It has been a spectacular year for seeing orca whales in the San Juan Islands! Many of our guests return from whales watching trips or from LimeKiln State Park, “Whale Watch Park” and have wonderful stories of seeing mother and baby orcas feeding together or some orcas putting on a breaching and jumping show. Stay with us at Harrison House Suites and have a chance to see the orca whales this season!
J pod arrived in the Salish Sea May 29, followed soon by some of L pod members June 3 and a month later on July 2 K pod showed up. So for well over a month now some combination of J pod with Ks and/or Ls has been found almost every day shuffling up and down the west side of San Juan Island or points north into Georgia Strait. Reports have been filled with wonder and appreciation for the opportunity to witness these whales’ graceful moves and intense socializing.
Transients/Bigg’s whales are still here as well, mainly near Victoria and Nanaimo.
Strawberries are ripe and ready for picking! This year our strawberries have been bountiful and extra sweet. We are so lucky to have a garden full of delicious strawberries. We have been hard at work picking, freezing and creating delicious recipes for our guests.
The heart-shape of the strawberry is the first clue that strawberries are good for you. They protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer.
Packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving — about eight strawberries — provides more vitamin C than an orange.
Check out our recipe using stawberries, it is divine!
Mini Cheesecakes with Strawberries:
30 oz Cream Cheese
10 oz Fresh Chevre
12 oz of sugar
Pinch of Salt
10 oz eggs
1 oz Egg Yolk
5 oz Cream
1/2 oz Vanilla Extract
1) Cream cheeses with sugar and salt, until smooth, about 3 min
2) Whisk together eggs, add to cheese mix in 4 additions
3) Add cream and vanilla
4) Pour into cupcake pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 min
5) Refridgete till cool, then peel baking cups off and decorate with strawberries!
In 1859 the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of the island, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. The territory in dispute was the San Juan Islands, and the confrontation began when an American farmer shot a pig that belonged to Britain’s Hudson Bay Company. The “Pig War” ended 12 years later with the American’s gaining control of the San Juan Islands. English Camp also known as British Camp, is situated on Garrison Bay on the northwest corner of San Juan Island.
Bell Point Trail is one of Grover’s favorite hiking trails, mainly because it’s shaded and a leisurly walk. Make a 1-mile loop around Bell Point under big madronas, taking in splendid coastal scenery. No need to hurry along this splendid loop, the resident eagles, ravens, and kingfishers don’t mind if you linger.
There is also a splendid garden that was once a vegetable garden for the English soilders, but then was turned into a victorian garden to please the officer’s wives that had accompanied their husbands to the San Juans, leaving the comforts of home behind.
The Harrison House Suites and the Tucker House Inn offer complimentary kayaks to our guests. This is a great family adventure activity! The San Juan Islands offers some of the best sea kayaking in the world. For novice kayakers or those with small children, launching at Jackson’s Beach is a nice way to spend your day paddling. For experienced kayakers, launch from San Juan County Park on the west side of the island, where you might spot orca whales! Our kayaks are available on a first come, first served basis and we have a single and two doubles. We provide tie downs so you can easily load the kayaks onto your car or if you prefer a cab will happily take you and the kayaks to Jackson’s Beach for $30 each way. Sign a waiver and you and your family are off to sea!
If you prefer a guided trip or more of a group experience, there are many outfitters on the island that we work with. Let us know the type of trip you are looking for, whether it is an afternoon sunset, family outing or daylong adventure that you are seeking, and we will take care of all the booking details for you. What a way to create many fond family memories.
Wenda has been tending our gardens for over a year now and the fruits of her labors couldn’t be more evident this spring. Everything seems bigger than life – the tulips taller with large structured heads, the rhodie flowers bigger and more vibrant and the herbs in our vegetable garden more prolific. The chives are so abundant that we have been making chive pesto by the bucket. The lower tier of our chef’s garden is full of red potatoes, the strawberries have set fruit and our first crop of lettuce is on the cusp of harvest.
The hanging baskets have been in place for the last 3 weeks and with the warm May weather are way ahead of last season. She has been digging and planting new beds and every time you turn around there are more flowers and plantings to enjoy. There is a new hedge of yellow and pink forsythia that will greet guests each spring at check in. She also added a witch hazel. I remember fondly my witch hazel in my Maryland Garden. It sent out yellow confetti type flowers to hearken the beginning of spring – some years with snow and ice still on the ground. This upward growing tree has heart shaped corduroy leaves and Wenda found a strategic location for so its showy wispy flowers will be seen from many perspectives throughout the property when it blooms. There is also a new pear tree in the front lawn.
So when you visit Friday Harbor take some time to stroll through and enjoy the various pocket gardens at the Harrison House and Tucker House. The lower shade garden under the weeping willow tree’s ground sweeping fronds is a tranquil setting for an afternoon of reading or napping. The shade garden between the Garden Café and main Harrison House has two specimen Japanese maples within a bed of ferns. I can’t help petting the maple and ferns every time I walk by. The camellia at the end of the path has just finished blooming and the petals from the bright cotton candy pink flowers filled the side walk for the last few weeks. The landscape roses and lavender by the picket fence on C Street are in full bloom. Inhale a huge breath of relaxing lavender while enjoying the accents of orange, white and pink from the roses that add a splash of color to the sea of purple.