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Pacific Northwest Excursion - Day Nine
In the morning, we had our choice of eating breakfast out in the dining room with the other guests, taking it to our room and eating it on trays, or having it served to us on the dining table in the corner of the room, which was our ultimate choice. As Helen said she would do, she called us 10 minutes before serving to make sure we were ready. The first course was a fruit plate, followed by scrambled eggs, sausage, and fresh muffins. We had requested iced tea, and she served that, along with fresh orange juice.
We had a more leisurely day planned, so we took our time out on the deck, hoping to spot some whales, but we didn't see any. At 10 a.m., we checked out and headed for town. It was cool on the island, and we had decided to wear jeans. After getting the car in line for the ferry to Orcas, we decided to walk around Friday Harbor (we had some time to kill). We went through some of the stores. We were searching for a tacky shot glass to add to our collection, and noted a definite lack of tacky tourist souvenirs in the town, which is likely in its favor. We found a coffee shop that served cold drinks (although it was on the cool side, it was sunny, and we were warm from walking up and down the inclines), and we purchased two Cokes. We were surprised when they were served to us in the old style bottles. We took them outside and sat down at a table overlooking the ferry landing, where we eavesdropped on an oldtimer telling stories to a nearby table of tourists. He was talking about the time in '57 when he got stopped for speeding in Texas and he had an open cold beer between his legs. The police officer looked the other way and said he would forgive the speeding ticket if the guy had a spare cold beer.
Afterwards, we finally managed to find a store that had shot glasses, and we purchased one. There was also a wine store, and we purchased what we figured would be our last bottle of champagne on this trip. The store also offered tastings, but it was a little too early in the morning for us to be tasting wine, so we took the champagne back to the car and put it in our cooler. This time, we were first in line for the ferry to Orcas. Either we had really planned ahead, or we were too stupid to realize this was not a popular route.
We walked into the front hall and found the front desk, which was being manned by Doug, the hotel's owner. He gave us a genuine smile and remembered talking to Lori a couple times on the phone. He said our room was ready, and told us it was the nicest room in the hotel and he loved checking people into that room. He gave us a map of the island and made some suggestions. This is a small (12-room) 100-year old Victorian hotel that is preserved very well.
We had one of the largest rooms in the place, off to the side in an addition that was formerly a warehouse and now houses rooms on the upper floor and the restaurant below. Our room was the Blue Heron, which had French doors opening onto a balcony that overlooked the ferry landing. We had a queen size bed with a large lump in the middle (we later learned it was a very comfortable feather bed). It was a simple room, with no tv, and a fan in one corner. The open doors were bringing in a nice breeze from the water. The bathroom had a toilet, pedestal sink, and a large (truly) double Jacuzzi with an original stained glass window with a blue heron. Keith noted the showers were down the hall (remember, this is an older hotel). The toilet in our room reminded us of boat toilets, as one pulled the stopper up to flush (also like those in St. Maarten). It was warm, and we quickly changed into shorts, and set off to explore the island.
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. 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. After stocking the cooler with ice, 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 quesdillas. It was a good, satisfying lunch and we soaked up the sunshine for awhile. 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.
We returned to our hotel, popped open the champagne, and enjoyed a nice tepid soak in the Jacuzzi. Afterwards, we went downstairs and hung out on the expansive front porch of 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. We spoke for awhile with a local from Whidbey Island who commuted on the ferries every day (he installed hardwood floors). He had some horror stories to tell about the ferries but admitted they ran very smoothly, for the most part.
We had decided earlier to simply have our dinner at the hotel restaurant - Octavia's. There wasn't much on this side of the island, and we were enjoying relaxing without having to drive anywhere. There is a lawn area with tables outside for dining, but it was starting to cool down, so we ate indoors. 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 once again to have the choice of 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.
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