We read every comment, and we take them all into consideration. Grateful for all your suggestions, we evaluate each one to determine if they are feasible for us to incorporate immediately, in the future, or not at all.
On one of the forms that came in last year was a suggestion to carry bath salts. Our private soap-maker did a lot of research to find top quality salts at a reasonable price point, we tested a number of different mixtures, and finally arrived at a product that we are happy to introduce to you for your soaking pleasure.
Our Lavender Bath Salts, made with European sea salt, have just a hint of lavender essential oil, and are finished with activated charcoal for an earthy, soothing look. The 20-ounce jar makes a nice gift or easy take-home souvenir, available in our gift shop and by mail for $11.99.
Thank you to the guest who suggested salts, and thank you to all who take the time to comment. Please keep them coming – via blog post comments, email, feedback forms, or old fashioned phone calls – we love to hear from you!
People who have pets in the home usually wouldn’t want it any other way. Pets add a sense of calm and love, sometimes fun, sometimes exasperating. We’ve all heard of pets who participate in therapy programs to assist humans in hospitals and assisted living, and studies have been done proving the benefits of having pets. In this cute video, Dr. Michael Greger even addresses which pets are more beneficial for human health: dogs, cats, or rodents like hamsters and gerbils.
Cat lovers know that cats are pretty independent, but dogs consider themselves part of the pack. Where the alpha dog goes, they go too – at least that’s how it should be from a dog’s prespective.
A the Inns, we all love animals, but dogs hold a special place in our heart. On arrival, humans get house-made cookies, and canines get our original Pupcakes – tasty cupcakes made of all things dogs like, such as cheddar cheese, apples, olive oil, yogurt, oats, eggs, honey, and garlic. On subsequent nights, they get a house-made biscuit of varying flavors, peanut butter being the most popular, of course.
Guests traveling with doggies are also provided a special food/water bowl, and towels adorned by Chef/Innkeeper Molly – just so they won’t get mixed up with the people towels. Molly had a field day hand-painting designs on the towels, each of them unique.
We also have a fenced run and plenty of waste pick-up bags. Since we’re in a residential area, there are lots of good places around the Inns to walk and sniff to any pup’s content. Friday Harbor is a pet-friendly town, and often merchants put water bowls out for thirsty doggies.
Our Guest Services Coordinator can set you up with pet sitting services or day care if you want to participate in boating or other activities where pets are not allowed.
So there’s no need to break up the pack; feel free to bring Fido along, and please send us photos of your pet enjoying the island – we’ll post it on our Pinterest board!
For guests who fly in or choose to leave their car in Anacortes, or who are traveling with people who are unable to do much walking, this is a convenient way to get around Friday Harbor. It costs only $3 per boarding, and operates as an “on-demand” taxi from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. between the following locations:
Ferry Landing, Spring Street Landing, Marina, Whale Museum, Courthouse, Post Office, Friday Harbor High School, Friday Harbor Middle School, King’s Market, Friday Harbor Drugs, Life Care Center, Library, Peace Island Hospital, Skagit Valley College, Friday Harbor Airport, Marketplace, Foodbank, Family Resource Center, Mullis Senior Center, Brickworks, and anywhere in between such as restaurants, lodging, etc.
Call 360-298-4434 to be picked up on the next trip or just “flag down” the shuttle. It’s a black Honda Civic mini wagon with a taxi light on the roof and the RoundTowner logo on the side. The vehicle will accommodate 3-4 passengers and luggage. Elderly and disabled persons have priority.
This is a pilot project to estimate ridership demand and operational details, and is sponsored by the San Juan Islands Shuttle System, a Washington non-profit corporation.
Weddings at the Inns Bring Pause for Reflection on the Growth of this Perfectly-Situated Friday Harbor B&B.
There is a well-orchestrated wedding scheduled at the Inns this weekend. In fact, we are hosting a number of weddings at the Inns this summer. Boxes have been arriving almost daily: party rentals, decorations, gifts, gowns, specialty foods and more.
You may have noticed that almost every square inch of these historic homes is fully utilized, so we have virtually NO storage space for all this influx. Our once-spacious business office now pulls double duty as a storage and staging area.
The business office normally houses four desks and chairs, a large work table, two printer consoles, five file cabinets, an office supplies shelving unit, banks of previous years records, and two massive pieces of furniture that won’t fit in any of the suites or guest rooms.
Sounds like a lot, huh? Well, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” Now it has stacks and stacks of boxes that create walls and tunnels, almost like a maze. Fortunately, we all know it’s only a temporary state, and even as it is, it’s a far better solution than where we were crammed in the past.
For several years, Anna Maria and Stephanie worked out of the Upper Tucker House in the room that is now our Reception Area. They still had all the shelves, file cabinets, and lots of boxes, and were practically on top of each other. Anna Maria had been working here since she and Dave purchased the Tucker House in 2006; she had to clear space for another body when Stephanie came on board in 2010.
Prior to then, the “business office” was simply that tiny antique desk that’s in the Harrison House Garden Room Café, between the café and the kitchen. When they decided to renovate the Harrison House kitchen, Anna Maria had to move to the café itself, and all guests had to dine in their rooms on breakfast trays for a while. Fortunately, that was only for four months in 2005.
