Life in the San Juans

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island offers a four-season island lifestyle with a robust cultural scene, charming village life with a hardware store, numerous artisanal purveyors, boutiques, galleries, and organic grocers, and all of the medical facilities and residential conveniences necessary for comfortable and engaged year-round living. The island’s gorgeous surroundings and idyllic lifestyle makes it a magnet for people of great talent and accomplishment, and thus leads to an unusually diverse and active community. 

A unique and moderate microclimate means mild winters (rarely a snow shower) and warm and long summers with surprisingly less precipitation than the surrounding metro areas with thanks to a rain shadow effect provided by the adjacent and majestic Olympic Mountain Range.  Unlike its East Coast counterparts, indoor and outdoor living is a breeze in the Pacific Northwest without oppressive heat, humidity, insects or significant weather events – it is quite frankly, nature in perfect balance. 

As a direct result of its tranquility and natural beauty, San Juan Island possesses deep roots in arts and culture. Many of the region’s best-known painters, sculptors and ceramicists have maintained studios in this community, and there is a wide range of private museums and galleries open for both viewing and collecting.

The island has an impressive music scene, as well as an active concert and festival schedule throughout its numerous dedicated venues. Actors Theatre of Orcas Island offers plays and professional training for actors and directors, and the San Juan Arts Council is very active in bringing outside cultural events to the islands.

With a large community of organic farmers and purveyors, San Juan Island was an early player in the farm-to-table dining movement, and its relaxed, natural environment and access to a global clientele has attracted a very talented pool of chefs and restaurateurs. Offerings range from casual pubs and eateries to the finest in new international cuisine. Weekend markets provide a stunning array of organic fair for the dedicated home chef.

Friday Harbor is a profoundly laid back, comfortable and safe community in which people of great accomplishment and stature can decompress and be themselves, surrounded by the charms that only a historic small town atmosphere can provide. It is a popular natural getaway and home base for many notable and famous individuals, as its unique setting affords an enviable level of privacy and a live-and-let-live culture in which the extraordinary can lead slower and more ordinary existences, supported by great cultural resources, renowned schools, friendly people and every imaginable residential convenience. Friday Harbor is that rare community in which celebrities can go grocery shopping in flip flops without the glare of lights and cameras, and where captains of industry can while away the afternoon, chatting about the weather over a beer at the local pub. 

The San Juan Islands offer some of the best sailing in the world, not to mention fishing, hiking, kayaking and easy access to all of the region’s snow sports during the winter.  Wildlife abounds. It is where some of the region’s most notable residents, the local pods of Killer Whales and the occasional grey whale are commonly spotted.  On the land there are daily sightings of wild deer and in the air, Heron and countless Eagles soar above.