views of puget sound from turtleback mountain preserve

Every year David and I do something awesome for our birthdays. His typically involves some sort of spring skiing trip (last year was Whistler, this year was White Pass) and mine has been a little different each time. This year I had really been itching to get up to the San Juan Islands again. I went to Orcas Island a few years ago with my parents and was lucky enough to see Orcas on a whale watching excursion we took and it was so magical. Two years ago we got to do an engagement session on San Juan Island which was an unforgettable experience. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the San Juan Islands are awesome. I highly recommend making the trek up there if you are visiting the Pacific Northwest.

Getting to the islands is no small feat. From Seattle, you drive 1.5 hours (more if there’s traffic, which there usually is) to Anacortes and catch a ferry to your island of choice. There are several to choose from – Orcas Island, San Juan Island (Friday Harbor), Shaw Island, and Lopez Island. The Washington State Ferries website is super helpful and you can now make reservations which is a total godsend. The ferry ride itself is about an hour which winds you through the very picturesque island-scape and you may even be lucky enough to see some seals or porpoises! Or maybe an orca? I’ve yet to see that from the ferry 🙂

This trip was super special as it was my first birthday trip spent with Banks. It was his first ferry ride and of course first time to the San Juan Islands. The little guy sure does get to travel a lot! While on the island, we stayed at Deer Harbor, the west side of the island. We stayed in a cozy AirBnb with a really killer view! It was so peaceful waking up and drinking coffee out on our patio. If you’re looking for a little more action, Eastsound is a popular location. There are hotels, eateries, and cute boutique shops to peruse.

We even got to do a little hiking while on Orcas Island! For those with a little stamina (or those that don’t have a baby in tow), Mt. Constitution is a great option. We ended up doing some hiking in Turtleback Mountain Preserve which was a shorter hike and more convenient to our location. The views from Ship Peak and the West Overlook were breathtaking. It was the perfect amount of hiking to get our blood flowing and not too long to take our little guy along.

This was the perfect trip for me to get a break from the every day grind. I’ve had a lot of solo time with Banks these days and lots of time to reflect on life as it is now. Being a work-at-home entrepreneur and a mama is freakishly exhausting. Sleep is still limited and interrupted and I’m constantly surrounded with mountains of laundry, diapers to change, dinner to cook, and emails and editing to keep up with. It will only get harder as my season gets busier so it was refreshing to just get away from the constant work for a few days. As long as I can stay focused I can get things done and I’m thankful for my wonderful husband and family nearby to help me keep the boat afloat. While some days I can feel like I’m sinking, I wouldn’t change a thing. Having the opportunity to be at home and celebrate his little milestones as they happen is so rewarding. I know I’m giving him such a gift by being in his presence. Like the other day? He rolled over for the first time and I’m so grateful I was there to see it and capture it. There are a lot of things I could sit back and complain about but in the end I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

panorama views from turtleback mountain preserve's west overlook