After our night out in Anacortes, we hopped the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Five years ago there wasn’t a single craft brewery in the islands. Now there are three, with a fourth opening on Lopez next year. Consider us convinced: it’s high time to visit the islands.
In the morning we enjoyed breakfast at Cynthia’s Bistro — included in our stay at Hideaway Guest Suite. We happened to sit next to Cynthia herself at breakfast, whose “I’m not bossy, I am the boss” mug gave us a chuckle. The place was lively on a Sunday morning, but Cynthia still took the time to make the rounds, asking about our stay and making us feel welcome. The cinnamon french toast and avocado breakfast boat were delicious.
For a short hike, we headed out to Lime Kiln State Park. Also known as “Whale Watch Park”, it is one of the best places in the world to view orcas from shore. We didn’t catch any during our visit, but the Haro Strait views alone were worthwhile. A historic 1919 lighthouse decorates the grounds, and you can hike out to a restored lime kiln. Lots of history here for those who like to wander and read the interpretive signs.
It doesn’t take us long to work up a thirst, so we drove back to town for lunch at San Juan Island Brewing. This place is fantastic. Built from the ground up in just under a year, the brewery-taproom is spacious, modern, and very inviting. We enjoyed the sampler, which comes out on a tray shaped like San Juan Island. The menu is full of elevated pub favorites and the kitchen is decked out with a wood fired pizza oven— yum! Don’t miss this beautiful new brewery.
Next stop: Orcas Island. We stayed at Orcas Island Getaway, a spacious vacation rental complete with a fireplace and hot tub. We definitely used them both! Great kitchen, too, with lots of amenities. This is a nice place to make a meal, enjoy a bottle of beer or wine, and simply relax. There’s also a BBQ and firepit in the backyard for use during warmer months (or if you’re feeling adventurous).
After breakfast the next morning, we found ourselves looking for a place to park at Moran State Park. We’d planned to hike up Mt. Constitution from the Little Summit, but the road up was closed due to icy conditions. So instead, we went waterfall hunting. Who knew there were such pretty falls in the San Juans? Cascade Falls was especially excellent, with the contrast of fall colors and fresh snow on the ground. We also hiked one mile up to Little Summit, and found it to be surprisingly spectacular :)
Then it was off to our final stop: Island Hoppin’ Brewing. Owner/brewer Nate is quite the character, and welcomed us in on a day when they are normally closed. We had the opportunity to sample his tasty Fresh Hop ale, along with a Raspberry Wheat and Pilsner. Quality brews all around. Island Hoppin’ has an especially laid-back feel, like walking into a friend’s living room.
Our time in the islands came to a close all too soon. One thing if for sure, though — we’ll be back. If nothing else, to try the other two breweries in the islands (Oar House and Lopez Island Brewing) and soak up more Salish Sea scenery. Cheers!
Check out the following stories that we've published since our trip to the San Juans!
11/15/2017 06:59:24 pm
Hey! Just came across this post, and was stoked to see your time at the brewery on San Juan Island went well.
Beers at the Bottom
11/16/2017 04:41:20 pm
Alex, that is fantastic! We really loved the SJI flights and all the custom touches throughout the taproom. Cheers!
Beers at the Bottom
11/23/2017 07:30:21 pm
Ha! It's a mountain alright :)
3/10/2018 09:16:19 pm
So glad to have found you on wta.org website. My favorite San Juan and Brews trip is to walk on to take the ferry to Shaw Island. Walk across the island to the Cedar Rock Preserve, and the County Park. Catch a late afternoon ferry and stop at either Skagit Brew Pub or Rock Fish Grill. It is a great mid-spring hike when the mountains are still full of snow.
Beers at the Bottom
3/12/2018 08:36:44 am
Thanks for sharing, Paul! Sounds like we need to spend some time exploring Shaw. Happy trails!
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