Friday Harbor’s San Juan Islands Museum of Art

San Juan Islands Museum of Art in Friday Harbor

At the edge of Friday Harbor’s downtown, where the road is just beginning to give way to businesses, sits the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (IMA). The soaring glass walls of its atrium like gallery face the street. It’s a sight that promise art over which you can spend time lingering.


Inside the IMAAnd, that’s what it delivers. Since opening just over six months ago, this long-awaited fixture of the islands’ thriving art community has brought in shows that are drawing national attention.


It’s not a big museum. There are just three galleries and an artist workshop. It doesn’t need to be big. From its conception the goal was simple – showcase art. That’s what it does. You aren’t going to find a coffee shop or a restaurant. There are no vast open spaces. And, retail is limited to a small bookshelf beside the reception desk.


However the sparse staff is knowledgeable. The space is welcoming, so much so they don’t even charge you to enter. (There’s merely a recommended $10 donation.) It’s quiet. It’s simple. It’s the San Juans at their best.  (more…)

2 Days in Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

On the edge of the US and Canadian border, where the ocean flows freely between the two countries – water locked drops of island oases can be found. With the Olympic Mountains lining the horizon and old-growth forests aplenty, the 250 days of sunshine beckon visitors and delight locals. Friday Harbor, the largest of the San Juan Islands’ towns, is home to some of the finest restaurants, coffee shops, and artists’ studios and galleries. Here, whale watching enthusiasts enjoy the sights of resident and transitory pods; outdoor adventurists explore a variety of parks and trails; and boaters take full advantage of known and lesser known coves, marinas, and shorelines.


5:00 PM – Dinner at Coho Restaurant
Perched on a hill overlooking Friday Harbor, you’ll find the historic Craftsman House, home of Coho Restaurant. In the small, tastefully decorated dining room, Chef Bill Messick dishes up his locally sourced Pacific Northwest cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean flair. The dynamic menu constantly changes with the season to showcase local farmers and daily sea-inspired specials. From salmon and scallops to beef and pork (sourced from the Jones Family Farm on Lopez Island), Chef Messick’s flavors are a bold introduction to the San Juan Islands’ bounty. (more…)

World Famous Donuts at the Lime Kiln Café

Donuts on a seaplane leaving the San Juans

There are donuts. And then there are donuts from Roche Harbor Resort’s Lime Kiln Café.


Plucked from the Donut Robot Mark II, these cake-like babies are moist, with a toothsome bite you can really sink into. Coated with sugar. Dipped in chocolate. Naked as the moment they came out of the fryer. It doesn’t really matter how you get your hands on these donuts, as long as you get one before the café runs out.  (more…)

San Juan Island Distillery – The Best Apple Brandy in the US

Tasting preparations begin on a warm spring day.At the edge of a grassy field, on top of a wooded hillside, the San Juan Island Distillery is a hidden gem that’s earned quite the national reputation.

In 2014, they released their first batch of apple brandy. It won gold and best-in-class from the American Craft Spirits Association, plus best-in-class from the American Distilling Institute. Which means, they made the best craft-distilled apple brandy in the U.S.


But, the brandy didn’t mature overnight. The process takes a minimum of three years. With that kind of wait time, diving into the apple brandy business is not a decision best made on a whim. It’s a long-term commitment better suited for those who delight in the process of learning and who love apple brandy. It’s one for which Suzy and Hawk Pingree are ideal.  (more…)

2 Days in Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor on San Juan Island from the water

You don’t have to be a boat lover to enjoy this boater’s paradise. Roche Harbor’s richly preserved history offers nineteenth century clapboard buildings, old gardens and incredible sunsets – all perfect for relaxing. Enjoy local seafood, some of the best doughnuts in the Pacific Northwest and views of the surrounding mountains. Whether you arrive by boat or seaplane, be sure to keep an eye out for pods of local orcas which can frequently be seen playing in the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands.


7:00 PM – Dinner at Madrona Bar and Grill
Stroll in for a laid back meal at the Madrona Bar and Grill where the seafood is fresh and the drinks are flavorful. Among the menu favorites is the prawn and avocado margarita cocktail. Packed with black tiger prawns, this baby is garnished with a smooth touch of avocado and a kick of homemade, wasabi infused cocktail sauce.

Madrona Bar and Grill