I’ve got a lot to write, so I think I’ll start, and stop when I need to. It might make for some more-than-usual disconnectedness and an abrupt ending – sorry!
With the demise of my computer’s hard drive I’ve finally got around to organizing the photos on my computer (or at least the ones I took). What follows is a photo essay of Dad and my holiday on Orcas Island.
In Seattle we rented a car (Chevy Aveo from Enterprise, almost brand new – by the time we had finished it we had run up more than half of its mileage) and drove up to Anacortes, which is where the ferries to the San Juan Islands depart from. As soon as you drive into the ferry terminal, you’re on island time, which is to say, it’s too bad if you’re in a hurry. The ferry schedule changes with the seasons, and even if you think you’re prepared, it’s likely you have the spring schedule. In any case, even if you are running on time, and you do have the right schedule, you still need to be at the terminal a good half hour in advance. I’ve never taken a car on a ferry before, and I found the experience a little disconcerting. It’s a very strange thing to be sitting in a car and watching the horizon bob up and down. Luckily you don’t stay in your car for the entire ferry ride. We were blessed with excellent weather for the entirety of our holiday. On the way over we had magnificent views of Mt Baker, and other snow-capped mountains.
The hotel we stayed in was in Eastsound, and had this view from the front window. We stayed in a cheap room without ocean view and with shared bathrooms (much more pleasant than it sounds, really!), but there was a front room, with a free wireless connection and comfortable chairs. Dad and I spent quite a bit of time in this room, gazing at the view, reading, napping, and answering email.
On my first morning on Orcas Island I wandered down to the waterfront at Eastsound and took this photo of an old house perched on the ocean’s edge. I really liked Eastsound – I found it quite charming. It’s by far the biggest town on Orcas Island, although that it’s really saying much. There was good food to be had, and lots of quaint shops to explore. And, when you were tired of eating and exploring, there was an excellent view to enjoy.
We drove to the summit of Mt Constitution, the highest point on Orcas Island. Again, we were lucky to have clear skies and excellent views. The views on the way up were quite spectacular, but the views from the summit were
magnificent. We had a very clear view of Mt Baker, and could make out Mt Rainier, if we screwed up our eyes and concentrated very hard (but we weren’t imagining it, really!).
Although it was calm and sunny when we were there, there were plenty of indications that that wasn’t always the case. There were lots of trees on the summit that looked like the wind had taken its toll on them.
On the summit, there was this funny, almost medieval-like castle/tower built from stone. On the turrets there were helpful maps that let you work out which peak was which, and what the various islands were called. This is Dad in the tower.
And this is the view from one of the tower’s windows. As you climb the tower’s staircases you get glimpses of the view waiting for you at the top.
Within a couple of days, Dad and I had settled on a favorite breakfast place (we would have found it sooner, but it wasn’t open the first morning we were there). It was a bakery – it didn’t do anything particularly fancy, but what it did do, it did very well. I particularly enjoyed their homemade granola, which came with fresh fruit. As an added bonus, the place was almost wallpapered with vintage signs. Dad and I were both taken with this one.
Towards the end of our stay on Orcas Island, Dad and I discovered the Doe Bay Retreat and Resort. We initially went there for their hot tubs, which are fed by natural springs, but we soon discovered that it also boasted an excellent restaurant. The hot springs at Doe Bay are fantastic. They look like they’ve been recently renovated, and they sit outside (but under cover) with a fantastic view of the bay. A very easy way to while away a couple of hours. The restaurant does good, simple food. Almost entirely vegetarian, and lots of local, seasonal produce.
As you can see, we had a fantastic time on Orcas Island, and arrived back on the mainland very relaxed (the drive back to Seattle soon fixed that!).
There’s also been some serious yarn acquisition of the time that I’ve been traveling. It’s a bit of a problem because I haven’t finished anything in quite a while, and I already enough projects on the go, so this will have to wait for my attention for a bit. (The good news is that I won’t need to buy any more yarn any time soon!).
I picked up this yarn on Orcas Island, from a place called Poppy’s Yarn store (I think). It’s a kit to make a small rainbow ball, which will go to one of the babies that I’m supposed to be knitting for (I’ve clearly reached a point in my life where everyone I know has been struck by the desire to reproduce). Sales from the kit fund the local senior citizen’s center, so I could feel like I was doing a good deed, while buying yarn. I also bought one for Clare – she’ll no doubt have finished hers before I even think about starting mine.
This yarn is really special, not least because I know exactly where comes from. In December last year Dad, Rinske, Clare, and I stopped by a berry farm in Pemberton, just as they were shearing their three alpacas. Rinske walked away with all the fleeces, and spun some for me. This is it – and below is Rinske and me with one of the alpacas (not the one that supplied this fleece):
Dad bought the yarn from Rinske and gave it to me in Seattle. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this yarn, although I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’m not really sure how much I have, which means I’m gravitating towards things like shawls and scarves, where the end length isn’t critical…