It’s pretty funny that for the longest time my “vacations” were exhausting. Like, after I come back home, I felt so tired that my only thought was “when would I be able to rest after this?” This time was different: I came back home refreshed, somewhat rested, relaxed, and calm. And the thing is, it was just a bit longer than a weekend.
A few months ago, my wife found a farm on San Juan island that offered camping on site. We thought it was a cool idea, and we booked our 4-night stay right away. We’ve been to San Juan briefly earlier this year, and wanted to explore it more, so it was a perfect setup.
We arrived late on Thursday: we took an 7:40 ferry from Anacortes. The ferry was late, yet the sailing was beautiful.
We arrived around 10 pm in beautiful Friday Harbor. The weather was very mild, and everything around looked mysterious and truly gorgeous.
After a short drive from the port to the farm, we set up for the night at Sweet Earth Farm’s “Madrone” tent site.
Sweet Earth Farm
I said we went camping on a remote farm on a remote island, but it was not the whole truth. The “camping” here is more of a “glamping”: we were staying in a pre-set tent, with a real bed with a decent mattress, bedside tables, electricity and a fan.
The site itself was spacious and private. Our son decided to stay in his own tent, and there was enough space for that and then some.
The site also included the kitchen with a gas stove, running water, utensils, and so forth.
Since we are campers with a lot of experience, we had everything with us to be entirely autonomous. Still, it was really nice to have a stove and running water!
The farm grows everything from cucumbers and strawberries to lavender, and has chickens and ducks. Every morning we were greeted by a bunch of roosters declaring that it’s a new day, which was pretty much the experience I was looking for.
The fact that we had a real bed in a spacious tent contributed a lot to being able to have truly restful sleep and waking up refreshed. The kitchen also removed a lot of morning anxieties and hustles contributing to a good start of the day.
San Juan Island
The island itself is a part of the San Juan Islands archipelago in the Salish Sea here in Washington. It’s the largest of the islands and most developed and populated with roughly 7000 residents. It also has some really fun history, with the best known event being “The Pig War”: once upon a time, the United States and Great Britain almost went to war over a dude shooting a pig (true story!). The two countries claimed the island and had military camps on it, and it got tense at times :)
The island is comparatively large: it would take about an hour to circumvent it, yet you could drive along its length in about 30 minutes. We had 3 full days to explore the island, and it’s just enough time to hit all the landmarks, some local farms, and have time to just chill.
Friday Harbor is the largest town on the island, its urban center. It has about 3000 residents, few museums, a lot of fine dining options, and a market. It’s really cute, and has this small town feel to it, while also having real vacation-tourist vibe.
While we spent a bit of time in Friday Harbor, mostly shopping and dining, most of our time on the island we spent chilling on the beach and… chasing foxes!
Foxes are a feature of San Juan’s. They are wild, they are everywhere, and they are not afraid of humans, most of the time.
Foxes of San Juan Island
At first, we were super thrilled to see a wild fox, but as we spent more time away from crowds, we realized that these cuties are like squirrels on the mainland. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s entirely very cool meeting them everywhere!
As I mentioned earlier, we spent a lot of time on the beach. We found one that’s isolated enough, not very popular and has some needed shade. Not giving it away, but locals and those who frequent San Juan will probably recognize it.
Finally, I had a few hours a day to just do nothing, think about nothing, and read my books. I’ve finished “The Apollo Murders”, and can’t be happier about just sitting on the beach reading a book.
My best guess is that this made the whole trip so relaxing and refreshing. We were never in a rush, we had all the time in the world to both explore and relax.
Oh, and speaking of beaches…
Along with chasing foxes, visiting historic landmarks, and dining in the heart of Friday Harbor, we also visited some of the local farms.
The first one was Amaro Farm. They have some of the cutest sheep in the world!
Another farm we stopped by was the Pelindaba Lavender Farm. On a clear sunny day, their lavender fields look absolutely fantastic!
All in all, it was one of the nicest, most refreshing short vacations that we had in a while. Even the trip back on Monday was gorgeous.
10/10, would go again!