Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lopez Island With Special Guides - The Silver Lining

August 1-3, 2017
Anacortes, Washington

Access to the other San Juan Islands is one of the highlights of staying on Fidalgo Island, in Anacortes. Having wonderful friends staying on Lopez Island for the summer is the best!!

Tuesday morning we take our first ferry ride - we walk on as Eric and Laurel will pick us up when we land. Remember that it's our first time......

I love the Elwha River story so it's special that our ferry is named for her.
Islands, large and small, surround us.
The skies are getting grayer as we get closer to our destination.  Unfortunately it's not clouds.
Lopez Island!
We enjoy the ride, standing outside until the cold wind sends us back inside. Pulling into the terminal we follow other passengers downstairs, but end up on the car deck. We didn't load on the car deck so we go back upstairs looking for the walk-on passenger exit. No signs anywhere. Everyone is gone. Finally we find a crew member who tells us to use the car deck - really? Doesn't sound safe. Making our way through several cars we find our way to the front where the crew gives us the "you're such newbs" smirk and tells us we can disembark after all the cars.....remember it's our first time :-)))

Eric and Laurel are sure we took the wrong ferry until we finally head up the ramp - it's wonderful to see their smiles!

They have worked the last five years as interpretive hosts for the state park here, and are the perfect guides for natural, historic and community highlights. We start off with coffee and a stroll through the cute bookstore and gallery, then head for Fisherman Bay. Before heading to their home for lunch we stop at the Horse Drawn Farm.

This beautiful sculpture reminds me of the Pisces symbol.

Eric explains the unique reef net fishing, a system originated by Puget Sound native tribes. Spotters stand on the towers at each end of the boats to watch for specific fish to enter the nets. The fish are then pulled into a live well on the boat. Unwanted catch are returned live to the water. A much more  humane process than newer ones.

Laurel and Eric, our fun and knowledgeable hosts at Fisherman Bay. Love these two!
A magical place to pick up delicious produce on the honor system - what a treat!

The staff.
Not just produce......
Back at the park we tuck into their private little site for a beautiful and delicious lunch prepared by our talented friends. Wish I'd taken a pic of the colorful salad!

"Round 2" begins with a stop at a peaceful cove. Well, it looks like it's peaceful when the beach isn't full of families. The temps are warmer than normal so folks are naturally drawn to the water.

A perfect spot to anchor for an afternoon or overnight.

Jelly Fish disguised as a large plastic daisy.

Artistic driftwood. Also great bleacher seats for the beach!
Next we stop at the most beautiful spot of the day - Shark Reef. Through the forest along a root-crossed trail to the water's edge. Seals and their babies, a lighthouse across the water, rock cliffs, birds, desolate's amazing here.

I forgot my camera. And my phone!

Can't blame this one on inexperience, I just blew it.

Both Eric and Laurel offer to let me use their photos, and their camera. Such good peeps these friends are.

Even with the thickening smoke, this is a special place. I'm grateful for our time here. We have to come back for sure.

In the distance Cattle Point Lighthouse on San Juan Island keeps watch where the Haro Strait meets the San Juan Channel. (Thanks Eric!)

These harbor seals look like they're floating on the water. Babies splash around the quieter adults. (Thanks Eric :-)))
Too soon our time comes to an end. With hugs and good-byes-for-now to our dear friends, we depart the island.

Yes, we successfully depart the ferry in Anacortes. Stop snickering. Stop it.

With the smoke much thicker on Wednesday morning we abandon our plans to visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We also decide to leave home for a few hours.

The Big Banging Piston Monster
Although we never hear any of the hotel construction we were warned about, this railroad repair work is aggravating. Imagine a giant baby pounding a metal spoon on a metal high chair tray - for hours!

Yet another great recommendation from Eric, we visit the cute town of La Conner. Sitting along the Swinomish Channel, the historic burg is home to less than 1000 residents - but draws many more tourists to its galleries, shops, eateries and lodgings.

We find a parking spot along the main street and enjoy an afternoon of window shopping and people watching. 

The signage is as lovely as the wares.

Several galleries display a variety of styles.

Some courtyards are whimsical.

Some are serene.

