On a practical level, we’re forgoing the ease of spending the summer on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. For the past month, we’ve been mired in planning our spring/summer/and fall adventures on the east coast, and putting together all of the pieces of the puzzle is kind of overwhelming. Exciting, yes. But for the first time in our six years of full-time travels, we’re going to find out what it’s like to travel in the high season in the most densely populated area of the country.
No one is making us do this. But we’ve long wanted to explore the Maritimes, and summer is really the only time to do it. Also on our list has been visiting the Finger Lakes region of New York in early summer, and experiencing New England in the fall. It all fits together beautifully (we think, we hope).
We did not make this decision lightly. For eight summers, the idyllic little island of Lopez in the San Juan archipelago has been our summer home. We love everything about the San Juan Islands and were it not for the long, gray, chilly, rainy winters, we could see ourselves living there someday.
But the summers are just about as perfect as perfect gets.
I’ve written extensively about Lopez and the San Juan Islands, and I can’t think of anything to say that I haven’t already said numerous times. So if you’re interested in getting a glimpse of what life is like in the San Juan Islands, check out the following posts.
• This post offers a good overview of island life, both on Lopez and the other islands in the San Juan archipelago. It’s kind of like one big postcard:
• If you’re interested in more details on what it’s like to live on an island, and how to actually get there, read this:
• If you’re interested in our experience volunteering as interpretive hosts:
• If you’re interested in the many outdoor adventures available on Lopez:
• And if you’re interested in what it’s like to visit the other islands in the San Juan archipelago:
Farewell, Lopez, and our sweet community of Lopezian friends. We’ll see you in the summer of 2020. Meanwhile, we have lots of planning yet to do to prepare for our upcoming east coast adventures. If you have suggestions for things to do and places to not miss, please send them our way!
Six years?! Holy bovine Batman! I’m glad that you two introduced us to Lopez and I’m sure we’ll be back there again, as will you, and hopefully at the same time. Meanwhile it’s wonderful to live vicariously through your travels through our diverse nation, so eloquently related in your blog. Your friends from Ashlandistan miss you too, but are happy to see you living the dream!
Joe, the summer that you and Lydia came to visit us on Lopez was one of the best! All of our friends on Lopez are still hoping you’ll return. How about the summer of 2020? We miss you guys, too, always. I appreciate your kind words about our travels—I’m happy to hear from you.
I know this must have been a heart-wrenching decision for you, but you won’t be disappointed next summer. We lived in the Finger Lakes for 25 years (don’t miss the charming village of Skaneateles) and toured Maine and the Maritimes in the fall 2017. Look forward to this adventure with eagerness and joy! Your blog inspired me to write my own. Check it out: https://travelswithollie.com
Thanks so much for your encouragement and the link to your blog, Janie. I’ll be checking out your travels! Skaneateles is now on our list. :-)
Words fail me. You have no idea how much the two of you will be missed next summer. However, I do believe that you will find some places next summer that will satisfy your souls. Particularly, if you travel up into eastern Canada and it’s islands. Bon chance, and bon voyage.
Sheila, words failed me, too—that’s why I could barely write a post about this past summer on Lopez, and I couldn’t choose photos. You and Bruce are a big part of the draw for us to return year after year.
We love you guys—we’ll see you in the summer of 2020!
I’m sure you will have an amazing summer exploring new territory. Lopez Island will be there when you’re ready to return, but I can relate to the mixed feelings.
Ingrid, we had a hard time making the decision to not return to Lopez next summer. We can’t imagine a more idyllic place to spend summers, and having a community of friends there makes it all the richer. But we’re excited about our upcoming new adventures!
Your post couldn’t come at a better time. We are trying to decide whether to visit Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands this year or explore Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. I am leaning heavily toward the San Juans, as it is a place filled with wonderful memories of cruising on my father’s 48′ Richardson back in 2007. We spent a glorious two weeks island hopping with my dad and stepmom, visiting Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, Reid Harbor (Stuart Island), Sidney, Brentwood Bay, Cowichan Bay and Victoria. I think I’ll pour myself another cup of coffee and spend a few hours perusing your posts. Half the fun is in the planning, right? It can be overwhelming and stressful, but last year, I discovered RV Trip Wizard which saved my sanity when I was planning our two-month trip to the southwest. Happy planning!
