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A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

by | Aug 15, 2011 | drive bys, Gardens & Outdoor Rooms

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A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

Wanna come with me on a drive by on San Juan Island?

Or more like a walk by, that is the leisurely pace of a getaway like this.

I feel like I’ve been away from my blog and blog friends FOREVER! I snuck away last week on a getaway to a B&B on San Juan Island with my husband. Sorry I couldn’t tell you where I was going at the time, but you know, killers and all might take advantage.

When you are as busy as we are with a business, church, and life, getting away together (and without the family or the puppy or the dog!) is a pretty rare thing! Honestly I am pretty sure this was the longest we had been away together just the two of us without our kids in 18 years. Crazy? Yeah, week long getaways just aren’t something we get to do very often. Clearly. Gah.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

Last weekend when we had the unexpected opportunity to get away I shut down my blog and we took off for the few hour drive and one hour ferry ride to San Juan Island! Woo hoo! My daughter was well enough to be alright without me (after her appendectomy) and my parents came up to be tortured by I mean enjoy taking care of the Jack the puppy. We had a leadership conference at the end of the week, but the first few days of the week were all days off for resting and exploring San Juan Island!

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

Loved this house and all the pretty colors and details.

The landscaping around these homes in Roche Harbor was so amazing, the textures and shapes and colors completely captivated me.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

When I get really close up to houses I am worried they are going to pop out of their door and hit me on the head with a frying pan. But I fell in love with this porch and the teal green porch roof. Ah. Had to get close to see it.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

This blue house pretty much swept me off my feet and it wasn’t even done yet.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

FABULOUS, isn’t it? Wonder who the new owners will be? Lucky ducks. Maybe they will let me tour it on the inside when they move in.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

Whoa! That was an abrupt transition. Sorry to scare you, should’ve warned ya I was changing subjects like that. But in addition to gazing at lovely houses, we went to an Alpaca Farm on the Island and jeez, those animals are CRAZY! They play just like siblings. And they look just as crazy.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

OK, back to charming things. I had a deja vu of this restaurant from when I was a kid. Such a memorable place!

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

And this hotel was so charming. Probably for rich people who wear golf shirts and own yachts. No offense if you wear golf shirts or own a yacht. I would like a yacht myself. I saw a 7 million dollar one in the harbor.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

The garden in front of the hotel was a really old lovely garden. I could have spent hours just looking at all the plants. So gorgeous!

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

This flower smelled like chocolate. I’m not kidding, I’ve never smelled a flower that smelled like chocolate!! What is it?

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

This was a lovely lavender farm on San Juan Island. It smelled like ….lavender. Heh heh.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

There is nothing as wonderful as being able to explore charming streets, shops and linger over coffee!

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

And, as a life long lover of the sea, walking around by the boats in the harbor is always my favorite thing.

A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}


A Drive By {Romantic Getaway to San Juan Island}

Good memories, lovely place.

Where have you escaped to this summer? I’d love to hear about your summer adventures!


  1. Michele

    Hit over the head with a frying pan, that is hilarious! Growing up in Idaho, we had family in Portland & Vancouver so we would head up most summers – the ferry trip over to San Juan is magical to remember. Our favorite vacation spot was Cannon Beach, Oregon. Now that we live in NC, our favorite getaways are to the Blue Ridge Mountains, tubing down the New River. It is the second oldest river in the world, after the Nile. Like stepping back in time. Love your photos – thank you so much for sharing!

    xoxo michele

  2. Glenda Childers

    Ah, so glad you were able to get away together. Reading this post is making me miss Washington. Hope you went home super refreshed.


  3. Becky

    Beautiful homes…and I believe that flower is a Chocolate Cosmos! I had them interspersed with red roses in my wedding bouquet:-0

  4. HEIDI

    I think that is a chocolate Cosmos. Beautiful blog.

  5. Simple Daisy

    What a lovely place!!!! Makes me want to take a little trip there:)

  6. kelly in georgia

    What wonderful eye candy for a sleepy Monday morning! Thank you for a nice start to the week. That blue house IS gorgeous…loved the trellis/arbor? over the window.
    Getaway? There were none this summer for me and my husband, but I am thinking about planning a fall one to the mountains in NC…..hmmmm

  7. Marcia Francois, Organising Queen

    We’re going into spring and I’m just starting to plan our summer holiday now but definitely something involving the beach…

  8. Angela

    I think we went past that same alpaca farm when we were in the San Juan’s. Oh how I miss the northwest and would love to move back to Seattle. I just love it there so much. I do love my new home, but nothing compares to the Northwest!!! That will always be my home. It brought tears seeing all those pictures….

  9. Carol M

    Looks like a great trip. I think those flowers are called “chocolate cosmos.”

  10. Heather

    Glad you got away to enjoy some alone time with your husband. And it looks like you picked a beautiful spot. Love the charm of painted clapboard houses. Thanks for sharing.

