Mount Constitution, the island's highest peak.

Image: Kilii Fish

Where to Eat

Mmm, crabs. At Buck Bay Shellfish.

Image: Kilii Fish

Buck Bay Shellfish Farm

From Sea: Three generations have farmed the tidal flats of Buck Bay, where they harvest Manila and littleneck clams and Pacific oysters before purging the shellfish of sand for three days. Guests can immediately consume the slippery suckers or fresh crab at outdoor picnic tables, but know that the “U-Pluck Chickens” sign is just a joke. 

Doe Bay Cafe

From Land: The hippie ethos of remote Doe Bay Resort—naked hot tubs, 24-hour yoga studio—belies the culinary finesse of the cafe: plump gnocchi served with foraged ramp green cream or a Pacific Northwest version of pho made with oysters. Views are of the rocky inlet that separates the hotel’s cabins from its campsites.

Cocktails at The Barnacle.

Image: Kilii Fish

The Barnacle

To Drink: The tiny one-room bar in Eastsound could be a barnacle on the larger restaurant next door, the Kitchen. Cocktails are made with housemade juices, bitters, shrubs, and infusions, plus beers from Orcas’s Island Hoppin’ Brewery. 360-376-6958

Roses Bakery and Cafe 

To go: The sit-down service at Eastsound’s most popular cafe works for the leisurely, but those en route to the ferry are best served by the adjacent store that sells local goat cheese, sticky cinnamon rolls, and T-shirts celebrating artisanal pig products with the slogan “Praise the Lard.” 360-376-5805

What to Do


The Swimming Pool at Rosario Resort 

There’s a Daddy Warbucks flair to swimming in a millionaire’s private basement pool, especially the one in the mansion built by shipbuilder and nineteenth-century Seattle mayor Robert Moran. The arts-and-crafts-style estate is now a hotel, and day passes for the three pools at Rosario run only $20—best paired with free near-daily history lectures and pipe organ concerts in summer, or with a classic cocktail in any season.

Image: Kilii Fish


Mount Constitution

The hike to the stone observation tower at the island’s highest peak is four steep miles, but the windy drive is a scenic five. The surrounding Moran State Park takes up much of the fortune--cookie-shaped island’s east side.


Coffelt Farm

The metal-sided farm stand on this Crow Valley property sells grass-fed lamb and beef, produce, and wool socks and hats made from the sheep flock.


Outlook Inn

The Eastsound hotel was once owned by a mystic, which didn’t endear it to the Episcopal Church across the street. Now it’s better known for the locally sourced fare at New Leaf Cafe and view of tiny Indian Island, reachable by foot at low tide.


Crescent Beach Kayak 

The outfit is the island’s first to offer clear-bottomed boats for sea life viewing, but any boat will do; kayaking is the islands’ signature sport. 360-376-2464

This article appeared in the August 2014 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.

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