Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mixing Business and Pleasure on Stuart Island

Posted by Teri

The forecast was calling for record high temperatures (a whopping 75 degrees here) so Jay and I packed the boat and headed out onto the water. Our destination was Stuart Island, west of Orcas near the Canadian border.

On this trip, I could mix business with pleasure as clients of mine own a large parcel on Stuart Island and had hired Permit Resources to permit a dock and a residence. It’s not often that I get to see the finished project — this looked like a good opportunity to do just that.

Dock on Stuart Island by Permit Resources

We located the dock built by our Permit Resources client.

Stuart has two harbors, Reid Harbor on the south side and Prevost Harbor on the north side. Both harbors provide easy anchorage, state mooring buoys, mooring cables and floats. There is a County dock located in Prevost Harbor. Stuart Island State Park lies between these two harbors and the park is easily accessible via public docks.

county road on stuart island

We hiked up the road amid lush vegetation.

The 85-acre marine state park allows for camping and provides miles of trails and county roadway for exploring. Keep in mind, there are vehicles parked at the county road end in Reid Harbor, but the road is nothing more than a wide gravel trail.

reid harbor cove, stuart island

A hidden cove in Reid Harbor.

The environment is lush with a variety of native fir, maple, madrona, moss-covered rock outcroppings and hidden coves. A short hike will take you to the schoolhouse and museum where you will find the walls covered with history. There is an honor system for souvenirs where you can purchase T-shirts, cards and books.

As I viewed the photos of school children from the early days, I wondered about the kind of cast iron constitution it must have taken to stand strong to the challenges of living in a remote island in the northwest.

Turn Point Lighthouse and Lover's Leap

We sailed around Turn Point Lighthouse and Lover’s Leap.

If you are a hardy hiker and make it to the north end, you will discover Turn Point Lighthouse where the shipping lanes of Boundary Pass and Haro Strait meet. We skipped the hike and circumnavigated Stuart on the sailboat, where we had a great view of the lighthouse.

Prevost Harbor

A welcoming view of Prevost Harbor.

There is plenty to do on Stuart Island. We tried our luck at crabbing, clam digging and beach combing. All we can think about is: when can we return?

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Filed under Boating, Community, Nature

Summer Relief: 5 Ways to Chill Out on Orcas Island

Posted by Sandi

Last week while Seattle posted a record high of 93 degrees, the cool Salish Sea surrounding Orcas Island kept us a refreshing 10 to 20 degrees cooler. So if you’re not already on Orcas Island, the first thing to do is just get here! When you’re on island and feeling the heat, try these ways to keep your cool:

Cascade Lake - Moran State Park, Orcas Island

Cascade lake is a popular swimming hole on hot summer days.

Jump in a lake – The best way to cool off is a dip in one of our beautiful lakes in Moran State Park. The most most popular is Cascade Lake— which also has a beach, dock, snack bar and paddle boats for rent, along with coin-operated hot showers. Choose more remote Mountain Lake for a quieter back-to-nature experience. It’s the locals’ favorite hiking spot too.

Cascade Falls - Moran Park, Orcas Island

The falls along Cascade Creek are most impressive in the spring and fall, but a refreshing place to hike in the summer too.

Hike the cool forest – Can’t decide which lake to visit? Take the Cascade Creek trail which connects Mountain Lake to Cascade Lake. You’ll stay cool amidst the old-growth forest and along the way you’ll see 75-foot-high Cascade Falls and can dip your toes in the creek. Remember, like most WA State Parks, Moran Park now requires a Discover Pass — $10 per visit or $30 annual pass.

Judd Cove Preserve trail - Orcas Island

Murphy and me staying cool on Judd Cove trail.

If you’ve got less time to spare, you can visit Judd Cove Preserve just outside of Eastsound. The forested walk is a great way to cool off after the Saturday Farmer’s Market. The trail takes you past a historic Lime Kiln on the way to the shoreline and picturesque cove. The preserve is another success story of the San Juan County Land Bank, which is funded by a 1% tax on real estate sales.

Indian Island, Eastsound - Orcas Island

Be sure to check the tide charts before you hike the sand bar to Indian Island.

Walk a tombolo – The narrow spit of land connecting Eastsound to Indian Island is accessible during low tide. Hit the beach at Eastsound Waterfront Park, take off your shoes (hang on to them if you’re going to the rocky island!) and explore the sandbar. You’ll have the added fun of wildlife watching in Fishing Bay.

Lily Ice Cream Shop - Eastsound, Orcas Island

Alley entrance to Lily’s ice cream shop in Eastsound.

Get a Scoop or Two – The newest place in town to get ice cream is Lily, downstairs from Allium restaurant on the Eastsound waterfront. Open every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Lily serves gourmet hormone-free ice cream from Lopez Island Creamery. Or choose gelato from Enzo’s Italian Caffe, open year round with free wireless internet.

Zip on a line – Okay, this one probably shouldn’t count because it’s open to the public only a few days in the summer, but I couldn’t resist: The longest zip line in the state of Washington is at Orcas Island’s own YMCA Camp Orkila! Climb atop the tallest “building” in San Juan County (68 feet), strap on gear, and catch a breeze while you zoom through the air for 110 feet to the landing pad. Today was, coincidentally, one of the Community Zip days where the event is open to the public for free (appointment required.)

If you can add to this list of ideas, please post a comment!

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