Friday, September 28, 2012

Cool Climate Island Paradise

Ever since I watched the movie, Lucky Seven, with Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Patrick Dempsey, I was intrigued by the San Juan Islands of Washington State. In the movie, the couple takes a ferry across the Puget Sound to Orcas Island (though it was actually filmed on one of the smaller San Juan Islands). So when I visited Seattle, one of the things on my wish list was to visit Orcas Island. The San Juan Islands are only accessible by ferry (unless you have your own boat). We left from the port of Anacortes, nearly a 2-hour trip (each way) and it was cold, though it was mid-July.

That first visit, we found a rugged fishing camp called Lieber Haven. The cottages were quaint and old, but we loved it. As darkness fell, we dragged chairs out to the beach. I have truly never seen so many stars. We felt almost like we were in church and needed to whisper. A few hours later, as the guys were fishing, we witnessed the most incredible sunrise ever. Perhaps it's just because we were so much further north than I'd ever been. It seemed we were surrounded by light, and it glowed pink, purple and gold.
Orcas off San Juan Island
Rugged Beauty
If you prefer a cool climate paradise, you've found it in the San Juan Islands. Just remember to take plenty of warm clothing, especially for the ferry ride.

A couple of years after that first visit, we returned to the Sound to visit San Juan Island. From San Juan's coast, you can see Victoria, British Columbia. And in this place, between the USA and Canada, we had our first sighting in the wild of a beautiful creature, the Orca whale. We stood in awe, watching them jump.

There were many surprises for us on the San Juan Islands. The view from the top of Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, the Orca whales, eagles, deer, sea otters and lavender fields, just to name a few.

As a setting for your novel, this locale has plenty of potential and the research will be a pleasure. And while you're there, don't miss the Columbia River Gorge and Deception Pass (now there's a story in the making).
Alternate Transportation
Washington State Tourism


  1. Used to live on Whidbey Island. Remember the San Juans well. I could see them from my back porch! Gorgeous, beautiful place.