preserves, and the Shiro Plum with Mint Preserves. Visitors can try all of these and more in the newly expanded tasting room and retail shop. The original space will now be used exclusively for production and storage - but no fear- they’ll retain the big barn doors so that customers can continue to peep in on what’s happening in the kitchen, something tourists and locals alike have always enjoyed. Contact Audra Lawlor,; (360) 375-6269

Honor for Anthony Howe

Anthony Howe, a kinetic sculptor based on Orcas Island, is perhaps best known for creating the Olympic cauldron at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. But in 2019, Howe will receive the special “Lorenzo il Magnifico” Prize of the President for the XII edition of Florence Biennale, a prestigious international contemporary art exhibition in Florence, Italy.

Chef on the Rise

Orcas Island Chef Jay Blackinton, who daringly split his locavore haven Hogstone’s Wood Oven into two restaurants in 2017 with the advent of Aelder, is once again a semifinalist for the 2019 James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year. This makes the fourth nomination Blackinton’s received since 2015. Aelder’s focus is on a seasonal tasting menu while Hogstone’s is an outdoor venue focused on pizza, salad, and more rustic fare. Contact: Jay Blackinton,; (360) 376-4647

Fete for a Ferry

Back when a gallon of gas cost 23 cents, and before Alaska became a state, the M/V Tillikum began its public service on the waters of Puget Sound. Washington State Ferries has unveiled the first ever 60 years in service decoration aboard the Tillikum, the state’s oldest operating ferry. While the Tillikum has covered every route in its long history, it now serves the inter-island route for the San Juan Islands. Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the United States, and one of the most extensive in the world, based on the number of vessels and ports of call.

Writings and Musings

Love for Lopez

Rie Anders might be a romance novelist, but her stories aren’t just about the connection between two people. They also resonate her passion for the San Juan Islands. The latest installment in her Lopez-based series, titled On Island, will be released in May 2019.

All the Buzz

Orcas Island author Thor Hanson has won one of the annual Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association’s awards for his latest book, Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees. Hanson, a conservation biologist and Guggenheim Fellow, has also written The Triumph of Seeds, The Impenetrable Forest, Feathers, and the illustrated children’s classic Bartholomew Quill. The PNBA, a non-profit trade association that supports independent bookstores, literacy, and free speech in the region has given out awards to authors residing in the region since 1965. The winners, chosen by a committee of independent booksellers, were selected from more than 400 books published last year. 

The End of Zombie Romance

Author Isaac Marion grew up in small towns around the Pacific Northwest before finally moving to Orcas Island, pursuing careers in writing, painting, and music until one of these finally sparked with the publication of his debut novel in 2010, Warm Bodies. He spent the next eight years writing the rest of the story over the course of four books, now concluded with The Living. The New York Times bestselling Warm Bodies Series has captivated readers in twenty-five languages, inspiring a major film and transcending the zombie genre to become something "poetic" (Library Journal) "highly original" (Seattle Times) and "ultimately moving" (Time Out London).

Nature and Stewardship

Whales and Ales

Ghostfish Brewing launched Killer Ale IPA this spring, a bold and distinctly Northwest-influenced India Pale Ale brewed to benefit Washington-based Orca Protection and Rescue. Founded in 2018 by Captain Hobbes Buchanan, Orca Protection and Rescue (OPR) is dedicated to the protection and rescue of all marine wildlife in the Salish Sea by reducing private and commercial vessel harassment, assisting with strandings and entanglements, and removing ghost fishing gear, marine debris, and plastics. Killer Ale IPA will be available on draft at the Ghostfish Brewing Taproom and in limited 16 oz. can 4-packs at select retail locations throughout Washington. 10% of the proceeds from the sale of Killer Ale IPA benefit OPR.

The Saga of the Southern Residents

San Juan Island naturalist and author Monika Wieland Shields has released a new book, Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents. The Southern Resident killer whales are icons of the Pacific Northwest, a beloved population of orcas that are considered the most-watched whales in the world. Despite decades of research and focused conservation efforts, they are on the brink of extinction. From the capture era and the beginning of killer whale research to the whale-watching boom and endangered listing, the whole story of the Southern Residents is told here. Contact: Monika Wieland Shields

Eavesdrop on Orcas from Home

A new internet app called OrcaSound allows citizen scientists to live stream the ocean sounds of the Pacific Northwest from anywhere in the world, to help gather data about the Southern Resident orcas and their environment. Scott Veirs, the project’s lead researcher, developed OrcaSound because he saw an opportunity for engaged citizens to help fill gaps in the study of orcas. The whales have long been well-observed in the summer months when the weather cooperates, and the orcas are more accessible to scientists, who survey them by boat. But questions have lingered about their lives during other times of the year.  Now, in any season, listeners can notify researchers to the presence of whales, so they can rush out like first responders to collect essential data.

Greener than the Lettuce

The San Juan Island Farmers Market is putting green in more than the produce. Starting in 2019, they’re eliminating all single-use plastics. No more cups, cutlery, or plastic bags allowed! The San Juan Island Farmers Market features delicious island-raised produce, berries, colorful bouquets, eggs, and dairy products, as well as fresh local seafood, shellfish, meats, and cheese. The market also features freshly cooked and prepared foods made from local ingredients: paella, po'boys, falafels, Chinese dumplings, baked goods, pizza, crafts, music and more!

Salish Sea Wild Video Series

The SeaDoc Society invites viewers to explore the magnificent wildlife of the Pacific Northwest in a new adventure series called Salish Sea Wild. The first episode, featuring Steller sea lions, debuted in January.  Hosted by science director Dr. Joe Gaydos, the team will travel from the salmon streams born in snow-capped mountains to the rich upwellings of the Pacific Ocean, encountering the wildlife – giant octopus, orcas, sea lions, and the bears, seabirds, and the other captivating creatures – that depend on this diverse environment. Team SeaDoc is partnering with scientists advancing our knowledge of these natural wonders and learning how we can all work to preserve our precious emerald sea. New episodes will appear at as well as SeaDoc’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram feeds. Contact: Justin Cox

Solving Sea Issues with Samsung

Students at Friday Harbor High School are working to solve a local environmental problem with technology, and a global electronics company has taken notice. Friday Harbor High’s Eco Club has brainstormed how to reduce the number of crab pots lost in local waters by designing ways to locate and salvage the lost catchments using a remote-controlled underwater ROV to search the ocean floor, then retrieve the traps with bags. In November 2018, Samsung named the students as one of the 250 national finalists in a competition called Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, which encourages students to work out real-world local issues science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM.

