There’s so much to do on San Juan Island! Whale watching, sailboating, walking, shopping, taking photos, birding, hiking, exploring…by the end of the day, you’ll need some downtime, so make a quick stop at your Tucker House suite, then head out to join the community of Friday Harbor with our hometown family delights.
Movies in the Park – Saturday evenings in August and September – Sunken Park
Just across the street from Tucker House is a newly renovated park where the community enjoys family movies in a “sit in” form rather than drive in. This summer’s schedule includes The Wizard of Oz, Mamma Mia, and Footloose. Admission is free.
Drive In at the Fairgrounds – County fairgrounds, Friday nights in June, begins at dusk
This is the 2nd year for this innovative project, and last year was a fantastic hit with the local community. This year includes Night at the Museum, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, and more. Admission is $5 each, family up to 5 is $20.
Dinner at Coho Restaurant – 120 Nichols
This is a Friday Harbor favorite! Just a block away from Tucker House Inn is an intimate restaurant featuring Northwest cuisine. After dinner, stroll down Spring Street and down to the docks for a pleasant cool walk.
Palace Theater – Celebrating its 100th year in 2015, Friday Harbor’s only movie house shows first run films, and the lobby contains a display of memorabilia from Andrew MacLaglen, the famous director of Shenandoah and many, many other films. Until his passing in 2014, Andrew contributed his talent and love to San Juan Island.
So, don’t grab that tv remote or put your jammies on just yet – the summer evening of Friday Harbor awaits!
One of the common questions residents of Friday Harbor hears during tourist season is: “Where do you all live in the winter?” The answer is that about 2,000 residents make their homes here year round. The town was incorporated in 1909, and there is a rich, and sometimes amusing, history of people on San Juan Island.
Here is a brief list to get you started:
- There have been restaurants on the island with rather unique names: The Wounded Pig, Turnagain, and the Wobblygobbler, to name a few.
- At one time, a taxi service on the island was called The Rabbit Transit.
- During the 20’s and 30’s, a one-ring circus wintered on San Juan Island, off Mitchell Bay Road
- Electric power arrived on the islands in 1951 by way of an underwater cable. By 1969 four islands had power, and by 1999, the count had risen to twenty.
- The 4th of July celebration in the 1910’s involved boxing matches and turkey shoots.
- Orcas Island is not named after our beautiful killer whales, but after the 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, in Spain, who sent an expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1791. His full name is Juan Vicente de Guemes Padilla Horcasitos y Aguayo. Perhaps his friends called him “Orcas”.
- In the 1930’s a ticket to see the movies in Friday Harbor was ten cents, plus one cent for tax.
Now, it is your turn to uncover some trivia about San Juan Island during your stay at Tucker House Inn!
Travelers to Friday Harbor’s Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites will have an opportunity to ride on a brand new ferry this summer: The MV Samish.
On May 20th of this year, the Washington State Department of Transportation will launch the second of three new ferries of the Olympic Class. The MV Samish will depart Anacortes that day, beginning its new regular route to the San Juan Islands. The Samish Tribe will be singing, drumming, and sharing their tribal histor y at the Anacortes Ferry Boarding Area. The name Samish is tribal for “giving people”.
If you have ever contemplated purchasing your own ferry in order to avoid lines and reservations, prepare to spend about $126 million. MV Samish has the ability to carry 1,500 passengers and 144 cars; life expectancy for these vessels exceeds fifty years, so the Samish will be a part of our future, and well into the future for the children of San Juan Island.
Decor aboard the Samish will include art work from the Samish Tribe, and a combination of eighteen photorgraphs from locals artists. Nine have been chosen from Anacortes, and the other nine are from the San Juan Islands.
The Washington State Ferry System is the largest one in the USA, and ranked 4th largest in the world. The System launched operations on June 1, 1951, and it is estimated that 90% of all Washington State citizens ride a ferry.
Construction on MV Samish began in December of 2012, and the vessel is currently undergoing sea trials.
With over 125 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in the San Juans, the possibility is strong you will see at least one during your stay at Tucker House Inn. Often one or two of them are seen flying over Friday Harbor, and occasionally there have been nests very close to town. Bald Eagles are seen around San Juan Island so much, you would think the residents would become jaded, but these magnificent creatures are awe-inspiring even to those who have been born and raised here. It has been said that the San Juan Islands have more Bald Eagles around than any other area in the contiguous 48 states.
You probably know that the Bald Eagle is not actually bald, but has white feathers on its head. In fact, the Bald Eagle has 7,000 feathers on its entire body! Its latin name is Haliaeetus leucocephalus, which translates to See Eagle with White Head.
The mature eagles mate for life, and their life span is from 20-50 years. Nesting pairs continue to use the same nest year after year, adding bits to the nest each year (renovation?). This results in large nests: one in Florida weighs over 2.7 tons, and another nest in the midwest has been visited by the same bald eagle couple for 35 years now.
The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States, and appears on the presidential seal, the presidential flag, and the seals of many governmental agencies. Here are some more interesting facts:
- A Bald Eagle’s eyesight is four times as sharp as a human’s eyesight.
- Males and females have the same coloration of feathers.
- The Bald Eagle became the National Emblem and Mascot of the USA in 1782.
- Ben Franklin preferred the Wild Turkey as the National Mascot.
- Bald Eagles are only found in North America.
- A Bald Eagle’s wingspread is about seven feet, but they only weigh 7-14 lbs.
- Bald Eagles cannot swim; but they can sit on top of the water and “row” with their wings!
- Possession of a single Bald Eagle feather can result in your being fined $5,000 and spending one year in prison.
- Bald Eagles can reach an altitude of 10,000 feet
So be sure to pack those binoculars when you are headed out for a hike or a drive while you are exploring the island during your stay at Tucker House Inn – and may your day be filled with awesome sightings of Bald Eagles!
Sunken Park is a lovely little town park, located conveniently across the street from Tucker House Inn, and was built in the 1930’s for Friday Harbor by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). In 1995, it was refurbished by the Washington State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. However, in all these years, no one had worked on the foundation of the gazebo located on street level until the town of Friday Harbor, in their 2015 renovation of Sunken Park. And what they found was amazing.
As workers begin the dismantle the concrete steps of the gazebo, they discovered something you don’t usually see in concrete steps: horseshoes.
A little research into the town of Friday Harbor history here on San Juan Island showed that during the Depression, many building materials were scarce, including rebar. Rebar has been around for centuries, and is used to reinforce the strength of poured concrete; but what can you use instead? Apparently, the Friday Harbor townspeople, famous for their ability to create workarounds for almost anything, decided to use horseshoes instead. Our best guess is they were requisitioned from the Livery Stable that was on First Street during that era.
The 2015 version of Sunken Park and its gazebo should be completed this week, with the addition of new playground equipment. A brighter, cleaner park for the community and visitors is waiting for you now…but you will need to bring your own horseshoes!