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San Juan Islands Cycling RetreatThe San Juan Islands are magical. Each island has its own, unique feel. The views, people, vegetation, and wildlife all vary from island to island and biking is the perfect pace to take it all in. It is the perfect place to get away from the real world and reconnect with yourself and nature. Thinking back on our week in this amazing northwest corner of our country, there are a few words that come to mind…
Water, Flowers, Family, Whales, Ocean Breeze, Ferries, Fairies, Bald Eagles, Friendship, Food, Mountains, Green, Mist, Waves, Trees, Ice Cream
These things came together to form an amazing trip with new friends both human and animal
Day One we set out on our bikes to shake out our travels and check out the local scenery. After biking across a jetty with views of Mt. Baker and the Cap Sante Marina, we headed towards Washington Park in Anacortes. There we called the whales, saluted the islands, and prepared ourselves for an awesome week. We left the park to attend our own private wine tasting and garden party at my cousin’s house where we dined on fresh seafood and local cuisine all prepared by my very accommodating and generous family.
Day Two we headed over to Orcas Island to take in the water views of Deer Harbor, Eastsound, and Moran State Park. We lunched in the tiny village and ate ice cream on the ferry dock before heading back to the hotel. That night, Jacqueline told stories on the rooftop lounge as we sat in a circle and laughed till it was time to go to bed.
Day Three we stretched ourselves out from the climbs of Orcas Island with a Strong Balance Class and, after breakfast, we caught the ferry to Lopez Island. Sweeping meadows and long beaches awaited us as we cruised the quiet island. Stopping for lunch to sit in the sun, eat fresh baked cookies, and sip on San Pellegrino.
Day Four took us through fairy forests to the shore of Bowman Bay. There we switched gears and hopped in kayaks for a tour around the bay and surrounding shoreline. Seeing bald eagles, crab, and giant jellyfish, we paddled through the morning mist until the sun poked through the clouds. After lunch in town, we headed over to the marina to catch our boat for our sunset whale watching tour. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching a humpback flick it’s tail, eagles, feeding their babies, seals warming themselves on rocks, and a family of orcas swimming through the Puget Sound with Mt. Baker in the background.
San Juan Islands Cycling RetreatDay Five we visited Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, and a gorgeous lavender farm on San Juan Island. After doing a little shopping in Friday Harbor (and of course eating ice cream), we pedaled to Roche Harbor and took in the flowers and the stately historic hotel. At the lavender farm, we cut fresh lavender and ate lavender cookies before heading back to the ferry. That evening we had our closing ceremonies on the banks of the Puget Sound before heading to a delicious salmon dinner with fresh berries for dessert.
Day Six we caught the tiny ferry over to Guemes Island to have breakfast while staring out at the water and watching the eagles. We did a mellow pedal around Guemes, stopping to take in the cute homes, fresh blackberries, and free flowers! After our pedal, we headed back to our hotel to say our goodbyes.
The week truly goes by fast. It is amazing how the quiet foggy mornings, the endless water views, and the delicious dinners can just make you feel like a kid again (or as one Quester put it “human again”). I love sharing the place where I grew up, and where my family spent so much time camping and playing, with the Questers. It is an added bonus that my mom (our SAG for the week), my brother (our cook), my aunt and uncle (wallet maker and wine pourer), and my cousins (let us use their amazing garden) all get to be a part of it.