Dropbox of hi-res images:

Contact: Barbara Marrett, Media & Communications Manager

Phone: (360) 378-6822 ext. 6,, 

Late Fall Edition, 2018

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Events & Activities

A Centennial Celebration

Lime Kiln Lighthouse turns 100 years old on June 30, 2019. The Friends of Lime Kiln Society is planning a celebration that includes lighthouse tours, live music and performances, silent auctions and raffles, arts and crafts, key note speeches from the Coast Guard and Washington State Parks and lighthouse experts, and even a special lighthouse anniversary wine label. An epicenter for research, education and inspiration, this special island landmark is considered one of the most photographed icons in the San Juan Islands. Lime Kiln Point State Park, also known as Whale Watch Park, welcomes 350,000 visitors from roughly 40 different countries every year.

Updating and upgrading history  

The San Juan Island National Historical Park is preparing for a major makeover. A new visitors center, campsite, and programming aim to make the park more accessible and engaging in the coming years. “Music at the Bay” at English Camp, a contemporary art exhibition at both American and English Camps called “Becoming American,” and geological hikes up Young Hill and Mount Finlayson will keep both visitors and locals busy. Other new additions include an English Camp group campsite off of West Valley Road and a new visitors center at American Camp. Contact: Brandon Cadwell, Chief of Interpretation, M

Orcas Island is “Lit!”

The Orcas Island Lit Fest (OILF) is a new annual celebration of literature and community held in an inspiringly beautiful place. Now in its second year, the festival brings together writers and readers, visitors and locals, for three days of panels, workshops, readings and events, including a venue-hopping Lit Walk through Eastsound and a free, kid-friendly Family Fest. This is a chance to engage with world-class fiction, nonfiction and poetry authors in an intimate setting that welcomes everyone who loves books.

Hill yeah!

The San Juan Island National Historical Park received an additional 320 acres near Mitchell Hill. This move preserved 2.9 miles of trails and a 19th century military road. Brandon Cadwell, Chief of Interpretation, 

Grand Openings & Lodging Upgrades

Sipping on the dock of the bay

Though small, the Bodega at Champagne Champagne is making a big splash. Located just steps from the Orcas Island ferry dock, Amelia Carver, an Orcas Island native, and her fiancé, Brian Crum, opened the small wine bar in 2017. Since then, they’ve continued construction on an adjacent space and plan to develop a fully functioning restaurant. Carver describes their current wine bar as a, “dive-bar format with a killer selection.” They’re part of a growing business community at the Orcas ferry landing and hope to encourage more walk-on visitors to explore Orcas.

Welcoming Saltwater Farm

Overlooking the Salish Sea sits Saltwater Farm. One of San Juan Island’s newest event venues, this 162-acre farm is equipped to host weddings, meetings and retreats, and overnight guests. With five guest houses, an event barn, multiple ceremony sites and hiking trails, this exciting new venue is just getting started.

Cooking in the ‘Shed’

Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm unveiled a new venue – the Net Shed. The new addition is located just steps from the water’s edge and offers unobstructed views of Westcott Bay – ideal for weddings, parties, meetings and more. Deb Nolan of Island Cooking Co. was named the exclusive caterer for the new venue. The local caterer is whipping up crowd favorites that naturally include Westcott’s delicious shellfish, along with other island fare. ;

Moran Makeover

Moran State Park received a summer makeover after the State Parks and Recreation Commission initiated a $20 million master plan to revitalize the park. The 1930s-era observation tower atop Mount Constitution received structural restoration, updated interpretive panels and better lighting. The updates will continue for the next 11 years, with new ADA-compliant comfort stations and a new interpretive center on the way. Campground updates, trail expansions and upgraded facilities are also outlined in the master plan.

Orcasong Weddings

The Orcas Island farm, Orcasong, is joining the list of other unique island venues. Opening its doors to weddings, couples are invited to enjoy the inspiration and romance of the Lavender fields, walking garden, and orchard. Indoor ceremonies are welcomed in the Gallery Barn, and guests are invited to stay in the newly renovated Farm House, Lavender Studio, yurt or camping sites. This special farm destination offers discovery, wellness, inspiration and connection for all.

“Picturing” yourself in the islands

San Juan Party Pics on San Juan Island is ready to document your island parties! With open-air style photo booths for rent, the new company is perfect for weddings, business retreats and special events. Choose from fun backgrounds and props that will make any event memorable.

Outlook’s new lookout

The Outlook Inn is in the midst of expanding. Five luxury rooms located across the street from the New Leaf Cafe, will overlook Indian Island and Eastsound. Called The New Leaf Cottages, each room will boast freestanding soaking bathtubs, fireplaces and original art. A small meeting space and lawn are also under construction, allowing the business to host additional meetings, retreats and events.

Camp around! Camp, camp, camp around!

M&W Auto introduced new vehicles that will allow adventurers to sleep or camp a little easier. The company now provides VW Eurovan Weekenders that will allow travelers to tent camp around the islands, as well as 24’ travel trailers that are fully equipped for a weekend on the go.   360-378-2794

The Tour San Juan Island

Take a four-hour tour on San Juan Island. Local naturalist, photographer and author Julie Corey is sharing her 30 years of island adventures across seven stops around the island. Incorporating wildlife viewing, shopping and dining, this family-friendly private tour will help you feel like an islander in no time! (360)378-7895

Memorializing Friday Harbor founder and his Bob   

The Town of Friday Harbor selected northwest artist Gareth Curtiss to complete a life-size bronze sculpture of Captain Edward D. Warbass. Considered the founding father of Friday Harbor, Warbass will be featured sitting on a park bench with his dog, Bob. By summer 2019, the pair will be placed on the sidewalk at the First Street entrance to Sunshine Alley.

