Soaking up the Simple Pleasures at Friday Harbor’s Lakedale Resort and the San Juans.

Now more than ever we crave a change of scenery. From long and sometimes isolating days of working from home, to wrangling children, whipping up countless meals and everything in between. Over these past few months our homes hastily transformed into schools and gyms to offices, restaurants and libraries. With all this time spent at home you wouldn't think we would need a break, but we do!

There is something so invigorating about visiting the San Juan Islands. I cannot think of anything quite like the thrill of salt air rushing through your hair or seeing all manner of watercraft cruise by to make you enthusiastic about where you are fortunate enough to call home. And if you are insanely lucky you might even spot an orca, seal, sea lion or bald eagle on your journey. After a short, forty-minute flight, you might as well be a world away. 

Peaceful Lake by Lisette Wolter-McKinley

When I think of life’s simple pleasures, I immediately think of delicious food, breathtaking scenery and invigorating company. During this unprecedented time in our country there is nothing quite like stepping away from the endless barrage of news, a weekend of fresh air and partaking in some much-needed self-care. After enjoying a little rest and relaxation you will savor with every fiber of your being the change of scenery.

Lisette Wolter-McKinley and her Baby

With greater flexibility for mid-week travel, we are finding ourselves less constrained by a typical work week. After taking back all those precious hours we used to spend commuting we are finding more time to not only do the things we love, but cultivate our relationships with the ones we love.

With all this rushing around momentarily paused we have established a new sense of belonging amongst the close-knit ranks of our family and most trusted friends. After months of our lives being boiled down to the bare essentials of eat, sleep, work, repeat; we are thrilled at the possibility of traveling not so far from home these days. When we decide the time is right for us to go away, we do so seeking the comforts of home. We seek a space to meal prep (or to foster your newfound love for baking banana bread), a place with spacious living spaces where everyone can sprawl out to work or lounge as the day requires. 

Now that social distancing has become a part of our vernacular, wide open, sparsely populated places with ample amenities will be what we crave. On San Juan Island there exists such a place called Lakedale Resort, located a few miles outside of the small town of Friday Harbor.

Log Cabin Porch by Lisette Wolter-McKinley

From log cabins and canvas cottages, to yurts, camping and the more traditional lodge room, Lakedale Resort has a little something for everyone. It is situated on 82 acres of expansive property with three lakes and enough space to stretch your legs, ride a bike, paddle a canoe, try your hand at a water bike, resurrect your love for tie dye, bird watch, and roast marshmallows all while easily enjoying time with just your group. Lakedale Resort is a property comprised of soaring trees, pine needle filled pathways, lily pad strewn lakes and very few people as far as the eye can see. 

During my family’s recent visit, we enjoyed our time in a lakeside log cabin. The cabin was spacious for our family of four. It consisted of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full-size kitchen, a dining area, a family room, a covered back porch, and a lakeshore fire pit and picnic table.

My young son reveled in having free range of the property on one of their free bike rentals. My nine-month-old baby girl gazed with wonder at all the leaves blowing in the wind and birds chirping in the trees. And my husband relished in his time spent roasting local Westcott Bay oysters on the grill.

Owl by Lisette Wolter-McKinley

As parents to young children we both cherished our evenings of uninterrupted conversation as we lingered around the fire while our children slumbered in their beds just a stone’s throw away. One morning, during our visit we made souvenir matching tie dye t-shirts for the kids. On another, we had a memorable encounter with an owl who decided to pay us a visit to our log cabin on a nearby tree.

In the afternoons, we explored the property and tried to pick out the best camping site to try on a future visit later this summer. In the evening, it was a toss-up between piled high bowls of ice cream or s'mores in the backyard after dinner. 

Tie Dye by Lisette Wolter-McKinley

If I had to sum up our visit at Lakedale Resort in two words it would be: simple pleasures. We spent a little time exploring the island, but mainly we were happy to stay put on Lakedale’s property.

During our visit to San Juan Island we made certain to dine on the things we crave like The Bait Shop’s fish and chips during a picnic lunch at Fourth of July beach or barbecuing our favorite oysters for dinner accompanied by a heaping salad and warm bread to sop up all the briny goodness.

Cattle Point Lighthouse by Lisette Wolter-McKinley

We took note of all the wildflowers we spotted as we walked to Cattle Point Lighthouse and spent an afternoon searching tide pools and writing in the sand. We talked by the fire pit until late into the night when the stars dotted the sky, rode bikes through the property and most importantly, partook in the goodness of each other and our surroundings. At the end of the trip, I realized we had not been tempted once to turn on the television during our stay. And that, my friends, is a sure sign of a time well spent. 

beach Combing by Lisette Wolter-McKinley 

I have visited Lakedale Resort on numerous occasions. Each time I have left with a solid memory I hold dearly. I had my first glamping experience on their property, in a canvas cottage and my first grilled oyster. (My mind was blown!)

I tried a water bike with my son for the first time, made my first tie dye shirt and stayed in my very first yurt. Lakedale Resort has been dubbed by many as a summer camp for the whole family. But it is equally enjoyable as a romantic weekend getaway, girl’s weekend or church retreat. As soon as you set foot on the property, you will feel your heart rate slow and your desire to pick up your phone decrease, unless of course it is to take a photo or two to capture the blissful weekend you just experienced in a little slice of paradise called Lakedale Resort.

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