Food show host Guy Turland visited Orcas Island to create an unforgettable dinner along the Puget Sound featuring locally sourced lamb, ling cod, apples and rhubarb. Watch the video to see some of the beautiful farms, coves and creatures of Orcas Island.
Why Washington's Orcas Island Should Be Your Next Family Getaway
Condé Nast Travel writer Rebecca Misner wrote a lovely piece on why remote Orcas Island should be your next family vacation destination. We think it’s one of the articles that gives a real authentic feel for life on Orcas. Maybe that’s because she is married to a local!
We love her take on a little bit of the history of our island, too:
“The 1960s and ’70s somewhat predictably brought artists, organic farmers, and other idealists looking for utopian simplicity, while the 1980s, when my in-laws moved to Orcas from Oregon to take over the local newspaper, saw a bizarrely diverse set of transplants. They included followers of the spiritual sect Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment (leader JZ Knight, who claimed to channel a 35,000-year-old sage named Ramtha, moved her publishing operations to the island—Ramtha’s sword is supposedly buried somewhere on Mount Constitution); Hollywood types like producer Richard Donner (of Goonies and Lethal Weapon fame); and outdoor-brand moguls such as surfboard and sailboat designer Hobie Alter and Oakley eyewear founder Jim Jannard. In the 1990s, Microsoft money quietly flowed into the San Juans (Bill Gates owns property on nearby Shaw, Paul Allen on Lopez) in the form of subtly expensive, beautifully constructed post-and-beam summer homes. Recently, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, a wavelet of young entrepreneurs, artists, and farmers relocated to Orcas to pursue their passions without the high risk, rent, and competition of big cities.”
To read more about how to live like a local and take advantage of our vast shoreline, visit the full article at Traveler Magazine.
REI & Tastemade produced this amazing video featuring not only Orcas Island’s farm-to-table and tide-to-table food, but our very own Audra Lawlor, the creator and head jammaker at Girl Meets Dirt, around the corner from Outlook Inn.
Watch the video to glimpse the amazing topography of Orcas Island and the many outdoor activities available to our visitors.
Tide-to-Table + Farm-To-Table
In the video, watch Audra and friends crab off the coast of Orcas Island, and pick their own vegetables at local farms to pull together the spread below.
Oh, Orcas Island, how do I love thee. When I count the ways, it’s so much more about the gorgeous natural vistas, lakes, and beachfront. It’s about the people that are drawn to this one-of-a-kind place. People who dedicate their lives to sustaining its beauty, which means sustaining the lives of the animals, sea life and organisms that make up our island environment.
Long Live The Kings Salmon Hatchery
The seas and shoreline around us are home to bald eagles, great blue herons, harbor seals, and our iconic Orca whales. And, as the Youngren’s Salmon Hatchery on Orcas Island reminds us: “To so many of the Sound’s migratory and resident creatures, salmon are a great unifying force, the life-giving species that sustains them. Even the towering Douglas firs derive benefit.
The ecology of Puget Sound has remained vibrant through decades of increasing human activity, but the balance is growing more fragile than ever. It is time to act aggressively to protect the salmon and other species in and around Puget Sound, so that we can ensure a productive future for these waters that have already given us so much. By saving salmon and the lands and waters they need, we may actually be saving ourselves
To read about more of their efforts, volunteer, or donate, please visit: LONG LIVE THE KINGS
Watch This Video
We’ve dreamed for years of creating a stunning new addition to Outlook Inn on our historic waterfront property and now we’ve accomplished that dream. We’re sharing the news with our subscribers and followers first. Our newest collection of rooms, WATER’S EDGE AT OUTLOOK INN, are now available for booking. These modern luxury suites have a stunning view of Fishing Bay and Indian Island and a sense of place so powerful that it will be hard for anyone to leave it behind.
As soon as the paint dries, we’ll share glorious photographs. For now, glimpse the Water’s Edge experience through the images below from our architects, builders and designers.
Interiors by Satterberg Desonier Dumo
Interior designer Kirsten Dumo created a sophisticated neutral earth tone palette for wall coverings and countertops that don’t compete with the stunning natural surroundings visible from the suites and the 100-square foot balconies attached to all rooms. She uses pops of bold patterns for pillows to add an element of surprise and style. All rooms come equipped with beverage coolers, arm chairs, ottomans and a desk, and are decorated with original one-of-a-kind fine art paintings and ceramics, commissioned specifically for Water’s Edge at Outlook Inn.
Bathrooms will delight with heated floors, marble countertops, gorgeous wood vanities and custom amenities. Our three large suites come outfitted with free-standing Ariosa soaker tubs to help you relax and rejuvenate.
Architectural Design by Award-Winning Studio 29
Award-winning architect and Orcas Islander, Christopher Rost of Studio 29, worked with our family (yes, we are family-owned and operated!) to design the first modern luxury suites this close to the water’s edge in the San Juan Islands. We appreciated his expertise in sustainability and his mutual appreciation for creating the least impact possible on our natural surroundings.