New Products

Apple meets brandy meets preserves  

Girl Meets Dirt debuted Brandied Pink Pearl Apple Spoon Preserves, recently. Partnering with Orcas Distillery, this new preserve includes aged Apple Brandy, made from local, heritage apples. The Orcas Island company also introduced new mini shrub 4 packs and mini spoon 5 pack boxes. Perfect for gifting, these TSA-friendly jars are full of the great flavors you know and love.

Scrub-a-dub with San Juan Island Sea Salt

Take San Juan Island Sea Salt from your table to your bath. The local company released their new bath salt line that includes lavender, cedar, Douglas Fir and rose scents. Made from mineral rich sea salt, pure Epsom salt and organic essential oils, these new salts make for great gifts or stocking stuffers.


Blooming with awards

Blossom Grocery received the 2018 Store of the Year award from the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association. Awarded in recognition of their continued stewardship and ongoing commitment to the INFRA community, the Lopez Island grocery store is a regular supporter of community events and demonstrates a commitment to the core values and mission of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association.

Cheers to Bull Kelp

San Juan Island Brewing Company received a bronze medal at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival competition for its brew, Bull Kelp ESB. The beer balances hints of toffee with a warm biscuit malt character. A touch of hop bitterness helped it place third in the Extra Special Bitters category. This is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States.

Writings and Musings

Writing the Interisland

Iris Granville is the Washington State Ferries’ first ever “writer in residence.” She travels on the inter- island route, finding inspiration from the islands. The Lopez Island author began her residence in August 2018 and will continue through the next year as she works on an essay collection under contract with Homebound Publications. Say hello if you see her in her “office!”

Honoring Granny

Wild Orca: The Oldest, Wisest Whale in the World pays homage to ‘Granny,’ a southern resident killer whale who lived to be an estimated 105 years old. Told from the perspective of a young girl on a whale-watching excursion in the San Juan Islands, the picture book is informative and celebrates the important role Orcas play in our ecosystem.

Bestselling story

Local author Libbie Grant, whose pen name is Olivia Hawker, reached the Washington Post’s National Bestseller List for fiction. Her novel The Ragged Edge of Night, published in October, is set in Germany during the later years of WWII. Based on a true story, this novel captures the spirit of hope and redemption as a man searches for light in the darkness of war.

A rally for the ‘rally tree’

Jennifer Boyden’s debut novel, The Chief of Rally Tree, will be released and celebrated this November at Brickworks. Awarded the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, her novel’s dark humor and searing take on identity questions has been hailed as, “THE book for this moment in our lives, in our history.”  Contact: Jennifer Boyden

Cooking up some lessons

RA Cook, known to islanders as Rebecca, announced she will publish a children’s picture book, Calvin Splinter and His Splendid Splinter Ideas. After 10 years of working on the illustrations and story, Cook’s finished project carries strong messages of environmentalism, teambuilding and working together toward a common goal. As a bonus, the book is accompanied by a catchy marimba tune called, “The Humming Song.” Contact: Rebecca Cook


Happy Birthday Doe Bay Wine Company

Doe Bay Wine Company celebrated one year in its Eastsound location. Over the past year, the ambitious company has expanded their label, The Orcas Project, added a tasting room and started a new cheese and charcuterie program. Hosting winemaker dinners and in-shop tastings, teaching classes, and participating in local wine dinners, the small but busy company plans to continue their pattern of creativity and attention to local detail.  Oh yes, they also helped create the wildly successful Hops on the Rock event.

A sixth season at San Juan Island Cheese

What began as a retail cheese shop has since become a favorite restaurant. The light menu of its first years has since been replaced by a robust selection of local fare. San Juan Island Cheese continues to expand and plans to add to their takeout menu, San Juan Express. With more take-out lunch and dessert options, the restaurant is celebrating their six years in style.


Contact: Barbara Marrett, Media & Communications Manager

Phone: (360) 378-6822 ext. 6,,

Late Summer Edition, 2018

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Restaurants & Shops

A Beer with a View

If you picture yourself at a cool little craft beer tavern on the waterfront, check out the brand-new beerhouse at the Port of Friday Harbor’s Spring Street Landing Building at 105 Front Street. Tentatively opening under the name “Cease and Desist” they curate a fantastic tap list in a friendly community atmosphere (read, no TV). The idea is to encourage conversation and collaboration. They’ll be teaming up with businesses such as Paellas San Juan, to serve delicious locally made foods at monthly events. Owners Justin Heikkinen and Phil Carvalho met in Portland where Carvalho helped launch two beer bars—Hoplandia and Bridgetown Beerhouse. Their 15 rotating taps (2 are dedicated to cider), feature Northwest favorites and unique specialty beers. Additionally, they will have a "Crowler" machine to create 32-ounce cans on demand of beers on tap for to go customers. Contact: Justin (650) 219-4088;

Living La Vida Lopez with Two New Food Trucks

Lopez welcomes two fun new food trucks. El Taco ‘Bout It is a new taco truck by Jennifer Contreras featuring fresh local meats and vegetables. They are currently serving their delicious tacos at Isabelle’s Coffee on Fridays and at the Lopez Island Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. Contact: Jennifer Contreras;

Maison de Poutine calls Lopez Island home base, but take their poutine show on the road to regional festivals and markets. They serve the much-beloved frites, cheese curds, and gravy with various toppings from chili to Mexican to eggs & bacon. Contact: Jen & Ted Buckallew,

