Our vacations are rarely relaxing. They often consist of new sleeping situations, irregular bedtimes, and waiting for meals in various restaurants. We parents get tuckered out real quick trying to manage the little people in all this fun. However, last year we went away for a couple of nights and returned home totally relaxed. Maybe you know of this secluded sweet spot on Orcas Island? If not, let me introduce to you a place that I have been looking forward to returning to since our first visit last year.
Welcome to our cabin at Doe Bay, a resort on Orcas in the San Juan Islands. Our adorable little place was one of the many cabins clustered above private beaches and coves. They also have yurts, campsites and a hostel. We used the Chinook book coupon to get a great deal, which is all fine and dandy, but far from the best parts. Arriving here, my phone was confused, the location is so close to Canada that I was sent a message welcoming me abroad, which is how I felt. It reminded me of my travels in New Zealand, my children were able to move from place to place like living in a small town with only one store and an amazing restaurant, it was kind of like before we had iphones, it was sort of like traveling back in time (except there was WiFi.)
But really now, let's get to the most important part, the food. We were served incredible meals at the Doe Bay cafe. Most of the ingredients were locally sourced, much of it grown on site in their lush garden. Rarely do we find such delicious restaurants as this when we escape the city. The views from the outdoor seating were amazing, as they were from our cabin and most any other spot on their undulating waterfront. The best part about the cafe was that it was walking distance from all the accomodations (and downstairs there was a playroom of sorts for the kids.) While we waited for our food, the kids pulled out toys and games and it became a comforting routine for all of us.
Okay, now that we've eaten, let's move on to my favorite part, that which makes it so enjoyable: the spa. I am a sucker for hot water and if you put me into a hot tub for an extended period of time that overlooks the beach and is surrounded by the trilling song of wrens, I will eventually emerge. Slowly, I will get to my feet and continue my day, feeling all soft and calm. Apparently my daughter has inherited this trait too. Families and children are allowed in, so we spent hours within the three pools deciding which one was better for the moment, chatting, meeting people and generally turning to mush. The rest of the family joined us once in a while, but her and I were the main soakers. This was lovely in July, but I can only imagine it as a completely indulgent escape in autumn or winter.
After the spa, there were games of catch, many quiet moments reading by the water, kite flying, beach combing, seaweed harvesting by my Japanese in-laws, and giggling group photos. I walked up to the the garden everyday and oohed and aahhed in envy. We hiked the trails and watched outdoor Shakespeare theater at night. I stayed up way too late watching the milky way and pondered the next day making major decisions like, "Shall I spend the next hour lying in the shade or the sun?" As we loaded the ferry to return home, I felt like I had experienced what a vacation is meant to be. Thank you Doe Bay, for your good food, natural setting and peaceful accomodations. We'll be back!