Lopez Island - Day Trip to the Island Nicknamed "Slow-pez"
One of the beauties of island living is that if you want to get away from it all, it can be as simple as hopping over to a different island that's only a few miles away. Quite different from dealing with the pricey inter-island flights of Hawai'i that I flew this past winter, moving between the San Juan archipelago is as simple as boarding the Washington State Ferry. It's free for walk-on passengers and bicyclists when you're moving between the islands (or if you're coming from the mainland, it costs a mere $13.50), so when I had a sunny Saturday off, it was a no-brainer to grab some bikes and my friends Jules and Katie to go on an inter-island adventure. Bonus - Saturday is farmer's market day out here! Eager to explore a new island, Lopez was an easy choice. It's known as the most bike-friendly of the San Juan Islands, although fellow cyclists will probably agree with me when I say that it can still whoop your tush if you haven't been biking in over a year (like me!).
After a leisurely hour and twenty minute ferry ride from Friday Harbor, during which we kept ourselves occupied with a humpback whale puzzle, we docked at the Lopez Island ferry landing and rolled our bikes off the gangway. I wasn't super stoked to see a 45-degree hill immediately off the ferry (so much for the most biker-friendly island!), but embraced the quad-burn and was rewarded with a downhill soon after.
Jules, Katie, and I continued our ride through a mossy forest and the most idyllic rolling pastureland, watching quaint churches, sleepy wineries, and happily grazing sheep flash by us. I was already beginning to see how the island had gotten it's nickname "Slow-pez." After only thirty minutes here, I felt the relaxation practically seeping into my pores. There was nowhere to be, and no rush to get there.
The exception was the farmer's market, which had my inner locavore dancing with excitement. It was my one request of the day. Located in a little park right in the heart of Lopez Village, it runs from mid-May to October from 10am - 2pm every Saturday and is filled with the cutest assortment of local vendors selling everything from hand pies to tacos to pottery. There was a palm reader. There was face-painting. There was homemade ice cream. There was a crepe truck. We had to walk two laps, happily soaking it all in, before we finally settled on a pre-lunch snack of pie and tacos.
Jules, Katie, and I were pretty much all on the same page with having as chill a day as possible. As long as there was good food, naps in the sun, and a small amount of biking, we would be pretty content. As a result, the day unfolded quite naturally. We went for a beautiful bike ride along Fishermen's Spit, spent some more time pastry-perusing at Holly B's Bakery, wandered through the tiny village to check out some local restaurants, thrift stores, and coffee shops, and stretched out like happy cats to nap in the sunniest spot on the town lawns.
Could a day be any more perfect? I thrive on this perfect blend of physical activity, relaxation, and good local food. Vortex Juice Bar was our lunch spot, and just like Wild Island on Orcas, this place provided plenty of local fare in the form of bowls, wraps, and fresh-squeezed juices.
Having fully adopted the Slow-pez mentality by now, we were in no rush on our way back to the ferry landing to catch the 3:50 back to Friday Harbor. Once we'd boarded, it was time for nap number two.
It was heavenly.
I can't get over how in love I am with this little nook of the world. The only question I have now is who's down to explore my next island?