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This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at
the Orcas Hotel on Orcas Island, Washington.
Orcas Hotel has a big advantage in its location. It is right across from the ferry landing and the first thing ferry passengers see when them arrive at Orcas Island. This is an older hotel and does not have a fancy exercise area or pool or spa. But it does have a downstairs bakery that is open in the morning and the afternoon, and it also has a restaurant (Octavia's) which server breakfast and dinner. The hotel takes advantage of its view and provides ample porches over the water where guests can watch the ferries coming and going. This is a place to come to if one wants to slow down and unwind. It definitely takes one back a century. We had been on the go for over a week, and it was nice to kick back. It was a simple place, but we really enjoyed it.
There is not a lot on this side of the island, so we opted to have dinner in the hotel's restaurant, Octavia's. As the sun went down, it was getting cooler, so we chose to dine inside in front of a wall of French doors that overlooked the ferry landing. There is a lawn area with tables outside for dining. The fresh bread was served with olive oil and herbs. Lori ordered the shrimp and onion tempura as an appetizer; she ate the shrimp and Keith ate the onions. Keith had a large salad. Lori was happy to have the choice of clam chowder in lieu of salad. Lori had the vegetarian lasagna for dinner, and Keith had a thick steak. We ordered some more local wine and let ourselves unwind. The food was very good, the dinner was leisurely, and we really relaxed.
In the morning, we rolled out of bed and went downstairs to Octavia's for breakfast. Keith had an omelette, and Lori ordered scrambled eggs, which was accompanied by two sausage links and potatoes. All entrees came with incredible bread that was one inch thick and toasted.
The hotel does have a bar, which is part of Octavia's. It opens at 4 p.m. The innkeeper told us he would be happy to get us drinks before then, if we so desired, and we could either enjoy them outside or take them up to our room. Late in the afternoon, when we returned to the hotel, we got some ice cold wheat beers from the bar and went back to the hotel's porch, enjoying the view and watching the ferries. The front and side porches are apparently popular places to sit and relax with a cold drink on a warm summer afternoon.
The people could not have been nicer. Lori had had a couple conversations with the innkeeper/owner Doug before we arrived. As soon as he greeted us and looked up our reservation, he smiled and said, "You must be Lori." Lori said, "You must be Doug," and it went from there. He produced a map of the island, marked things, made suggestions, showed us to our room, and told us to come see him if we needed anything. We later patronized their bar and restaurant and Tiffany, our server, was mellow and friendly.
Orcas is the largest of the San Juan Islands. Doug had suggested we drive around in a large U shape to have lunch in Olga. We drove through a park on the way with the highest peak on the island, which can be climbed with limited effort (we didn't get to that). We got to Olga, but it was packed (it seemed this was the only eating place on this part of the island) with a 40-minute wait, so we headed back to the town of East Sound. East Sound seemed to be the main town on the island, with some shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as a grocery store where we bought ice for our styrofoam cooler. We drove around the island some more, amazed at how large these "islands" were (we expected them to be smaller). We pulled up next to a yacht club and saw some kids playing with remote-control sailboats in the water. Orcas Island seemed to be a little hillier than San Juan Island, which we had visited the day before. It was rural and beautiful and pristine.
We had two of our meals at Octavia's at Orcas Hotel (see above). We ate lunch at Vern's at Bayside. It was right on the water, and we ate outside, having a late, leisurely lunch. Keith had some beer on tap and a great, meaty taco salad. Lori had a frozen strawberry daiquiri and shrimp quesadillas. It was a good, satisfying lunch and we soaked up the sunshine for awhile.
Likely one would have to go into East Sound for perhaps a little nightlife. We were enjoying the peace and quiet over in Orcas.
It was surprisingly warm while we were there. As soon as we arrived at our hotel, we quickly changed into shorts. It was in the low 80s that day, warmer than usual for the San Juan islands in mid-July. It did cool off into the 60s that night.
If we go back to Orcas Island, we would allow ourselves much more time to exlore, perhaps two nights. It is a beautiful, peaceful little piece of nature.