Our 20th Anniversary Getaway
19th wedding anniversary
Family travel is wonderful. It truly is. We cherish every opportunity we get to spend together, especially since our oldest, Aaron, is headed off to university next year. A short four years later, our youngest, Elijah, will probably follow. We are not ready yet to be “empty nesters.” I am always amazed at how the little buggers worm their way into our hearts. I never imagined being a dad and now I cannot imagine not being a dad. Isn’t it funny how life works?
However, as much as we love being parents, we also love being a couple. Good or bad, we can probably count on both hands how many times our boys have had a babysitter in their lives. The only time we have spent a night without them home is when they have gone to Boy Scout camp or a friend’s sleepover. So, my wife decided for our 20th anniversary we would get away on our own. Since the boys were going to another scout camp out, it was a perfect time for us to sneak away and enjoy “our time.” However, Albie somehow managed to follow along.
I have to admit, I felt a little odd, and guilty, going without them, but we figured that they would enjoy camping with their friends more than hanging out with some middle-aged lovey-dovey couple. As much as I go on most Scout trips with them, I think they need some time on their own to fly solo too. Plus, I sometimes think that the ground is actually getting harder every year to sleep on. Global climate change phenomenon? Age?
My wife had her heart set on the beautiful San Juan Islands as our getaway destination. We had not been out to visit them in too long. These somewhat hidden gems lie just off the coast of Washington. They make up an archipelago half-way between mainland Washington, United States, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. Although they are completely in the boundaries of the United States and part of the state of Washington, their proximity to Canada caused some issues earlier in their settlement resulting in the often forgotten Pig War with Britain. No humans and only one pig died in the 14 year period. Eventually, the British ceded their claim in the islands to the United States in 1872. No records survive to show if the poor pig received a medal for heroism.
To get to the islands, you can take the 45 minute Anacortes ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island or fly in from several nearby airports. Either way, the voyage out to the islands is magnificent. You may see otters, seals, sea lions, eagles, blue herons, and, if you are lucky, whales! The main islands serviced by ferry are San Juan, Lopez, Orcas, and Shaw. However, if you have your own boat, you can visit many more of the smaller private islands. You may even find one all to yourself!
The San Juan Islands have been a magnet for human habitation. Their location at the crossroads of three great waterways, plus sheltered harbors, open prairie and secluded woodlands, drew people wanting to find rest and relaxation amid an abundant food source with ample resources in a mild climate. They were first settled by the local Salish people over 2,500 years ago. These early Native Americans enjoyed canoeing the sheltered waters around the island to fish, trade, and hunt. Their indelible spirit helped shape the culture of the islands and much of the Pacific Northwest.
Since the islands are in the rain shadow of the majestic Olympic Mountains, the climate is very mild, ranging from high 30’s and low 40’s in the winter to high 70’s and low 80’s in the summer with half the rain of Seattle. Snow is very uncommon. So, even though summer is by far the most popular tourist season, the islands really are a year round destination.
Friday Harbor on San Juan Island
Our quaint bed-and-breakfast house on the farm
Mish in the lavender fields
My wife found a wonderful bed-and-breakfast house outside of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island on beautiful Pelindaba Lavender Farm. We both took off of work Friday. Something about missing work together and running off to an island added to the spirit of adventure. We meant to get an early ferry, but missed it in favor of sleeping in. The next ferry was completely sold out, so we were forced to take the third ferry outbound. After a round-about course, we finally arrived at the farm at 8:30pm. Too late and tired to explore, we decided to go to bed early. The cool, fresh island air with the quiet, peaceful farm atmosphere quickly had us under its spell and we snuggled in for a deep sleep.
Next week, Day 2 of our getaway on the islands!