If we stop and take a moment to look back at all the changes we’ve implemented at the Inns throughout the years, we cannot help but marvel at how far we’ve come. The consistently generous words of thanks and gracious reviews from our guests on Trip Advisor and BandB.com are the “pat on the back” that we strive for, and proof that we’re hitting the mark, almost every time. To steal a phrase from that old commercial, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”
Honey bees are an integral part of the deeply-rooted heritage of agriculture in the San Juan Islands. Farmers depend on these hard-working participants to bring residents and tourists alike a bountiful array of delicious and healthy fruits, vegetables, and honey every season. Beekeeping losses however, are mounting and perhaps San Juan Island residents are among the most active proponents of protecting the island ecosystems from the harmful pesticides that have been linked to bee colony collapses across the country. From conservation of farmlands to a ban of GMO’s in November 2012, islanders have shown initiative in creating a healthy and sustainable way of agriculture that translates into a healthier habitat for honey bees to weather the storm until the rest of the world follows suit.
My beekeeping journey began long before I actually got my first hive. A graduate student in entomology, I moved to San Juan Island in 2009 as a place to recover from a debilitating course of Lyme Disease. My grandfather had been a beekeeper, and I had long been inspired to find a way to pursue my dream of having my own hives. My first endeavor was unfortunately not successful. I lost my colony this past winter of starvation after a season of queen failures and a cold spring and summer. They just hadn’t stored enough food. Persistence has paid off though. I’m now a “keeper” of two bee colonies. Both are doing fantastic. I’d like to share with you my story of how I came to acquire my second hive this season. It was a day any beekeeper would feel lucky. Someone called me with bees that needed a home…
The phone call came in late June about bees under a deck step. I was asked to come over and take a look to see if they were honey bees…if so, could I take them away! Unfortunately, the homeowner suffered from an allergy to bee stings and the bees hadn’t exactly set up housekeeping in the most desirable place.
Honey bees don’t typically colonize an area so low to the ground, so I was anticipating the occupants under the step to be yellow jackets instead. Surprisingly a quick glance at the step yielded a flying specimen that was all too easy to identify. They were indeed honey bees!
My next task would be to figure out how to remove them without causing harm to the small, but vital colony that had set up housekeeping too close to someone else’s house.
It was raining and unusually cool that day, so I decided (with the generous permission of the homeowner) to take the whole step home with me. On a day like this, the colony was huddled together to keep warm, so I was able to haul them off in my truck camper losing few, if any, of the bees.
Once home, I set the step with the bees in a little garden area and placed an empty hive box (called a super) on top of the step with a jar of sugar syrup to feed them. This would give me time to devise a plan to cut them out of the step and relocate them safely into a hive box.
A beekeeping friend loaned me some empty frames and I found that drawer of rubber bands I’d been saving and waited for a sunny day to get to work.
On July 9, 2013, I decided the bees had oriented themselves to their new location and now it was time to put them into a new home. With the sun overhead, I had all my tools at hand and a helpful partner. Wearing our bee suits, we carefully turned the step on its side to inspect the honeycomb built by this little colony. There were about eight oval-shaped combs ranging in diameter from 5 to about 12 inches. The bees blanketed these sheets of comb attached to the top of the step.
One at a time, and with extreme care, I used a sharp knife to loosen the comb from the step. The wax is really pliable when it gets warm, so gentle handling is a necessity or you will squeeze it, damaging the bee brood (baby bees) and spilling out honey.
After cutting out each sheet of comb, I had my partner help me insert it into an empty frame and secure it with a rubber band. We were careful to make sure to place the comb in the same orientation it had been in when attached to the step. The bees have the cells of the comb angled just a certain way so as to keep the contents from being affected by gravity and spilling out.
Once we’d finished about three sheets of comb, I spotted the queen. She was a very healthy specimen and I wanted to make sure she didn’t fly away in all of the disturbance. Using a bee brush to gently pick her up, I moved her onto one of the newly rubber-banded frames already placed into the new hive box. Worker bees soon surrounded her, responding to her familiar pheromones and undoubtedly exploring their new surroundings.
Finishing the last few sheets of comb, I started to get really warm under all the protective bee gear. I had been observing how gentle this colony of bees seemed to be, so I decided to do the rest of the work sans my veil and gloves. Working with much more dexterity, I wasn’t stung once.
Amazingly, we were able to remove and secure each of the sheets of comb into the frames. I’m happy to say that we moved this colony with success! The bees are thriving in their new home!
How You Can Help Honey Bees Too:
There’s lots of buzzing about honey bees going on in the world. Honey bees pollinate 1/3 of the food we eat! Current research is showing an undeniable decline in populations of these well-known agricultural pollinators. No longer can we ignore that the seemingly innocuous use of chemicals and pesticides found stocking the shelves in our markets are poisoning some of the smallest, but most critical links in our food chain.
You can help by eliminating or at least minimizing use of chemicals in and around your lawn and garden. Choose landscaping plants that are bee-friendly. Write your senators and express concern about the toxic products on the market. Support local organic farmers and bee-aware of your eco-footprint on the earth!
Cynthia Brast is a beekeeper and graduate entomology student living on San Juan Island. In her spare time she enjoys blogging about beekeeping and photographing pollinators to educate others about why they’re important and worth saving. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/talesfromthehive.