Our first real day on San Juan Island consisted of sleeping in late and then having bagels and hot chocolate for breakfast before our big day!
My friends’ house up there was perfect for all of us to stay in. Half of the place is covered entirely in windows so that you can look out into the forest that surrounds the entire house. Then, there was a loft where the four of us slept with three beds and an air mattress, and although it was a small space, we all fit. It didn’t hurt that the bathroom was also big enough for four girls to keep all of our toiletries (because as you know, when girls travel, we just have to bring a lot of stuff. I do, at least).
The first thing that we did that morning was visit the Lime Kiln lighthouse, which is really one of the landmarks of San Juan Island. While you cannot go inside the old lighthouse, its place on the edge of the cliff makes for an amazing photo opportunity (especially during the sunset, but I will discuss that on another day). In addition to the picturesque view, one of the reasons that this spot is so popular is because it is a great place for whale watching! San Juan Island, and the other big islands In San Juan (Orcas Island and Lopez Island) are known for their Orca whale sightings. On that first day, we did not see any whales at all, but we did climb around on the cliffs near the lighthouse to see some of the other fun sea creatures! All of the rocks near the water were lined with live barnacles that would open and close as the waves would rise and fall. If you have never seen this before, it is fascinating to watch. It sounds silly, but watching the little shells open and close was crazy cool, and definitely something that I have never experienced. Below us, there were also tons of small fish swimming around, as well as lots and lots of jellyfish! There were so many floating around that day. We were pretty much like little kids, running around on the rocks and just staring in amazement at all of the cool sea life that was on display for us! Although, if you ever plan on visiting San Juan Island and Lime Kiln, fair warning: it is very dangerous to wear slippery sandals on wet rocks that were not meant to be climbed. I know this from firsthand experience.
Next on the agenda was the Pelindaba Lavender Farm! Before we went to visit the lavender farm, though, we picked up lunch at Bakery San Juan, which we took and ate outside at picnic tables near the entrance to the farm. Not only was it gorgeous outside, but from where we were sitting, we could see and smell all of the lavender in the fields. I just got a regular turkey sandwich from the bakery, but it was fresh and amazing! Our surroundings didn’t hurt either!
Now, I have never been to a lavender farm before. I hadn’t even heard of one before my trip to San Juan; however, it was one of the coolest experiences ever, if only for the incredible view of rows upon rows of purple lavender fields with the imposing mountains behind them!
Pelindaba Lavender is a real working farm, and while you’re there, you get the chance to walk around the lavender fields and read about all of the equipment and the processes required in order to make the lavender products that we all use today! While it is an operating lavender farm, Pelindaba Lavender also houses a shop full of lavender products from top to bottom. They had everything from beauty products, lotions, and bath salts to lavender chocolate sauce and lavender lemonade! I did get to try the chocolate sauce, and while I wouldn’t purchase it or put it on any desserts myself, I am glad that I got to taste some of it! I didn’t try any of the lemonade, though,since it was an extra charge just for a sample cup. It sounded pretty crazy to me though! All of the products in the shop were made from the lavender grown at Pelindaba. I didn’t end up purchasing anything, just because I was saving my money for when we went into Friday Harbor and got to look around the real souvenir shops, but everything looked and smelled amazing! All of the products also looked fairly expensive, but you do have to take into account the fact that everything was made with real, organic lavender.
As we were driving away from the farm to go back to the house, we were surrounded by trees on either side. Most of the roads on San Juan Island are surrounded by forests like this, which made for some beautiful drives on this trip. All of the sudden, though, we turned around a curve and we were looking across the ocean! It was an incredible view, because the road took us right next to a cliff overlooking the ocean, and beyond that was actually Canada. Crazy! Of course, we had to get out and take a picture on top of the cliff. We also climbed down on the rocks directly near the water so that we could stick our feet in and see what else was down there! By the way, the water was freezing. That was something that did not change the entire trip (considering that the Pacific Ocean is notoriously cold anyways, and Washington isn’t exactly warm in the first place). Also, climbing down slippery rocks is just as dangerous barefoot as in sandals. But it was worth it to see the ocean and splash around in the tide for a little bit!
After our seaside stop, we headed back to the house so that we could all hang out together and play some card games. The nice thing about staying with our friend is that we had dinner provided for us every night, so that was just one less cost we had to worry about! My friend’s dad is also a fantastic cook (even if he did just grill burgers that first night). We spent the rest of the night just lying in bed and relaxing. We were worn out after our first official day of running around the island!
I will leave the link to the Bakery San Juan and Pelindaba Lavender Farm down below, in case any of you want to look at the menu or shop all of the wonderful lavender products that Pelindaba has to offer! Overall, it was an awesome first day full of fantastic views, tasty food, and adventure!
Let me know what you think about our first day of adventuring on San Juan Island, and while you’re at it…
Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!