Families Travel! Corene goes to Orcas Island
Luckily, Seattle-area foodie blogger Corene Caley (foodiepatootie.com), husbandÂ Calvin and daughter Arden (age 5 Â½) always knows where to eat when arriving on Orcas Island.
Caley is more than qualified to dish on Orcasâ€™s culinary delights. â€œWeÂ go to Orcas two or three times in the summer and about every otherÂ month in the fall/winter/spring. I’m sure that will change now thatÂ Arden is starting elementary but hopefully we’ll fit it in.â€
Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands, is located about two hours northwest of Seattle via Anacortes, Washington and the Washington State Ferry system.
Why does your family frequently visit the San Juan Islands?
I was lucky enough to marry a great guy. His family just happens toÂ have a place on the North Shore. Lucky me. Â His father built the houseÂ himself in the 60’s. We get up there often and have watched the islandÂ become a true foodie family destination over the past 10 years. Â “FarmÂ to Table” is an understatement – It’s incredible!
Can you tell us about your favorite, kid-friendly Orcas Island restaurants?
Roses Bakery and Roses Bakery Cafe, Eastsound (382 Prune Alley,Â Eastsound, 360-376-4292) Local produce is the star for breakfast andÂ lunch. Â Food is excellent, but our favorite is the bakery attached toÂ the cafe. The bread rivals any I’ve eaten worldwide. Our favorites areÂ the Hearth loaf (available daily, can be sliced for you) and theÂ Tortano (a very large circle of the most delicious bread you’ll everÂ have) which is only available on Saturdays and sells out quickly. TheÂ cold case is filled with a nice selection of cured meats, cheeses andÂ (when available) beautiful house-made pÃ¢tÃ©. Â House made pies, pieÂ dough and meat pies available in the freezer case. Roses is alwaysÂ busy and deserves all the praise it receives from locals and visitorsÂ alike.
Allium inÂ Eastsound – We had the pleasure ofÂ dining at this 3 month-old restaurant a couple weeks ago. Owner andÂ chef Lisa Nakamura took over the space once occupied by ChristinaÂ Orchid, who is an island and foodie legend. Â Lisa’s resume includesÂ the Herbfarm and French Laundry so needless to say we were excited.Â The staff was very accommodating to our 5 year old (who of course usedÂ her princess manners the whole time). Â Beautiful views and even betterÂ food. Â Favorites were Roasted Vegetables with Caramelized Onion andÂ Herb Dip, Chilled Roasted Baby Beet Soupâ€¨Fresh Dill, Toasted HazelnutsÂ and our chicken and halibut “bigger plates” were excellent.
The Madrona Bar & Grill, Eastsound. This restaurantÂ isÂ another newcomer to the island. Â Kids allowed! Â We were wowed by theÂ casual fare here. Â Fish and chips, best burger I’ve had in a long timeÂ and our daughter wolfed down her pasta with pesto cream and perfectlyÂ cooked prawns. Â Delicious.
Vern’s Bayside, Eastsound.Â Vern’s is a local institution on Orcas. Â Big portions, big view andÂ sassy service. Â Mostly Americana and Bar fare – but the real treat isÂ breakfast. Â The Crab Omelet is embarrassingly full of fresh Dungeness.Â Plenty to split. Â Crab Benedict is also delish. Â Definitely kid-friendly – when we walked in the owner gave our daughter a logoedÂ flying disc and made sure we knew they were “the only restaurant inÂ Eastsound to offer a kids menu!”. Â Not sure on that one.
The Orcas Hotel,Â Orcas Ferry dock. Â This isÂ the place that makes going home a little easier. Â We arrive at theÂ Ferry dock early (which you need to do anyway) and head straight toÂ the hotel for breakfast. Â There is a full service dining room but weÂ like order at the counter cafe which is serving up a great breakfastÂ sandwich. Â We are not talking low fat here…it’s a freshly bakedÂ croissant stacked with always perfectly scrambled egg, sharp cheddarÂ and your choice of bacon or giant sausage patty. Â Served with a niceÂ selection of fresh fruit. Â Hot chocolate, coffee and fresh squeezedÂ orange juice. Â Should we get that homemade cinnamon roll too? Â Sure,Â throw it in â€“ weâ€™re still on vacation right?
What does your family like to do on Orcas Island?
Orcas Island Farmers Market (Saturday, Village Green, Eastsound).Â FOOD FOOD FOOD! Â Local artists, jewelry makers, farmers and FOOD.Â Locally made grilled Italian sausage, ribs, vegetarian goodies,Â cupcakes… seriously good food abounds.
Orcas Island Pottery.Â Drive upÂ the country lane, look for the “Faint not…” sign and you’re there.Â The island pottery and views are lovely but our favorite is theÂ recently added tree house. Â Total delight. Â Plus they are open everyÂ day except Christmas and Easter and encourage picnicking and generalÂ lingering. Â What’s not to like?
Black Dog Farm, just up the road from our place on the North ShoreÂ (short drive or longer walk from Eastsound). Â Open Tuesdays andÂ Thursdays, plus they do the Saturday Farmers Market in Eastsound.Â Produce, meats, eggs and flowers. Family owned by very nice folks.
Howe Art Sculpture Park (items for sale), just outside of Eastsound.Â You can see a few of the kinetic sculptures from the road but makeÂ the trip up the winding hill to this magical sculpture park. Â EveryoneÂ in our family loves the moving sculpture – truly a special place.
What does your daughter like to do on Orcas Island? Any child-friendly favorite activities?
She loves to play on the beach, visit the farms, walk to the “point,”Â which is a rocky outcrop along Orcas’ North Shore, S’mores, collectÂ shells, visit Howe Art sculpture park, eat Roses Bread, catch crab,Â take walks in the woods, hike to Cascade Falls (this is a VERY easyÂ hike for kids…it’s more like a walk and it’s only a few minutes forÂ big payoff)
Weâ€™ve also been to the Funhouse, aÂ very cool kids play and learning space with drop in learning/play.Â It’s surprisingly fantastic for something on an island. There was aÂ craft ‘yurt’ with tons of supplies which she loved. I would compare itÂ to a more interactive version of the Seattle Children’s Museum – onÂ Orcas Island!
great piece! we LOVE orcas. i too have family there and frequently visit with my wife and 2 kids and have some suggestions for you. first, the new leaf cafe at the outlook inn right in town is awesome. great food, great service, great location/view and totally kid friendly. cascade lake in moran state park – you can swim, fish, picnic, bbq, there’s a concession stand, paddle boat and row boat rentals, walking/hiking trails nearby. blue moon alpaca farm. have fun!
Thanks for the tips, Josh.
On our way! Thanks for the tips. I think I need a crab omelette. We’ve only been in the summer, so looking forward to seeing it this time of year.