Gold in These Waters

The less than year-old  San Juan Brewing Company in Friday Harbor took home a Gold Medal in the ESB (Extra Special Bitter) category at the Washington State Brewery Association Awards. The Bull Kelp ESB was chosen in a blind taste test by a panel of experts. With over 390 breweries in Washington State; the competition was stiff! Brewmaster Jesse Visciglia remarked, “The ESB, a fantastic beer, exemplifies our dedication to beers that are balanced, highly drinkable and made with the highest quality ingredients in the world.” Find it and 12 other of their micro-brews on tap at the San Juan Brewery and select restaurants and bars in San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties. Sean Aylward, (360) 378-2017;

Creative Minds – A New Artists Co-op Gallery on Orcas Island

Creative Minds Art Gallery on Orcas Island is a gem in the San Juan Islands. It is the first artist cooperative to open in the San Juan Islands since Orcas Islands Artworks so many years ago. The gallery is home to several island artists and debuts several northwest artists whose work has previously only been available by commission. Contact: Janet Gadallah, (360) 622-5309;

The “Port” of Friday Harbor (and Local Chocolates!)

Friday Harbor Chocolates, located in downtown Friday Harbor, is a purveyor of fine chocolates, handcrafted by award-winning chocolatiers from the San Juan Islands as well as the Pacific Northwest. Its licensed wine shop specializes in imported ports, domestic port-style dessert wines, and aperitifs. In addition, made in the San Juan Islands items  are featured, including San Juan Sea Salt (San Juan), Just Heavenly Fudge (Lopez), Rainshadow Sweet and Savory (San Juan), Kathryn Taylor Chocolates (Orcas) and Lopez Island Vineyards dessert wines. Renowned Rogers Chocolates from Victoria complete the picture. Contact: Aylene, (360) 370-0050;

Grand Openings & Lodging Upgrades

The New Web Suites Offer Bird’s Eye View of Friday Harbor

Stay, refresh and re-center in The Web Suites. Each of the three newly constructed, deluxe one-bedroom condo suites are nautically themed; each features a king size bed, kitchen, living area and a modern gas fireplace. Enjoy the Crow’s Nest, a rooftop deck with a 360-degree view of Friday Harbor. Listen to live music over the rooftops, watch the ferry glide by and enjoy beautiful sunsets—or snuggle by the fireplace with a good book. With thirty years of hospitality and service experience, islanders Rex and Lisa Guard want to share their life-long island knowledge with you. Contact: (360) 317-1798;

Snug Harbor Resort Marina Expands

Snug Harbor Resort’s new 60 slip marina will be constructed in deeper water with wider docks and a better functional design. The latest ecological standards will transform the aging marina which welcomes both permanent and visiting yachts. After the marina is completed, guests of the resort—entirely rebuilt over the last three years—will be able to enjoy the convenience of walking from their cabins to the marina to enjoy kayaking tours and whale watching trips provided by Crystal Seas Kayaking and Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching. Contact: Erik Nelson, (206) 498-5608;

Lakedale’s New Yurt Village; With All the Comforts of Home

Lakedale Resort has added a Yurt Village to its portfolio of expansive glamping offerings. The Village is composed of seven well-appointed yurts situated on the southern end of the serene 82-acre property. Offered May through October only, each private, 450 square-foot yurt comes fully furnished, has an en-suite bathroom with shower, electricity, wet bar, refrigerator and wrap-around deck with hot tub and BBQ. Images and the full press release announcing the new yurts. Contact: Althea Conyers Achem,;

Concierge & Wedding Services

Dancing Under the Stars with Orcas Events’ Vintage Stage

In the mood for romance? Orcas Events has a new outdoor vintage dance floor (up to 29 x 39 feet in diameter). Create your perfect wedding ambiance with contemporary lounge furniture, farm tables, and chairs, vintage dishes and silverware, European crystal glassware—all available on Orcas Island, but can go anywhere in the San Juans. Contact: Veronica Ste. Martin,

WaterWorks Gallery’s “Have Art, Will Travel” Service

Ever see an art piece you love but are unsure what it will look like in your home or office space? WaterWorks owner and curator, Ruth Offen, offers a new solution with her “Have Art, Will Travel” service. A frequent traveler to Seattle, Ruth states, “I would be delighted to bring a painting or sculpture from the gallery for a trial period in an office or home.” Since 1984, WaterWorks Gallery has highlighted world-class painters, printmakers, sculptors, jewelers in an intimate and fun gallery space in Friday Harbor. Contact: Ruth Offen, gallery (360) 378-3060; cell (360) 317-8262;

Events & Activities

Local Magician Matthew Laslo Opens Escape Room on Orcas Island

Join in the Escape Room trend, built by Orcas Island’s very own young magician, Matthew Laslo. This Harry Potter-themed escape room gives you and several friends the thrill of following clues to get out of a tight spot. The perfect answer to the question: “what do you want to do tonight?” Contact: Matthew Laslo,;

Craft Brewery and Kayaking Tour

Outdoor Odysseys Sea Kayaking is partnering with local craft breweries for three days and two nights of kayaking, wildlife watching, and pairing locally crafted beers with their delicious camp cuisine. Relax on Jones Island as our expertly guided sea kayaking tour by day becomes a waterfront tasting room by night. Wander Brewing from Bellingham, Fremont Brewing from Seattle, and Icicle Brewing from Leavenworth all are sending their expert brewers and delicious beers their way this summer. Contact: Tom Murphy, (360) 378-3533;

E-Bikes for Rent at Wildlife Cycles

E-bikes are a great way to enjoy Orcas Island! Wildlife Cycles on Orcas Island now offers E-Bikes for rent by the hour, with a 2-hour minimum. The shop is open every day during the summer months, and reservations are recommended. These bikes are pedal-assist and have a range of 30-60 miles depending on the level of assistance. Contact: (360) 376-4708;

27th Annual Wildlife 100 Tour of the San Juans

On Sunday, August 19th, Wildlife Cycles will be hosting our 27th Annual Wildlife 100 tour of the San Juan Islands. Your $10 donation goes to Orcas Island Recreational Program, which provides year-round activities for youth, teens, adults, and families. The Tour will start at Wildlife Cycles at 6:00 am but anyone can meet up with the group at any point of the route. This is an unsupported ride. Contact: Taryn Collis, Operations Manager, Outdoor Odysseys, (360) 378-3533;;

Pod Nods: Not New but Very Cool!

