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Pictures of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island from Semiahmoo Resort
Sunset from Blaine, Washington
State of Washington
This portion of our vacation trip addresses the San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor and our staying at the resort of Semiahmoo.
In July of 1989, my mother, niece and I had enjoyed the start of our 15 day vacation by spending a few days in Seattle, Washington.
One of those days we checked out the Bavarian-styled town of Leavenworth which was an easy day's drive back and forth.
When leaving Seattle to continue our vacation we stopped and had lunch at the famous Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls and our next destination was to spend two nights at the charming Inn at Semiahmoo.
In planning these trips I always did a lot of research ahead of time and discovered that the Semiahmoo Resort was perfectly located along the route we wished to take. So reservations were made in advance and our room was awaiting our arrival.
Inn at SemiahmooClick thumbnail to view full-size
Inn at Semiahmoo
As we headed towards our destination for two nights we passed many huge lots full of boats for sale. It reminded us of the huge lots full of cars for sale in Houston.
That makes sense. Water is ever present along the coastline of Washington State.
The Inn at Semiahmoo is a resort that sits on the site of a historic salmon cannery that used to be located there. Situated at the top of a sand-spit at the entrance to Blaine harbor, the inn offers spectacular views and entertainment from each of it's 800 acres.
The resort is given top ratings by AAA, the Mobile Guide, Conde' Nast and others. In fact it rates highly as one of the top resorts in the world.
We did not utilize many of the offered amenities such as tennis, golf, sailing, charter fishing and massages, etc.
What we did do was relax and walk along the beach prior to and during sunset.
There are five miles of coastline that is left in its natural state. We loved the undisturbed feeling of walking along the calm waters of the bay and looking at the interesting pieces of driftwood that had washed up on shore.
Sunset cruises took off nightly from that spot. We elected not to take one as we had reservations the next day for a San Juan Island cruise.
We simply enjoyed the ambiance of the evening and chose to dine at the casual Packers Lounge & Oyster Bar which is a separate building facing the bay. We each chose the same thing to eat which was a delicious fish and chips plus a salad.
The rooms were nicely appointed and we awakened the next day refreshed and ready to go.
San Juan Islands Cruise
It was a Tuesday morning when we boarded the Grayline Water Sightseeing tour of the San Juan Islands. It was so convenient for us since it departed right from the Inn at Semiahmoo. We left at 10:00am in the morning to return later that day at 6:30pm back to Semiahmoo.
The weather cooperated giving us a nice clear day for sailing on the "Star of Semiahmoo." The ship was comfortable offering good views from inside the ship with wide windows or on top of the canopied deck with wide open spaces from which to walk around and take photos.
There was a sound system and as we passed different islands we were kept informed as to what made each one special.
Some of the islands offered wildlife refuges.
Some were private islands with wealthy people's homes visible from our vantage point on the ship. Many of those people utilized private airplanes to get back and forth to their homes on the islands.
On board the ship was a galley and they offered sandwiches and other snacks and beverages. Naturally restrooms were on board as this tour took several hours.
We were let off the ship at Friday Harbor which is located on the large island of San Juan. We had 4 hours to do what we wished. Some people shopped, others visited the Whale Museum.
We took time out for lunch and also took the 2 hour double decker bus tour of San Juan Island.
The San Juan Islands are located in the northwest corner of Washington State in what is called Puget Sound. There are 172 islands in the San Juan group, some of them tiny, some of them larger. The San Juan Islands have also been declared a U.S. National Monument.
One sees many marine animals that live in and around these islands. Commonly seen are seabirds, porpoise, seals, sea lions and depending upon the time of year (and luck) the Orca whales.
Friday Harbor Town & Marina Tour
History Regarding the Pig War
What almost brought America and Britain close to war was the shooting of a pig!
We were taken to the English Camp via our double decker bus tour and learned more about this incident which happened back in 1860.
For many years both American and British troops co-existed peacefully on this island. They also both laid claim to the island.
What happened to bring things to a fever pitch occurred when a pig that was allowed to roam freely on the island kept digging up a private American citizen's potato patch.
Lyman Cutler kept complaining to the British but nothing was done. He finally caught the pig in the act and shot him. Cutler refused to pay $100 for reparation and until negotiated and finally settled, tensions between the nations were very tense.
In 1872 after a peaceful arbitration it was determined that the San Juan Islands would be a part of the territorial United States and by October of that same year the British abandoned the island.
Lime Kiln Lighthouse
After touring the English camp and learning about the Pig War we were dropped off at the Lime Kiln Lighthouse.
This is an area where whales are often able to be viewed as a pod of them live in the area. We did not have the good fortune of seeing them that day.
Lime Kiln Point State Park is actually the first whale watching park in the country.
Spotting whales at Lime Kiln
This area is barren and windswept in comparison to what we had just enjoyed seeing at the English camp. Seabirds were in abundance and the lighthouse has served as a beacon to people in this area for years.
Our next stop was at Cattle Point Picnic area where we were told that cattle used to be dropped off of boats and would swim to shore in this area.
After our bus tour of the San Juan Island, we had enough time to select a restaurant and have our main meal for the day before reporting back to the ship.
We chose the Downrigger which was located right on a beautiful location overlooking Friday Harbor.
It offered a great view of all the sailing vessels, ships and boats of all types. Dining alfresco, we soaked up the atmosphere which was totally charming. The sea breeze was refreshing.
Prior to boarding the Star of Semiahmoo for our return trip, a ship's steward fished a small (approximately 2 inch diameter) clear jellyfish out of the water and placed it into my niece's hand who had volunteered to hold it.
It is the only jellyfish in the world that does not sting!
Leaving Friday Harbor on board the ship, we took a different route through the San Juan Islands on our way back to the Inn at Semiahmoo. Many seals and porpoises were viewed. We even spotted a bald eagle land in it's nest high up in a tree on one of the islands.
Ending our day trip with many sights, sounds and newly acquired knowledge regarding the San Juan Islands we went to bed that night enjoying our last evening at the Inn at Semiahmoo resort. I would recommend this part of our trip to anyone! Obviously there would be so much more to do and see in this area if one had more time.
We certainly enjoyed our introduction to this beautiful part of the country.
Have you ever toured the San Juan Islands and spent some time at Friday Harbor?
© 2009 Peggy Woods