The Dream in Progress
Our builder, Jonathan White, and his crew have done an amazing job building Water’s Edge and we are eternally grateful for their hard work, wisdom and craftsmanship.
A Promo Code To Thank You
There are three large suites (500 sq. feet/44 sq. meters) and two smaller suites (375 sq. feet/35 sq. meters) available to book ($379-$449 *summer rates), each with balconies extending over the beachfront, fireplaces, heated bathroom floors and more. Water’s Edge rooms are available starting June 10th and are on pace to sell out this summer. If you’d like to reserve a waterfront room, please give us a ring at 360-376-2200 or email us at email@example.com.
To thank you for following our blog or subscribing to our newsletter, please feel free to use the *promo code: DREAM this weekend for the following perk:
*Book a new reservation in the Water's Edge Suites by May 5th, 2019 and receive a complimentary $50 credit to the New Leaf Cafe.
Available for stays starting June 10, 2019 through November 1, 2019.
Call 360-376-2200 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Promo code: DREAM expires at 8 pm on Sunday, May 5, 2019
Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion
Promo can also be used on upgraded reservations from other Outlook Inn room styles
Water’s Edge suites have a 2-night minimum stay. Promo code may be used to upgrade a room reservation.
New reservations only and offer cannot be combined with another promotion.
New Leaf Cafe is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
We are so proud and honored (but not surprised) that our beautiful island gem and our Outlook Inn were listed in the recent NY Times article (January 2019) entitled 52 Places To Go in 2019. The travel article described the beautiful unspoilt nature spots on Orcas Island and went on to describe us as “A small Island attracting big-time foodies. . .gaining fame in recent years for its impressive tide-to-table culinary scene and experimental wines, attracting among others, Oprah Winfrey.”
Orcas Island is part of the San Juan Islands, which were last honored on a New York Times annual best of the world list in 2011.
This fun video by our Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce and Rock Island Media gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to take a sea plane to Orcas island, or catch a ferry or charter a boat through the San Juan Islands. There are so many wonderful ways to get to our island, and all of them are adventurous!
If you are arriving by ferry, please remember that reservations should be made far in advance. However, don’t panic if this fact escaped you—you wouldn’t be the first! The ferries release the first 30% of available reservation spots two months prior to the sailing date, then another 2 weeks before that date, then the last 30% of available reservations 2 days prior to any sail date, starting at 7am. They also reserve 10% for standby. Reservation holders must be through the ticket booth 30 minutes before sail time. Please keep in mind that there is often a long line to get through the ticket booth in the summer. Visitors may park their car and walk down to the ferry store for food and drink before the ferry loads. You do not need a reservation if you are walking onto the ferry.
Film is an incredible art form with the power to transform lives. The mission of the Orcas Island Film Fest is to harness the creative energy of film to build a more inspired and vibrant community in the San Juan Archipelago. Attendees of the film festival are treated to critically acclaimed feature films from around the world, locally created short films, and occasionally master classes taught by Hollywood’s top directors, and VR lab exhibits. Because Orcas Island is an intimate venue, filmgoers get the rare opportunity to watch films and rub elbows with the world-class filmmakers themselves. In 2018 and 2019, oscar nominated director Jean-Marc Valee was a featured guest who also treated audiences to a master class in which he shared how he edited key sequences of the critically-acclaimed series Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams.
The Film Festival is always located in the village of Eastsound on Orcas Island. Last year over 30 films showed in 2 venues over 5 days. The venues are all walking distance from each other as are many of the restaurants and bars.
We hope you’ll be able to visit the film festival one day. And, if you do, make sure to ask for the Orcas Island Film Fest promo code for your room.
Watch The Film Fest Trailer
Some Featured Films & Directors From Orcas Island Film Fest 2018
One of our missions at the Outlook Inn is to support the arts on Orcas Island and help kids thrive in schools and out of schools. As part of that mission, we are the proud founding sponsors of the Orcas Island Lit Fest, which held its first literary festival for kids and adults in 2018, featuring Pulitzer Prize winning authors Adam Johnson and Gilbert King, as well as NY Times bestselling authors Jami Attenberg and Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore), award-winning actress Miranda Otto (Lord of The Rings, Homeland) and dozens of other emerging voices, and regional poets. The festival takes place every year in April and held its second festival this weekend to much praise. This year the NY Times bestselling author Therese Mailhot moved audiences, along with Judith Thurman, Matt Johnson and Eric Puchner.
Hope you get to experience this one-of-a-kind event on our beautiful island. If you do, remember to ask for the OILF room discount and book ahead—Outlook Inn has sold out every year.
