Tag Archives: shaw island

Five Things I Love About Shaw Island

Sandi Friel - Orcas Island Real Estate brokerPosted by Sandi Friel

I admit: I lived in the San Juans for years before ever having set foot on 7.7-square-mile Shaw Island, the smallest of our ferried islands. My first introductory trip was back in 2011 when I posted a blog about missing the ferry back to Orcas. It was a whirlwind visit that showed me a few Shaw “scenes” but didn’t really give me its flavor.

That changed recently when I was invited to list a property for sale on Shaw. In getting to know the property owners and speaking to a few other residents, I’ve since become more familiar (and enamored) with this quirky island that 240 people call home. Here are a few aspects that now come to mind when I think of Shaw:

  1. Shaw Island General Store

    The tiny General Store at the ferry landing, open May through through September

    It’s quiet. Really quiet. If you really want to get away from it all, Shaw is the place for you. The fact that there are no restaurants, hotels or even a grocery store (except in the summer) keeps residents down to a minimum and tourism almost non-existent. It’s a minimalist lifestyle focused on the necessities and simple pleasures of life.

  2. 303 Copper Hill Lane, Shaw Island

    The quiet life of Shaw Island within reach: This cedar cabin on 5 acres is listed at just $299k. MLS 765069

    Remote yet connected. I’m told that the seclusion is what privacy-craving residents love most about Shaw, yet the close sense of community is also tops on their list. To get an idea of how cohesive and active this island is, visit their community website: http://shawislanders.org/

  3. Fiercely independent Shaw Islanders do their own thing. When the state wanted uniform green metal street signs posted, Shaw said ‘no thank you.’ Instead, Shaw roads are discreetly marked with rustic hand-carved wooden signs.

    Shaw Island School

    The historic Shaw Island school uses a personalized and modern approach to teaching, outfitting its students with laptops and ipads and treating them to hands-on learning and fun field trips. Learn more at http://www.shawislandschool.org/

  4. Over the years, devoted residents have created — and continue to create — unique community hubs to serve the island, Shaw style. From the all-volunteer library and log-cabin museum, to the historic little red school (longest continuing operating school in the state) and the active Community Center, energetic islanders have crafted a robust social fabric on this tiny island.
  5. This gorgeous sandy beach is part of 60-acre Shaw Island County Park, one of the nicest in the San Juans.

    This gorgeous sandy beach is part of 60-acre Shaw Island County Park, one of the nicest in the San Juans.

    The pristine south-facing County beach is a gem. Located on protected Indian Cove, the wide sandy beach leads to shallow waters that warm up enough in the summer for a brisk swim. Last time I visited, a pacific white-sided dolphin was breaching! There are also rustic campsites, so you can enjoy the beach in the moonlight.

If Shaw sounds like the type of getaway lifestyle you’re looking for, contact me! I’d love an excuse to go back over to this special island and show you around.



Filed under Adventure, Community

Shaw Island – So Close, And Yet So Far (For Some)

Posted by Sandi

Yesterday, Teri and I had a site visit with a client on Shaw Island and decided to add some sightseeing between ferries.

This gorgeous sandy beach is part of 60-acre Shaw Island County Park. There are campsites here too. I'll be back in the summer!

After our morning meeting, we picnicked on the beach at Shaw County Park. Like many parks in the islands, this is not only a pretty place but has some interesting history too.

The consummate planner of fun, Teri packed us a yummy picnic lunch.


We then made a mini tour of the island including the school and the historical museum. Our last stops were the the tiny post office and charming general store, which along with the ferry landing were run until recently by the nuns of Our Lady of the Rock.

All was going according to plan until we realized our 12:25 ferry never arrived. Why? Because there is no 12:25 ferry to Orcas!!! We had both misread the ferry schedule and the next ferry to Orcas wasn’t until 4pm!

After having a good laugh and promising never to make fun of newbie ferry confusion, we decided to keep moving, albeit in the wrong direction. We stretched our legs on the 12:40 ferry headed to Lopez and Friday Harbor, finally arriving on Orcas about 3pm. The peaceful ferry rides turned out to be the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of our business planning (and summer party planning too:)).

Ferry docking at Shaw Island, one mile from Orcas.

Once back on Orcas, I looked across Harney Channel to Shaw and had to smile at the fact it took us 2-1/2 hours to get home instead of 15 minutes. At least we spent our time on a ferry instead of a freeway. 🙂 I can’t imagine a better place to live!



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