Les, that must have been such a grand adventure cruising the islands with your dad! I have no doubt that you will absolutely love RVing in the San Juan’s and on Vancouver Island. We have extensive posts on our five-week trip to Vancouver Island in the fall of 2017 that you might find helpful.
Definitely make reservations early (like now!) for camping in the San Juan Islands. Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez is wonderful, and although there are no hookups, there are free showers in town (and they’re nice). On San Juan Island, we’ve camped at the fairgrounds, which are within walking distance to town and have hookups. On Orcas Island, Moran State Park is delightful. Let me know if you have other questions!
I’ll check out RV Trip Wizard—I’ve been using RoadTripper for planning our route, and it’s been really helpful.
How utterly exciting! You will miss your friends and all that Lopez has to offer, but you are gaining a freedom you’ve not had before! If you are not already members, I urge you to consider Harvest Hosts, it is an ideal way to mosey around the Finger Lakes area, staying in a winery for a night or two, then on to an Amish farm a few miles down the road. I know you will make the most of this trip and I’m excited to follow along!
Thanks so much, Linda. We’re super excited about this brand new adventure, but wow, figuring it out is crazy. It was so easy knowing that we were going to plant ourselves on beautiful Lopez for two months or more each summer!
Your suggestion of Harvest Hosts is great. We’ve already made a bunch of reservations at state parks in the Finger Lakes for early summer but I haven’t done anything yet for the fall in New England.
Oh my. Y’all’s summer presence has become such a fixture (since I met you not long after moving here myself), I can’t really imagine summer without you guys around–singing around the campfire, bumping into you at farmer’s market, or out at Iceberg…But I am proud of you for extending your explorations west. This continent is so magnificent, and I’m already planning to enjoy your discovery of its NE sector vicariously. Travel well, travel safely, and 2020 will be here before we know it!
Thanks so much for your good wishes, Gretchen! We’ll miss you and our Lopez tribe and all of the wonderful music gatherings we’ve shared over the years. It feels strange to miss out on a Lopez summer—but it will be even sweeter when we return to the island!
Great plans for the summer. We look forward to your adventures.
We’re excited, too, Debbie. Glad you’ll be traveling along with us!
It sounds like planning to skip a familiar place with plenty of friends is almost as hard as hitting the road for the first time, which is not too surprising. I think your new adventures on the east coast will be worth the sacrifice, but in any case you can look forward to a sweet “homecoming” in 2020!
You are absolutely right, Shannon. We are definitely attached to Lopez Island (and still to our hometown of Ashland) and leaving is never easy. And we’re going to be away for almost two years! That said, we’re really excited about our upcoming travels! :-))
I know that was a tough decision to skip this summer at your favorite place, but there is so much to see in the northeast it will be worth it. Happy planning!
Gayle, I can’t believe how much time and energy it takes to figure out eight months of travels in places that are mostly new to us. It’s going to be a grand adventure!
I can promise you great times and wonderful new places to visit and explore this summer. It will be worth the angst and stress of trip planning and routing. Just check the archives of our summer 2013 in the northeast and the Maritimes for some ideas.
We thought this summer would have been our year to visit you at Lopez Island!
MonaLiza, I remember years ago you told us that we would love the Maritimes. I’m definitely consulting your blog posts for ideas and am so grateful that you write such excellent posts!
We are seriously bummed that we’re going to miss you on Lopez Island. :-( Can you wait till 2020? We’ll show you a great time!
New and exciting is good, isn’t it? I think you’ll be in the northeast at the perfect time, weather wise. The finger lakes area is beautiful in the summer and New England in the fall????? Fabulous.
Looking forward to seeing you in June!
New and exciting is fabulous, Sue! And also a bit overwhelming at the moment, because it’s ALL new and uncharted territory for us. We’re thrilled that we’ll be seeing you guys at your sweet lake house! :-)
We really enjoyed our time on Newfoundland. We took the ferry to the western side of the island, spent 6 weeks driving to the eastern side of the island where we caught the ferry back to Nova Scotia.
