Aug 212012

{ Chef Gretchen Allison – Duck Soup Inn, San Juan Island – Washington State }

As you slowly travel down a forested gravel drive meandering alongside a golden sunlit pond, you soon find yourself at Duck Soup Inn.

Situated in a fairytale-like forest setting complete with giant pine trees, twinkling lights and lanterns hanging here and there, you soon realize that your dining experience at Duck Soup Inn will extend beyond your dining table. Once again, we were amazed and rightly so.

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Aug 192012

It’s really sad when such an unfortunate event happens as the Taylor Bridge wildfire has here close to Cle Elum in Washington state.  Many homes have been burned down to the ground as well as countless evacuations.  To see such bravery and determination from the firemen touched our hearts over the weekend.  It was so hot outside, close to 100 degrees and they were working tirelessly to contain this wildfire.   I couldn’t even imagine how they must have felt . . .

The helicopters you see above was a continual event.  One after another like clockwork they would come to this pond, fill up their buckets with water and continue to the forest . . .

~ Fire area boundary posted in downtown Roslyn on the community bulletin board for August 18th

~ The wildfire seemed to be directly behind this beautiful home :(

~ Head to toe clothing and protection in close to 100 degree heat

~ A burnt landscape

At the school in the little sweet town of Cle Elum is where the firefighters have their base camp.  Here love is truly shown by the residents of Cle Elum and neighboring towns of Roslyn and beyond by donating food, water and sweets for the firefighters to eat.  McDonald’s also feeds them all, for free.

~ A fire line carefully carved around the structure of a barn

~ Where our hero’s sleep

~ We couldn’t have said it better ourselves :)

Up to date information about the Taylor Bridge wildfire can be found here

Monetary Donations can be sent to the local American Red Cross:

American Red Cross
312 North Pearl St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Contact: 509-925-5866

Aug 152012

One thing that we have come to learn while spending time here in the San Juan Islands is that people take things pretty slow.  No one is really ever in a rush and for us, that is very comforting.

We’ve spied these cute little candy apple red mopeds and scoot coupes all over San Juan Island and often wondered to ourselves what it would be like to have a ride in one of them.  Taking life slow and really exploring the island is how I always perceived the experience to be.   Of course B was always chiming in with his opinions.

“Oh mommy, it would be so fun!”

Could you guess how happy he was when hubby and I told him that today would be the day we would go and take a scoot coupe out for spin?

Pretty happy indeed. Continue reading »

Aug 092012
Yogurt Cake

Today we are on the West Side of San Juan Island specifically at Lime Kiln State Park.   Comprised of 36 acres, Lime Kiln is considered one of the best places in the world to view whales from land.  I will tell you that it is spectacularly beautiful here.  Sweeping views of Haro Strait with the whale’s swimming gracefully through the waters will definitely take your breath away if not put a tear or two of emotional happiness in your eyes.

The lighthouse and park are both run on a voluntary basis thanks to the “Friends of Lime Kiln Society.”  Thanks to the society, the park and light house have remained in excellent condition.  It’s a wonderful thing don’t you think to see people volunteering their time, for free, to help preserve history?

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Aug 082012

We have arrived on San Juan Island and I would like to thank you for coming along with us as we begin our second journey in the San Juan archipelagos.   To be able to share with you the adventures, beauty and everything else that this island has to offer makes me very happy (and excited!).

But first thing is first.  A special visit to our favorite beach.  SOUTH BEACH.

“I don’t remember coming here mommy…”

“Oh but we did come here and sooo many times,” I told B as we walked along the beach.

I was glad to have him back here to begin the memories again because this was such a special beach to us. Many memories here.

Years ago we began coming here to the beauty you see before your eyes. Perhaps you remember when we visited in the off season and I made an easy seafood dinner? That was a beautiful day for sure!

Today a celebration of s’mores was in order. It felt good to be back.

