Seattle

Seattle visitors try islands

Seattle’s location on the Puget Sound bay gives a visitor many choices of beckoning scenery and the opportunity to view abundant marine life.

Take advantage of the state’s No. 1 tourist attraction, the Washington state ferry system and journey a half-hour across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island. This farming community is quickly transforming into an upscale suburb (Michael Douglas’ character called it home in “Disclosure.”)

A unique attraction is the Bainbridge Island Vineyard and Winery, one of Washington’s 100 wineries. This facility is a family-run operation, specializing in estate-grown Northern European varietals such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Muller-Thurgau, as well as seasonal strawberry and raspberry wines.

Rosario Resort & Spa

Northwest of Seattle, bordering Canada, lie the San Juan Islands, an archipelago of unmatched verdant scenery. Semirural, they are accessible by ferry, plane or private boat. The three easiest to reach — Orcas, San Juan and Lopez — offer tree-filled vistas, kayaking, hiking, biking and nature observation. Accommodations vary from campsites to bed and breakfasts to Orcas’ historic, grand Rosario Resort and Spa.

Rosario main facility, which houses the dining rooms and spa, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1909 for shipping magnate Robert Moran. His master shipwrights and craftsmen paneled the rooms in mahogany and took two years to lay out the teak parquet floors.

The resort has 127 guest rooms in nine buildings that are spread over eight acres. In season (starting May 1) pricing for rooms with water views starts at $175 a night.

The mansion’s interior pool (once saltwater) is now part of the spa. Spa treatments incorporate a menu of wellness techniques such as Reiki massage (using accupressure points), aroma therapy and detoxifying herbal body wraps. A complement of exercise classes include yoga and aerobics.

Seasonal activities include whale watching (resident whale pods feed on salmon runs from April to October), sea kayaking and daily sailing excursions aboard a two-masted schooner.

The resort’s dining rooms emphasize the Pacific Northwest’s local produce, seafood, shellfish and oysters from the local waters. Orcas has the highest point on the islands and is hilly, woodsy and “arty.”

Ferries connect to San Juan Lopez and Shaw islands, just in case one island paradise isn’t enough.

Crystal Seas Kayaking

Sea-kayaking trips can be scheduled from the Friday Harbor ferry terminal, San Juan’s main town and ferry port. Crystal Seas Kayaking vends naturalist-guided three-hour, sunset, day and extended expeditions around the island’s waters. Fees start at $45 for a three-hour tour. Just watch out for those killer whales, bald eagles, sea otters and porpoises.

Bainbridge Island Vineyard and Winery

Phone: (206) 842-9463

Rosario Resort & Spa

Phone: (800) 562-8820

www.rosario-resort.com

Crystal Seas Kayaking

Phone: (877) SEAS-877

www.crystalseas.com

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