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Highland Inn
PO Box 135
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Highland Inn's Web Page

July 2001

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the Highland Inn, Friday Harbor, Washington.

Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips


The innkeeper had sent precise directions, and we found Highland Inn without any problem. Highland Inn is located on San Juan Island, which is accessible only by ferry. The inn is 7 miles from the ferry landing. We had a pretty good idea what to expect of the Highland Inn, as the website had great descriptions and accurate pictures, and the inn had been featured in the March/April 2001 edition of Coastal Living magazine. The inn is owned by Helen King, who previously owned the Babbling Brook Inn in California and is now semi-retired to San Juan Island and this inn with only two guest suites.

Helen greeted us and showed us to our suite, the Haro Strait Suite. It was decorated in neutral colors, with plenty of windows overlooking the hill down to the water. There were a set of sliding doors out to the enormous deck, which stretched the length of the house. There was a wood-burning fireplace in the room. We could smell the lingering scent of a recently kindled fire. There was a sitting area in front of the fireplace, and a satellite tv. There was a big fluffy rug right in front of the sofa which was a thoughtful touch.
The bathroom had a huge vanity and Jacuzzi. It was supposed to be a Jacuzzi for two, but they would have to be two very thin people to fit into it together. We didn't think it was as large as our whirlpool at home and immediately decided we would take turns. We were all for seeing if we could both fit into whirlpools, but this one had us beaten. A large jar of heavenly scented lavender bath salts was thoughtfully provided. There was a separate compartment that contained the toilet and shower, and Helen showed us how the steam shower worked (there was a bench within). Lori was thrilled because she had a shower with enough room that she could shave her legs while showering. Supposedly there were 3 resident pods of Orca whales who lived around the island, but you couldn't prove it by us, because we weren't fortunate enough to see any during our visit.

The house seemed to be in harmony with its surroundings, as a large tree blended into the front entryway. The innkeeper has an interesting past and holds a record for deep sea fishing, having caught a 270-pound tuna with 50-lb. test line. It is proudly displayed in the entrance hall. We hadn't noticed it on the way inn and asked her if she had it mounted, and she proudly showed it to us.

Inn Amenities

This is a bed and breakfast, and the beautiful rooms, very large deck, and view are the main amenities. There was an outdoor spa on a deck in front of a guesthouse, which we were welcome to use. We did sit in it after dinner, warming up a little. The foliage was thicker over by the guest house and we couldn't get a good view of the water from the spa. Ice was available via an icemaker in the kitchen, and the refrigerator in the room was thoughtfully stocked with bottled water and soft drinks.

Inn Food

In the morning, we had our choice of eating breakfast out in the dining room with the other guests, taking it to our room and eating it on trays, or having it served to us on the dining table in the corner of the room, which was our ultimate choice. We also were able to pick what time we wanted breakfast. As Helen said she would do, she called us 10 minutes before serving to make sure we were ready. The first course was a fruit plate, followed by scrambled eggs, sausage, and fresh muffins. We had requested iced tea, and she served that, along with fresh orange juice. There also was a perpetual plate of fresh cookies available in the kitchen.

Inn Bar/Lounge

This is a very small b&b (2 suites only), and there was no bar. We provided our own.

Inn People/Service

Ms. King has been in the service industry for a long time and is obviously a very skilled hostess. What a perfect way to semi-retire - still doing what she loved, but on a smaller scale. Her living quarters were upstairs, and we noted she also had an outdoor spa, on her deck, which partially covered the downstairs deck. She was very helpful when it came to choosing a restaurant for dinner, and recommended a brand new Italian restaurant which we enjoyed very much.


Next time we go to San Juan Island, we will allow ourselves more than a day. The island was much larger than we had expected, and it would have been nice if we could have seen more of it. The town of Friday Harbor (where the ferry lands) is quaint and nestled on a hillside overlooking the water. Its streets are full of shops, restaurants, bars, and small inns, and most are clapboard, resembling a seaside town one would expect in New England. Once out of town, the island gave way to farms and much more expansive fields than we would have suspected. It was very clean; the residents take much pride in their island.


Vinnys - West Street, Friday Harbor
The nice thing about the Pacific Northwest is that nearly everything is extremely casual. Lori hadn't bothered with make-up yet. We found Vinny's on West Street (Helen had kindly marked a map for us). The restaurant was simple and elegant with ample windows overlooking the harbor and the ferry landing. Even though our reservation was last-minute, we were greeted with smiles and shown to what we thought was a premium table by a window overlooking the water. The windows were open to the gentle breeze. We ordered a bottle of local wine, a San Juan 1999 Reserve Chardonnay (when in Rome...). Lori chose the manila clams as an appetizer, and the pasta from hell, which was indeed spicy, but very good. Keith had the mozzarella martini (Lori kept stealing some cheese) and the veal piccata, which consisted of three large pieces of very tender veal, some of the best veal he has ever had. We finished off the meal by splitting a brownie. Keith ordered some Remy Martin VSOP and Lori stuck with her tried-and-true Sambuca on the rocks. The service was very attentive.

Vinnys has been awarded a "best of ..." www.weloveourlife.com award.


The San Juan islands are a quiet way of life, and not somewhere one goes for nightlife. There were bars in town and perhaps some entertainment, but we opted to return to our inn with its beautiful view.


We were on San Juan Island in mid-July. It was sunny, with high clouds, and the wind was calm. The afternoon temperature peaked in the 70s and went down to the high 50s in the evening. Although it is to the north, the islands apparently enjoy a mild climate even in the winter, and snow is rare.


Leave yourselves more than a day to explore this island. Plan ahead and arrive at ferry terminals well in advance of departure.