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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Orcas Island Adventure

                                                                                                   Credit: Tyson Stole
I spent this last weekend on beautiful Orcas Island in the San Juans for my birthday. For anyone living in the Seattle area or anyone visiting, this is like its own little paradise that is totally worth checking out!

We had a gorgeous view from our room at the Outlook Inn and were greeted by a down-to-earth local at the front desk who gave us a rundown of all the hot spots of the island. My favorite restaurant that we dined at while we were there was Allium.

They started us with some bread and a caramelized onion jam. For dinner I had the Lopez Island Bone-in Pork Loin Chop, Cider-Glazed, with Potato Gratin ($26) and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Nautilus 2009 ($30/bottle).

Everything was perfectly proportioned, the Pork Loin was tender and juicy and I ended up scraping my plate clean and moving onto dessert. The wine got better with every sip and had several layers including passion fruit and gooseberry with a hint of a citrus and herbal flavor.

Credit: Tyson Stole
In addition to the wonderful food, we went on a guided kayaking tour out of Friday Harbor through Outdoor Odysseys to try to track down some orcas. The tour guide was super sweet and very knowledgeable about everything from the history of the town to the plants and animals that inhabit the island. No orcas, but a wonderful tour nonetheless. We ended up barely catching our ferry back with literally about 1 minute to spare.

I was surprised to find out that Orcas Island has a 5,252-acre state park that holds 2,409-foot Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands. The mountain has more than 33 miles of hiking and biking trails from multiple points or you can drive straight to the top if hiking isn't your thing and you're just looking for a beautiful view.

Cascade Lake has paddle boats and rowboats for rent on-site or you can bring your own canoe or kayak. Fish are plentiful and the surroundings are calm and serene.

This is a great place to camp out and contrary to the main land, you don't have any predators to worry about such as bears since they were all hunted off awhile ago. There is still plenty of wildlife and you are pretty much guaranteed to see deer along the way. Make sure you have a Discover Pass ($10/day or $30/year) and make reservations for your campsite early.

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