But first, you have to work up an appetite. Ride the ferry from Gooseberry Point, in northwestern Washington, to Lummi Island, in Puget Sound. It’s only a six-minute ride on the Whatcom Chief. The almost 10-square-mile island is home to a general store, a post office, a fire station, a few bed and breakfasts, and lots of quiet coves.
Hike to Lummi Peak, the highest point on the island. Huge Douglas firs give way to an amazing view of the San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands, and Vancouver in the distance. Bike around the seven-mile, loop road, passing the wooded cemetery and pine-lined bays. Search for sea glass at windswept Church Beach. You may spot a bald eagle flying overhead. Go reefnet fishing for wild sockeye salmon. Watch a local artist capture a picturesque scene on canvas. Pick up heirloom tomatoes at the farmers’ market, if it’s Saturday. Warm up with a bowl of seafood chowder at the Beach Store Café. And stop at the Artisan Wine Gallery for a wine tasting. They sell perfectly paired cheese and chocolate, as well.
By late afternoon, you’re starting to think about tonight’s dinner. Drive to the Willows Inn, on the west side of the island. Your sunrise room in the attic has a slanted ceiling, an electric fireplace, and down bedding. Even during the summer months, it might get chilly once the sun sets. Pop into the Taproot Café to buy raw honey and pickled cherries. Stay to sip a Chuckanut Pilsner. Walk down to Sunset Beach to look for whales passing through the Rosario Strait. Then join the other dinner guest promptly at 6:30 p.m.
Chef Blaine Wetzel used to work at Noma, recently received the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year, and isn’t even 30 years old yet. Plus nearly everything he serves is from Lummi Island. The prix-fixe menu lists five courses. But first, there are snacks. They might include puffed fried halibut skin, a basket of radishes, or razor clams with horseradish snow. They’re paired with huckleberry and elderflower juice.
Then, like a choreographed dance, the larger plates start appearing. Pickled greens from the garden. Asparagus and peas from Nettles Farm. Sauvignon Blanc from the Walla Walla Valley. Local spot prawns and freshly caught salmon. The Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley probably had the longest journey to the table. Venison carpaccio and low-roasted lamb shoulder. And Lummi Island wildflowers with lemon verbena as the finale. You’re stuffed, happy, and ready to grab the next available reservation to do it all again.