Monthly Archives: July 2011

Discovering Indian Island

Posted by Teri

Driving into Eastsound for the past 23 years I’ve noticed my view always gravitates to the south toward Indian Island to check out the tide situation. During low tide there are people that look like little ants exploring it. I’ve often thought “I want to do that!”  Then I go about my day of business forget about the little rock.

Indian Island in Fishing Bay, Orcas Island WA

The 1.25 acre island in Fishing Bay is only accessible by foot during low tide.

Well, researching for my recent post on its history kept this curious island lingering in my mind. I made a mental note to check the tide tables and get a closer look.

My son Eric accompanied me one morning as we started out from Eastsound Waterfront Park. The park itself is a wonderful spot to take in the long view down the dramatic fjord of East Sound.

Ochre starfish at Indian Island tidepool, Orcas Island WA

The Ochre Sea Star comes in a variety of colors

We took a leisurely stroll along the emergent sandbar, then skirted the island’s perimeter to examine the many tide pools . Full of color and critters, each was fascinating and worthy of a long stare to notice some of the more subtle sea life.

There’s life on the rock itself too. The knolls are covered with wildflowers and in season, birds nesting. The day we were there we happened upon Canadian Geese nesting. I later found out there were Black Oystercatchers nesting too.  It’s important not to disturb them; these are a sensitive ‘indicator’ species of ‘high concern.’

Indian Island was the first of three Marine Health Observatories in the San Juan Islands. There is important ongoing research being conducted there by scientists and volunteers.

Indian Island is another example of how we’re learning about and caring for our fragile ecosystem in the San Juans. I feel fortunate we’re able to enjoy its beauty and creatures up-close. And I won’t be waiting 23 years to go back!

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.


Filed under Adventure, Community, Nature

Sin City Secret: Backdoor Kitchen

Posted by Sandi

Orcas Islanders sometimes affectionately refer to Friday Harbor  as “Sin City” for its flashing lights, multi-story buildings and big-city feel. Of course it’s not a big and bustling city at all, but it seems so when compared to laid-back Eastsound.

A few years ago I got to know San Juan Island’s Sin City a bit better when my husband was assigned a story by Sunset Magazine. As part of the research, we sampled what locals consider to be the best restaurants. The Backdoor Kitchen became our instant favorite. Since then we’ve returned to celebrate special occasions; one of those was last night.

Warehouse at the Backdoor Kitchen, Friday Harbor WA

Behind this warehouse lies a hidden jewel

The Backdoor Kitchen is off the beaten path, hidden from view in an industrial area. If you aren’t looking for it or don’t know your way, you won’t find it. That – to me – is its first charm.

Secret Garden and nursery at the Backdoor Kitchen, Friday Harbor WA

The entry garden behind the warehouse

Across the warehouse parking lot, a stone path leads to a secret garden and outdoor dining patio. We had reserved an indoor table, but decided to enjoy our cocktails alfresco.

The Backdoor Kitchen dining patio - Friday Harbor, San Juan Island WA

The patio has several outdoor "rooms" for dining

From the list of 12 yummy specialty drinks, I chose the No. 6:  Ketel One “Ginger-Lemon Drop,” made with fresh-squeezed lemon and ginger syrup, served with a sugar rim. Bob – who rarely deviates from rum and coke – chose the No. 4: Ketel One vodka and mango puree muddled with fresh lime and topped with ginger brew.

Cozy Bar at the Backdoor Kitchen restaurant in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island WA

The oh-so-cozy bar at the Backdoor Kitchen

When the sun dipped I got a chill and was happy to move to our table inside. The dining room is small and intimate, with interesting art, a view of the patio garden and a window into the kitchen where magic is created.

Dining room of the Backdoor Kitchen - Friday Harbor, San Juan Island WA

The intimate dining room

The ambiance of the Backdoor Kitchen is so much to my liking that I would keep it on my favorites list even if the food was so-so. But here you don’t have to compromise: the food is fabulous.  

Bob ordered the salmon special; I ordered the Corn Masa Cake – topped with  sharp white cheddar, sliced avocado, green onions, and red cabbage salad. Neither of us offered the other a bite!

For dessert we treated ourselves to the fresh fruit crisp. Bob considers himself a “crisp connoisseur” and says positively this is the best he’s ever had.