Also, on our way up there we went by way of New York City and stayed at the Liberty Harbor RV Park on the New Jersey side. Wonderful visit!
JC, we really wanted to go to Newfoundland—until we realized we wouldn’t have time to visit New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI without driving ourselves crazy. This is our first time to the Maritimes, and I’m thinking it might not be our last. I’ll bet your trip was outstanding!
Thanks for the tip on the RV park for NYC—that’s on our list for our return in the fall.
I totally understand your mixed feelings, but I have zero doubt you are going to love the Maritimes… RVing in the New England will likely be a bit of culture shock (and wallet shock and traffic shock and every other kind of shock), but there are some seriously magical places up there and I can’t wait to see your photos and hear your thoughts on all of it. And the Finger Lakes? Well, they’ve got wine. So… I’m pretty sure you’re gonna love that too! :)
Speaking of which, I’m so glad you’ve written so extensively on your travels in and around Lopez Island. I’m not sure when well visit, but we’ll obviously have all the information we could possibly need when we do!
Knowing how much you enjoyed your summer in the Maritimes and reading your posts have been so helpful, Laura. Seriously, seeing your great photos, getting recommendations for places to stay, good restaurants, hikes—you’re making my life so much easier!
We’ve wanted to do this trip for years, and even though we’re leaving behind a place we absolutely love, we’re excited! By the way, we hope you guys will come to Lopez when we’re there! You’ll love it.
It is always so comforting returning to places we already know. You didn’t even have to make reservations for Lopez. Sure make travel much nicer. You can understand why after eight years of continuous planning, finding new spots, routes, parks, and things to do, I was getting weary. We never stayed anywhere more than a month and always chose a different route across the country to go east. Sometimes heading to NY first, sometimes Atlanta first, and sometimes York first depending on what we wanted to see on the way. It really was getting to be a drag planning. But your plans should be such fun. Fresh lobster in Maine and super cheap mussels in the Maritimes. I ate mussels ever day when we were there. I would buy five pounds (at $.99 a pound) and that was my dinner. Yum! We’ve been to the Maritimes a couple times and loved it each time. There are so many neat little places to visit. New England should be awesome in the fall. You are going to have so much fun!!
Pam, I’m going to follow your lead and have mussels every day in PEI! That’s one of my all-time favorite foods. I know we’re in for some grand adventures, but as you said, the planning is wearing. It’s exciting to think about all of the new things we’re going to see, but the process of putting all of the pieces together is mind-boggling. I guess it’s good for my brain, haha!
I can certainly understand how you enjoy your beautiful home base in Boulder City. What a relief to know that you can always return there and not have to plan every single day of your lives! Thanks for your encouragement. :-)
Sending hugs as you leave the familiar. Planning is time consuming and can be overwhelming, AND yet shiny and bright is worth it and oh so much fun! And remember, you are trying to go slower so this is likely your first of several adventures east. Ok, we both know I’m talking to myself out loud— you’ve got this❣️
Thanks so much for your wonderful encouragement, Leah. We really are trying to slow down, and that doesn’t always fit well with all of the shiny and bright new things that are calling to us! We did make a wise decision to pass on Newfoundland (sadly) because it would mean too much additional driving and not enough time for other explorations. Sigh.
We’re excited about our upcoming adventures, and look forward to hearing where your journey takes you next! Hugs to you, too!
Strangers in a strange land comes to mind but I’m sure you’ll both be “grocking” in no time. Yes we will miss you dearly and fiercely await the vicarious adventures of your blog. Remember to feed your creative soul my friend as life can overwhelm when it is all just coming at ya! Currently writing a haiku a day to keep the reality wolves at bay… posting on 100 days of creativity thru the local fabric store…kinda a nice balance to my former gotta keep making stuff to sell mentality…all exists digital no mans land. Love and luck to the planning…you know what they say about plans being gods joke?
Diana, I’m so glad you’re feeding your soul and the world with your beautiful art! We miss you guys, too, and I’m hoping that you just might find your way to meet up with us in the Maritimes, or New England in the fall. Or…let’s plan ahead for the Texas Gulf Coast next February! The Roseate Spoonbills await you.
