Anyone who grew up in the shadow of an older brother or sister
can relate to Lummi Island, a precious destination often overlooked
by visitors heading to the better-known neighboring San Juan
islands. Lummi doesn’t make a big play for tourists. Instead,
clients who give it a try discover a distinctive retreat providing
all the beauty of its nearby siblings balanced by peaceful pastimes
all its own.
Lummi Island is convenient enough to justify a day-long visit,
yet isolated and intriguing enough that clients might want to spend
a few nights here. From Seattle, it takes less than two hours to
drive north to Bellingham and, just beyond, to Gooseberry Point.
From there it’s a six-minute ride to Lummi Island on the Whatcom
Chief, a steadfast ferry holding 20 cars and a handful of walk-on
Clients rarely encounter traffic jams on Lummi Island; in fact,
it doesn’t even lay claim to a gas station. Folks can’t get lost,
or at least not for very long, since the island measures just nine
miles long and two miles wide. They don’t have to navigate through
big crowds, because only 800 people live here. The island’s single
grocery store, The Islander near the ferry landing, carries
essentials like milk, a few vegetables, sundries and movie rentals.
When the urge arises for a mall or theater, clients can simply hop
on the ferry and take a quick trip to bustling Bellingham.
While other San Juan islands may offer more accommodations,
Lummi’s inventory serves it well. On an island with just three
restaurants, a vacation rental with a full kitchen makes good sense
for island visitors. The person to call is Island Vacation Rentals’
Gudrun Gutsche, who masterfully matches clients with upscale, yet
affordable vacation homes.
For instance, the Beachwood Cottage, with its views of Mt. Baker
and Bellingham Bay from the outdoor hot tub, creates a classy
home-base for two couples. Family reunions might want to take over
the roomy Compass Rose, whose main house and guesthouse are fronted
by a pristine, private beach. On the west shore, The Orchid caters
to couples attracted to Asian decor in a Northwest landscape.
In all of her 10 Lummi properties, Gutsche pays close attention
to detail, from making sure there’s enough wood for the fireplace
to stocking the refrigerator ahead of time on request.
For clients in search of peace, quiet and access to nature,
Lummi Island is a gem. Deer graze on the side of the road and
eagles roam the skies. July through September brings prime whale
watching from the land, as Orcas chase after the salmon running
along the western shores. With a generous coastline and minimal
traffic, especially in the off-season and on weekdays, Lummi Island
lends itself to scenic walks and bike rides. A seven-mile loop
around the north end of the island rewards clients with ocean
views. Travelers can also set aside some time for kayaking, either
on their own or with a guide.
As artists and creative spirits have discovered the charms of
Lummi, studios have sprouted up around the island. Potters,
jewelers, painters and sculptors welcome visitors, although it’s
wise to call ahead and make sure they’re home. Driving around the
small country roads, clients might turn a corner and suddenly
encounter big bronze sculptures at Windy Hill Art or outdoor
creations at Sculpture Woods. They can peruse beautiful handmade
pottery at Good Thunder Arts and sniff aromatherapy essences at
Tree Frog Farm.
If they come during the summer, clients can marvel at the works
of over 20 island artists in one spot Sisters Gallery. And they can
time their visit for Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend or the
first weekend in December, when Lummi Island’s galleries
collaborate to present open-house-style studio tours.
From May through September, Lummi’s Saturday morning farmer’s
market is an excellent source of fresh seafood, organically grown
produce and lively conversation with locals. The Lavender Festival,
scheduled this year for July 15-16, features plenty of food, crafts
and pick-your-own herbs. During the island’s Reefnet Festival, held
this year on Aug. 19, clients can see how salmon are caught, sample
fresh fish in various preparations, sip brews at the beer garden
and listen to live music.
Such singular special events give Lummi Island the occasional
well-deserved moment in the spotlight.
Island Vacation Rentals
Commissionable rates on Lummi Island accommodations.