THE ORCAS ISLAND LIT FEST MISSION
The Orcas Island Lit Fest (OILF) is an annual celebration of literature and community held in an inspiringly beautiful place. With the San Juan Islands as its backdrop, the festival brings together renowned authors and avid readers, visitors and locals, for three days of panels, readings and events that highlight the vibrant literary culture of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. From Pulitzer Prize winners to gifted new voices, featured artists from across the country represent the finest in contemporary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting and more. The Orcas Island Lit Fest is your opportunity to engage with world-class writers and their work in an intimate, inclusive setting that welcomes everyone who loves books.
One of my favorite times of the day is when our family sits down for dinner. My daughter sets the table with napkins and placemats I've made from my favorite fabrics plus 3 forks for dad, a tiny tea cup for mom, plates, and viola!
We light a candle and say the same blessing I have been saying since I was in kindergarten:
"Earth who gives to us this food,
Sun that makes it ripe and good,
Dear earth, dear sun, by you we live,
Our loving thanks to you we give"
Sharing food, talking, silence, laughter. The family table is a metaphor for a complex, sweet, and complicated life. Sometimes we bubble over with things to share, other times we are so distracted by our own thoughts, we say almost nothing. Still other times, these shared times at the table lead to the big questions, like "How did I get into your belly?"
I had a family dinner ritual in my own family growing up and I looked forward to the six of us gathering around the table every night. It was a little square table, and my sister and I shared one side, and my brothers were on the other, with my dad and my step mom at the ends. The table was full of plates, dishes, glasses of milk, and delicious food. The table was small but it felt cozy and abundant.
They were loud times, laughing times, and I remember them being the times when important things got asked in my childhood too, like "Why do people wear crosses? (forgive my pagan parents) and what do they mean?"
What rituals do you have around the family dinner?
We couldn't be more thrilled to have a new Outlook family member...our tiny boutique, Amelie, in the historic Inn is finally OPEN!
Here's a preview of some of the special treats in store for you.
The beautiful designs of Stephanie Housley of Coral and Tusk and a staple of the shop. From charming stuffed animals (you'll want to invent a child to buy these for, but don't worry, everyone here wants one for themself), framed embroidery like the deer above, and beautiful canvas baskets, Stephanie's designs have been featured on Martha Stewart Living
Moss globe necklace by Heron and Lamb from Chicago. Heron and Lamb represents original, feminine designs Inspired by the preservation of all things rustic and natural. Each piece is infused with re-purposed materials and collected elements from nature. Minimalist and understated, the use of dried flowers, mosses, and vintage lace evoke a feeling of nostalgia and delicacy while maintaining a strong sense of preservation. I love the feel of these pieces!
Have you smelled these candles? Volupsa Candles made by husband and wife team in Santa Barbara, full of heady fragrances like Mokara, a blend of mokara orchids, white lily and spring moss, and Baltic Amber (shown above) with amber resin, vanilla orchid, and sandlewood, they will leave your special spaces smelling amazing...one step into Amelie and you'll smell what I mean.
I can't wait for you to see what I've chosen!
On April 21, at 10 a.m., The Funhouse Commons Youth and Community Center will present a 15k (nine-mile) trail & road run on and around the Turtleback Mountain Preserve on Orcas Island.
The first organized run on Turtleback, the fundraising event will be called the "Leave No Trace Race" underscoring the importance of protecting the Preserve, and keeping the impact on the trails to a minimum. The race will also be strictly limited to just 60 runners.
A truly challenging and beautiful nine mile run, the course features every type of running terrain. It begins at the south trailhead, with a difficult hill climb that is rewarded with incredible views. From there the course switches to a beautiful forested single track. The trail connects back to the dirt fire-service road and proceeds over the mountain, to the North trailhead, near the old school house on Crow Valley Road. The rest of the race is on the roads, from Crow Valley to Deer Harbor road along the water's edge, and back to the start.
To sign up click the link below, or visit the Funhouse Commons website, or click here.
Here's a repost of the information about Orcas Island's own Shakespeare Festival from the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce. There will be a special appearance by Shakespeare himself, along with jugglers, dancers and performers of all ages, at the New Leaf Cafe on Saturday, May 22 at 1:15. Come by for a late breakfast and enjoy the show!
You are invited to come enjoy our Shakespeare Festival on Orcas Island, featuring costumed performers, an Eastsound Parade, street theater, and a performance of ‘Julius Caesar’ by The Seattle Shakespeare Company. Clear your schedule for March 21, 22 and 23, 2013.
The Stage on the Green, located in the heart of the island, will be home to numerous festival activities all day Saturday, March 23, including stage performances and music of the period. That evening, a performance of Julius Caesar will be presented at the island’s version of “The Globe” – the 200-seat Orcas Center, the community’s performing arts facility.
If you have any questions, please email or call (360-376-2273) the Chamber of Commerce
Festival Event Schedule
Thursday, March 21
- Dinner at Sazio di Notte with the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Chef Bill Patterson has created a meal fit for The Bard himself! See the Menu. 6 pm – 9:30 pm. $125 per person (wine included). Reservations made at Sazio (360-376-6394), The Office Cupboard (360-376-2378), or at the Chamber of Commerce (360-376-2273).