Bellies full, we walked on the 10pm ferry. Although I have favorite restaurants on Orcas, there’s something extra special (and romantic) about riding the ferry with your sweetheart for a dinner date, especially when the destination is Sin City and the Backdoor Kitchen.


Looking to enjoy the simple life in the beautiful San Juan Islands?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.


Filed under Adventure, Community

Here’s to More Birthdays!!

Posted by Teri

Birthday candlesI’ve almost hit my 5 year mark as a breast cancer survivor and am proud to be a member of one of the most amazing groups of people. A funny thing happens after you’ve gone through this experience… you find yourself drawn to other survivors.

When you first hear your diagnosis, you feel scared and alone even when surrounded by family and friends. How will you get through this? Here on Orcas, a community of supporters quickly emerged to lift me through the challenges. I found new friendships that nourished my heart and healing. These people will be with me the rest of my long happy life!

Recently I was contacted by a couple who’ve just begun their journey with cancer. They’ve chosen to spend it on Orcas where they have a summer house. Naturally they had many questions and concerns about the logistics of treatment and medical care on the island. I began sharing my experience and information regarding my cancer care team.

Seattle Cancer Care AllianceThe stellar crew at the  Seattle Cancer Care Alliance  was my partner and guiding light. I also found that the medical opportunities available on Orcas and within our reach are limitless. If you want to learn more about my experience you can visit my TeriKicksCancer care page (send me an email to receive your login info). 

My new friend is on her way to experiencing the loving arms of Orcas Island in supporting her walk of life and celebration of more birthdays.

Every day I thank the universe for the opportunity to experience breast cancer and all the positives it has brought to my life!

Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.


Filed under Community

Our New Mayor is a Real Cow

Posted by Sandi

I’m not kidding! The newly elected mayor of Eastsound is April the Cow.

April the Cow - new Mayor of Eastsound, Orcas Island WA

April - Outstanding in her field and the new Mayor of Eastsound

Our annual mayoral race is actually a fund-raiser for Children’s House. This year’s election raised nearly $5,000 which helps support pre-school programs and infant care for working families.

The election is lots of fun because the animal campaigns are hysterical. April beat out six other contenders as write-in candidate. She’s run for office for the past two years, and this is her first victory. I was personally compelled to vote for her after reading her “mooving” letter to the editor  in Island’s Sounder.

April the Cow - new Mayor of Eastsound, Orcas Island WA

A one-horn cow - perfect icon for our one-cow town

April lives right in town where she’s been ruminating for 15 years. You can read more about her story here. To me, April the Cow and the whole mayoral race are a great example of our laid-back fun-loving island!

Note: Photos courtesy of cow-whisperer Teri Williams


Looking to enjoy the simple life on beautiful Orcas Island?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.


Filed under Community

Fourth of July – ‘Island Style’

Posted by Sandi

Before we moved to Orcas, Bob and I would vacation here during the Fourth of July. There were so many fun things to do – from pancake breakfasts to parades, fireworks to fairs and salmon BBQs. I had wondered if the novelty would wear off once we moved here. Not so! July 4th is still my favorite holiday in the San Juans!

The weather is nearly perfect and the holiday marks what islanders consider the true beginning of summer. Everyone gets in the spirit. The various communities synchronize their activities so there is something going  on for several days and nights.

A few summers ago, we started a tradition of going to Lopez Island with friends to see the Lopez Community fireworks display which has been hosted by local pyrotechnic volunteers for the past 20 years. We are hooked!  If you ever get a chance to go, here’s a peek of what you’ll see:

(photos by Bob Friel)

The reflection on Fisherman Bay doubles the impact and the show is phenomenal. The artistic of presentation is quite different from other shows you’ll see. In fact it’s drawn many rave reviews  from mainland newspapers.

This year we got to Lopez Village early enough to see the parade. What a hoot! Here are some shots:

2011 Lopez Island Fourth of July Parade

The parade theme was "the rock's red glare"


2011 Lopez Island Fourth of July Parade

Nearby Frost Island joins the procession

2011 Fourth of July Parade Lopez Island WA

Independence Day takes on another meaning for many islanders

Looking to enjoy the simple life in the beautiful San Juan Islands?
Contact T Williams Realty  – we’ll help you find your way home.


Filed under Community