We arrived in the dark; the ferry gliding swiftly through an abyss of black liquid that we could not see, only hear. After hours of driving north from Seattle through Washington State’s green interior, the short trip to the island by boat was like a twilight theme park ride. As we anchored at our accommodation for the weekend with no concept of our surroundings, our minds ran wild with the hazy outline of possibilities that would await us in the light of the morning.
Lummi Island, part of a cluster of tree-laden islets that form an archipelago called the San Juans, lays unassumingly in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and Seattle. Combined with it’s remote location, its small size and lack of permanent population means Lummi remains one of the Pacific Northwest’s best kept secrets, lending itself to the most pure of peace and quiet. Here, blackberries grow wild; twisting their thorny limbs like vines through every fence and hedge. We foraged for rose hips and visited a local farm for freshly picked heirlooms and greens. We hiked to the top of the tallest mountain on the southern end of the island, admiring the endless carpets of fern and jade-toned moss that blanketed every tree. On the beach the waves rolled in, scattering heavy, marble-like pebbles in every hue on the shore in the rhythm of a ticking clock. Tall wheatgrass towered shyly over the horizon from the view by the window at the revived 1920s cottage we called our homestead. Our hosts were world travelers and collectors, their vacation home like a museum for old maritime and household relics.
On our last night, Ari prepared a feast using local ingredients we had found, caught or picked ourselves. Ashleigh expertly wrangled the crab traps and hauled them out from the Pacific, whilst Andy helped guide the tiny fishing boat into shore from the unrelenting swell that crashed up and over the sides. Monica and I wandered along dirt roads in search of vibrant berries and apples we could adorn the table with, creating a miniature still life with every careful arrangement.
Journeying back to Seattle, we found solace in its steaming espresso and happy hour bottles of sparkling rose in Capitol Hill. Nestled by the docks of the city on the water, we checked into the The Ace Hotel and wandered through the Pike Place Market to admire the rows of dramatic bouquets and take in the sweet, warm scent of fresh piroshki.