Friday, March 22
- ‘Combat’ acting class for students. 10 am at Orcas Center. Seattle Shakespeare Company provides instruction to local high school students on ‘combat’ techniques for the stage.
- ‘Julius Caesar’ performance for local students. 1 pm at Orcas Center. Seattle Shakespeare Company in performance.
- ‘Combat’ acting class for adults. 4 pm at Outlook Inn’s Victorian Room. A chance to learn how to theatrically take and give a hit! Seattle Shakespeare Company. Cost: $30. Class size: 30. Reservations made through the Chamber of Commerce (376-2273).
Saturday, March 23:
All-day Shakespeare Festival on Orcas Island, featuring street performances, a parade, farmers market & much more!
- 11 am: Parade through Eastsound (North Beach Road – Rose Street – Prune Alley – A Street) ending on the Village Green). Orcas Island’s William Shakespeare will be feted as he arrives
- Vendors on Village Green (11 am – 4 pm)
- ‘Julius Caesar’ performance at Orcas Center
- 7 pm: Wine reception at Orcas Center for ticket holders
- 8 pm: Performance by Seattle Shakespeare Company
‘Julius Caesar’ Performance at Orcas Center
Tickets for the March 23 performance of ‘Julius Caesar’ are on sale now, and are available through the Orcas Center Box Office (360-376-2281) or its website. Tickets are also available at the Brown Paper Tickets website.
Shakespeare’s great political thriller portrays the life-and-death struggle for power in Rome. Envious of the charismatic Caesar and his ambitions, a faction of politicians plot his assassination. After Caesar is killed, chaos consumes Rome. Julius Caesar investigates the turbulent nature of power and the ethics of those who wield it.
Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands, is famous for its natural beauty, and is often referred to as the “Gem of the San Juans.”
“The Chamber of Commerce is working with our business community to take part in the fun,” said Orcas Island Chamber Board President Michell Marshall. “Restaurants and shops will feature ‘Shakespearean Specials’ that weekend, transforming the island into a Salish Sea version of Stratford-upon-Avon. With an amazing variety of talented local artists, Orcas has earned the reputation as an ‘Island for the Arts,’ and this year’s Shakespeare Festival will only add to that reputation. And it doesn’t hurt we have our own William Shakespeare for the event,” Marshall said.
I always think of the Inn as a grand lady. But it wasn't always like that. She has a wild past, full of color and controversy.
She was an outcast. They called her a commune, full of freaks.
That's right. It wasn't always the Outlook Inn, full of friendly people, although the freaks were never accused of being unfriendly, just weird. In 1968 when the Inn was purchased for a song and a prayer, the buyer was the renowned mystic, Louis Gittner, and the Outlook Inn was the spiritual center he created to live and share his teachings. It was the 60's, but Orcas Island was a rural island flush with loggers, farmers and folks who had never heard of a chakra, crystal therapy or Buddha (I know it's hard to imagine but follow me here).
People here lived a simple, country life, revolving like many small communities around church and tradition. The Outlook Inn was about to shake things up. In looking through old newspaper clippings from 1969 I came across a quote in the local paper by the pastor of a local church.
"God lives on this side of the street and the devil lives over there".
This new spiritual community at the Outlook Inn was not welcomed. Tourists had not yet discovered the Emerald Isle, but the spiritual seekers had and they were putting down roots. There was a school, admittedly having only 3 students. There was a chapel, with regular Sunday services and daily meditation for the entire staff. There was a community of people. The Inn sat on a log foundation, didn't have indoor plumbing, kept a few goats and chickens in the back yard. Everybody worked for free "in service of humankind". To support the community food was served, at owners whim, in the little water view dining room. Menus appeared on pieces of driftwood. Louis gave readings, sold books, and traveled the country as a speaker, in places where all there was were chakras.
Despite the controversy, the power of the place, this view down the bay, could not be denied. It was a powerful place. For people to come who needed help. Who sought peace. Who imagined a different world.
And that hasn't changed today. I'm excited to share a modern day teacher with you and the opportunity to study with him at the Outlook Inn, May 17-19, 2013. As the Lead Educator of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, davidji apprenticed under Deepak Chopra for nearly a decade learning and ultimately teaching the profound timeless wisdom of meditation, Ayurveda, emotional healing, and conscious choice making.
With more than 200 guided meditations to his credit and more than 100,000 students around the world, davidji has made the ancient science of meditation practical, easy, fun, and rewarding. (More information on this event here).
Gone is the controversy.
Times sure have changed. Alternative spiritual practices like meditation have become mainstream, there benefits and effects scientifically validated. Orcas Island has changed too. Astronauts, hippies, farmers and mystics live in peace. The outcast? She grew up. The Outlook Inn is a grand lady with crystals tucked in her garden, truffle oil in the larder, and fine sheets on the bed. She's loved and respected by her community. But she's still the same girl at heart. A seeker imagining a better world.
