What’s New & Cool in the San Juan Islands; Winter Edition, 2018
Press Releases
Written by Barbara Marrett   
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 01:29 PM

 Restaurants, Lodging, ShopsLime Kiln Light by Barbara Marrett

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 (http://islandgrownsj.com), which promotes locally grown products. Contact: Chef Jon Chapelle, [email protected]www.doebay.com 

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) 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 in Eastsound. Contact: Cole Sisson, [email protected]www.doebaywinecompany.com

Lakedale Resort adds yurts and activity center—Lakedale will be opening its 8th 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, [email protected]www.lakedale.com  

North Beach Inn opens Lodge—On the northern shore of Orcas Island, the North Beach Inn is a historic resort featuring quaint beachfront cottages. 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 and it's private and natural setting in 100 acres of woods and pasture, the Lodge is a perfect venue for conferences, seminars, and retreats of up to 50 adults. Contact: RuthAnne Comrie, [email protected]http://northbeachinn.com/lodge-event-venue/

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, [email protected]www.pelindaba.com

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, [email protected]http://www.exchangeorcas.org/

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, [email protected]www.whalemuseum.org;  (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. Reservations: (888) 604-7272. Contact: Sophia Siegal, [email protected]; www.northstarairtours.com(250) 800-1381

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, [email protected]www.mountbakerfarm.com(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, [email protected]www.orcasartsmith.org

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,[email protected]www.oilf.org. Find their press kit, poster and more at https://oilf.org/press-media-kit/.


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, [email protected]http://folkssji.org/ article: https://www.sanjuanjournal.com/life/lime-kiln-lighthouse-turns-100/

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 5ththrough August 12th, with performances on Orcas, Shaw and Lopez islands from July 5th through July 8th. Contact: Helen Machin-Smith, [email protected];  www.islandstageleft.org  

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.  [email protected]www.tuckerhouse.com

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 15th2018. 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, [email protected]www.cohorestaurant.com.