an island to remember

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Okay, we’ve been off adventuring this month and I’m behind on sharing on the where’s and whats. So we’ll start with the trip to parts nearby but a tiny bit far away.

This year for our birthday’s – which happen to be in the same week – Tina and I requested our guys take us to one of the top restaurants in the world which happens to be located right here in the Northwest. It’s called The Willows and is located on one of the San Juan Islands just a five minute ferry ride off the mainland.

We booked in July but had to wait till October to get in – its just that popular. It turned out to be the very perfect time to go though. Saturday was super super super stormy and Sunday was super sunny and perfect. The best of both! There really is no better time to be in an ocean view room, on the beach then during a churning sea storm. So dramatic and fun! We got lucky and kept our power too which was a bonus. But I’m jumping ahead!

First, on our way up, we stopped to watch Tina’s youngest son James play in a soccer game. Can you say drenched? Holy rain water was it wet! I kind of liked it though. It reminded me of years ago standing out and watching my nephews play in soccer games in those same kind of conditions. Good times, my friends, good times.

From there we hit a pub in Mount Vernon to warm up and got lucky with a good one. The Skagit Bay Pub was busy when we got there but we only had a ten minute wait before we scored a good table. Lots of variety on the menu and we all liked what we had. I would totally go back to have the steamed clams again. Super yummy.

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Then it was off to catch a ferry to the island. A 16 car ferry. So much fun. I’ve never been on such a little ferry. We were one of the last on. It chugged its way across and I’m pretty sure we boarded, paid, crossed and unloaded all within a ten minute time span.

Lummi Island is a hidden gem! You know how you get in your head how something is sometimes? Well in this case I had decided Lummi Island was a small flat island – only to find out it is decent size, not flat at all, with lush trees, picturesque homes and stunning views. Really inviting.

We started with a stop at the island grocery store which seemed to carry one of most things it carried. This is definitely a small time grocery. We were there for wine though and they had it so all was well in our world. J

From there, we decided to take the circuitous route to our inn and loved the drive despite the wind and the rain coming in torrents. At one spot it was churning up the sea so much it came in big waves across the road. Cool!!

The Willows Inn is a funky kind of spot for so much acclaim. (And acclaim it gets. The day we were there it was featured in the Wall Street Journal.) We checked in expecting to stay at the Inn but instead found we were “assigned” to two rooms in a house a mile and a half away. So off we went.

IMG_7039  To a wonderful house! One we would move into if we could. We got to stay in this beautiful home with the sea view and beach out front and a beautiful estuary out back. We turned on the fireplace, poured a glass of wine and decided we didn’t even really need dinner.

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But who are we kidding? Of course we did! We were foodies on a quest! We knew this would be an unusual dinner. It is a set price and set courses that takes several hours. We all had eaten at the Herb Farm before though and thought we were in for something similar. And it was.

And totally different too. This dinner turned out to be 20 courses! T W E N T Y. And we didn’t leave too full.

Each “course” really was one to three bites. The inn keeps its food to what is found locally and seasonally. We had bites of delectable fish, then a veggie, then a green chestnut, then a chunk of bread – no matter the course it was fragrant, fresh and delicious. It was also very simple. This was not a dinner of fancy sauces and fal-da-rah. This was a dinner where the ingredients were expected to stand on their own with the simplest of supporting ingredients.

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From first bite to last, we thought it was pretty close to the perfect evening. The next morning we spoiled ourselves with a leisurely wake up, a walk and an island breakfast at the Beach Café before we caught the same ferry back to reality.

I think its pretty cool and pretty dang fun that this little spot on Lummi Island has garnered world-wide attention. I’m not sure it would be on my top ten list but I am sure that we’re all glad we went. Everyone should go! It’s an adventure and life should be packed with those.

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