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San Juan Island
The pearl of Rosario Strait.
The first island getaway south of the border is Lummi, a far easier island to get to than its more famous cousins. A small county ferry makes the short crossing at least once an hour throughout the day. The crossing is cash only, so plan ahead. A car and driver costs $13.
Quiet, tree-lined country lanes traverse the island making biking or walking the obvious recreational activities. Whether to beachcomb, kayak or just plain laze around on the beach will be some of the toughest decisions you’ll make during this interlude. If you’re hungry, you have a number of options.
Take the Slater Road exit from I-5 and head west. Rolling farmland makes for a relaxing and peaceful journey.
At the Silver Reef Casino, you’ll hang a left, but if you’re feeling lucky, stop and play the slots, catch a show or enjoy a delicious seafood or steak dinner.
Once on the island, one essential stop is Willows Inn Restaurant. The New York Times called it one of just 10 restaurants in the world worth a plane ride, citing its “obsessive” focus on fresh, local ingredients and Blaine Wetzel, a 29-year-old chef who previously worked at Noma in Copenhagen, the “best restaurant in the world.” Wetzel was just named one of the best new chefs of 2012 by Food and Wine magazine.
If you can, stay in one of the inn’s farm suites and wander around Nettles Farm, which supplies most of the produce served at the restaurant.
Eighteen miles of country roads beckon bikers and walkers alike. Circumnavigate the island by kayak for a vigorous day trip or camp overnight at the Lummi DNR, a rustic campsite accessible only by water. The Lummi Island Farmers Market takes place Saturday mornings through September within walking distance of the ferry landing, and the Lummi Artists Studio Tour, where the islands artists open their studios to the public, happens three times a year.
For more info, visit lummi-island.com.