Samish Island in Skagit County, Washington is an idyllic Puget Sound beach community. It was our great fortune to spend a relaxing week there in a beautiful beach-front home with stunning views of Bellingham Bay, Mt. Baker and Orcas Island.
We had planned to visit Orcas and maybe North Cascades National Park while there, but we found we didn’t want to leave the cozy environs of Samish and its nearby communities for long. We did venture to Bellingham, Mount Vernon and LaConner, but the little towns of Edison and Bow, just a few miles from Samish, offer essentials like lunch along the slough, bottles of wine and fresh-baked peanut butter cookies. When you include the restaurants on Chuckanut Drive, there really is no reason to wander too far.
The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive–an historic road that hugs the coast–is now one of our favorite restaurants anywhere in the world. It’s a charming roadhouse with a long history and an even longer wine list. The views of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands from every cozy table are enthralling. The service is impeccable and the food is pretty damn good too.
It was fun to slow down and experience the rhythms of the tide. At low tide, we saw the water retreat a quarter mile, revealing tidal pools, clamming opportunities and lots and lots of birds, particularly hungry herons. At high tide, seals came in close to see who might be playing on the beach. Of course, our girl Lucy was there to greet the sea dogs when they poked their heads up.
Overhead we saw jets coming in for Vancouver, BC landings. At night, we could see the milky way, and one evening we saw seven shooting stars in the span of an hour.
Samish Island is low key and glorious at the same time. It’s also accessible and remote. There are lots of old cabins and some impressive new homes too. There are wild berries growing along the road, crabs in the bay, and most residents have a nice garden. Samish Island–named for the Samish Indians–is nourishing, not just in food stuffs, but in spirit. It’s a great American place.