How about you? Are you a seeker? Are you looking for peace? This event is for you.
Wishing you a wild, beautiful day, celebrating your own colorful history!
I used to regularly pout on major romantic holidays. And I don't mean sexy little pout, I mean you're a big baby pout. I'd find myself subconsciously digesting all the messaging out there about what love was supposed to look like and always, always, coming up short. And it wasn't Adam's fault. He presented the flowers, jewelry, trips, decadent meals, you name it, it was given. But let's face it, romance can be hard. Our expectations get distorted and it's never truer than on Valentine's Day.
We are bombarded by messages, ideas, tips (No-Fail Gift Ideas), and over the top plans to profess our love. We're supposed to wow. To excite. And don't get me wrong, I am all for it. But if the diamond package, complete with real diamonds, helicopter transport, and $20,000 price tag, aren't for you, let me tell you a simple, fail proof way to show your love. It will make any of the traditional gifts you might give that much more meaningful too.
It's a simple gift: 24 hours with you.
Now these are no ordinary 24 hours. We are busy people, with jobs, kids, deadlines, multiple phones ringing, text messages, and emails flying. In any single day I try to accomplish hundreds of different communications and tasks.
This is no ordinary day and this is no ordinary you.
You are trying to get a lot done in your day to day life. You're full of passion, purpose, and a to do list a mile long. You have people in your life that mean the world to you that sometimes want your attention when you need to be doing something else. Our big dreams don't create themselves, they require lots of action. But our husbands, wives, and children make those actions meaningful. Ordinary you is juggling carpool, meetings, phone calls, cars that need tune-ups, groceries that need buying and cooking, laundry, pets, bosses that want it now, and snacks for your kids soccer team. I could add more but I feel a panic attack coming on. Which is why I want to give and get this fail proof gift.
24 hours with you.
I'm talking about 24 hours without phones, without work, without kids, without twitter, facebook, email, cell phones, land lines, or surfing of any kind that doesn't involve actual water. And no housework or yard work either. If it has the potentail of taking you away from your loved one, in body or spirit, add it to the list of what you're not going to do.
It's that simple. And hard. I know how hard it is because each week I do this with my family. From 12:00 pm on Saturday to 12:00 pm on Sunday, we disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other. I'm amazed at how resistent I can be to this way of being. At 11:45 on Sunday I start staring at the dishes that have piled up and my hands are itching to do something. But the rewards have been worth the discomfort. I feel a change in my family and I felt it on the first day. My daughter has a new sense of her meaning in our family. When I say no to playdates or activities I can see her chest puff up with pride, she is important enough to set aside this time for just us. And my husband? He's happy too. We both feel a profound sense of commitment and meaning by the decision to spend 24 hours together, focused on connection.
So what are you going to do during that 24 hours? Here are some ideas:
- Get a massage.
- Take a bath together.
- Read out loud to each other from your favorite book of poetry or the Funny Times.
- Go for a long meandering walk together, the kind you might have taken before obligations made your walks exercise squeezed between meetings and appointments.
- Choose a recipe not found in "Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less" and spend the day in the kitchen creating a feast (but only if this feels like play and not work).
- Have a long drawn out brunch where you read the paper, do the crossword puzzle, and have a mimosa.
- Pack a picnic and head into the wild.
I'm not saying you need to do this every week (although it would be awesome if you could) but give it a try on a special day with someone special. Without fail, if you are present and committed to giving 24 hours of your precious time to a loved one, they will feel very, very loved. And that is the gift that we are all yearning for.
P.S. It would be completely silly of me not to mention how easy this is to do on Orcas Island!
Do you remember what you wished for on your 6th birthday? 16th? 34th? I do.
Bicycle. Boyfriend. Nothing. Wait, what? Nothing?
Yes, you read that right: nothing. I read a little book full of pearly wisdom called the Joy Diet by Martha Beck last September, and when my birthday came around I dedicated myself to a 15 minute a day practice of "nothing".
Beck descibes doing "nothing" as "vacating your life" for a period of time every day. Not vacating like eating a bag of potato chips while watching reality t.v., she means vacating the worries, the highs and lows, and all the thoughts about the worries, highs and lows. For me it meant touching the place inside where everything was okay. Period. With everything. Things at work became easier, decisions literally made themselves (in a good way), and I felt a lot better. The diet worked; joy was happening.
But eventually I got bored doing "nothing". Which means I actually stopped doing "nothing".
I'd sit down for nothing and start to think of something. And then something else. And then I'd be off on a wild goose chase of how I needed to buy shampoo but was the salon open today and would I have time before my meeting, and it couldn't be the kind that made my curls sag and what about the comb I was using, could that be making the curls less than perky and speaking of sagging, I need to get to the gym, but I haven't been in so long...and on and on it goes. Sound familiar?
