2 Days in Roche Harbor
You don’t have to be a boat lover to enjoy this boater’s paradise. Roche Harbor’s richly preserved history offers nineteenth-century clapboard buildings, old gardens and incredible sunsets – all perfect for relaxing. Enjoy local seafood, some of the best doughnuts in the Pacific Northwest and views of the surrounding mountains. Whether you arrive by boat or seaplane, be sure to keep an eye out for pods of local orcas which can frequently be seen playing in the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands.
7:00 PM – Dinner at Madrona Bar and Grill
Stroll in for a laid back meal at the Madrona Bar and Grill where the seafood is fresh and the drinks are flavorful. Among the menu favorites is the prawn and avocado margarita cocktail. Packed with black tiger prawns, this baby is garnished with a smooth touch of avocado and a kick of homemade, wasabi infused cocktail sauce.
9:00 AM – Breakfast at the Lime Kiln Café
Doughnuts at the Lime Kiln Café might just be the best in the Pacific Northwest. These cake like babies are certainly a far cry from your Krispy Kreme, national chain experience. This mom and pop joint makes theirs fresh daily in a variety of flavors including: cinnamon sugar, chocolate frosting and maple glaze. Beyond the sugar-fried goodness, they dish up some savory options worth snagging a seat to enjoy. Sit on the deck for a view of the marina.
10:30 AM – Stretch your legs with the alpacas
Three miles from Roche Harbor are 80-acres of gently rolling grass hills. Speckled with shade from 100-year-old oaks, the Krystal Acres Alpacas farm is an idyllic setting for stretching your legs. Their large alpaca herd roams the grounds, totaling 80 in number and still growing. Have alpaca questions? Keep an eye out for Kristen (aka Kris), one of the owners. She can frequently be found tending the herd in her signature green coveralls. For a take-home memento, visit their Country Store where you’ll find a vast selection of alpaca toys, clothing, and accessories.
Krystal Acres Alpacas – 3501 West Valley Rd., Friday Harbor
12:30 PM – Dig in on Fresh Seafood
Located at the bottom of the ramp on Roche Harbor’s main dock, this summer-only stand sells fresh seafood. Caught in the morning and sold in the afternoon, North Sound Seafood typically has a selection of shrimp and crab, plus smoked salmon. This year, local owner and operator, Keith Porter, will expand his offerings to include locally caught clams, oysters and salmon fillets. Depending on how you like your seafood, you might want to hit up the Roche Harbor Market for a loaf of fresh bread or some crackers. Also of note, last summer Keith flew in a few live king crabs. Those babies alive are a site to behold.
Roche Harbor Market – 195 Reuben Memorial Dr, Friday Harbor
2:00 PM – Get out in the water
Take to the sea in a kayak made for two (or three). Explore the calm waters of the harbor and the expansive views of Haro Straight, the Olympic Mountains, Cascade Mountains, and beautiful shoreline. Keep an eye out for fins. Haro Straight is known as the “Orca Highway.” You just might encounter one of the San Juan Islands’ resident pods.
Sunset – Watch the Colors Ceremony
This is considered a must for the full Roche Harbor experience. Wander down to the docks in the early evening for the Colors Ceremony. From May 8 – Sept. 27, 10 minutes before sunset, each of Roche Harbor’s flags is lowered to their given anthem. In the grand finale, the American flag is lowered to the sound of a solo trumpet playing taps. Following the Colors Ceremony, announcements are made over the loud speaker as birthdays are shared, anniversaries recognized and special guests are welcomed.
7:30 PM – Dinner at McMillin’s Dining Room
Think island formal. Think two to three hours of indulging in savory and sweet bites. Think waterside views, exceptional service, and celebration. That’s what you’ll find at McMillin’s. They are best known for their prime rib. This is a 40-day-aged, dry rub, slow roasted, sliced to order affair. Enjoy a drink (or maybe two) and watch the last of the sun slip below the water as you dine in elegance.
8:00 AM – Breakfast at Beechtree
Visit Beechtree and sip like you’re at home. Serving Starbucks coffee, this small coffee stand offers all the regular lattes, mochas, and espresso shots you want. A selection of light breakfast options are also available ranging from yogurt and granola to pastries and fruit. During the afternoon, this café transforms into an ice cream shop, dishing up cold treats perfect for warm days.
9:00 AM – Self-Guided Tour
Roche Harbor’s rich history is preserved throughout the town. On the self-guided walking tour, you’ll find historic sites such as the Hotel de Haro, built in 1886 as lodging for John McMillin’s customers.