I think the phrase I hear the most on San Juan Island is “it’s the Island.”
It’s the phrase that describes the breathtaking sight of a bald eagle flying over your house or a red fox peeking through grass at the side of the road. Or a deer with a new fawn grazing on your garden.
It can be your comment when you bump into five people you know at the grocery store or the post office and your quick trip stretches to an hour.
It can describe the fact that can be sunny and warm at South Beach and chilly and raining at Mineral Point at the same time.
Remember that the San Juan Islands–San Juan, Lopez, Orcas, Shaw and the other islands without ferry service from Anacortes–are as rural as they are cosmopolitan. Our highways are the ferry routes and everything you buy at gourmet shops or the grocery store that isn’t locally sourced arrives by boat or airplane.
We have no fast food outlets or “big box” stores. If your car needs to be serviced at a dealer, factor in a ferry ride as well as the drive to Mount Vernon, Burlington or Bellingham. It’s usually an all-day affair.
What we have are wonderful local restaurants at all price points. We have great local auto mechanics and repair shops. We have gourmet cheese shops, artisan chocolates and a fish market on a barge. We have a genuinely locally sourced Farmers Market every Saturday with fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and shellfish. While you’re there, you can also sample some paella, sushi or pastries.
That’s why people come here–for a vacation or forever.
“It’s the Island.”
—by Roberta Kent
Photo Courtesy of: Chris Teren ~ Terenphotography.com