I needed help and like any busy, savvy young lady miles from a new age bookstore, I turned to iTunes where I found the Chopra Center's David Ji teaching basic meditation via podcast. Awesome. I spent every morning with his voice piped into my ears for two solid months. And his teachings became an anchor in my daily life.
So what does this have to do with birthday wishes? It's my birthday today and I'm wishing for the confidence to bring a big dream into reality. That dream involves my 15 minutes a day of nothing and David Ji and a thirst that so many of us feel for more meaning in the world.
Our vision is to create a Center for spiritual seekers and teachers to experience a deeper sense of meaning and connection in the world. While I wish for the confidence to bring this dream into reality (including the construction of a breakthtaking waterfront event center on the Inn's property), I am also honored to tell you about a live event, May 17-20, 2013, at the Outlook Inn featuring spiritual teachers David Ji, Lead Educator at the Chopra Center, Claudette Bouchard, the "nanny of the soul", and Geoff Fitch, Founder and CEO of Pacific Integral.
This is exactly the type of event that you will be seeing more of at the Outlook Inn- one that fosters meaningful conversations, increased skills and confidence to navigate an ever more complex and beautiful world, and access to world renowned teachers, all in an intimate, beautiful, natural setting.
Happy Birthday to me. I am so excited to share this opportunity with you to come and learn with these teachers right here on Orcas Island.
For more information please contact www.sunadaspiritualproductions.com. This event is produced independantly from the hotel and all booking and information are available from Sunada Spiritual Productions website.
Now what about those t-shirts? It's too close to Christmas and too exciting not to share. Artist Jessica Lynch of Slow Loris on neighboring Guemes Island drew an iconic image of the Outlook Inn to grace the first printing of a Outlook Inn t-shirt in 15 years (that's kind of pathetic, I know) and now they are available to make you look 20 pounds lighter, 5 years younger, and 75% smarter. Or at least stylishly smug because you're wearing a very attractive t-shirt.
You can order one or many by calling the front desk at (360) 376-2200. We have mens sizes S-XL $18, kids S-XL $15, and women's S-XL $18. The women's T has a feminine scooped neckline which makes even me (who generally doesn't wear t-shirts) love these shirts. I look great doing "nothing" in them.
So eat some birthday cake, do some "nothing", and make a wish of your own.
I lost my mojo. Too tired, too busy. Too many emails to answer, phone calls to make, meals to cook and honestly an episode of "Downton Abbey" is just easier than getting out my sewing machine and fabric and playing in the realm of my creativity.
If you've been busy with your job and your family and, and, and...then you might be saying "But what can I do?" These are five of my favorite ways to reconnect to the well of energy and fun inside myself.
- Knitting...Grandmas do it, hipsters do it, your can do it at the beach, on the ferry, in the car. It provides a fantastic outlet for those "gotta do something productive" hands. You might not even realize you are relaxing and creating something beautiful (or odd as is sometimes the case). There isn't a knitting shop on the island but there are a few on your way from I-5 if you are driving to catch the Anacortes Ferry. WildFibers is one of my favorites in Mount Vernon (located right off I-5 at exit 226) for finding luxurious yarns and really cute patterns. Ana-Cross Stitch in Anacortes is another favorite and is a great place to spend some if you arrive with plenty of time to spare before your ferry. If you are new to knitting, this website it a great resource to learn.
- Sketch the life you dream...Bring along a sketchbook or just grab a handful of paper from your printer before you leave the office. I took an afternoon workshop with Patti Dobrowolski and rediscovered my childhood love of sketching. Patti teaches a process using very rudimentary drawing skills that we all have to "draw our future" and tap into our creative potential. Check out her TED talk and pick up a copy of her book for "Drawing Solutions" for simple instructions to add some strategic soul planning into your creativie expression.
- Buy a box of thank you card...and start writing. Creative you might ask? Why yes it is. Saying "Thank you" can unlease a well of energy and joy. The creative part is thinking of the numerous ways that people close to you and not so close to you have had a postiive impact on you. Write a thank you card to your mom or dentist. Grandmas, husbands, wives and children also love to get thank you cards.
- Sing...and I do mean just sing. Sing along to your favorite song, sing in the bathtub, sing alone and with friends. My husband Adam is a musician and he has been meeting weekly with a group of friends to sing together. A beautiful project was born out of this creative space and you can read more about that here.
- Dance...You don't need anything but yourself but it can get even juicier to dance with a friend or lover. Put on your favorite slow oldie or a current teen pop favorite and let yourself go.
Creative expression can get lost in the hustle of familly, work and the many obligations we think we need to give our precious time and energy to. And sometimes it seems like that creative place is so far away that even if we had the time, we're terrified what we would do with it.
The good news is that creativity never goes away. Creativity may get blocked like a cosmic telemerketer hearing a busy signal on your phone but it'll just keep calling and you can pick up any time. Vacation is one of the best times to dive into the the relaxed, excited, dare I say juicy arena of creativity.