~ a very different kind of s’more (assembly instructions below)

If you have not had the opportunity to read my piece on the Huffington Post about Orcas Island you can do so here.  It was a labor of love writing about Orcas.  All of these islands are the same but yet all have very different “flavors.”  I feel so very lucky (and honored) to be able to write about them for the whole world to read and discover.

A Special Kind of S’more


  • Nabisco Chocolate Wafers (instead of the chocolate bar)
  • Biscoff Spread (instead of the graham cracker. If you are unsure of what Biscoff Spread is, google it but be warned, it is amazing!)
  • Jumbo Marshmallows (cut in half, length wise)
  • Currants


Step 1
Spread the chocolate wafers with the Biscoff
Step 2
Toast your marshmallows and place on top of one of the wafer with the Biscoff spread
Step 3
Sprinkle some tart currants on top and seal this heavenly deal with another chocolate wafer




Aug 072012

~ Perfectly Steamed Clams from Buck Bay Shellfish Farm

Have you ever had one of those days where you are so taken by your surroundings that for a moment you forget the time?  This was our day on Orcas Island when we realized that #1 we were starving and #2, we had a ferry to catch.   We were making the move with our Airstream to begin our non-stop outdoor and epicurean adventures on San Juan Island and didn’t have much time to spare.

Luckily the Madrona Bar and Grill in the Eastsound village was open and ready for us.  We could always count on the Madrona for serving us quickly so we could catch our ferry on time.  We have dined here countless times selecting a spot in the spacious interior seating area or opting for outdoor seating with views of Fishing Bay.  Either way both are excellent choices.  Time and time again we were impressed with the quick service and smiling faces not to mention delicious fare and today was no exception.  Sourcing local ingredients and supporting local farmers is what the dining establishments on island excel at.  The steamed clams were one of our favorites and came straight from Toni, who with Mark runs Buck Bay Shellfish Farm in Olga.  Thank you to owner Monica Duthie for sharing this simple but yet mouthwatering recipe !!

It’s a great atmosphere here at the Madrona. On any given day you can find the locals of Orcas mingling with one another and catching up about the days happenings.   Belly up to the bar during happy hour, order some appetizers,  say hello to the locals and soon you will get to know them.  Bonus here aside from the delicious food at great prices is that you may just walk away with some island rich folklore that you will keep in your heart forever.

Thank you for always being there for us Madrona!  Not only is the service A+ but our dinner was pure perfection and a perfect ending to our journey  and explorations on Orcas Island.

~ Refreshing Ahi tuna flame grilled medium rare and served with wasabi, pickled ginger and ponzu sauce
~ Our Airstream in front of the Orcas Island Museum in the village of Eastsound

~ Decadent chicken fettuccine with a flame grilled chicken breast atop a creamy sundried tomato, shallot, fresh herb and white wine sauce complete with fresh grated parmesan and toasted baguettes

~ Make sure to stop in and say hello to Kyle at the Orcas Homegrown Market.  It’s by far, one of my favorite markets ever.  Organic produce, meats, eggs, cheeses — all come from Orcas Island as well as San Juan and Lopez.  

~ Fresh spinach with candied walnuts, mushrooms, pan fried capicola and chevre goat cheese tossed in Madrona’s special fennel infused honey vinaigrette

~ shots around darling Eastsound Village

~ Melt in your mouth hand cut and flame grilled certified Angus beef rib eye served with garlic mashed potatoes and chef choice vegetables with creamed horseradish

With heavy hearts we say goodbye to Orcas Island as we sail towards San Juan Island and begin a new series of adventures.  We are happy to have you along with us!

Buck Bay Steamed Clams


  • 1lb manilla clams
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (rough chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • parsley for garnish
  • lemon wedges for garnish


Step 1
Over medium high heat in a medium sized saute pan melt your butter and add the garlic and cook for one minute taking care not to burn the garlic.
Step 2
Add the clams, white wine and cover your saute pan cook for about one minute taking the pan off the heat once the clams open. The goal here is just to have them open and they are ready.
Step 3
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, lemon wedges and serve with buttered toasted baguettes.
Step 4
Bon appetit!