Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Place to Just Be - Orcas Island

Allyson's family introduced me to Orcas Island in June 2009 when we were there to celebrate the life of Allyson's great aunt Barbie. Although I never knew her, I feel like I have. And I completely understand why she chose to spend the last several decades of her life on Orcas Island. This place is simply magical. There is no other way to put it. As an artist and avid bird watcher, she was in the perfect place to indulge in her passions. I'm not much of an artist, but being on Orcas Island sure makes me want to be! I wasn't sure our friends and family would get it and was worried that people would be annoyed by making such a long trip to Orcas Island for our wedding. But unless people are just being really nice, I'm pretty sure Orcas had its effect on most of our friends/family too.

A person doesn't have to do anything to enjoy their time on Orcas Island. In fact, you should make sure you work in some time to just be....either sit on your porch looking out at the ocean, walk along the beach and look at the starfish in the water, stare out at the water looking for seals and porpoises, or take a casual walk down a dirt road. We spent our first few days of being married right here in Olga, a small small "town" that is perfect for just being. We stayed at Blackberry Beach waterfront cabin, which is small and quaint and nothing fancy, but you can see below what a magnificent view we had every morning while drinking our tea.

I ended up taking a million photos right from our deck or the dock down the street because it seemed every morning had a slightly different story to tell. This foggy morning with the sun breaking through was my favorite.

One of the best parts about Blackberry Beach cabin is the hot tub! That's right, there is a private hot tub looking out on the water. There was a meteor shower happening the week we were there, so our second night there we spent in the hot tub watching the most incredible night sky. Talk about an amazing mini-moon moment! This picture is the view from the hot tub and the amazing madrona tree that I definitely have way too many pictures of but I just couldn't stop appreciating.

Typically, I like to tell a story in chronological order, but I'm feeling like I want to save the outdoor adventures for another post. So, some of the other relaxing things we did on the island included lots of great local organic meals and pottery shopping. (Don't get me wrong, I believe a hike and kayaking can be very meditative and rejuvenating. However, I'm going to put anything that gets my heart rate up in the next blog post!)

A friend of Allyson's family owns Olga Pottery, which is just the most precious little yard and studio full of pottery he's created (he's pretty precious too). 

Then the day we headed over to San Juan Island, we stopped by Orcas Island Pottery. The location of this gallery is just breathtaking. Neither one of us had been here before we visited this time. Any person visiting the island should put this on your list. Although I wasn't blown away by the pottery, the view and the grounds are totally worth the trip. The drive from here to the ferry landing is one of the most beautiful there is! The water is what you seem to notice most about Orcas Island, but honestly the valley and farm land (which is what you are driving through from the pottery place to the ferry) is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. 

There are some terrific places to eat on Orcas Island.  Blackberry Beach cabin had a little kitchen, so we tried to do some cooking at home while also heading out to enjoy the yummy, organic, local food the island has to offer. Cafe Olga shares an historic, renovated strawberry packing plant with Olga Artworks, so you can shop for local art before or after eating a meal you know came from sustainable, organic farms or right from the ocean! We went here for lunch the day after the wedding with some of our friends. I ordered baked eggs with veggies, but they only serve that meal with potatoes until 11am. Of course, it was after 11am but I can't eat the bread because I'm allergic to gluten. I asked if I could still have the potatoes, and they said sorry but all the potatoes have already been used to make the soup of the day. I was bummed until the server came out with a single serving of warm peach and apple crisp that was gluten-free just for me! How awesome is that?!

We went out to New Leaf Cafe for a romantic dinner and it couldn't have been more. Beforehand, we walked around Eastsound a little bit. The town was super mellow on Tuesday night, which was quite the contrast to the "crowds" of the weekend. After fooling around with the camera a bit by the water, we got seated at a sweet table by the window and enjoyed a bottle of wine and a great dinner. The salmon was fabulous, but I'm guessing there wasn't a bad thing on the menu. By far, the best part was dessert. The flour-less, chocolate torte with caramel and whipped cream was divine (as you can tell by our faces!)

Next Up: Outdoor Adventures on Orcas Island AND Adventures on San Juan Island....

1 comment:

  1. Love all your pictures! That hot tub overlooking the ocean sounds AMAZING. We definitely weren't lying to you, we loved discovering Orcas and will be back for sure.