Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trips: Orcas Island

Peeps, 

Here are a few pictures from our trip last weekend up to the San Juan Islands. 

Last summer Kenmore Air had a special deal up to Orcas: $80/person/roundtrip. The deal was good only in the winter, which is definitely the off season in the islands. We convinced ourselves we were hardy Pacific Northwesterners and that a little rain and cool weather wouldn’t keep us down. Plus, the thought of a few baby-free days was simply too tempting to resist. 



We dropped Ben off at my parent’s house bright and early Saturday morning and moseyed down to the dock in Kenmore. There is something to be said for arriving for your flight 20 minutes before departure.

Pilot Chris. 



Passenger Sonja.  

This was a Dehavilland Beaver, a plane that was significantly smaller than the ones we’d been on previously. It seats seven (including the pilot) and the ride was significantly bumpier. 


One of the highlights of the trip was picking out our house as we flew down the lake. Hello little house!


And seeing all the huge houses with swimming pools in Laurelhurst and Broadview. Clearly we need to be friends with these people, if only to mooch off their pools. 


Husky Stadium is currently undergoing massive renovations. They should be finished rebuilding the south bleachers by Fall (hopefully in time for the season opener):


And down that giant hole is our newest light rail station. Here is a little update (with pictures) of UW station progress. 

Flying over I-5 and the University Bridge. [Notice the crew shells getting ready to dock at Pocock]
 All the planes fly from Kenmore down to South Lake Union to pick up more passengers before flying north to the islands. 

An aerial view of Gasworks Park. 

Looking west towards the Ship Canal and the Aurora Bridge:


We packed our little plane full and then headed north, across the Sound and over Whidbey Island. Here is the view from 1,000 feet up.



The New York Times last year named the San Juans as one of their favorite places to visit in 2012 and there’s a good reason for that: the islands are gorgeous. 
 The islands themselves are geologically unique as they were bits of an ancient continent that attached itself onto the mainland millions of years ago and then felt the ravages of massive glacial movements that carved the land into sweeping valley and channels. 

Fishermen Bay on Lopez Island:

We disembarked the plane at Eastsound Harbor on Orcas and arrived a few minutes later at our lodgings: 

We’d booked an old caretaker’s cottage overlooking Massacre Bay. Quaint and rustic, the heat was on and music playing when we arrived. We settled down into those couches with a good book and didn’t move all afternoon. 


My mom and dad came up in September and she noted that the one downside of Orcas is that the island doesn’t have many public parks on the water. In contrast, San Juan Island has miles of public beaches and water-front forests that are just itching to be explored. So we made a point to book a place on the water. 

 Although, in all fairness, it was starting to drizzle when I took this picture and we hustled back into the cottage for lunch. So I’m not sure we got our money’s worth out of the water-side location. Still, pretty, no?
 There were kayaks, a hot tub, BBQ, and a fire pit for use as well. 


That night we went out to dinner at the Doe Bay Cafe which was excellent but also reminded me of this scene from Portlandia:




The next morning it was up the mountain for some hiking:


There are stunning forests in this world but I am of the humble opinion that the ones here in Washington are really special.  

Plus we specialize in big trees.


From the top of Sunrise Rock (overlooking Cascade Lake)


You’ll notice that it was so grey that the sun was not in evidence. -sigh- 


After a picnic lunch, a tour of the Moran Mansion Museum, and a trundle through East Sound, it was back to the cabin to pack up our stuff and catch the plane home:


And I was happy that we were flying a larger plane home. Larger meaning a 12 seater. Not a fan of the teeny-tiny ones.



Zipping over Green Lake:


Arrival into the harbor at South Lake Union:

 And then back up the lake towards our casa:
Going over Portage Bay and UW:


Another view of the stadium:


The UW crew house:


St Edward’s State Park


And then home, to see our wee little babe and our goofy dog. What a lovely birthday trip.

xo, 

Sonja

Resources:
Airline: Kenmore Air
Lodging in Orcas: Cabins On the Point
Dinner: Doe Bay Cafe

Things to Do:
  • Hike Moran State Park (recommended: Cascade Falls & Lake, including Sunrise Rock). Don’t forget to bring your Discover Pass. 
  • Moran Manion at Rosario Resort (free)
  • Walking (and antiquing, if that’s your thing) around East Sound
  • Hike Turtleback Mountain Preserve (within walking distance of Cabins-on-the-point)
  • Kayaking


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