Light up the tree and raise a joyful noise! Join us for the fun Chamber of Commerce annual Island Lights and Music event at Memorial Park starting at 5:00 p.m.
San Juan Island kicks off the holiday season with the lighting of the big tree, along with holiday performances by the Island Chordsmen Barbershop singers and Friday Harbor Elementary School Eagle Spirit Choir. Angel Michaels will lead a community sing-along, with take-home song sheets provided. Free cookies and hot drinks served by Kiwanis from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the foot of Spring Street.
There is so much to see when driving around San Juan Island: breathtaking seascapes, old growth forests, interesting state and national parks, the camel, the yellow submarine….wait….what? You won’t see these local attractions on any maps or tourism brochures.
The creative folks who live on the island often choose to place sculpture, unusual gardening receptacles, and exotic animals in their yards and pastures. Over-sized mailboxes, huge ship anchors, alpacas, llamas, and elaborate gates,can be seen on all of the island roads. These are beloved fixtures for the Islanders, who often refer to the oddities in giving directions.
“Go down Roche Harbor Road, just past the camel, first left.”
“I live on the westside, on that road where the big pineapple is.”
“Your vacation rental is on the same road as the boat with the flowers.”
Cow and Pig used to have their own Facebook page, and when their original owners left the island a few years ago, we thought we’d never see them again. Not only did they return, but their family has grown by two calves!
The metal submarine and pineapple are the work of a local metal artist who generously builds these eclectic oddities, transports them to the county fair each August, and fills them with all kinds of gadgets and objects for kids to challenge their creativity. At the Fair, Kevin Roth’s booth is the most popular!
The Model T and Teddy Bear Tree are both well off the main roads, but worth the exploration to find them. The lemonade stands are more like “pop-up stores”, capitalizing on the fact there are no convenience stores between Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor.
So when you pick up the Suggested Scenic Drive sheet from the Tucker House guest lobby, assign one of your passengers to be on the lookout for some roadside oddities. You just might see a giant metal Strawberry!
Red and green are the colors of our winter holidays, so this year, concentrate on green as in eco-friendly for your holiday party planning.
Keeping the holidays green means looking at every aspect of your party: planning, invitations, decor, food and even cleaning up. While you are saving the planet, you’ll also be saving yourself money, time and stress.
Deliver invitations through email, with an actual phone call or even a text. Encourage your guests to carpool or walk. Set your party time to early afternoon to use the natural light of the day. If you choose candles, use beeswax with non-toxic wicks, or string LED lights around the room.
Decorate naturally, with pine boughs, holly, pine cones and flowers from the garden.
If gifts are involved, buy local. When you support your local merchants, 45% of your dollars stay within the community. Wrap your gifts with colorful fabric, newspaper, old maps or in the case of most islanders, ferry schedules.
Replace paper plates and cups with reusable dishes and glassware. Remember all of those past parties where the best conversations were conducted over washing, drying and putting things back in the cabinet?
If you want to get away from home on the holidays, choose an inn with sustainable goals. Tucker House and Harrison House have both been awarded with Greenleaders Platinum status from TripAdvisor. We work daily to find ways to recycle, reuse and reduce.
Let’s help out this planet….it is beautiful.
It wasn’t that long ago when packing for vacation, one of my mandatory errands was to Serendipity books, just around the corner on A Street in Friday Harbor. I would spend hours going through piles of old books choosing the perfect ones for my holiday. Sometimes I needed an additional suitcase for all my reading material. Now those dog eared pages have been replaced by a small digital screen that fits conveniently in my purse.
We expected a similar change to have taken place with the Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inns’ guest books. We thought the act of hand writing a note in your room’s guest journal would go by the way side replaced by the social media conversations about the Inns on TripAdvisor and Facebook. We are thrilled to be proven wrong! It is gratifying that our guests take time from their vacation to write an entry about their stay with pen and paper. It is a more intimate and personal sharing. Our guest books include beautiful penmanship that shows a bit of one’s personality, other entries include a simple sketch, a poem or even a song. At times, I feel like I am reading entries in a diary.
Over the years we have amassed hundreds of guest books with thousands of entries. We love reading each and every page. They tell a story about who stayed with us, who they were traveling with, when they stayed, what they did when they were visiting San Juan Island, if they were celebrating something special and where they were from. Below we share a few of the more colorful renderings.
The Harrison House Suites and Tucker House Inn welcome Chef Eddie Garcia to San Juan Island. Mr. Garcia recently relocated from Nantucket where he spent last summer and fall as the Communard (staff chef) for the Great Harbor Yacht Club. Prior to his stint on Nantucket, Eddie, a native of Boston, worked as a private chef. After graduating from Culinary school, he interned at the acclaimed Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon Restaurants. Eddie was proud to be personally hired by well-regarded chef, Ming Tsai after completing a two day stage (brief culinary internship).
Prior to his culinary career, Eddie worked in healthcare for 2 decades coordinating education and support programs for runaway and high-risk youth. Eddie served on the board of the Boston-based chapter of GLSEN which provides much needed guidance and support of GLBT youth in public schools. Mr. Garcia has also worked for the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and for a community risk reduction program for Children’s Hospital Boston. Eddie has had the privilege of residing and working in Boston, Nantucket, NYC, Los Angeles, San Diego and now San Juan Island.
Eddie is thrilled to be back on an island and to work with the staff of the Inns. Over the past week the kitchen, under his direction, produced some innovative, yet simple and comforting dishes. This weekend Eddie is serving a take on Thanksgiving, roasted chicken layered with house baked rosemary bread, mushroom gravy and a side of savory cranberry ginger sauce with a farm-fresh egg!
In his spare time, Eddie is an avid cyclist. He enjoys kayaking and hanging out at the beach. And there is no James Bond movie he hasn’t seen at least 3 or 4 times! Eddie loves to visit with guests and share travel stories, recipes, and talk about food. Please feel free to contact him. He would love to hear from you!