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What's New, What's News, What's Next in the San Juan Islands

Nature, Stewardship, & Sustainability

Saturn’s Return brings regenerative tourism and agriculture to the fore – is it a farm with an inn or an inn with a farm? Nestled in San Juan Island’s West Valley at the head of the Garrison Bay watershed, where forest, wetland, and pasture converge. Their stream is home to the island’s only native population of trout, just 10 feet from the Inn. Guests can gather eggs, join in the morning harvest, help plant fruit trees, help tend the beehives, or do any number of other farm chores if they choose. There will also be seasonal workshops covering gardening, cooking & baking, fiber arts, floristry, herbalism, and more. Amenities in the inn include organic linens and a daily breakfast made from farm-grown ingredients. For more information, contact Emma Rastatter or visit

Resident Rights

San Juan County has joined a growing number of cities and counties throughout the Puget Sound region to acknowledge the inherent rights of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) that frequent the waters surrounding the Islands. The proclamation read by the County Council recognizes “the survival of SRKW is dependent upon healthy and functioning ecosystems” and values the ability of the SRKW “to have the right to life, culture, free and safe passage, adequate food supply and freedom from conditions causing physical, emotional, or mental harm.” View the full proclamation here and learn more about San Juan County’s Southern Resident Killer Whale recovery efforts:

Sculptures and Sequoias

Propagation Nation and the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park have joined forces to plant six Giant Sequoias and fourteen Coast Redwoods at the sculpture park for future generations to watch grow and enjoy the beauty of these historic trees. The Sequoias were started from seedlings and the Redwoods were cloned from the largest and healthiest trees available ensuring that these new ones will be an amazing addition to the park. The Sculpture Park and Nature Preserve is now a repository of some critical genetic information that will not only enhance the beauty of the park but also be able to create an extended habitat to mitigate against the daunting climate challenges facing these unique tree species.

On the Food and Restaurant Front

A Blue Heron Lands on Lopez

Jen Buckallew and Ted Warner, creators of the popular Poutine Your Mouth food truck, are thrilled to feed you at the new Blue Heron Bistro. A cozy restaurant in the heart of the Lopez Village with a focus on community, connection, and deliciously comforting locally sourced food.. They are so excited to operate year-round and offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. Indulge in a delicious Dungeness crab melt, savor brunch with crepes and eggs benedict, or simply sip a cocktail on the deck while enjoying views of the harbor. The Blue Heron Bistro is more than just a restaurant; it is an extension of the Lopez Island community. With an emphasis on locally driven, community-supporting endeavors, Jen and Ted see the Bistro as a place for year-round locals and visitors to gather, relax, and enjoy excellent food. Soak in the beauty of the San Juans and what Lopez does best - slow down and enjoy the small moments in life. For more information, contact Than Peterson or visit

The Three Restaurateurs

Coming summer of 2023, three woman-owned restaurants will open or be reincarnated in Friday Harbor. Understanding the challenges of operating a restaurant on an island, they have formed a support group because they value and believe business in a small town should be marked by camaraderie, not competition. In practicality, this looks like helping each other find staff, and housing for that staff. Procuring ingredients, sound-boarding ideas, sharing plates, etc. Oystertale is designed to casually spoil you with great locally sourced oysters and other fabled bounty from the region. Walden is a supper club committed to providing an elevated, seasonal, delicious dining experience. Everelse (new name coming soon) is a cafe offering locally sourced food, natural wines, cider, and craft beer, in a cozy craftsman house with Friday Harbor’s only picturesque wine garden within walking distance from the ferry. We live in They want their menus to reflect the place they live, an ingredient-blessed slice of America (almost-Canada), with fresh bounty from the sea, field, and forest.

Events & Exhibits

Art Without Borders

ArtSpring, in collaboration with Salt Spring Arts, will debut a collection of work by San Juan Islands artists April 21 through May 24, in the first of two cross-border exhibitions. The second installment will feature Southern Gulf Island artists at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art from September 22 through December 4. It marks the first time a cross-border exhibition of this size and caliber has been launched in the region. Despite being separated by an international border, the artists of the Salish Sea seem bound together more by commonalities than distinguished by differences. Barbara Cox, Exhibition Committee member of the San Juan Islands Museum of Art noted that “the impetus behind Archipelago was the desire to encourage collaboration among the communities of the San Juan Islands and the Southern Gulf Islands – a region intertwined by history, in a space defined by a common geographical location, but divided by an international border. Archipelago strives to forge human and artistic connections with multifaceted projects now and into the future.” For more information, contact Peter Lane or visit

Summer Lovin’

The beLOVED Summer Retreat combines the youthful FUN of summer camp with the rejuvenation of wellness practices. A week of yoga, meditation, and summer adventures by the campfire designed to help participants find joy, equanimity and peace. Nature-based activities include hiking, kayaking, and forest bathing. The backdrop for this intimate retreat is the top-rated Pebble Cove Farm, a waterfront destination on Orcas Island. Find out more:

More Sunshine on the Plaza

Construction will begin this spring on a beautiful new venue for music, arts, and gatherings at Brickworks located on Nichols Street in Friday Harbor. Featuring a craftsman-built stage, Sunshine Plaza will showcase the talents of island artisans and create an iconic architectural centerpiece in the heart of Friday Harbor. Completing the plaza development to match the distinctive Brickworks interior is a long-held vision for the San Juan Islands Ag Guild, which remodeled the historic building as a home for the farmers market a decade ago. The initiative aims to realize the plaza’s potential as a welcoming, joyful, and accessible space for locals and visitors. The surrounding plaza design includes year-round covered market stalls, landscaping, an entry arch, and a spot for public artwork, all slated for 2024 completion. More information is available at:

Awards & Anniversaries

More Good Food

The San Juan Islands have once again made their mark as foodie destination with two more Good Food Awards. Madrone Cellars’s 2021 Island Perry earned the coveted blue ribbon for Cider, and Girl Meets Dirt’s new Orchard Apricot spoon preserves added to their growing collection for Preserves. Since launching eight years ago, Girl Meets Dirt has won eight awards for 7 different products (Shiro Plum with Mint has won twice). The Island Perry marks Madrone Cellars’ third blue ribbon; they’ve previously won for their Barrel-aged Currant and Reserve Blend ciders. For a full list of winners:

Three Decades of Crab

Friday’s Crabhouse is an easily recognizable landmark to those just coming off the ferry in downtown Friday Harbor. 2023 marks their 30th season serving seafood favorites like Dungeness crab, oysters, and clams as well as other American classics like cheeseburgers and BLTs. When owners Jerry and Nancy first arrived on San Juan Island over thirty years ago, there were only a few restaurants, none of which specialized in serving seafood. The wooden decks, providing a panoramic view of Friday Harbor and its water traffic, seemed a perfect spot to develop an outdoor, casual, relaxed restaurant environment, similar to the tiki hut atmosphere of many island destinations to which they had travelled. For more information, contact Nancy Cates or visit


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