So be brave and bold. Turn off Downton Abbey (for now). We're like Pacific Northwest lilies growing in Moran State Park. Creativity is our sunshine - small splashes, dappled arcs and big doses in the summer make us beautiful year round.
How will you be creative on your vacation or in life? I'm off to get my mojo back sewing some new school clothes for my daughter...hopefully she'll want to wear them!
August on Orcas Island lasts a full 90 days, and it's a good thing because there is a lot to do. Rooms are hard to find (if you haven't already booked, starting planning NOW), restaurants are full of giddy vacation energy and lots of local food (our farms really start humming this month), and the sun...oh the sun! I think this is the best weather we've had since 2005 - in short: the weather is fantastic! As if that wasn't enough, August has some incredible local events that are seriously trip worthy.
August 9 - 25, 2012 The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is kind of a big deal. Really. A. Big. Deal. I met violinist Chee-Yun at a dinner party last summer and was charmed by her beauty and her grace. I heard a rumor that her violin is on loan to her from Korea (like the country) and is valued at $14,000. I cried when I saw her play it. But it wasn't the violin. She captivated the audience with her talent and skill. She is just one of the breathtaking performers at the yearly festival. If you can get tickets, I recommend you do, and while you're at, buy some tissue. You'll need them if you see Chee-Yun.
August 10, 2012 The Library Fair has been completely cluttering my bedside table with books for the last 31 years of my life. Every summer this August event draws all the book lovers out of their hammocks and easy chairs to buy more books. The Friends of the Library book sale is a feast of fiction, non-fiction, do-it-yourself, improve yourself, and poetry. Grab a box and begin your wandering under the sun at the Eastsound Green, then take a break to get the most insanely delicious Pulled Pork Sanwich from T.J.'s Tacos and BBQ (just one of many food booths at the fair). You will need sustance for sustained browsing.
August 17-19, 2012 Orcas Island Artists Studio Tour is in it's toddlerhood as far as events go on the island, but artists and Orcas are like apple and pie. We're a fountain of creativity. This is an opportunity to get inside the creative spaces and talk with the artists in their element. There is a preview of the show at the Orcas Center throughout August to see examples of participating artists' work.
September 1, 2012 Galaxy of Burlesque Revue The Atomic Bombshells are a tantalizing professional burlesque company from Seattle that tours internationally, tastefully taking off clothing and pushing the boundaries of traditional entertainment. They are sexy, ironic and very, very funny. Wrap up the hot month of August with this sizzling performance. Tickets are $26 and sold at the front desk of the Inn so ask to have a couple added to your room when you book your stay. A note to the faint of heart: there is nudity and some cross dressing. Read more about the event here.
I will certainly be enjoying ALL of these fantastic events this August and I hope to see you there!
I could have said something...but I didn't. I just didn't feel like it would work with the people I was talking to.
Has this ever happened to you? You're on vacation or out at a restaurant, and something goes wrong and you don't mention it to your server or the front desk or the clerk because you can tell that you're only going to feel worse, not better, after the complaint?
I just got back from three days on the Olympic Peninsula with my family and our new puppy, Lucky Darshan Sugar-cube (it was difficult to decide on his name). We stayed right on the beach in a rustic cabin, very simple accommodations, perfect for disconnecting from our own busy tourist season.
While the accommodations were simple, the beach was what we came for. It's gorgeous. The perfect lay-around with the family, roast marshmellows on a fire, chase waves, and frolic kind of beach.
But after poor service from the front desk and a lousy experience with the only restaurant in 20 miles, I began to question whether I would come back or not - even though this is the only hotel on this beach.
I realized that a spectacular location is not enough, I want to be treated like a friend.
My friends tell me when I have spinach in my teeth and lipstick on my chin (how'd that get there?). And they wouldn't send me to a restaurant they wouldn't enjoy themselves or brush off my questions about charges to my credit card.
I thought of all the first-time travelers to our island location, who don't know where to eat, what to do, or whether they are going to be taken care of like a friend.
The positive take-away (cause that's the kind of lady I am) was realizing again what an impact a simple gesture of true caring can have on another human being.
The team at the Inn want to be your friend. With that in mind, here are a couple of my local favorites, just to get you started when you arrive on Orcas Island. I've included things that I personally enjoy and would happily recommend to my best friends.
Sara's Local Picks
Great Coffee This is basically just a public service announcement about the quality of coffee on Orcas Island. It's good and strong. My current favorite is located in Darvill's Bookstore and serves Batdorf and Bronson Coffee, and I name this one specifically only because it satisfies two of my obsessions - coffee and books. Enzo's (Caffe D'Arte), Teezers (Starbucks), Straight Shots (Pegasus), and Kathryn Taylor Chocolates (Stumptown) all have exceptional coffee as well. Kathryn Taylor Chocolates, like Darvill's, delivers the double whammy of coffee and chocolate! If you love a good mocha, it doesn't get much better than this.
