Roche Harbor Scouting Weekend

This weekend Bryan and I were treated pretty swell as we were considered the “Prospectives” for potential wedding clients at the Roche Harbor Resort on San Juan Island.  We were excited to have a little getaway from Seattle (something we haven’t really had just the two of us since New Zealand) and were excited knowing that is was more or less not on our expense.  We were pretty excited but unknowing of what to expect for the weekend.

Saturday morning we woke up at 7:30 am to get our bags and bikes packed in the Jeep to set out for the Anacortes ferry at 9:30 am.  Unfortunately, our 8:10 am departure from Seattle was not early enough for us to make the 9:30 ferry, much to my dismay, and the next ferry wasn’t going to depart until 2:40 pm!!!  Oh my goodness we had five hours to kill in Anacortes and I didn’t know how we were going to.  We browsed through West Marine for a while and Bryan bought sailing gloves.  We then walked to Calico Cupboard for a so-so breakfast.  I was still bitter about making the ferry and wasn’t letting go of it.  We drove to some random park that ended up being beautiful, despite the clouds and dreariness of the weather, and we walked and explore around there for awhile.  We finally headed back to the ferry terminal at 1:30 pm, parked the Jeep, got our bags and bikes out, and bought walk-on ferry tickets.  We were finally on board and ready for the vacation to begin.

The ferry was smooth sailing of course and we pulled into the island’s port just before 4pm.  And we were greeted with super sunny, cloudless skies the entire rest of the weekend.  We immediately hit the road for our 10 mile bike ride from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor.  We had rescheduled our tour for the morning so we were no longer in a rush to get there.  I loved the hills and the scenery.  We stopped at the San Juan Winery briefly but forego a glass and proceeded on.  We rolled into Roche Harbor at 5pm, checked in, were greeted very warmly and got our keys to the McMillen Suite.  Our room was located in a super old house set up on the hill right there in the harbor overlooking the boats, the harbor, the restaurants, and with stunning views of the Vancouver Island and what eventually became sunset.  The room had a huge tub and shower, bathrobes, a glorious king size bed, sitting area with TV and gas fireplace, and balcony with chairs, a table, a bottle of red wine, Lindor truffles, a card welcoming us, and a Roche Harbor wedding lookbook.  We were in heaven.  We kicked off the biking shoes, opened the wine and leisurely enjoyed a glass or two in the sun on our balcony.

9.5 miles to Roche Harbor
9.5 miles to Roche Harbor
Overlooking Roche Harbor.
Overlooking Roche Harbor.

After refreshing showers, we dressed up and set out to walk about 50 feet to our dinner reservation at the McMillen Dining Room, also right on the harbor.  Our table was front row seats for the beautiful sunset.  We had $150 to spend and were looking forward to a good meal.  Bryan immediately knew he was going to get their prime rib that they are known for, the largest size, while I chose two small plates:  Dungeness crab stuffed spot prawns and salmon with an orange buerre blance, rattatouile and roasted redskin potatoes.  We also each got a glass of Cabernet and shared their super delicious and unique brussel sprout and spring greens salad with pistachios, feta, asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, and fried parsnip chips.  Both of our meals were delicious and we finished them without a problem.  For dessert we chose the cappecino chip ice cream with kahlua whipped cream and brandy caramel sauce with a decaf.  We left the restaurant full and happy and headed back to the room to enjoy our fireplace and get a 10 hour sleep (we fell asleep at 10 am!).

The McMillan's Dining Room
The McMillan’s Dining Room

Sunday morning we woke up and got our bags ready to check out.  We left those with the front desk while we got our resort tour with Alyssa, from Livonia, MI.  She was super sweet and shared my tastes.  She was honest and friendly and we both really liked her.  She showed us the garden, the chapel, the reception banquet room with outdoor terrace and fireplace and then the shipwreck beach for rehearsal dinners.  She answered all of our questions and it was a good experience for Bryan and I to go through before heading to Michigan.  The tour lasted just under an hour which was also good for me to know before heading to Michigan.  It was about 11 am when we left Alyssa and strolled along the marina looking at boats before getting a table on the deck of Madrona Bar and Grill for lunch.  Bryan got the lamb burger and I got the chop chop salad that came with chicken, shrimp, crab and avocado and was delicious.  We changed back into our biking clothes and set out to head west and complete the loop around the island.

View from Madrona Bar and Grill in Roche Harbor
View from Madrona Bar and Grill in Roche Harbor

This time our bike ride included 1500 feet of climbing and 20 miles.  We also had those backpacks on.  We made our way to the west coast of the island and just after the 10 mile mark we found the perfect exposed spot on the coast to sit in the sun, share an apple and take a break.  After about an hour we were back on the bikes to finish our last leg of the bike ride.  I really enjoyed biking on San Juan Island and would love to do it again.  We got to Friday Harbor at 3 pm with an hour to spare before our ferry pulled in.  We got a double waffle cone of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream at Chico’s and walked to the end of the dock to lay on the bench and soak in more sun.  The ferry ride home was uneventful but sunny and we were back in our car about 6 pm with an 1.5 hour drive back to Seattle.

Nearly 20 miles from Roche to Friday Harbor with a long stop at Lime Kiln
Nearly 20 miles from Roche to Friday Harbor with a long stop at Lime Kiln

We stopped for a growler of a Baltic porter to take to our friend’s Andrew and Angela’s house for their Norwegian Independence Day party.  The beer was super delicious but even better were hanging out with our friends and enjoying their reindeer sausages, lefse (potato crepes), Christmas cabbage, cheese platter, smoked salmon crostinis, Aquavit cocktails and rhubarb pudding.  We stayed talking with the FareStart group we enjoy so much until 10:15 pm.  We still hadn’t showered and were tired so we headed for home to end our great weekend!

Angela's amazing lefse!
Angela’s amazing lefse!


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