The Olympic Mountains line the horizon. Old-growth forests tower toward the sky. Two hundred and fifty days of sunshine fill the lakes, shores and valleys with warmth, even during the fall. These are the San Juan Islands, the gourmet archipelago at the edge of the US/Canadian border. Separated from Victoria’s twinkling lights by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the islands offer a small town atmosphere and a place that moves on “island time.” Here is where restaurants are focused on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients; artists are known to open their studios to inquiring minds; and relaxing is expected.
10 Things To Do in the San Juan Islands this Fall
September 1 – 3 – Wooden Boat Rendezvous
There’s something about wooden boats, something about their old world elegance that just speaks to the adventurer in us all. Perhaps it’s the way they’re fashioned by hand. Maybe it’s how nature is present in every inch of their structure. Come discover what it is you love most about these stunning beauties at the thirteenth annual Wooden Boat Rendezvous. Held at the Deer Harbor Marina, all wooden boats are welcome including: oar, power, and sail.
September 6 – Pioneer Family Festival
What was life like for the islands’ early pioneers? Find out at the annual Pioneer Family Festival. Held at the San Juan Historical Museum grounds, there will be interactive demonstrations such as apple cider pressing, blacksmithing, spinning, and weaving. You’ll be able to see the Pig War re-enactors in authentic 1850s uniforms. You’ll be able to try your hand at the two man crosscut saw and the shooting gallery. Plus, so much more!
September 13 – Tour Patos Island & the 1893 Lighthouse
On the outskirts of the San Juan Islands, sits a small droplet of land. However, its importance is not to be measured by its size. Patos Island is home to the Patos Island Lighthouse, which has been guiding vessels through Boundary Pass since 1893. This one-day adventure will take you to the island for a tour of the historic lighthouse and an opportunity to walk the 1½-mile loop trail around the island itself.
Just across the US border, history and elegance are preserved in this bustling metropolis. Though a central hub for Canadian innovation, (free, public Wi-Fi hot spots are popping up faster than you can count), Victoria still maintains its old world charm. In an eclectic mix of new architecture and preserved landmarks, this coastal city offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains. At night, the lights from Port Angeles, WA twinkle across the Straight of Juan de Fuca as Victoria’s own Parliament Buildings and Fairmont Empress wink back. A collection of gardens are speckled throughout the city and seafood based restaurants constantly offer a selection of the day’s freshest catch.
11 Things to do in Victoria, BC this Fall
September 5 – Great Canadian Beer Festival
Since 1993, the Great Canadian Beer Festival has been growing in popularity. Today, it’s considered one of the must-attend international events. More than 55 craft breweries from Canada and the United States will showcase their brews. Additionally, there will be a variety of food and live entertainment throughout the festival.
September 12 – 14 – Esquimalt Ribfest
Bring your appetite. The Esquimalt Ribfest is a BBQ packed event where eating A LOT is strongly encouraged (and hard not to do). Five meat masters will be throwing down the goods to see who makes the best ribs, chicken, and sauce. In addition to meat filled goodness, there will also be plenty brews, cider, and entertainment. (This event is cash only.)
September 13 & 14 – Victoria International Chalk Festival
Street painting (also commonly called chalk art) has been recorded throughout Europe since the sixteenth century. During the two-day Victoria International Chalk Festival, more than 10 professional artists and hundreds of armatures (of all ages) will be decorating the sidewalks and pavilions throughout downtown Victoria.
To some, fall comes all to quickly in Seattle. But, to those who know the city’s intricacies, fall is a welcome time. From the unique neighborhoods and must-see sport events to the exceptional restaurants and wide array of museums, this isn’t a city that shuts down because of a little moisture. While the chance of showers and cooler temperatures might make an umbrella a worthwhile investment, it’s hardly a reason… to stay cooped up inside. Grab the Seattleite mittens – a steaming cup of coffee – and explore the known, and lesser known, hot spots.
14 Things to do in Seattle this Fall
September 4 – NFL Opening Day: Seahawks vs. Packers
February 2, Seattle was on fire. The magic surrounding the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship couldn’t be contained. It spread far and wide. The 12th Man could be seen in the San Juans and throughout Vancouver Island. September 4, at 5:30 PM, the excitement officially returns. NFL Opening Day is here – literally. We’re hosting the first official game of the season. Come to the city and be part of the magic.
September 5 – 21 – Puyallup Fair
Scream like a kid. Go on. Do it. There are going to be rides. There are going to be scones. There are going to be hot dogs on sticks, deep-fried onions, bucking bulls, singing stars and dazzling juggling routines. The Puyallup Fair has been delighting folks of all ages since 1900. This year will be no different.
September 7 – Round the Rock
Bring your paddle. Bring your board. This is a SUP (Stand Up Paddle) race that’ll test you to the core. Round the Rock, is a race to see who can navigate their way around Mercer Island first.
Jaw-dropping mountains and more than 4-kilometers of waterfront walkways make Nanaimo, BC far more than a gateway stop to Central Vancouver Island. Sure it’s the second largest city on Canada’s western landmass and offers easy access to destinations such as Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Alberni. But, it’s also home to a collection of funky art, historic buildings and quaint pubs. It’s where you’ll find artisan honey producers and a self-guided dessert tour. It’s farm to table restaurants, breakfasts doused in hollandaise and small town charm that’s delightfully welcoming.
10 Things to do in Namaimo, Tofino & Ucluelet this Fall
Now – September 14 – Carving on Edge Festival (Tofino)
At the end of the road – where land ends and ocean begins – men and women have been using their hands to shape wood for thousands of years. Carving on the Edge showcases these old world techniques and explores some of the newer approaches carvers are using.
September 12 – Lazy Mike and the Rockin’ Recliners Blues Party! (Nanaimo)
Dust off those dancin’ shoes and join the fun. This rockin dance party is going to be one heck of a good time. Lazy Mike and the Rockin’ Recliners is a Vancouver Island based blues band known for their ability to get crowds moving and grooving.
September 13 & 14 – Surf’s Up (Tofino)
“Hang 10″ for children and families living with Autism. The Surf’s Up event invites children and families living with Autism to come together for two fun filled days on the beach.
September 13 & 14 – Morningstar Bison Ranch Tours (Nanaimo)
Up in the pristine Cassidy Highlands, just south of Nanaimo, lies a home where the buffalo roam on beautifully sculpted fields. Morning Star Bison Ranch, a sprawling acreage, offers you the chance to purchase and sample bison meat. Plus, you’ll be able to take a guided tour through the bison fields to see these large creatures firsthand.
The 7th annual Savor the San Juans – a Medley of Food, Farms & Art is just around the corner. This October, the San Juan Islands will be bursting with the region’s best food, art, farm tours, entertainment and more!
Sound good? We think so too.
What makes this even better news? Right now, the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau and Seattle Magazine have partnered to offer three amazing getaways. We’re talking a night away on the island with dinner and lodging. Heck – one of the prizes even include a round-trip flight for two aboard Kenmore Air.