Breakfast Finding a place to eat breakfast when you wake up in the morning (especially if you've arrived late and aren't oriented to where you are) is very important. I personally cannot stop eating the incredible breakfast at the New Leaf, but I want to give you other options. When I don't want to be "at work" for breakfast, I love to eat at Mia's, right around the corner from the Inn. She has a simple menu and a cozy space. If pastries are your thing (and whose aren't they?) try the Pecan Cinnamon Role at the Wild Flour Bakery, just an easy stroll out our front door.
Hike I love the 2 mile hike up Turtleback Mountain to Ship's Peak. The trail is steep, but the view at the top is breathtaking. In a tremendous outpouring of community generosity and fundraising, this 1500 acre island parcel was saved from development in 2006 when it was purchased by the San Juan Preservation Trust and the Trust For Public Land for a whopping $17 million. Much of this was raised within the community, from dollars donated by those with little to spare. And it's for good reason that we all fought so hard. This is an island treasure not to be missed. Download a map with directions here.
Shopping Do not miss Tres Fabu. This is not what you expect from a little island dress shop. Nikki Ames, the owner, and her amazing shop girls will take incredible care of you and the uniquely curated, high quality clothing, jewelry, shoes and handbags will have you reaching for your wallet and leaving with at least one serious find. They also have home accessories in the screened-in porch off the shop. A note to those with a weak will or a passion for fashion, if you don't plan on spending on clothing or jewelry during your trip, avoid this stop.
Whale Watching Dan and Denise Wilk of Orcas Island Eclipse Charters have been boating, sailing and loving the wildlife in the San Juan Islands for over 25 years. Somewhere I have a picture of Denise holding my hand on a dock in Deer Harbor when I was two years old, she's like family and she treats the people we send her like family too. Nepotism aside (wink, wink) her business stands on its own as a great whale watching and wildlife cruise. The 56' Orcas Express has great indoor and outdoor viewing, stabilizers in case you have a sensitive tummy, like I do, and their experienced naturalists to educate you about the wildlife.
These are just a few recommendations to get you started, and whether you stay with us or not, we are here to provide you with real human apathy-busting hospitality, so stop by and get one of our Eastsound Food Maps (with a complete list of dining options) or just to say "Hello".
Our passion is sharing this stuff with visitors to Orcas Island. Good restaurants and the best hikes, and we want to hear what you need during your stay.
P.S. If you have a favorite spot on the island, share ONE in the comments below.
P.P.S. More activities and informationcan be found by clicking here.
We're hot on the tail of our first Outlook University wine weekend with Willamette Valley producers Adelsheim, Coeur de Terre, and Raptor Ridge and we are excited to bring you the next unique experience. We're traveling across the globe to what wine experts call "a rising star" of the wine world, Spain. Executive Chef Steve Debaste is creating a pairing menu of tapas that reflect Spanish roots and New Leaf sensibilities.
On the wine side we are lucky to host Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon Terry, who represents the fifth generation of Spains most venerated wine family. In keeping with the mission of Outlook University to bring together dynamic learning around food, wine, creativity and wellness, we've found Spanish wine royalty to guide you through the incredible breadth, history, and quality of Spanish wine. Join us!
Felipe's family's business, Gonzalez-Byass, has grown from its humble beginnings in 1835 to become one of Spain's most revered and respected wine companies. In Spain, Gonzalez-Byass not only represents wine, but the very essence of Spanish culture with some of the most recognizable and significant Spanish wines ever produced - many of which will be available to taste during the weekend with Felipe.
What makes Gonzalez-Byass so unique is the breadth of wines that they offer. Spain has many wine regions and Gonzalez-Byass seems to have a foot hold in almost all of them. Over the weekend we will explore the family's estates that cover five different regions. Does anyone else feel like visiting Spain?
Taste of Spain Wine Pairing Dinner:
Saturday, April 21, Reception at 5:30, Dinner at 6:00 $120 per person *tax & gratuity included
Nibble and nosh your way through five courses of Spanish tapas and award winning Spanish wines. Family style seating and a relaxed convival atmosphere make our wine tastings a fun way for visitors to get to know the locals and locals to mix with friends new and old.
** Space for both events are extremely limited and prepayment is required to reserve space in the seminar and dinner.
Friday, April 20, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm, $30 per person
Join us for a wine tasting featuring 12 unique wines and sherries with Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon. This is a unique opportunity to learn about Spanish wine and sherry from a man whose family is steeped in the tradition. The seminar will include 3 flights of 4 wines ranging from a bubbly Cava, Spanish whites and reds, and the sexiest sherries you've ever tasted. These are Felipe's grandma's sherries, and she was drinking the finest of her time. Believe me, you will be delighted and surprised by this rare treat.
**For reservations or more information call the Inn at 1-888-OUTLOOK or 360-376-2200. Special room pricing is available for attendees.