Pod Nod overnight marine adventures return this summer to The Whale Museum! These popular “pajama party” sleepovers are geared for children ages 6 to 11 and will be held on the following Fridays: August 10, and August 24. Pod Nods are led by Museum Educators with assistance from other adult professionals. Youth participants will learn to value whales and their environment through art projects, science labs, games, the traditional flashlight tour of the Exhibit Hall, and a bedtime movie. The museum promises a high adult/child ratio and a whale of a good time! Sign up online: Contact: Tracy Merrill (360) 378-4710 ext. 23;  

Rent a Boat in Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor Boat Rental co-owners Noah Easterbrook and Kayla Short have a passion for boats. Noah grew up sailing around the world with his parents, and Kayla grew up in Friday Harbor with a connection to the natural environment. Together, they hope to share their love of boating and the San Juan Islands by renting their six different boats, from a 24-foot sailboat to a small 13-foot skiff perfect for cruising around the harbor and setting crab traps. Contact: Noah or Kayla, (360) 317-5578;

Savor the San JuansA Medley of Food, Farms, and FilmKeeps Growing

Farm tours, wine dinners, a Bike & Brew cycling event, the Hops on the Rock Beer Festival, and other fun events fill the autumn months, rounded off by Eat Island Grown, a tasting event featuring the farms and chefs of the San Juan Islands. Two unique film festivals—the Orcas Island Film Festival and the Friday Harbor Film Festival also make an autumn getaway an artistic feast this fall. Formerly just in October, Savor events now take place September 9 through November 10. For dates and more information, visit  Contact: Barbara Marrett, (360) 378-6822;

Friday Harbor Film Festival Honors Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd

Captain Watson will be honored on Friday, October 26, during the Friday Harbor Film Festival opening night party. The gala will take place at San Juan Community Theatre, and will include a screening of the film, Chasing the Thunder, a high-seas documentary that follows the eco-warriors of Sea Shepherd as they engage on an epic 110-day, 10,000-mile chase of the notorious poaching vessel, the Thunder. Contact: Karen Palmer,

New Travel Resources

New Blog Shares Stories of the San Juan Islands

See island life from the local point of view in the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau’s new blog, Island Stories, a collection of experiences, sustainable travel tips, and profiles of some of the farmers, artists, adventurers, naturalists, chefs, innkeepers, whale researchers and others who make up the close-knit creative communities of the San Juan Islands. Island Stories features local and regional bloggers writing about life in the islands—nature, the arts, food, sustainability, travel, history, and more. If you have a blog post idea or would like to write a guest blog post, contact our blog editor at

New Storefront and App from Center for Whale Research

For over 40 years, the Center for Whale Research has studied the dynamic populations of J-, K-, and L-pods, also known as the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). Now they’ve taken a step further with the opening of the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center in downtown Friday Harbor this summer. People and orcas are brought face to face with big screen video footage of whales in the wild and other fun displays. And now, a new app by the Center for Whale Research provides budding orcaholics with the opportunity to learn how to identify individual whales, understand their tight-knit social structure, prey choices, and scroll through the Center’s amazing gallery images. Location: 185 S. First St., Friday Harbor. Contact: info@whaleresearch.com



Barbara Marrett,  Media & Communications Manager

Phone: (360) 378-6822 ext. 6,,


Early Summer Edition, 2018

Note: Contacts and phone numbers below are for media follow-up and may not be the best contact for consumers

Restaurants, Lodging, Shops

A Tasting Room for The Orcas Project

Doe Bay Wine Company has remodeled and refocused to provide a dedicated area in Eastsound for wine tasting and educational wine experiences. With themes like Food & Wine Pairing, Wine 101 and Boutique Producers of the Northwest, this promises to be one of the most engaging evening activities in the islands. The Orcas Project are small-production, limited release wines made in collaboration between acclaimed winemakers and vineyards in the Pacific Northwest, featuring labels designed by Orcas Island artists. These are 'get it while you can' wines. Contact Cole Sisson, (360) 376-7467

More Delicious Views from Friday Harbor House

The only thing that could make the views from Friday Harbor House better is more space to enjoy them. An expanded, upgraded outdoor deck at the restaurant at Friday Harbor House is on schedule to be completed this summer! The deck features comfortable seating, a fire pit, and an outdoor kitchen.  With over twice as much available outdoor dining space at the restaurant, there will be plenty of room to revel in Friday Harbor House’s stunning San Juan Channel vistas and feast on Chef Jason Aldous’ delectable Northwest fare. Contact Joleen Zanuzoski, (206) 452-8189

ADA/Drive-up Comes to Lopez Farm Cottages & Camping

Three new year-round campsites have been added to the camping menu. The sites have their own sweet little camp building with a hot water shower, sink and flush toilet. The building exterior has a covered kitchen (microwave, coffee maker, and sink) picnic table, wood-burning fire ring and barbecue. All are designed to meet all the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Farm Cottage owners offer a 50% site discount for wheelchair-bound campers to encourage handicapped guests to enjoy an easy camping experience. Morning coffee is complimentary. Sites are suitable for cars, pickup trucks with camper shells and camper vans. No trailers or RVs due to space constraints. Contact Cathie,  (360) 468-3555

Revamp at Roche Harbor Resort & Spa

The Roche Harbor Village is becoming more village-like every year with the recent addition of new upscale homes for rent by the resort. A new organic market garden now supplies the resort’s three restaurants with fresh, local vegetables, berries, and flowers. The historic Hotel de Haro enjoyed major renovation of the Presidential Suite (where President Theodore Roosevelt is rumored to have stayed) and Sunset Suite this winter. The majority of the hotel rooms have been refurbished and the historic miners’ cabins, condos, and McMillin Suites have all been refreshed recently as well. In April, the lovely new Courtyard Suite overlooking the Pavilion Courtyard will open. Trent Huntsman is McMillin’s Dining Room new sous chef, bringing years of experience in kitchens across the country. The new menu will provide a balance of classic dishes and iconic Northwest staples. Contact Alyssa Ostenrude, (360) 378-2155

