Gold leaves danced around our car as we drove on Orcas Road to the town Eastsound for our weekend stay. It was the start of a lovely Pacific Northwest getaway on Orcas Island, largest island in the San Juan Islands.
Our fall weekend was filled with exploring the island, stocking up on pears, apples and a pumpkin at the local Farmer’s Market, touring local farms, and reconnecting with nature.
Sharing our recommendations on where to stay, dine, spa & what to do on Orcas Island. For more photos, visit our instagram page.
Light Haus Vacation Rentals on Prune Aly in Eastsound: We felt right at home in our bright, modern and centrally located abode in Eastsound, Light Haus vacation rentals are stylishly decorated and ready to accommodate your dreamy island getaway.
Perfect for two couples or small families, their two to three bedroom/two bath homes sleep 5 people and feature high-end, plush king beds, luxury linens, decks with beautiful views and fully appointed kitchens.
We were impressed with how immaculate and clean the home was and it was well-equipped with supplies to cook meals in the kitchen. It’s ideal for families with child-friendly plates and silverware too. There are plenty of books and games to enjoy while cozying up in your home.
Owners Carolyn & Bill are locals to the San Juan Islands and are very helpful if you need anything during your stay. More info below on their rentals.
Contact the owners for your stay: Bill McGown (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Carolyn McGown (email@example.com)
Loft at Madrona: Dine on Orcas Island’s only rooftop patio and enjoy a classic craft cocktail by Spencer, while taking in the views of the sound.
Chef Avery Adams presented a perfect fall dinner! For dinner, we started with Judd Cove oysters fresh from the waters just in front of the restaurant. Dip the housemade sourdough bread into the summer fruit marmalade, and savor the glazed carrots with walnut brittle drizzled with chili hollandaise.
For the main, we shared several platters – roasted beets, grass fed beef shortribs with pears, Buck Bay clams and pepper brood, and another plate of squid ink tagliolini! After tasting a trio of desserts, we were in a food coma. A memorable meal while watching the sunset in the Eastsound.
General Manager Drew Downing & Chef Avery Adams are behind the success of The Loft at Madrona.
More dining favorites below – courtesy of Carolyn McGown:
- New Leaf Cafe (French/Local) – reservations accepted
- Roses Cafe (Nouvelle/local) – reservations accepted
- Hogstone Pizza (artisanal wood fired pizza) – reservations accepted
- The Kitchen (farm to table plates) – more casual, eat on their picnic tables or takeout
- Buck Bay Shellfish Farm (in the charming village of Olga) has a Farm Store where you can buy fresh shellfish, beer and wine and eat on premise.
COFFEE FAVES: (Eastsound)
- Brown Bear Baking Company – where you can find GIANT pastries & croissants
- Darvill’s Bookstore
- Enzo’s Italian Cafe
STORES: Shop at the Co-Op Market, or Roses Cafe & Bakery has a small foodie shop with lots of wine and high end imported food and kitchen items that are fun to browse.
Hike: the local Tourism Office gave us helpful maps for hiking trails throughout the island. A few include Turtleback Mountain (use the south trailhead off Deer Harbor Rd.) lots of elevation gain but spectacular views, and Cascade Lake Loop Trail flat trail around picturesque lake in Moran State Park. You’ll need to buy a day pass from the ranger station to park anywhere in the park.
Doe Bay Spa: Check in for a massage by Kerstin Nash, LMT firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t leave without spending some time in the resort’s sauna and soaking tubs (clothing optional).
Ceramics: Contact Chandelle to see her beautiful ceramic products for sale. Her dishes, bowls and vases have an elegant and refined design.
Island Thyme Let your nose lead you to this boutique filled with the aromas of the Pacific Northwest – lavender, cedar, spruce….and buy some body oils, creams and other products, so you can take home the PNW scent when you return home.
Farmers Market Saturday 10-3pm, in the center of Eastsound. Check the schedule since we visited the last outdoors market end of September.
Kayak with Shearwater Weather conditions didn’t permit us to kayak on this trip, so we will return and share more about our experience.
Take a drive and see panoramic views from Mt. Constitution observation tower and Turtleback (south trail), as well as the drive to Deer Harbor and beyond to West Sound is mostly along the water and very picturesque.
Shop at Darvill’s bookstore and Crow Valley Pottery in Eastsound, or visit the small town of Olga where you can find artwork at Orcas Island Artworks Gallery (a co-op with dozens of local artists represented).
Good to Know: Ferry Information — You will want ferry reservations, which can be made at the WSDOT website. Check the sailing schedules. If you still can’t get your desired time, keep checking back since more tiers of reservations will be released both 2 weeks and 2 days before every sailing date.
-New reservation tiers are always released exactly at 7am PST and it pays to be online a few minutes before, with as much of your info pre-selected as is allowed.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you to Light Haus, The Loft at Madrona for hosting us during our stay.