  11. {darlene}

    OH, how I need a VACA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this looks like a dream. so glad you got away, dear!!!!

  12. Imperfect

    I think Hubby and I might have to figure out how to get away from the east and make a trip to the northwest some time in the next year. It looks just beautiful!

  13. Tracy

    Oh thank you for that sweet walk down memory lane! My husband and I were married there nine years ago next month. So many familiar, lovely places. That restaurant is where we held our rehearsal dinner and it’s been quoted by many of our family members as their “best meal ever!” We need to get back to Friday Harbor next year for our anniversary. Such beauty there!

  14. Crystal

    Lavender farm? I’ll bet that was lovely!

  15. Mary Anna

    Ahhhh! We spent 10 days on San Juan Island in 2004 when I was pregnant with my first son. What a wonderfully relaxing place. We enjoyed the alpacas, the lavender farm and everything else you mentioned! We also had lunch at the hotel’s little cafe and dinner at its fancy schamncy restaurant. Loved the island! A great change of pace for this South Texas gal!!!

  16. Mary Anna

    Oh, and we saw Johnny Carson’s yacht in the harbor. Apparently he was big into boating and loved to visit the island!

  17. Pinky

    I ahve never been out to the northwest so I really enjoyed this little tour! It all looks wonderful! We went to the Outer Banks of NC in June but that;s it. Were going to go to the beach, just my hubby and I for my upcoming birthday but it is TOO MUCH $$$$$$$$$$$. I need new carpet more:):) Glad you were able to get away!!!! Loved all the houses and GARDENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

  18. Mindy

    That’s on my bucket list. Your photos have moved it up toward the top. :o) So pretty. How nice you had a chance to get away just the two of you. And yes, as was suggested above, the flower is a chocolate cosmo. You can grow them fairly easily here and most years, they’re a perennial.

  19. maggie

    So glad you had a nice romantic getaway! Those houses were gorgeous!

  20. rooth

    My curiosity has been piqued – I want to see what’s inside the houses!

  21. JanMarie

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I was born and raised in the Portland area ~ The Pacific Northwest is something that stays in your blood for a lifetime no matter where else you live. I had the chance to spend 3 weeks in Oregon this summer and it made my heart happy :) The San Juan Islands are my #1 dream destination……someday!
    I’m glad you were able to spend some alone time with your husband!

  22. Marisa

    Yep, chocolate cosmo. Try the Chocolate Flower Farm in Langley, WA.

    And, hey, we were on San Juan last week, too! We have some of the same photos. :) SJI was our honeymoon destination, and we returned for our 10th anniversary last week. We brought our kids, though. It would have been more relaxing if it were just us, but the kids really did enjoy it.

    What a small blog world.:)

  23. Karen

    I’m so happy you and your husband were able to sneak away for a few precious days! I loved the tour of San Juan Island(s)? I have a friend that is up there right now, biking all around.
    We were able to catch a week with our new granddaughter in Austin where our son and daughter-in-law reside…fun but a little too warm when we visited.

  24. lisa

    so glad you had this opportunity. i know you needed it! :) and yes…i’m a wee bit jealous!

  25. Debbie Summers

    I grew up on Whidbey Island and will be there next month for a “workaction”… Looks like I will be dragging everyone on a day trip to the San Juan Island :)

  26. The Chatty Housewife

    Beautiful photos! I’ve been to Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor many times. I’ve never thought to walk to those new homes for a look-see, I will have to do that next time! We boat there and anchor out past the marina for the night- so peaceful!

  27. teresa

    So happy you were able to get away for a few days….sweet. And what’s not to love about where you went! Such goodness to see on a Monday morning. The restaurant on the dock reminded me of one I’ve seen in an old movie like in 1980 with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour “Somewhere in Time”… really loved it. {You are probably too young to remember it…but it is one of my all time favorite romantic movies} Anyways….glad you had fun….Happy Day!

  28. Kara Shriver

    I am so glad that you were able to get time away! Also thankful your daughter is recovering nicely! We actually took the wrong ferry ride and ended-up @ Friday Harbor! What a fun town, we ate lunch and waited for the next ferry over to Orcas Island! I love the Pacific Northwest, and I left a little spot in my heart for the San Juan Islands! Mount Constitution was amazing! Have a blessed week!
    Kara Shriver
    North Texas :-)

  29. Barbara (WA)

    I think those houses are being built by my husband’s boss! And yes, chocolate cosmos, heavenly. I love your drive/walk bys.

  30. Marilyn Holeman

    Hey Melissa, I love your beautiful and inspirational blog. My husband and I drove from Southern CA to Portland via the Oregon Coast for his computer conference. The weather was fabulous and we had a great time. We also took Elizabeth’s advise from “Just Following Jesus in my Real Life” and went to Camas Antiques in Camas, WA. We found a beautiful little piece for our living room. Found some great Goodwill’s and yard sales along the way too!

  31. Alison Bowman

    Hi, what a lovely place to visit! Thank you for sharing your photos. As everyone before me has already said the plant that smells like chocolate is a Chocolate Cosmos, but the latin name is Cosmos atrosanguineus, they like full sun and where we live they die back over winter, which was a little alarming the first winter as the plant just disappeared to nothing, but fortunately became a large healthy bush again in the summer.

  32. Tracy

    Lovely vacation. Your pictures are gorgeous.

  33. Susan

    Melissa, what fun! I’m so glad you had a nice little break, especially after your recent scare. Thanks for virtually taking us along! :)

  34. Wendy

    It looks like a beautiful trip. Your photo’s are beautiful. I love the picture of the woodwork detail on the porch. Glad you and your husband had some special alone time!

  35. Diane

    Oh so happy for you and your dear husband to finally be able to get away together…just the two of you. I hope you were able to get your batteries recharged. So much giving going out of you….you needed a fill-up, for sure. And thanks for sharing your lovely photos. What a lovely place to visit.

    Earlier this summer we went back ‘home’ to attend a wedding. My husband was blessed to officiate an outdoor ceremony for my (old) neighbor’s daughter. Seeing old friends and spending time at beautiful Lake Michigan was the best. The best places on earth are by the water.

  36. teresa

    What a lovely post!
    Greg and I really want to get to the San Juans.
    I have found the perfect little hideaway perched up on a hill by water on Orcas.
    You should have let Jack the Puppy come and stay with Doogan! ;o)
    I was thinking about you guys today wondering how that boy is doing with his training.
    Hugs Melissa~
    So happy your daughter feels better.

  37. Kasey

    What lovely homes. You have such beautiful ‘drive by’s’ :) Thanks for sharing!

  38. Scott Taylor

    Thanks for the nice comments about our new home. It should be done by the end of the year and you are welcome to tour the insidewehn it’s completed. If you like the outside you’ll love the inside. Walnut floors and white millwork throughout.

    • Melissa

      Thank you so much, I am SURE I’d love the inside! And I’d love the tour. I’ll contact you next time I can get over to the island!!

  39. Ashley

    absolutely stunning place! LOVE all the color and details! And I don’t blame you for falling in love with the unfinished blue house… I would’a too!

  40. Dawn Neale

    I spent my summers as a child running around Roche Harbor. Swimming, riding horses, dreaming about which boat I would own someday. My mom’s second marriage was in the gardens in front of the Hotel. We had a salmon bbq dinner afterward, I remember shucking 100’s of ears of corn. I’ve been married 15 years and have yet to share this treasure with my family. Your posts make me want to fit in a trip before heading back to school.

  41. Leigh Smith

    Your pictures are stunning. Thank you, as always, for sharing your part of the world with us !

  42. Allyson Walker

    I never comment on the blogs I read, but I couldn’t resist. We just visited Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor this summer for the first time and loved it! My mom and I walked by these houses every morning wishing we could tour the inside too. My daughter said watching the colors at Roche Harbor in the evening was magical and her favorite part of our vacation. Thanks for bringing back some fun summer memories! Glad you could enjoy that beautiful area as well!

  43. Rachel

    I think the flower is a Chocolate Cosmos. I’ve never smelled one, but maybe I should add it to the list for next year!

    I’m so glad you got to go on a little vacation. My husband and I are getting away the beginning of September and my MIL has graciously offered to watch the dog. I’ve been counting down to the day we leave!

  44. Sara Fitch

    This summer we escaped to Door County, WI. I went there every summer with my family when I was a kid, and had forgotten how beautiful it is up there, and how much I love it. It was my husband’s first time there, and he loved it as well, so we’ve decided to start going there every summer with our family. It is definitely a treasure of the Midwest.
    On another note, I love lavender. I planted some lavender in pots that I put by my front door, so when visitors come knocking, they get a whiff of something calming and pleasant.

  45. janet

    Yes, chocolate cosmos. I have meaning to get some for years, I love the color ( and I am thinking the scent is pretty special too).

  46. Kim

    What an awesome getaway! I dream of going back to Orcas Island soon. We took a motorhome on a ferry to get there and it was such a thrill. I love that whole area, the homes, the ferries, the lavender, all that glass blown art…super pretty stuff!

    I hope you’re able to get more weekends away soon!


  47. Go Inspire Beauty

    What a lovely trip. Thank you for sharing all your pictures and memories with us. I have always wanted to visit the Island…it’s on the list for the future. But it was very nice to visit with you:)

  48. Christi

    Well… I GREW UP in Friday Harbor!! This brought back such fond memories of that beautiful place!! Thanks for sharing!


  49. Alicia

    My parents got married in Roche Harbor and stayed at the hotel you photographed! I went up there last year and my sister and I spent hours in the garden taking pictures also! So happy that someone else has found the wonder of the San Juans. You should visit Salt Spring Island on the Canada side. We go up there every year and stay on Cushion Lake. The town is adorable and the Saturday Market is just amazing!


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