Brunch at Ursa Minor Select  Summer Sundays

You can expect a classic spread with a creative Ursa Minor twist. The preset menu possibilities may include crepes, yogurt, eggs, cured meats and pickles. Offering a creative agrarian northwest cuisine, Ursa Minor is a destination that is uniquely Lopez. Come enjoy an experience that reflects the idyllic island setting. Chef Nick Coffey works closely with local farmers, fishermen and foragers to offer a constantly evolving menu of inventive small plates, complimented by a unique list of natural wines. Contact Nova, info@ursaminorlopez.com (360) 622-2730

‘Thyme’ for Goats

Since 1996, Island Thyme™ has been creating botanically-based skin and body care products in small batches from their farm and apothecary studio on Orcas Island. Essential oils, wild-crafted herbs, distillate waters and natural emollients like shea butter and jojoba oil are just a few of the muses that guide their original recipes. Now a small herd of goats has arrived at the farm. Goats’ milk soap will be a silky addition to the line this spring.

Grand Openings

Time to be Juanderers™

A small design studio in Olga, Washington fashions the allure of a big lifestyle brand. Starting this spring, these stylish island goods are exclusively available online. Weary travelers and loyal locals can rejoice in the convenience of scoring the perfect souvenir, or a bit of homegrown apparel, whenever and wherever they’d like. They’ve tirelessly toiled over their designs and have handpicked their apparel and merchandise. Plus, they’ve worked really hard to craft a fun and comprehensive online shopping experience. Most important:  they’re on the Islands, for the Islands. They’ll split a dollar of every shirt that they sell three ways to help all islanders: whales, wildlife, and humans. Contact Scott Hale,; (315) 527-4891

Tours, Concierge & Wedding Services

Salish Sea Tour Company

A new tour company, the Salish Sea Tour Company, started its tours in June. Featuring brand new, 12-person, custom Mercedes high-top vans with local tour guide/drivers. The morning tour's focus is on the Island’s scenic beauty and artists. The afternoon tour's focus is on the local food and beverage scene. Each tour highlights four to five fascinating local businesses and sites. Several times a week, an early morning photo and coffee tour will take guests from Rosario Resort & Marina up to Mount Constitution to sip coffee, eat pastries and explore the view. From learning how to shuck oysters to picking out vegetables at farm stands, each tour will focus on the highlights but also the people and ideas behind them. Space reservations Contact Cole Sisson, (360) 376-7467

The Isla Vida Group

The Isla Vida Group is a local travel & concierge company that specializes in enhancing your San Juan Islands travel experience. It is their goal to take the time to get to understand your style of travel, and then customize your itinerary to suit your tastes. Making your trip exceptional is about taking care of the details. Whether you’re a solo outdoor enthusiast, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or on your way to wedding activities, a family vacation, business retreats and more, The Isla Vida Group is your go-to resource for stress-free travel planning. Contact Taryn Hall & Sarah Shaefer, (800) 277-1956

Orcas Island Tours & Islands Weddings and Events

Didier Gincig has created a new tour business on Orcas Island for travelers visiting for a dream vacation, a wedding, a special event, or a family trip. A long-time islander-turned-local-guide will share the best places on the island, whether it’s in nature, in town, or even a tour of the breweries and best drinking spots. They will also help with logistics for couples who are coming to the Islands to be married. Islands Weddings and Events will coordinate a wedding venue, caterer, wedding cake, flowers, DJ, photographer, videographer, officiating services, and even help with lodging, transportation, and all that is needed for a successful wedding for all the visiting guests. Tours: Didier Gincig, Weddings: Didier Gincig, (360) 298-0362

New Events, Exhibits, and Activities

Conversations with Gee’s Bend at SJIMA

On display at San Juan Islands Museum of Art from May 25th – September 3, 2018, Part II of the Museum’s 2018 theme The Female Gaze. Fifteen years ago an astounding exhibit of quilts made by women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama toured the country. These women, descendants of West African slaves, inspired artists across the country to speak through their work. Exhibiting artists in this show work in conventional and unconventional materials across a variety of media, some traditional, some unconventional. What they all have in common is a particular aesthetic, a direct response to the amazing Gee’s Bend quilts, where artists inspire artists. Contact Diane Martindale, (360) 370-5814; Annie Adams, (360) 378-2638

Field of Blues

The Orcas Center Summer Concert Series takes music lovers outdoors. What could be better than the landscape of Orcas Island combined with a concert of your favorite music? “Field of Blues,” in partnership with Mt. Baker Farm, is a new summer outdoor music series that celebrates a variety of musical genres that will attract music lovers across all demographics. Contact (360) 376-2281 ext. 4

Turn Island Wildlife Refuge Kayak Tour

Just five minutes from Friday Harbor this new half-day guided kayak trip offers a fantastic few hours of paddling, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Spend the morning exploring the secret bays and paddling the protected waters of Griffin Bay and Turn Island National Wildlife Refuge. Deep forest, quiet beaches, mountain views and plenty of wildlife highlight this half-day adventure! San Juan Kayak Expeditions has been sea kayaking here since 1980, and it shows in their knowledge of the “secret places” to go! This trip is reminiscent of sea kayaking in days past. Contact Sally Thomsen, (360) 378-4436

Awards and Anniversaries

Good Food Award for Girl Meets Dirt

Girl Meets Dirt on Orcas Island is well known for its archipelago preserves with heirloom varietal fruits and fresh herbs. Now their new line of shrubs is gaining recognition, with the Ruby Spiced Apple Shrub winning a 2018 Good Food Award. Tart Everest crabapples are juiced and accessorized with star anise, cinnamon and black pepper for a warm spice especially suited for warm days and cold, dark rum. Contact Jessica Brinson, (360) 375-6269

James Beard Nomination for Blackinton

Orcas Island Chef Jay Blackinton, who daringly split his locavore haven Hogstone’s Wood Oven into two restaurants last year with the advent of Aelder, is once again a semifinalist for the 2018 James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Aelder’s focus is on a seasonal tasting menu while Hogstone’s is an outdoor venue focused on pizza, salad, and more rustic fare. Contact Jay Blackinton, hogstone@gmail.com (360) 376-4647

West Beach Resort turns 80

West Beach Resort, a rustic getaway on the west side of Orcas Island, celebrates 80 years as a destination resort with a rebuilt marina and brand-new playground. Contact Jamey Hance, (877) 937-8224

Kirk House Honored by TripAdvisor

Kirk House Bed and Breakfast in Friday Harbor has been recognized in the B&Bs and Inns category of the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards for Hotels, ranking #20 out of 25 in the United States. The 1907 Craftsman style house exudes turn-of-the-century charm and is surrounded by lovely gardens with serene seating areas. Contact Roxy Kasman, (360) 378-3757

New Owners as Vic’s Drive Inn turns 60

Cheeseburgers and milkshakes, a classic American combination popular since the days of poodle skirts and sock hops, are go-to menu items at Vic’s Drive Inn in Friday Harbor. Vic’s has been proudly serving the San Juan Islands since 1958. While the beloved Drive Inn (that isn’t a drive-up) has been spruced up, it hasn’t lost its 50s charm. Its where the locals go for an affordable meal and a great burger! Contact Brian Carlson, vicsdriveinn@gmail.com (360) 378-8427

Wolf Hollow Celebrates 35 Years of Wildlife Rehab

Since it was founded in 1982, Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehab Center on San Juan Island has provided care for over 16,000 injured and orphaned wild animals, with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Hummingbirds, swallows, woodpeckers, eagles, owls, herons, snakes, raccoons, deer and seals are just a few of the more than 200 species of wildlife that have been cared for at Wolf Hollow. Contact Amy Saxe-Eyler, (360) 378-5000  

Lime Kiln Lighthouse turns 100 in 2019

Likely the most photographed object in the San Juan Islands, the photogenic lighthouse will celebrate its centennial with special events, tours, and exhibits. Located at Lime Kiln Point State Park on the west side of San Juan Island, AKA Whale Watch Park, it’s one of the best areas in the world to see orca whales from shore.  Contact: Erin Corra, erincorra@folkssji.org

Dropbox link to photos:



Barbara Marrett, Media & Communications Manager

Phone: (360) 378-6822 ext. 6,


Winter Edition, 2018


Shops, Restaurants, Lodging


Lavender in Eastsound

An institution on San Juan Island, Pelindaba Lavender Farm has expanded is aromatic empire to the charming shopping district in the heart of the village of Eastsound on Orcas Island. The shop offers more than 250 products, from lotions, teas, vinegars, oils, cleaning products, pet products, all made from oil distilled from lavender grown on their farm on Wold Road on San Juan Island. The spacious new store opened on Main Street in July 2017 amidst other locally owned boutiques, galleries and restaurants, just a 15-minute drive from the Washington State Ferry Terminal. Contact: Amelia,

Lakedale Resort adds yurts and activity center

Lakedale will be opening its 8 th different type of accommodation in 2018. Current options include: a cozy lodge, log cabins, Airstream trailers, canvas-sided glamping tents, canvas cottages, campsites, RV campsites, and now yurts. Each of the seven new 24-foot yurts on the shores of Fish Hook Lake will be decked out with all the amenities you’d expect from a glamping site, including a queen-size bed with pillow-top bedding and flannel duvet, a table and four chairs, a cordless lantern, bath linens, and a Toasty Toes turndown service. They also will be breaking ground on a new activity center where you can make tie-dye shirts, learn how to paddle board, paint your own birdhouse, create crazy jewelry, and take a campfire cooking class. Contact: Karl Bruno,

North Beach Inn restores historic Lodge

On the northern shore of Orcas Island, the North Beach Inn is a historic resort featuring quaint beachfront cabins. Its recently re-opened Lodge was built in 1932 as the original dining hall for the resort. A gracious front porch overlooks a beautiful sand and gravel beach just steps away. And, a generous fireplace, vaulted beamed ceiling, deep bay windows maintain its period charm. This distinctive building, designed in the style of an 1800s Scottish hunting lodge, features an 800-sq. ft. event venue with a commercial-sized kitchen. Along with a dozen beachfront rental cottages, the Lodge is a perfect venue for conferences, seminars, and retreats of up to 50 adults. Contact: RuthAnne Comrie, ruthanne@northbeachinn.net

Local meat now on the menu at Doe Bay Café

This year brings a big change to Orcas Island’s popular café which has gained local and national kudos for its pescatarian menu and fresh locally grown fare. "We are very excited to announce we will now feature locally raised meat on our menu," says Chef Jon Chappelle. "We will be sourcing our meat with the same set of standards that we do all of our products, utilizing only locally produced, organic, and ethically raised animals." The Doe Bay Café menu will maintain focus on produce from its one-acre onsite garden, and "vegetable-forward" cuisine. The Café is a member of Island Grown in the San Juans  (, which promotes locally grown products. Contact: Chef Jon Chapelle,

Doe Bay Wine Company open

Sommelier Cole Sisson, who worked at The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and at many restaurants in Seattle, grew up just down the road from the Doe Bay Resort & Retreat on Orcas Island. Sisson has returned to Orcas with his wife Stephanie, where Doe Bay Resort (and Orcas Island in general) has is now a foodie mecca. In honor of where he grew up, Sisson named his new wine shop Doe Bay Wine Company, and features a thoughtfully-curated international selection of wines, beers & ciders. The Sissons also host themed tastings, a lineup of classes and personalized, private tastings. Sisson also has created his own line of wines, the Orcas Project, for sale at the shop. Contact: Cole Sisson,

