5 – Location, lodging, and meals

Watching the eastbound ferry from the westbound ferry
Watching the eastbound ferry from the westbound ferry, headed for Friday Harbor

The San Juan Islands are about 100 miles north of Seattle. San Juan Island itself is the biggest of the group, and that’s where the retreats take place. The ferry ride between Anacortes and Friday Harbor lasts about between an hour and an hour and a half (some of the ferries take the direct route, and some of them stop at intermediate islands). When I ride the ferry, I find myself centering, coming into a mental space where everything seems possible. I love watching the islands as we pass between them, large and small, and seeing if I can spot whales, seals, or eagles. The salt air refreshes me. When I reach the island, I feel like I’m in a little bit of heaven on earth. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise, and Lakedale, our home base, has more than the comforts of home (mine, anyway!).

What is the facility like?

Lakedale Resort, located a few miles outside of the town of Friday Harbor, is beautiful outside and in. Set on a lake (naturally), in our off-season time it consists of a main lodge (with a welcoming gathering area and dining room in addition to some lodging rooms) along with several cabins, each of which has its own equipped kitchen (although our meals will be prepared for us). You can step outside and take a hike through the woods and by the water. In the high season, there are camping facilities in addition to the sections we’ll be using. It’s even better in real life than it looks on a computer screen, offering just the right environment for our gathering.

What will we eat?

Lakedale provides a diverse breakfast buffet, and lunch and dinner are delightfully prepared from fresh, local ingredients by a local chef who can accommodate a number of diets (“regular,” vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free).

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