What’s New and Cool in the San Juan Islands, Washington?
Virtual Savor the San Juans
If COVID-19 is teaching us anything, it’s a reminder of the importance to stop and savor the moment. In the San Juan Islands, we’ve been doing just that every fall for the last 12 years with “Savor the San Juans” – an opportunity to celebrate the food, farms, and films in the archipelago. This year COVID has changed the way we do things, so you can Savor the San Juans from home. The first week (Oct. 5, 7, & 9) is Farm Tour week with glimpses behind the barn doors of Pebble Cove Farm, OrcaSong Farm, and Buck Bay Shellfish Farm. The second week (Oct. 12, 14, &16) is Fall Baking week, with recipes and cooking classes from Otters Pond B&B and Tucker House B&B. The third week (Oct. 19, 21, & 23) is Fall Cooking Week, with a how-to from Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm and a few more folks TBD. And the final week (Oct. 26, 28, & 30) is Wine Tasting Week, with Doe Bay Wine Company, Lopez Vineyards, and Madrone Cellars & Ciders. Times are TBD. For more information, including Savor the San Juans lodging and dining specials, and to register for these events, www.visitsanjuans.com/savor. We are adding new specials to the page all the time.
New Leaf Café Turns Over New Leaf
Chef Mario Granata and his wife were visiting friends on Orcas Island just as the Outlook Inn’s New Leaf Café was conducting final interviews for a new head chef. He stepped in to make a sample dinner of his rustic Forest Salad (Maitake and Oyster mushrooms sautéed with crispy bacon and served with field greens tossed in a garlic-infused olive oil), a grilled Halibut Lemon Piccata, and pan-seared scallops with a wasabi cream sauce. Hired! Chef Granata describes his cooking as rustic cuisine with a Pacific Northwest flair, and he hails from the small community of Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. New Leaf To-Go is still available on the weekends between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and dining-in is open Thursdays through Sundays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information: www.outlookinn.com/newleaf
Rosario Reopens with New Chef and Enticing Fall Lodging and Marina Specials
After closing for months due to COVID, The Mansion Restaurant and Moran Lounge at Rosario Resort have reopened with a new chef at the helm. Hailing from Atlanta, Chef Richard Neal worked at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, then as “Top Chef” Hugh Acheson’s traveling chef before coming to Orcas Island. Richard is a seasoned forager with a deep enthusiasm for the natural world, which is clearly represented in his food—clean, connected food with an emphasis on quality products. From Neal: “My food is simple, and local food means a ton to me, so I use that and the environment around me to push myself creatively to make unfamiliar ingredients attractive and approachable in a modern style.” The Mansion Restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday – Sunday 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. and brunch 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thursday – Sunday. Take-out orders are available during restaurant hours.
Lodging/Marina specials: Extend your stay on Orcas this fall and winter – when you book two nights at Rosario, the third is free! Visiting by boat? Moorage is free if you book a room. Please call 1-800-562-8820 for availability. For more information: https://rosarioresort.com/the-mansion-restaurant
Earthbox Inn and Spa — Your Fall Curriculum Starts Here
This retro motor inn in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island is inviting guests to bring their classrooms to the Islands by offering a package that includes room discounts, discounts on whale watching, kayaking trips, and a restaurant discount. Learn about the Salish Sea, the habitat, and the challenges of our beloved orca whales at The Whale Museum. Hike and bike in our many parks. Complimentary beach cruiser bikes provide exercise opportunities right from your doorstep. Kids under 12 stay for free, and Earthbox offers pet-friendly rooms. They are paving the way for a family-friendly fall, but the romantic seaside village of Friday Harbor is perfect for couples and singles as well. For more information, please contact Laura Saccio at [email protected] Earthbox Inn & Spa, Bird Rock Hotel.
The art of 21 local artists will be dancing in the wind in front of Orcas Center for the next few months alongside the “ORCAS STRONG” banner. Each artist was provided with a 3’ x 5’ nylon banner and asked to create an artistic expression of inspiration and hope during this crazy time in our lives. The collective goal is to provide an exciting visual experience and to raise the spirits of their Orcas neighbors by sending good wishes on colorful cloth. The exhibit began on August 8th and will hang until Orcas Center is able to open again. www.orcascenter.com.
Mindy Sonshine and Mike Connell were just getting ready to open their retail store for handmade leather goods when COVID19 became a pandemic and locked things down. Adjusting quickly, they’ve created elevated DIY leather kits and tutorials that open the world of high-end leather goods to everyone. No cutting, expensive tools, or special skills required. Everything is included, from the highest quality precision cut leather to the detailed instructions required. Guaranteed head-turning results the first and every time. For more information, email Mindy Sonshine [email protected] or visit https://orcasislandleather.com.