If you fell in love with Nantucket the first time you stepped foot on that island, you will love Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle just as much. There’s something so relaxing about taking a ferry to an island, it feels like you are really escaping reality. Sparkling, crystal clear blue waters and dark green forested islands abound. As soon as we docked in Friday Harbor, I noticed the similarities to Nantucket. If you sometimes long for a time when life was simpler, more tranquil, and slower paced, you’ll be enchanted by Friday Harbor’s ambience—a charming, walkable seaport built on a hill leading up from the harbor. Stroll through quaint villages, catch a glimpse of harbor seals and the magnificent, endangered orca whales, kayak the glassy waters along the shoreline, cycle quiet miles of country roads or browse unique shops and feast on delicious local fare at many diverse restaurants.
A short walk from the harbor took us to the Tucker House Inn, which is perched on a hill overlooking the town. The Inn consists of a labyrinth of buildings including two Victorian Houses – one built in 1898 and the other at the turn of the century, plus three cottages. We stayed in the Goose in the Pond cottage which was an amazing, cozy accommodation. We loved the king feather top bed, cathedral ceiling with skylight, and remote controlled gas fireplace which came in handy as the temperatures dropped quickly at night. Right out your door is a grassy lawn, with a weeping willow and shade gardens. They seem to have thought of everything as the kitchen is fully equipped to make your own meals. I loved that they use organic cleaners and vinegar in lieu of highly scented fabric softener and they stock bathrooms with private-label handmade organic body products in refillable dispensers versus individual amenity bottles. And the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that were waiting for us in our room upon check-in were delicious!
Some of the other great ecofriendly initiatives they have implemented are:
• Recycling throughout the Inn, Restaurant, and guest rooms.
• Purchased energy star appliances for all replacements.
• Purchased propane fireplaces to replace wood burning fireplaces.
• Installed low-flush toilets, low water usage showers and drip irrigation system for the gardens.
• Replacing inefficient lighting with fluorescent and energy efficient or outdoor solar lights whenever possible.
• Supply guests with hang tags for guest rooms to educate and encourage conservation while on vacation.
• Developed a composting project with local farms to recycle kitchen scraps for chicken and cow feed and for their own composting.
• Encourage guests to walk on the ferry and leave their cars, use public transportation, or bicycles to get around the Island. Provide guests with the complimentary use of bicycles.
• Developed and foster relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure the very best fresh seasonal and local produce, meats, fish, and cheeses available are served each day.
• Growing herbs, edible flowers, cut flowers at the Inn for use in the guest rooms and for food preparation.
• Providing guests with filtered water in guest rooms, suites and cottages to discourage and eliminate disposal plastic bottles.
Our trip was way too short but we loved the Tucker House Inn and they even sent us on our way with a breakfast-to-go bag as we had to catch an early ferry. While Nantucket may be closer, it’s definitely worth the trip to Friday Harbor!
For more information, visit www.tuckerhouse.com.