A Weekend in Lummi Island

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I’d be lying if I said there was a lot to do in Lummi Island.  In fact, its allure is its quiet charm!  As a result, each time I mentioned to the locals I was visiting friends in Lummi Island, they all replied, “Oh Lummi is great!”

The island features two restaurants, a country store, a couple public beaches, a few preserves, some Air BnB rentals, and a couple of Inns.

Getting to Lummi Island

To get to Lummi Island must take a small ferry from Gooseberry Point.  The ferry has a fairly regular schedule, but reservations are not accepted, so it is best to arrive 30 minutes in advance to secure a spot.  The roundtrip ticket for a car and driver is around $15.  The payment is collected while on the 10-minute crossing.  It was quite the different experience than my Port Townsend-Coupeville crossing.

My friends Kris and Bill only live about a ½ mile from the ferry dock.  Their home overlooks the calm seas of the Eastern side of the island with views of Mt Baker and Canada!

Beach Store Cafe

For my Friday evening arrival, we ate at the only restaurant on this side of the island, the Beach Store Cafe.  The restaurant’s menu includes a wide variety though limited selection from mussels, to salads, to hamburgers, to pizza.

beach store cafe on lummi island

We ordered and paid inside at the counter and then found our seat in the garden picnic area which was the last table at 6pm.  Our food came out as the temperatures cooled for the evening.

The following day, Kris and Bill gave me the Lummi Island Tour.  It didn’t take too long, as it is only nine-miles around and we skipped the mountain area on its Southern end.

Curry Preserve

We started with a stroll to the Curry Preserve, just minutes from their home.  The Curry Preserve is operated by the Lummi Island Heritage Trust.  The 42 acres, purchased by the Trust in 2002, was previously owned by John and Ortha Curry.

Currently the Preserve is managed as a wildlife habitat and features a short loop trail with various offshoots.  We began our stroll on a path lined in black berry bushes.  It climbed through a meadow dotted with wildflowers before eventually entering the forest.

curry preserve on lummi island

We exited on an offshoot trail that travels through a private property easement.  Along the way, we had to laugh at the cow mailbox and the “Keep Poop Away” sign.  Upon nearing the main road, instead of returning to the house, we headed into town.

Lummi Island Market

On Saturdays, Lummi Island holds a small market across from the ferry dock.  Most vendors were artists, local organizations, or produce sellers.  I couldn’t resist buying cherries, while Bill s selected super ripe strawberries.  Fortunately, he is also a good cook, and he made a cherry crisp for dessert!

Lummi island market

Nettles Farm B&B

After our stop and the market and lunch at home, we loaded into their small fiat to circle the island.  Along the way, we picked up some farm fresh eggs and fresh sourdough bread at Nettles Farm. The owners just leave their produce in coolers by the side of the road, and locals leave cash in exchange! There is nothing better than farm fresh eggs, especially when cooked with Kerrygold butter! This was a treat, as for the last three weeks, I had passed several fresh eggs stands that I had to skip given the glass top on VANgo’s stove shattered and was rendered inoperable.

In the fiat
I’m photo bombing Annie!

The Willows Inn

Just past Nettles Farm, on the northwest side of the island, is The Willows Inn.  This is the location of the other restaurant which was named the number one restaurant in North America in 2019.  The chef previously worked at Noma Restaurant in Denmark which was ranked the number 2 restaurant in the world.

Sunset Beach

The restaurant serves a ten course meal, and Bill tells me it is currently embroiled in controversy.  As a result, we didn’t try it, but we did venture down the hill to Sunset Beach across from the Inn.  The long stretch of rocky beach was practically deserted.  We only saw two others, as we meandered the shore.

beach across from Willow Inn on lummi island

We continued in the counter-clockwise direction.  The more we hugged the Western shore, the more windy it got.  We kept an eye out for the orcas which tend roam this deeper rougher water, but they eluded us. 

Otto Preserve

To end our tour, we swung by the Otto Preserve which we hiked the following morning.  The Lummi Island Heritage Trust purchased the first 70-acre parcel of land for the Otto Preserve in 2000.  This purchase protected the land from being developed into 23 home sites. 

The preserve has since been expanded to 104 acres.  Hikers can connect the outer trails for a 1.4 mile walk through dense forest.  I particularly liked seeing large trees growing out of a fallen one, the collapsed barn, and the rope swing on this easy stroll.

Otto Preserve on Lummi Island

When we weren’t wandering Lummi Island, we were simply relaxing at the house, visiting with the friendly neighbors, comparing vans, and watching bald eagles fly overhead. 

The neighbor’s son, Kelly, also had a van, as did Bill, so we compared notes. Or really, I took notes as Kelly and Bill provided their expertise on power and electricity. Kelly also provided a handful of other tips.

Camper Van Tips

First, he told me about Coach-Net, an RV roadside assistance service. I can stop bugging my friends and start calling these people for technical support as I joined immediately. The service also provides discounted campsite, recipes, and even route planning with advanced notice!

I also learned about a car battery booster pack with jumper cables. You can jump your own van when out in the wilderness! With this on hand, I will rest easy. It has been bothering me that the radio and stuff doesn’t turn off in the Sprinter for 30 minutes if you don’t open the door. I kept thinking, worse case I could ride my e-bike for help if necessary. But this is a better option! I’m so glad to know about it.

Also, I now know about better sway bars and shocks. Unfortunately, apparently everybody else already knew about them, because the Hellwig Sway Bar and Noni Shocks are sold out!! For having driven around the country in my Eurovan (VANilla) ten years ago, I sure feel like I’ve been on a crash course in VANgo. Onward! ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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