Despite their proximity to each other,the San Juan Islands off the coast ofWashington State are surprisingly diverse.Friday Harbor, the biggest town ofall the islands, is the first stop on San Juan Island onthe Anacortes ferry. Watching the ferry come and gois a strangely soothing start to vacationing on the SanJuans. It sets the pace and suggests visitors may beon a journey, the cares of their frantic life left behind.San Juan Suites (800-722-2939; www.sanjuanislandsuites.com) is a good location in town, a blockfrom the ferry and a block from the Whale Museum,above Pelindaba, a small bakery owned by a formerjournalist married to a retired physician.
Dinner choices include Friday Harbor House (866-722-7356; www.fridayharborhouse.com), whose diningroom has the most romantic view in town, andDuck Soup Inn (360-378-4878; www.ducksoupinn.com), a gourmet country restaurant buried 4 milesinto the woods. At McMillin's at Roche Harbor (800-451-8910; www.rocheharbor.com/dining_mc millins.html), the only restaurant on the island with a sunsetview, you can enjoy both prime rib (aged 28 days)and the resort's sunset flag salute to Canada, GreatBritain, and the United States. Such visits are classicfor any San Juan stay, as is getting your portraitstaken on location by island photographers Marie andRon DiChristina (360-378-5949; www.dichristinaphoto. com), or wandering around the Westcott BaySculpture Park (www.wbay.org), where more than100 sculptures sprawl over 20 acres of parkland.
Nature is very much appreciated on little LopezIsland. Carole Coffelt, lodgings owner of Bay Houseand Garden Cottages (360-468-4889; www.interisland.net/cc), explains why Lopez is special, "Views,sunsets, tranquility, privacy, simplicity. We're all former hippies. Lopez is what the SanJuans used to be." Lopez Island is alsohome to the oldest winery in America,the Lopez Island Vineyards (360-468-3644; www.lopezislandvineyards.com).A bottle of the wine that won the LosAngeles County Fair Gold in 2004 isamong the many awards of the winery.For dinner, walk a few steps to the BayCafe (360-468-3700; www.bay-cafe.com) for tasty seafood and magnificentviews of this 30-square-mile island.
Orcas Island, the third touristisland, is the biggest at 57 square miles.It's an upscale island, which you'll discoveras soon as you check into the Innon Orcas Island in Deer Harbor (888-886-1661; www.theinnonorcasisland.com). You'll feel like you've steppedinto the pages of .It's all beautiful antiques, attractive art,working fireplaces, inviting jacuzzis,down comforters, and indulgentbreakfasts. You won't want to leave.For dinner, reserve at The Inn at ShipBay (877-276-7296; www.innatshipbay.com), located in a restored 1869 farmhouse,or the Rosario Resort & Spa(866-801-7625; www.rosarioresort.com)in the original Moran Mansion.