While dinner out and a dozen roses are nice, we like to think a quiet fall getaway is the ultimate in perfection. Quiet getaways say, “I want to focus on you.” They offer a level of intimacy you don’t get with a staycation. There’s no laundry to wash or dishes in the sink. No one has to worry about vacuuming or mowing the lawn.
It’s just the two of you, together, in a little slice of heaven. Whether you want to stay in and lounge or get out and explore all that fall in the San Juans has to offer, the following are a few of our favorite romantic San Juan Island getaways that let the two of you be you.
Fall Romance in the San Juans
Fall’s the ultimate time for romance in the San Juans, when the summer crowds have thinned and a crackling fire takes the chill from the air. Plus, exciting events like the film festivals on Orcas and Friday Harbor; Savor the San Juans; and farm tours on San Juan Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island.
Friday Harbor House
Tucked into the hillside just above the Friday Harbor Marina, Friday Harbor House offers sweeping views of the harbor and a farm-to-table restaurant that’s recognized as one of the best on San Juan Island. The bathrooms feature luxurious soaking tubs and each room comes equipped with pour-over coffee that offers the perfect ritual to start your day.
Bonus: With its downtown location, you can easily enjoy a car-free getaway.
Located at the edge of Eastsound, the Outlook Inn rests beside a protected beach and is just steps from some of Orcas Island’s best novelty shops, bakeries, and restaurants. Its rocket beach on Fishing Bay offers easy access to Indian Island at low tide, making this a wonderful place for tidepooling. The staff is known for being exceptionally friendly. And, the inn’s restaurant, New Leaf Café, is praised for its unpretentious elegance and sea-to-table cuisine.
Bonus: Location. Modern elegance. Exquisite cuisine. Outlook Inn has it all and more.
Hotel de Haro
The crown jewel of Roche Harbor Resort, Hotel de Haro was built in 1886. This magnificent white clapboard building is as breathtaking as its harbor-side location. Its cobblestone walkways and lush garden invite gentle strolling. McMillin’s – the resort’s fine dining destination – is renowned for its prime rib. (This 40-day-aged, dry-rubbed, slow-roasted affair is sliced to order.) Also, not to be missed are the donuts at the Lime Kiln Café. These cake-like babies come plain, tossed in brown sugar or dipped in a variety of toppings. With so many from which to choose, they’re best enjoyed with a partner so you can sample more than one without feeling guilty.
Bonus: If you love taking a short hike, Roche Harbor’s mausoleum, Afterglow Vista, is roughly a half-mile from the resort. While it’s rumored to be haunted, no substantiated accounts of other-worldly beings have been reported. Rather, its enchanting forest surrounds and picturesque cobblestone pathways have made it a favorite for couples to take photos. Plus during the fall, the forests deciduous trees put on a colorful show.
Doe Bay Resort
Life moves slower at Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island. Here, breathtaking views abound. Tucked in a small bay, this 38-acre getaway features a variety of lodging options, including a collection of yurts, the perfect “glamping” mix of simplicity and comfort. Their café, supplied by the resort’s own garden, features eco-friendly gourmet cuisine that’s fondly been dubbed “seed-to-table.”
Bonus: Your stay at Doe Bay includes access to the resort’s clothing-optional spa, where secluded soaking tubs are perched near the water’s edge.
Framed by Fisherman Bay, The Edenwild’s Victorian-style farmhouse offers a quaint B&B destination. Located in the heart of Lopez Village, a variety of shops and cafes are well within walking distance. Each of the large rooms is furnished with antiques such as claw-foot tubs and brick fireplaces. The mornings feature a full breakfast.
Bonus: With its relatively flat topography, Lopez is one of the best cycling destinations in the San Juans. And, The Edenwild provides complimentary bicycles to guests on a first-come-first-served basis.
Rosario Resort and Spa
This 40-acre slice of old-world elegance rests beside the quiet waters of Cascade Bay. Its centerpiece, a 1909 Mission-style mansion, is perched at the tip of Rosario Point. Built by Seattle shipbuilder Robert Moran as an artistic retreat for his family, it is still home to many of the original features – including a 1,972 pipe Aeolian organ. Housed in the music room, the resort is known for its year-round concerts.
Bonus: Rosario Resort has the island’s top spa, complete with an indoor swimming pool and hot tub.