We arrived on Orcas Island and immediately knew we were somewhere different. What a beautiful place. Time did, in fact, slow down there. Here's one of the very first sights we saw.
We got there on Easter Sunday, so it was a little hard to find a restaurant to eat lunch at. We were tickled to find this restaurant, and, in addition to a great name, it had excellent food!
The first afternoon was overcast, but warm and we spent it combing the beach at the resort. We looked for sea glass, saw some sea stars and made driftwood creations for a few hours.
We came back to the mansion (the resort is based around the National Historic Landmark Moran Mansion) for dinner and toured the historic rooms upstairs. This is the music room and all those organ pipes are just for show. The actual workings of the organ are behind them. Since it was originally built to be a player organ, but Mr. Moran wanted his guests to think he was actually playing, he had the keyboard built upstairs in the balcony area. We got to see Christopher Peacock play this piano and the organ later in the week. He is the resort historian and plays the piano every Friday. Mark was so thrilled to see that he would be there because Mr. Peacock's CD, Island Life is one of Mark's favorites.
We spent many happy hours geocaching over the next few days. The first was at this waterfall in Moran State Park (same family who built the mansion).
The waterfall is on the way up to the top of Mt. Constitution which is the highest point in the San Juan Islands. This tower is at the top and there's a geocache hidden there! Chloe finally found it.
Meanwhile, Ryan and I went to look at the view at the very top. This is my favorite view- looking out towards Canada.
We found a total of 8 geocaches and ended up taking home three travelbugs which we will release here in Oregon. These oyster beds were fascinating for us to see. So we made a quick stop to get out and take a look.
I spent several days of this trip at a knitting retreat and during that time there was a whale watch that we all decided to go on. We did this at the last minute- we got the kids up at about 8:50 and we were on the boat at 9:15. Luckily it left from the dock right at the resort. The boat was full of knitters and their families and Chloe joined right in. On the left you can see the only whale that was spotted on the trip (Chloe's little knitted one- isn't it cute?).
We did see a lot of bald eagles and a (pack, pride?) of Stellar's Sea Lions. These guys are massive and we got close enough to hear the growling.
On our last morning we went to town for breakfast and walked around a bit. It was gloriously sunny. This totem pole is right next to the town museum in the center of the quaint little village of Eastsound. Unfortunately, the museum is only open in July and August.
What a wonderful week! It was nice to slow down for a while and do things on a whim. We found that the island is also a great place to get a great meal. I couldn't believe how many wonderful restaurants we came across. There was almost always a long wait, but we were on Island Time! I think the long waits are due to the fact that everyone is hiring for the summer season and so were short staffed. The restaurants we liked the best were: Bilbo's (Mexican), Chez Chloe, Thai Sisters, Lulu's (Italian) and Cafe Olga in the tiny village of Olga. That last one is due a visit whether you eat of not because it's also the home of Artworks, a fantastic art gallery full of local artists' work. There's even a really great independent bookstore on the island and a yarn shop! What more could this mom want? I think a return trip to the magical San Juans will be in order!