Tag Archives: Roche Harbor

San Juan Island Museum of Art and Sculpture Park: A Must-See

I visited the Sculpture Park for a close-up look for the first time this past weekend and found I was intrigued. My grandson also enjoyed this adventure. Sculptures created in various media by a number of artists are artfully placed throughout the landscape giving off splashes of color, reflections and hints of pieces that make you want to come closer and study them.

The Sculpture Park was first created in 2001. Each year the installations are added. To fully enjoy all the Sculpture Park has to offer, you can go to their next event on Saturday and Sunday, September 3 and 4, 2011, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. where performance artists interpret their sculptures and the theme of the day is art, food and music.


To find the Sculpture Park, head to the west side of San Juan Island from Friday Harbor. It overlooks Westcott Bay and is a stone’s throw from Roche Harbor.

The mission of both the Museum of Art and the Sculpture Park is to connect people with art that inspires, challenges, enlightens and educates. The Museum is located in the town of Friday Harbor at 285 Spring Street.


Dazzling Possibilities on San Juan Island

Ferry to San Juan Island, courtesy of San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau

When the ferry lands on San Juan Island, you can walk off or drive and immediately you’re in the town of Friday Harbor. Although Orcas is the largest island in the archipelago, San Juan Island reports the largest population – 7,700 people. Exploring the shops and galleries in Friday Harbor is sure to lighten your wallet a little because it will be difficult to resist the local artisans’ handmade gifts and décor pieces.

Where to shop:  San Juan Island hosts numerous galleries, many of them within walking distance of the Friday Harbor ferry dock. Try the Arctic Raven Gallery if you desire authentic Native American art.

Sweaters, accessories and home furnishings made from the finest alpaca wool fill the Country Store at Krystal Acres (www.krystalacres.com) and the cute and cuddly alpacas outside provide all kinds of photo opps.

Visiting the Gatehouse Store at the Pelindaba Lavender Farm (www.pelindabalavender.com) gives you a chance to stock up on some of the finer bath and beauty items you might want to try while on vacation, but definitely will need as soon as you get home. If you cook with lavender, you’ll want to take a look-see at the store’s offerings of cooking products.

Aerial view of Friday Harbor, courtesy San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau

What to see:  No trip to San Juan Island is complete without visiting the Whale Museum (www.whalemuseum.org). Absorb the entertaining and illuminating history of local marine life before boarding a boat to experience live whales on a whale-watching excursion. Or drive to Lime Kiln Point State Park on West Side Road and view the Northwest’s whale population from the outlook.

If you’re a military buff, American Camp, on Cattle Point Road, displays more than 100 Pig War artifacts in its visitor’s center.

Where to stay:  Drive the expanse of the island and you’ll wind up in Roche Harbor. There Quarryman Hall opened its doors in July 2007 and boasts state-of-the-art everything through and through. My personal favorites include the heated bathroom floor and the gas fireplace. Just a few steps from the elevator you’ll find the Afterglow Spa, which offers spirulina wraps, Turkish salt scrubs, therapeutic mineral baths, island stone massages and one of the most relaxing European deep cleaning facials I’ve ever experienced.

Where to eat:  Downriggers Restaurant in Friday Harbor, one of the locals’ favorite places to dine, has scrumptious seafood and is kid-friendly. Besides a children’s menu, kids can color on the paper tablecloth.

McMillin’s Dining Room, in Roche Harbor, specializes in Northwest cuisine focusing on fresh local shellfish and salmon plus island-grown organic meats, vegetables, herbs and greens. I highly recommend the Maytag Blue Cheese Salad and McMillin’s signature dish, Mama Shaw’s Meatloaf, which rivals any meatloaf you’ve ever tasted.

On San Juan Island, you’ll experience spectacular panoramic water and mountain views. You’ll think you’ve entered an exotic country, but no passport is required, just a willingness to take it easy.

For more information, visit www.VisitSanJuans.com.

Meet David Williams: He Has Visited Every City in Washington

David had his photo taken in front of the post office at every city in Washington he visited.

Although Washington’s scenery is splendid and our attractions can be awe-inspiring, when you get right down to what makes our state special, it’s the people who make our region spectacular. I recently heard about a gentleman who realized his goal of visiting every city in Washington State in a little over four years and wanted to hear more about how he accomplished this. David Williams, marketing analyst by day and Washington State explorer by night and on week-ends, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

 How did you strategize your travels in order to achieve your goal of visiting all 493 cities in four years?

David:  In order not to miss any cities, I spent several weeks studying road maps, zip code boundaries and Washington State’s incorporated cities table. In the end I decided that the best method would be to visit the cities county by county. I would pick a county, invite my friends or family members who were interested in going with me, make sure we had a place to spend the night, and then hit the road.

 What knowledge did you gain about Washington by visiting every city?

David:  Being a Washington State history buff, I have read many books on the subject and figured nothing would surprise me. Driving the highways and byways of Washington State gave me first-hand experience into the state’s natural regions. Understanding that Washington State is broken into five natural regions, it wasn’t until I physically immersed myself in them that I truly appreciated the beauty of Washington State.

 I also met people I wouldn’t have otherwise. In the small town of Starbuck (nothing to do with the coffee), in Columbia County, I met the Mayor. When I purchased some snacks from her at the general store, and asked a few questions she told me she was the Mayor. She also pointed out the highlights of the 143-resident town. You never know who you are going to meet when you take the time to talk to people.

 What city or town surprised you the most?

David:  Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Before I started this project I’d never set foot on San Juan Island. Because Roche Harbor has a post office, I knew I had to visit that town. Roche Harbor is unlike any other place in Washington. Once a company town for the Tacoma and Roche Harbor Lime Company, which was run by John McMillin, Roche Harbor now has a mausoleum where the entire McMillin family is buried. After asking a few questions about the community, I decided I should spend the night and check things out. With a nineteen-acre art walk park, marina, general store, the Hotel de Haro, and a great seafood restaurant, I was quite surprised by how much I fell in love with Roche Harbor. I know it sounds like it, but I do not work for the Roche Harbor Tourism office.

 What town has the strangest name?

David:  Humptulips in Grays Harbor County. Even though it is a Native-American term meaning “chilly region,” it sounds strange when you say it.

How much time did you devote to this goal of visiting every city?

I gave myself five years (January 2001 to December 2005) to visit all of the cities on my list, but managed to complete the project in four years, eight months. At the end of the project, to say thank you to everyone that traveled with me, I had a lunch party and awards ceremony at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Along with a video presentation, I gave personalized awards to all of my friends and family members who supported me on the project. At the lunch party I announced my decision to continue my project by creating a Phase Two (completed in June 2008) and a Phase Three; which I am currently involved with now. I have already decided to add a Phase Four which will start sometime in 2015.

To read more about David’s other projects, visit www.visiteverycityinwashingtonstate.com