Traveling in the off season to San Juan Island
Time and time again I sing the praises of traveling during the off season. Sure the weather is not always as stellar as the more popular travel times, but if there is one thing you can't count on when you live in the Pacific Northwest it is the weather. We have visited the San Juan Islands during each season and have experienced better weather in April than July and better weather in October than June. As long as you dress in layers and pack a sense of adventure you will find the beaches, restaurants and shops are the same just minus the crowds. One big perk of traveling during the off season is dinner reservations are easy to come by and everyone in general has a more laid-back attitude and happy disposition.
One of our favorite places to stay in Friday Harbor is the Bird Rock Hotel. With its central location, delicious breakfast and warm cookies and lemonade in the afternoon it continues to steal our heart time and time again. The Bird Rock Hotel appeals to a wide variety of travelers and we are always delighted by the interesting people we rub shoulders with when we stay.
Many of the rooms on the second floor of the Bird Rock Hotel have doors directly out to this shared deck. It is the perfect spot for enjoying a cup of cocoa or an impromptu picnic from the delicious treasures you find at the farmer's market.
I am not a big fan of starting each day with a heavy breakfast, so this type of spread is exactly what my heart desires each morning.
One of the things I appreciate most about staying at boutique hotel is the greater attention to detail and the overall needs of the guests. I would not think twice about asking to borrow a pen, using their scotch tape or asking them to make dinner reservations for me last minute (all things I actually did during our stay) where I might easily feel like I am putting someone out at a larger chain hotel. I always look forward to seeing what types of flowers they put in these seasonal pots and I really like the bowl of fresh Granny Smith apples which greet you when you first walk in.
Between beach combing, rock throwing, fort building and exploring we had our mornings kept pretty busy. Chilly temperatures and the occasional wind and rain did not detract from our beach time. It only meant we had the place to ourselves and did not have to watch out for anyone else during our rock throwing competition.
Even at home we spend a large part of our lives at the beach. I love teaching Jasper about the different types of seaweed, kelp and sea creatures. I am learning so many things I never knew and most importantly learning how to slow down and enjoy the intricacies of the world around me.
While the boys throw rocks I often spend my time collecting rocks and making gradient rainbows out of them.
When it is cold and chilly outside coming back to a plate of warm cookies is the perfect reward while our son takes his afternoon nap.
A quieter marina, but every bit as beautiful.
During our visit we stayed in the Lopez Suite. It is always such a treat to have a separatesitting area from the bedroom. The sitting area provides greater flexibility during the day and means Jasper can have his own space at nighttime.
We have found traveling with a large selection of books makes for a happier toddler, prevents us from turning on the television during down time and creates memorable moments for our family.
One of our favorite activities on San Juan Island is beach hopping. Each beach provides interesting scenery and a different vantage point of the island. We like to find a spot on each side of the island to keep things interesting.
What is a small town without a random roadside attraction?! This small collection of metal buildings is always intriguing to visit. I love how during the cooler months, the fireplaces are burning and it is warm and cozy inside just begging to be enjoyed.
We have a short list of places worth visiting each time we are on the islands. Bait, for fish and chips is one of our go to places. We also had a wonderful dinner at the newly renovated Duck Soup Inn, but I left the camera at the hotel that evening so I could just enjoy my meal.
We like to check out all the boats moored at Roche Harbor for both drooling and inspiration.
And on our way home we caught this beautiful sunset which made us eager to return to the islands and grateful we live in such a stunning place.
This post was sponsored by Bird Rock Hotel. All opinions stated here are my own and I was under no obligation to write anything other than my personal experience. I will never write about anything I did not enjoy or find to be a valuable experience.