I have finally returned from my week-long trip to San Juan Island in Washington state, and I am here to tell you all about it! I had never been to Washington before this trip, so there was a lot of new stuff to explore there.
Why San Juan Island for vacation? I am sure that many of you have never heard of it before. However, my friends’ family owns a house on the island, so me and two other friends had free lodging for a vacation to visit our friend and journey around San Juan! It was a deal that we definitely couldn’t pass up (especially as minimum-wage earning students). We’ll always take what we can get!
My two friends and I flew out of Denver International Airport to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is really the biggest commercial airport that is near San Juan (even though it is kind of out of the way, with over four hours of travel time after the flight to get out to the island itself). Flying into Seattle also gave us the chance to visit Pike Place Market!
Pike Place Market is pretty much the number one tourist attraction in Seattle, Washington, so I am sure that many of you have been before, but I will tell you all about my experience regardless! I don’t have any pictures from the time we spent at Pike Place because we hardly had any time to experience everything. We had a very tight schedule to stick to that first day so that we could get back to the house on San Juan before it was too late at night. We didn’t even get coffee from the very first Starbucks store ever! I am sure that it all tastes the same as the coffee in Colorado, but still. I was bummed!
For those of you who don’t know about Pike Place Market, it is a partially-outdoor public market full of independent businesses, fresh produce, and restaurants that each have their own booths and storefronts right in the heart of the city of Seattle! The entire market is huge, and we definitely did not have time to visit every booth.
The first thing that you see when you walk into the market is this giant booth right in front that sells big bouquets of flowers! Trust me when I say that these are the prettiest flowers that you will ever see, and they smell absolutely wonderful. They even overpower the smell of fresh fish, which is pretty crazy considering that fish is what Pike Place is known for (and with that being said, there is a ton of it. So just brace yourself for the super fishy smells that are reminiscent of San Francisco, if you have ever had the pleasure of enjoying the pungent smells of Fisherman’s Wharf). Since we weren’t staying anywhere in the city, it wasn’t practical to buy any flowers, but I would have loved to have some if I could. If you were wondering, we didn’t buy any fish either, but we did get to see some vendors throwing fish to each other across the market, and that’s what a visit to Pike Place is all about!
Of course, we had to visit all of the touristy shops that the market has to offer. I swear, those types of shops are my downfall, because I could spend hours looking at all of the merchandise, and of course, I have to spend a ton of money on souvenirs to commemorate my trip! I did end up buying myself a sweatshirt. Funnily enough, I am wearing it as I type this, and it is the comfiest thing that I have ever worn. If that is not a reason to head to Seattle, than I don’t know what is. I can’t give you the name of the store that I bought it from because I honestly don’t remember! That might sound bad, but after the fifth tourist-trap store and the fiftieth Seattle Grace sweatshirt, all of the shops seem to blend together.
I was also able to grab myself a pressed penny, and if any of you don’t collect these souvenirs, you absolutely should! I have been collecting them since my first trip to Disneyland when I was five, and I keep all of them in a special pressed penny booklet! Not only do these pennies remind you of all the cool places that you have traveled to, but they are also the cheapest souvenirs you will ever buy, at 51 cents a pop. I whole-heartedly recommend these, especially if you have little kids and don’t want to spend a ton of money on a souvenir item that they will quickly outgrow.
After our shopping spree, we barely had time to grab lunch, and so we quickly chose to eat at Crepes De France! This little crepe shop is placed in a little corner in the downstairs area of Pike Place Market. The crepes here are huge! I personally ordered a crepe with mozzarella cheese, spinach, and ham inside, and while it was pretty good, I definitely wish that I had gotten the crepe with strawberries, vanilla crème, and whipped cream. One of my friends got this crepe and it was so delicious! I’ll provide a link to the restaurant’s website down below if any of you want to read about the shop or want to look at the menu. If you’re ever visiting Pike Place Market, you should check it out!
We finished our crepes and then had to head out, because, as I mentioned, it is about a four hour trip from Seattle to San Juan Island, including both drive time and ferry time.
Before this trip, I had never been on a ferry, but it was a crazy experience! Since San Juan Island is on an island (obviously), we had to take about an hour ferry ride to make it into the harbor. We drove up onto the ferry, and then headed upstairs to get a prime spot at a table with a booth, just like at a restaurant (except instead of eating, we were playing cards). We also had the opportunity to walk out on the deck of the boat and watch the sunset! It was absolutely freezing, given the fact that we were in Washington, out in the middle of the ocean, and the wind was blowing like crazy due to the speed of the ferry, so we didn’t stay outside too long. This was just the first of many fantastic sunsets on this trip!
By the time that we pulled up to Friday Harbor, which is the port at San Juan Island., it was very late at night. Once there, it was another thirty minute drive to the house, which was located at the opposite end of the island. I can’t really tell you about my first impressions of the harbor, because it was pitch dark by the time we were able to get the car off of the ferry and head to the house. After that, we just crashed at the house and unpacked so that we could really get our fun vacation started the next day!
I can’t wait to get started on writing about our first official day on San Juan Island. While I work on that, though…
Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!