We’re so grateful to you and John for always making the effort to meet up with us. Your visit to Lopez in September was a blast! oxoxo
Knowing first-hand the gloriousness that is summer on the Washington coast and your deep ties to the area, your angst is understandable. Isn’t it one of life’s little tricks that we all had to travel so far from there to meet?
Selfishly, though, I cannot wait to see how you rock your Eastern Adventure. I know you will leave a wonderful trail of bread crumbs for us and others like us who may travel there in the future.
Enjoy the planning and anticipation!
Joodie, it’s surprising how much more time it takes to plan a journey to places that are unknown to us. I wish we didn’t have to plan quite so much—but given that we’re visiting the Finger Lakes, Maritimes, and New England all in high season, it seems like the wise thing to do. Even with all of the work, we’re thrilled about what lies ahead!
And just think, if we weren’t both traveling full-time, we probably never would have met up. Life is such a beautiful mystery!
A new adventure! Life is…..
Seems just like yesterday we conversed at the food Co-0p. Love following your travels and especially the San Juan adventures. A sense of time standing still. Just know you and Eric inspired us to make the plunge to Mexico. We are based in San Miguel de Allende and exploring more of the world. We will miss seeing you once a year in Ashland. Be Well. Saludos, Robert & Colleen
Robert & Colleen, it’s great to hear from you! And I’m delighted if we in any way inspired your move to San Miguel de Allende. That’s a place that has always intrigued us. I imagine it’s a wonderful place to live as an artist.
We’ll miss seeing you in Ashland, as well. Enjoy your grand new life adventures!
It truly is a beautiful and spiritual place, and you two have added to that for so many people over the years. I’m sure the island will miss you just as much – but what a grand adventure you’ll have this year :-)
Oh, Jodee, thank you for your sweet comment! There’s something about Lopez that captured us the first time we visited. It’s been a wonderful place to call “home” for eight summers.
And we’re very excited about this next year’s adventures. :-))
As we read the early part of the blog, we thought it was a permanent goodbye you were saying to Lopez, never, for some reason, to return. We could share and feel the ache of abandoning a place that has been so kind to you over the years. But now, we read that you will be back in 2020 ~ it is but a brief summer fling that you are plotting in a different destination :) You will be back! And the Lopezian sun and air will be all that much sweeter…
But we do understand the tug between going back to a favorite haunt and seeking out new horizons. You make excellent ambassadors for the San Juan islands and thanks to you it is now on our ever growing list of must visit.
Peta, you make a good point—it really is a brief summer fling that we have planned, and we intend to return to Lopez. I suppose it’s the familiar dilemma I always feel at wanting to maintain my connection to a place and people that I deeply love, and the strong desire I’ve always had to explore new places. Eric feels the same about Lopez, so it was not an easy decision.
We were also concerned about giving up the opportunity that we’ve had to teach the interpretive programs at the state park. We love our work there, and it’s a very unique position. But we’ve been assured that our position will be waiting for us when we return. :-) Onward to new adventures!
It must be very difficult to not be heading back to Lopez Island next summer, but wow, what an adventure you have in front of you! I cannot wait to see the Maritimes and the Finger Lakes through your eyes. I’m not sure if or when we will get there so I am anxiously awaiting your lovely photos and prose.
LuAnn, we’re excited about our upcoming adventures, but oh boy, is it ever taking a ridiculous amount of time to plan it all out! I know you understand, with the overseas travels you’re planning. I’m hoping I can be more current with our blog while we’re traveling…hahaha!!
You’re going to love Nova Scotia! We visited Nova Scotia & PEI last year and enjoyed it so much we’re planning on returning to NS this summer and exploring Newfoundland & Labrador.
Maybe we’ll bump into you in Canada. Safe travels!
I love your blog, photos & adventures.
Rose, it’s great to hear from you! We would love to cross paths with you two. We’ll be in the Maritimes from early July to mid-September. I was wanting to go to Newfoundland but it’s probably too much to try to do this trip. I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures!