get ready for photo overload! for Jake and my 7th wedding anniversary (what!) we snuck away to San Juan Island for a little celebratory R&R. and by “snuck” I mean: squeezed nearly all our earthly belongings into the 4runner and by “R&R” I mean: doing the same crazy double kid life, just in a new, amazing location.
Jake grew up on the islands so this was a little trip down memory lane for him, but I’ve only been to Friday Harbor once, 7 years ago, the summer before we were married. we rented mopeds and scooted our cute, engaged booties around the entire perimeter of the island, whale watching + sight seeing + smootching. so when The Island Inn at 123 West reached out to us about a visit, we were all in at the chance to take the girls back to the scene of one of our favorite memories.
we’ve been taking Zoey on the 3 hour trip to Jake’s parents’ house since she was born so she’s a travel pro. this, however, was Quinn’s maiden voyage. 5 hours of boats, trains and planes (okay, just a car + 2 ferries) was asking a lot, but ferry boat rides make for great car seat breaks and Jake and I sink into a pretty sweet teamwork groove when we hit the road. we only missed one of our ferries – – face palm – – and rolled into Friday Harbor on what felt like the quintessential first day of fall.
the Island Inn put us up in Penthouse 5 and what a major treat! we knew we were going to arrive in the evening so I packed a few take-n-bake pizzas and, thanks to a literally fully equipped kitchen, we had ourselves a little pizza party and Seahawks win (!!) in our pjs! Zoey thought we had taken her to Disneyland and couldn’t stop showing us all the features. “mom! did you know there’s 2 toilets here? which one do you want?” super unsubtle plug, these guys do all the thinking for you and take all the work out of vacation. fruit + granola on the counter, the yummiest coffee blend (refilled daily, thank you very much) and milk + OJ in the fridge. I almost believed they had scoped me out and knew that I’d be a tired morning mama after a night with a newborn so they provided breakfast, but no! they’ll do it for you too. they’re just that sweet. (and so punny! if you’re a sucker for killer branding like I am, then swoon away. with the cutest packaging + most impressively creative use of the word INN, they win at hotel marketing.)
our penthouse was so conveniently located right in the center of downtown, so after a lazy morning of The Bean coffee + hot cocoa + bacon, we walked one block up to the whale museum. the San Juan Islands sit in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is part-time home to approximately 88 orca whales. San Juan Island is one of the prime locations for whale watching and it’s a large part of its history and culture. we have a very old and loved little golden book at home called Whales that Zoey adores. she randomly chose it as a bedtime favorite a few months back so she was all read up on her whale tips + tricks when we hit the island. the whale museum in town may have been the highlight of our trip for her, she spent her time there pointing out dorsal fins, asking me if orcas are baleen whales and listening to all the underwater calls. the little sweet talker even talked her daddy into a tiny, stuffed orca. sucker!
we hit the road with cold pizza and headed toward Lime Kiln Point, one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the whales if they’re in the Strait. we didn’t see any on this trip! bummer! but the water and shores are so gorgeous and the lighthouse, I mean, just feast your eyes on that pretty baby. I know my kids are tiny. and we have so many years ahead of us. but the older they get and the more life they can realize is happening around them, the more my desire to show them the world grows. traveling with kids isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. but the payoff of big, bright eyes taking in all the newness + creation + history + culture, all the questions and conversations about what we’re seeing out the windows, it’s so dang worth it. I swear Zoey’s brain grew two sizes by the time we were on the ferry home (and I was super ready to play the quiet game ;)).
Jake and I are major fact + history nerds. don’t quiz us, that takes the fun out of it and I have the memory of a squirrel! we go back and forth between googling the heck out of where ever we go to learn all we can about it, and leaving our phones in the car so that we can take it all in, right there, present in the moment. there’s balance in everything, isn’t there?
we came back into town and made a little pitstop at the penthouse for group naptime, a favorite pastime of the Wakemans, before we rallied for an evening + dinner downtown. there were so many more places we would have loved to visit! Cattle Point Lighthouse, Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, Roche Harbor, and so much more. but you can’t jump in and out of places with babies quite like you can when you’re engaged on mopeds, can ya! oh shooooot, we’ll just have to go back 😉 when we got back to the Inn, Zoey climbed into the giant king sized bed in our room, snuggled up with 19 pillows and full control of the remote (that she has no idea how to use but feels powerful holding) and said see ya later alligator. since our penthouse was over 900 square feet, she had her own space in the bedroom and Jake and I snuggled up in the living room by the fire with Quinn and took a little ESPN snooze.
Friday Harbor couldn’t be cuter. the boats are cute. the buildings are cute. the cobblestone is even cute. we started walking down the boardwalk and looked over the rail and found 8 otters having a grand old time on the rocky shore. further down the dock a seal was just hanging out talking to some locals. little piece of paradise, I tell you! I made Jake promise me that we’d come back, just the two of us, and try the restaurants downtown because the pickings are priiime. because, let’s be honest, 2 kids under 3, Jake’s the only one who’s actually eating at the restaurant when we go. Zoey’s too busy coloring and I’m basically a rocking + nursing + bouncing circus act these days who’s really fond of the doggie bag dinner warm up. it’s the craziest season, isn’t it? but with the right attitude and a kick butt partner, is the darn best ever. i couldn’t stop smiling the whole trip and I have a perma-smile just recounting it now. it doesn’t get better than this.
so after a quick family style chinese dinner + emptying out my coin purse in the coy fish fountain, Quinn and I strolled back to the Inn in fine Orbit style and Jake and Zo swung into the corner grocer for some Jimmy Fallon Ben & Jerry’s. tell me you’ve had this? all other ice cream fails in comparison. we should own stock. while a firm believer in trying a bite of everyone’s, Zoey is strictly a tiny chocolate Haagen-Dazs pint kind of girl. it comes with a little red spoon under the lid and it’s the three year old version of the prize at the bottom of the cracker jacks.
this trip was just what we needed at just the right time and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner for our lodging. we do our abosolute best to only recommend what believe in, tried and true, and we genuinly add The Island Inn at 123 West to that list. whether it’s romantic get-away or a family affair, please look them up if you ever get the chance to visit San Juan Island. our huuuge thank you to Scott and the whole team at 123 West! we’ll be back!