Tom and I had some friends visit this last week. We spent every minute we could with them: after work and all our time off. Eric and Sandy have shared our adventures before and there isn’t a lot of sitting still when Tom and Sandy get together. We hiked, we ate, we laughed, we enjoyed being together. We also spent a lot of time exploring the island.
I think we hit just about everything there is to see in the five days they were here. You will be hearing about many of the places in more depth in the days to come. We even discovered a few places that are not on the maps for tourists.
The residents of San Juan Island have an interesting strategy for dealing with tourists. They pray for patience and they deliberately do not label everything. The grocery stores are the prime example. King’s Market is downtown within sight of the ferry. Every tourist who needs groceries shops there. But there is also a grocery store for the locals. I don’t know its name because it doesn’t have a sign. It is on a side street and is completely unmarked.
While exploring the island, we found two San Juan County parks that are not marked on the tourist maps. At one of them we were the only people there. Neither have any signs pointing to the parks, so you have to know where they are to get there.
I like this strategy. It makes some sense to me. The island residents patiently put up with traffic hassles, intrusions, and the annoyances of the tourists. They are very welcoming for the most part. There are plenty of places on the tourist maps for visitors to go. But some places are just for locals – and people fortunate enough to stumble on them.
So I’ll show you some pictures of the gorgeous, unmarked parks – but I’m not going to tell you where they are or how to get there. Some things are better left unsaid. And it makes exploring the island more fun when you stumble on something you didn’t guess was there.