The Exchange on Orcas Island reopens

Recycling in the Islands is almost a religion. A new thrift shop with a long history opened on Orcas Island in late 2017. An island institution, The Exchange was a part of the transfer station, attracting locals and visitors alike in search of treasures. A fire broke out in 2013, and The Exchange burned to the ground.  The resilient community persevered, and Orcas Recycling Services/The Exchange took over the San Juan County Transfer Station seven months later. Orcas Recycling Services’ goal is to be a model for sustainability, by creating a new kind of recycling, reduction, and reuse system, the new and improved Exchange is part of that goal. Contact: Pete Moe, pete@gmail.com

New Permanent Exhibits at Whale Museum

The Whale Museum becomes multi-lingual and more--Audio tours are now available in English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, and Japanese at the museum. A new exhibit, The History of Endangered Orcas, explores over 50 years of research using historic images, audio recordings, and games. Organized by decade, each section describes major discoveries and how they changed our understanding of an animal that was feared and hated and has now become a symbol of the Pacific Northwest. The Museum’s new Challenge Wheel encourages actions to protect the marine environment. Whichever wedge you land on gives a simple action to take in your life to help endangered orcas. Contact: Rebekah Cousins, Museum Curator,, (360) 378-4710 ext. 31;

Planes, Trains & Bicycle Wheels

New airline finally takes off...connecting Canada and the San Juans for the shortest international flight in North America. Starting February 2, 2018, NorthStar Air Tours will offer daily flights from Sidney (near Victoria), British Columbia to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The nine-passenger small plane has been waiting for FAA approval, but has now received the go-ahead to fly several flights a day. It’s just a 15- minute hop between San Juan Island and Vancouver Island. It’s perfect timing, as the International ferry from Sidney B.C. to Friday Harbor, WA, takes a winter hiatus every year.; (888) 604-7272. Media Contact: Sophia Siegal,, (250) 800-1381

Bicycle Adventures adds trips

Bicycle Adventures, a bike touring company offering trips in the San Juan Islands, lets you choose from one-day to six-day trips. Enjoy a comfortable van ride from Seattle – take your own favorite bike or use theirs – and then beat the traffic back to Seattle on a fantastic 45-minute floatplane ride over the stunning San Juan Islands. When you land on Lake Union in Seattle, your bike will meet you there.

Activities & New Events


Ride the Train at Mount Baker Farm Campground

Mount Baker Farm is a unique, private campground on 80 wooded acres just a 5-minute walk from the village of Eastsound on Orcas Island. Featuring a full-gauge railway on a 2-mile track, a huge barn, historical exhibit and a petting farm with donkeys, goats, and chickens, Mount Baker Farm is an ideal location for families. Wooded campsites are scattered throughout the back of the property, and the campground is walk-in only, so kids can play safely. The train can deliver you to your campsite or canvas glamping tent, where camp chairs, hammocks, dinnerware and butane stoves are provided. Contact: Cheryl, (360) 376-2425

Writer Island Workshop with Artsmith

Spend two days in an intimate and supportive setting, and enjoy an infusion of new craft techniques and the stimulating conversation of other serious writers including Alaska writer and workshop leader, Peggy Schumacher. The Artsmith Writer Island Workshop on March 2 and 3 takes place at the historic Kangaroo House Bed & Breakfast in Eastsound on Orcas Island. Limited to twelve participants, the workshop is focused on improving the writer’s craft. Contact: Jill Johnson-McCabe,

1st Annual Orcas Island Literary Festival

The Orcas Island Literary Festival brings together people who love to read books with the authors who love to write them. From April 13th to 15th, 2018, festival-goers will participate in dynamic panel discussions, writing workshops, a book fair, and a lit crawl featuring exciting new literary voices, including New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer-prize winning authors. A few of the participating writers include: Victor LaValle, author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, and four novels including The Changeling; Poet Kevin Clark, author of Self-Portrait with Expletives and In the Evening of No Warning; and Kim Fu, author of the novel For Today I am a Boy, winner of the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. Contact: Jule Treneer, Find their press kit, poster and more at



Lime Kiln Lighthouse turns 100 in 2019

Most likely the most photographed object in the San Juan Islands, the photogenic lighthouse will celebrate its centennial with special events, tours and exhibits. Located at Lime Kiln Point State Park on the west side of San Juan Island, AKA Whale Watch Park, it’s one of the best areas in the world to see orca whales from shore.  Contact: Erin Corra, erincorra@folkssji.org

Island Shakespeare Turns 20

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Island Stage Left theatre company, celebrating two-decades of professional theatre productions performed under the stars in the San Juan Islands. Note: additional winter, spring and fall plays and productions are performed indoors. This summer’s play is most appropriate: Shakespeare’s The Tempest—set on an island surrounded by magical creatures and summoning all the forces of nature—and will run from July 5 th through August 12th, with performances on Orcas, Shaw and Lopez Islands from July 5th through July 8th. Contact: Helen Machin-Smith,;

Sleep in a little bit of Friday Harbor History

The Tucker House Inn turns 120 years old in 2018. This sweet little bed & breakfast just steps from the ferry landing in Friday Harbor was built in 1898 by Clarence and Marie Tucker. The Tuckers’ house was eventually transformed into The Tucker House, an inn welcoming visitors for almost 40 years, owned by Coho Restaurant owners Anna Maria de Freitas and Dave Pass.;

Farm-to-Fork Coho Restaurant turns 10 with a new chef

Coho Restaurant, part of the San Juan Island Inn Collection (which includes Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inn), is pleased to announce its 10-year anniversary April 15 th 2018. Executive Chef Timothy Payne will lead Coho Restaurant into its second decade of providing farm-to- fork dining on San Juan Island. Having grown up on a farm, Chef Payne’s passion is deep-rooted. He loves cultivating relationships with farms and food purveyors who are providing the many local ingredients he showcases in his dishes. Contact: Anna Maria de Freitas,;

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