Silent Words
spoken to the night sky
reflected by the stars
and heard in the hearts
of those with silent minds.
Lloyd Wannell, 2009
As is often the case in historic towns, the architecture is striking.

Dirty Biter - a cute tribute to a little town dog who was loved by all who knew him. He had his own bar stool and place on the dance floor at the tavern next door to his statue. This courtyard is called Dirty Biter Park in his honor.
The banging is still going strong when I drop Bill off and head to town for groceries. Fortunately it has ceased by the time I return.

Thursday is our last day. It's still smokey and expected to be hot. And the banger is back. 

Let's take a drive in the air conditioned Jeep!

Taking back roads, we drive to Bellingham with a side trip to Samish Island. Open fields of wheat and other agriculture, hardwood forests, lovely island homes, and beautiful bay views entertain us as we take our time exploring this unique area.

 Weathered stripes give this old barn such character.

Many of the Samish Island homes look like they grew there.

Our favorite.

The views from the front must be wonderful sans the smoke. Bellingham - bbbbb,bb

Love their stairs :-)))
Our time in Anacortes has been wonderful - especially our sojourn to Lopez - and we will definitely come back to see more of it. 

Good night to smokey skies.


  1. I love this blog! We've not done Lopez but we did do the ferry to Friday Harbor and spent several days exploring and even a whale watching kayak trip. We love the San Juan Islands. We also loved La Conner but now I want to do Lopez Island. Great blog and great photos.

  2. It is a neat area, for sure! So glad you also had an opportunity to visit Eric and Laurel and their little peace of heaven on Lopez. I wish we had more time. You had a wonderful day even if it was smokey. That is the coolest jelly fish!! And all those harbor seals were quite the bonus. Eric and Laurel are the perfect hosts:) Such wonderful people. You do realize that this is the second post that is missing someone very some of us!

    1. They really are great!

      She gets groomed tomorrow and will be camera-ready once again :-)

  3. I had to think a moment about Pam's comment--then remembered fluffy dog!

    1. Yep! I'm remiss at not including the reason people read the blog :-))))

  4. I don't know where to many of these images and places spoke to me! It cracks me up when seals lay like that! La Conner looks super sweet, as does Samish Island. I think I;d like that area!

    1. Samish Island is very different, we really like it!

  5. Glad you finally found your way off the ferry! I'm looking forward to visiting those islands next year. My favorite was the stone cottage too! The sun really looked cool in that last pic!

    1. We had to laugh at ourselves :-))) You'll love the islands, and usually the weather is a lot cooler and clearer!

  6. I'm bummed that you had to endure smoke and gray skies during your time here. :-(( But you definitely made the best of it. We loved that you guys came to visit us on Lopez. It was so much fun sharing the island with you, even though we couldn't show it off in all its usual beauty. (So now you have to come back!) Love your photos of LaConner. I have photos to send you of Lopez, but of course, you're way ahead of me. I'm blaming it on the terrible internet connection. Hugs to you three!

    1. Your island is wonderful and we had such a great time. We were hoping the smoke was going to lift today but now they're saying it could be worse by week's end :-)))) At least temps are cooling after Friday. We will definitely come back! No worries on the photos, I know your connection is spotty at best. "Borrowing" Eric's worked. Hugs back!

  7. Replies
    1. They're hard workers - and I love their uniforms :D

  8. I absolutely did not snicker, not even once, I swear! I was too busy being envious of your being on Lopez with Laurel and Eric! A great picture of them and of "the staff". Handsome all! Looks like you've had a fine time in the area despite the smoke.

    1. Thank you for keeping a straight face :) I'm always envious when you see them in Florida! We're making the best of the yucky skies.

  9. The first time we were on a ferry we were in our car. Steven was late returning when we reached our destination and I drove right off the ferry and left him. I was pulling Alfred Hitchpop so it was a good three or four long blocks before I could pull over. Soon enough, I could see him walking toward me. He never did THAT again! :) Great trip to Lopez, we've never been!

    1. That's priceless and makes me feel so much better :-)))) Now that we've taken the house on we feel like old pros!!

  10. You've been playing in my old stomping grounds. My ex-husband and I sailed around the sound and may have fed that dog croutons from our dock-side La Connor table. I went to college in Bellingham, a fun town for sure.