Travel & Outdoors

Best of Lummi Island

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credit: Robert Sumner/Getty Images

The New York Times has named Willows Inn Restaurant on Lummi Island, WA one of the Top 10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Trip for 2011.  This quiet little San Juan Island has got itself on the map  – mentioned recently in Sunset Magazine, Travel and Leisure and on the TODAY show. Lucky for us, it’s only 30 minutes from Bellingham. And aside from eating, there’s beautiful scenery and fun things to do!

How to Get There:

Gooseberry Point Ferry Terminal (Lummi Island Ferry)
Follow Interstate 5 north to Slater Road Exit 260 (just north of Bellingham)
Turn left or West on Slater Road
Follow Slater Road 3.22 miles to Haxton Way
Turn left or South on Haxton Way
Follow Haxton Way 7.02 miles to the Whatcom County Public Works Lummi Island Ferry

Where to Stay:

The Willows Inn
2579 West Shore Drive
Lummi Island, WA 98262
360.758.2620
http://www.willows-inn.com

The inn offers 15 different kinds of accommodation – from an outdoor yurt, to a cottage, a beach house, or a cozy room in the larger inn itself. Wireless broadband available throughout, a hot tub for all guests, luxurious robes, early morning coffee in the library, and a gourmet breakfast.

Where to Eat:

The Willows Inn Restaurant
2579 West Shore Drive
Lummi Island, WA 98262
Dinner is served at a single seating and is a prix fixe 5-course, chef’s tasting menu. There is a cocktail social hour with a bar menu before dinner. From May 1 – October 31
Dinner starts at 6:30pm from Wednesday through Sunday. Cocktails start at 4:00pm. The new chef there, 24-year-old Blaine Wetzel, is direct from his job as sous chef at Noma in Copenhagen, the S. Pellegrino best restaurant in the world for 2010. And he’s making a splash on the scene in his own right. Chef Wetzel is among the semifinalists for a James Beard Foundation Award, which celebrates the best chefs and restaurants in the country. He is a semifinalist for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award, one of only 30 chefs nominated for the prize. The 5-course dinner is $85/person.  For dinner reservations, call 360.758.2620.

The Taproot Pub and Espresso
2579 West Shore Drive
Lummi Island, WA 98262
On the lower level of the Willows Inn, the Taproot serves café and pub fare, with organically grown produce from Nettles Farm. Serving Seattle’s Cafe Vita espresso and Numi teas, Taproot is open at 11am every day except Wednesday and Thursday. Dinner is served until 9pm Mondays and Tuesdays. Call 360-758-2930 for information.

Things To Do:

Elakah Expeditions
“San Juander” Lummi Island Discovery Half and Full Day Sea Kayak Trips
2144 South Nugent Road
Lummi Island, WA 98262
360.734.7270
http://www.elakah.com
The adventures run between May 25 – August 22, Wednesdays thru Sundays (by appointment). Paddle along on a guided sea kayak excursion – see eagles, seals, nesting perigrine falcons (on 700 ft cliffs!) and a maybe even cruising Orca whales. Call ahead to make reservations.
Half Day Cost: $60/adult (14 and up), $35/youth (7-13), children (6 & under) free.
Full Day Cost: $90/adults (14 and up), $50/youth (7-13), children (6 & under) free

Hiking and Biking
Surrounded by beaches and 18 miles of quiet, country roads ideal for walking and biking. You can hike the second highest point in the San Juan Islands, Baker Mountain. There’s a trail leading up to it offering a spectacular view across the Rosario Strait. Bicycles are welcome across the ferry, so bring your own!

Nettles Farm
4300 Matia View Drive
Lummi Island, WA 98262
360.758.7616
http://www.nettlesfarm.com
On Saturday mornings beginning in late May, Nettles Farm sets up a little farmer’s market right near the ferry terminal. They grow organic produce, varietal tomatoes and raise chickens for eggs, all of which they provide to Willows Inn, Taproot Cafe and the residents of the island. Market hours are 10am – 1pm. The market runs until Labor Day weekend. You can also contact the farm about taking a summer workshop – learn how to turn your backyard chicken into a stewing hen, fillet a whole salmon, and other farming craft.

Art Galleries
Good Thunder Pottery, an excellent studio that is open to the public year-round with drawings, prints, pottery, jewelry, photography, notecards, and stonework. And Sister’s Gallery located next to the Islander Store features most of Lummi Island artists and craftsmen.

Spa Day
Spa at The Willows Inn
2579 West Shore Drive
Lummi Island, WA 98262
360.758.2620
http://www.willows-inn.com
Relax with a Lomi Lomi, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Relaxation, or Hot Stone massage at the Spa at Willows Inn. There’s also a secluded outdoor jacuzzi with views of Rosario Strait and San Juan Islands. You can have a day retreat, or book a group spa adventure with friends.

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