In the winter of 2011, a Cape Cod innkeeper took a red chair from her Woods Hole Inn and whimsically placed it on the frozen pond outdoors. She posted a picture of it on Facebook, and was overwhelmed by the response she received. The Red Chair began its travels when a California photographer asked to borrow the chair for some photographs. The red chair became a symbol, a metaphor for connections made across invisible boundaries.
In the past four years, the Red Chair has visited a good many bed and breakfast establishments, where the owners proudly pose it and post the photographs to the website. The Red Chair has been involved in a Vermont wedding, hiked up a hill in New Hampshire, posed on a bicycle in Massachusetts, hung out with the Coast Guard in Oregon, and did yoga at Cape Cod. Rumor has it there was a brief affair with a Blue Chair in California (oh, my!)
Here are some of the amazing and humorous photos of The Red Chair as it has been making its way across the country. And here is the big news: The Red Chair is coming to Tucker House, Friday Harbor, WA! Glance through these photos, then send us a suggestion as to how we should pose the chair at the Tucker House. Send your thoughts to us so we can represent Friday Harbor and San Juan Island at its best!
The original Innkeeper says the Red Chair is an invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet and beautiful place. It is an open seat at the table of relaxation. It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature. It is the dialogue between artists and innkeepers, dreamers and shop-girls, lost travelers and those that welcome them into warm beds.
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!
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!
Make your dream vacation a dream for your pet, as you prepare to head for Tucker House Inn at Friday Harbor.
Some pets love to travel; we have all heard stories about the motorcyclist whose terrier likes to sit in his lap as they motor down the highway, and animal rights activist Cleveland Amory, who took his pet cat Polar Bear, on worldwide travels. Here at the Tucker House, on San Juan Island, we love animals, love to pamper them as much as we do our human guests, but we recognize that some pets do NOT have travelling on their bucket list.
We offer these tips to you in case your pet would rather stay at home with their familiar surroundings. Hiring a house/pet sitter is an important process in creating a stress-free atmosphere for your beloved pet while you are away on vacation.
When to Start Looking? As soon as you have your travel dates! The best house sitters are booked months in advance, and you will want the best.
What are you looking for? Is your sitter going to stay the night or just stop in to feed and water the animals? Clear expectations are critical, and it will help you to consider making a list of your needs.
Where do you look? First, ask your friends, fellow frequent travelers, and your veterinarian. If there are no results, check out classified ads at a local pet store.
What do they charge?
House sitters set their own rates, and those rates are based on how many animals, walking times, overnight stays, etc. Because you have already taken the time to outline your expectations and have your dates, you should be able to get a price quote in the first phone call.
What next? The sitter should provide you with three references, and you should call those references. If that all goes well, set up a meeting with the sitter, yourself, and your animals at your house. Trust your instincts and those of your pets when interacting with the potential sitter. Set up a second visit a week before your departure, to go over everything in detail. Lastly, call your sitter the day before you leave, just to ensure all is in place.
How do I prepare? An experienced sitter will probably have their own checklist, but here are some of the subjects you need to cover before you catch that plane: Plenty of pet food on hand? Where do you want the sitter to sleep if it is a stay over? When does the trash get picked up at your house? Does the sitter need to water plants, get the mail or newspaper, start the family car, put out bird feed? Who can the sitter call if there is an emergency at the house? Can the sitter use the family computer while you are gone? More information is better than not enough.
Once you find a responsible and caring pet sitter, offer to serve as a reference. Stay in touch, by email or a call every couple of months – and tell your friends about this sitter. A busy house sitter will stay in the business and therefore be there for your next trip away! If you decide to bring Fido and need a pet sitter for an afternoon outing, let us know, there are some great resources in Friday Harbor.