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Exploring Three of Washington’s San Juan Islands With Women

Enjoy art and nature, learn about orca whales, visit a local winery, and immerse yourself in history & tradition as you explore the San Juan archipelago on an adventure just for women.
Program No. 24070RJ
7 days
Starts at

Exploring Three of Washington’s San Juan Islands With Women

Enjoy art and nature, learn about orca whales, visit a local winery, and immerse yourself in history & tradition as you explore the San Juan archipelago on an adventure just for women.
7 days
Starts at
Program No. 24070 RJ
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At a Glance

Step into the minds of historians, farmers, preservationists and artists as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the San Juan Archipelago on this learning adventure just for women. Join top-notch instructors and new friends on explorations through small villages as you discover this region like a local. On exciting field trips to three islands, learn about the land, people and culture that hold together these remotely empowering communities while creating your own bonds with the strong women who join you on this fascinating adventure.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Spend a day on Orcas Island to enjoy the panoramic marine vista from Mt. Constitution, a local winery, and a unique schoolhouse from the 1800’s.
  • A ride aboard the Washington State Ferry takes you to Lopez Island to discuss and view sustainable farming and housing on the islands.
  • On San Juan Island, take field trips to National Historic Parks, a picturesque lighthouse, a lavender farm and more.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Light on the Island
by Helene Glidden
Classic story of a young girl growing up on Patos Island in the San Juan Archipelago. Her parents raised thirteen children while her father served as the Patos Island lighthouse keeper from 1905-1913. Helene reminisces about the adventure and heartbreak experienced on a beautiful but remote island where smugglers, old timers, and "God" weave in and out of their lives.
Living High: An Unconventional Autobiography
by June Burn
This autobiography chronicles Farrar and June Burns travels around the United States and their experience homesteading in the San Juan Islands, teaching Eskimos and traveling across the United States in a covered wagon. She wrote extensively for various periodicals and wrote several books. Burn's autobiography Living High: An Unconventional Autobiography (1941) documents much of her early life story, particularly her time on Sentinel and Waldron Islands in Washington’s San Juan Islands. The book has been republished several times.
Friday Harbor
by Mike Vouri, San Juan Historical Society, Julia Vouri
A book that reviews the rich history and residents of Friday Harbor throughout the past 100 years.
Wild Plants of the San Juan Islands (second edition)
by Scott Atkinson & Fred Sharpe
This wonderful field guide illustrates and describes more than 190 species of wildflowers, shrubs, trees and weeds that occur commonly throughout the San Juan Islands as well as the Gulf Islands of near Vancouver Island, Canada. The text also includes information on how the climate, topography and geology of the Islands affect plant life.
San Juan Islands, Afoot and Afloat
by Marge & Ted Mueller
Thousands of visitors are drawn annually to the San Juan Islands, which are famed for their safe, scenic boating, lush meadows and dense forests, abundant bird life, and fascinating bits of history. Most of those visitors (and residents alike) have relied on this best-selling guide to outdoor recreation in the Islands. Now in a fully revised third edition, the book covers everything you want to know about park and marina facilities, beaches, shorelines, historic sites, natural science, and marine life. Whether you arrive by land, sea, or air, this fact-filled guide is a must for enjoying the best of the San Juans.
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration & Orientation: After you have your room assignment, head to the conference room at 5:00 p.m. to register with the Road Scholar program staff, which is also where our Orientation session will take place. You’ll receive a welcome packet with your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, and other important information. If you will arrive later than 8:00 p.m., please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Conference Dining Room, we’ll enjoy a catered buffet meal, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

Hibulb Cultural Center, To San Juan Island, Island Life
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Driving approx. 96 miles total; about 3 hours. Morning drive of approx. 46 miles to Marysville; about 1.5 hours. Afternoon drive of approx. 50 miles to Anacortes; about 1.5 hours. Walking up to 1.5 miles throughout day; standing for up to 2 hours at museum. Getting on/off ferry; ride is approx. 20 miles from Anacortes to Friday Harbor; about 1.5 hours. Short shuttle ride from ferry to Friday Harbor hotel.

Breakfast: You'll receive a breakfast voucher. Breakfast is served in the lobby dining area and the breakfast buffet features an egg dish, breakfast meats and breads, a variety of fresh fruit, yogurt, and hot and cold cereals, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll visit the artfully designed Hibulb Cultural Center for a field trip led by a museum docent. The cultural center has over 23,000 square feet of exhibits and classrooms and the natural history preserve is 50 acres dedicated to telling the story of the “salmon people,” the Tulalip Nation. The artifacts, carvings, art and interactive displays weave insight and understanding to the land, the people, and the culture of the many Northwest Tribal ancestors. Then we’ll continue to LaConner, Washington, an artistic waterfront community in the heart of the Skagit Valley.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated Northwest-style lunch with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we'll board our motorcoach and travel northward to Anacortes where we'll board the Washington State ferry bound for San Juan Island. You may wish to enjoy the view of the National Scenic Byway through a tapestry of Islands from the inside passenger cabins or from the outside decks as we take our 1.5 hour journey through the archipelago to Friday Harbor. Upon arrival at the dock in the late afternoon, we’ll make a quick transfer via shuttle check into the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty meal (served buffet-style) featuring salad, a main entrée, sides, vegetables, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Evening: A local resident expert joins us to offer an insider’s look at contemporary life in the Islands and explores issues affecting island life.

Island History,San Juan Island Excursion, Meet Local Artist
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles throughout the day; 25 steps with railing at Whale Museum; standing for up to 1.5 hours at each museum; mostly sidewalks or paved walkways.

Breakfast: In the hotel conference room, the breakfast buffet will feature an egg dish, fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals and breakfast breads, plus juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: A local resident historian will join us in the hotel conference room for a presentation on San Juan Island history. Then, we’ll set out via mini-buses for a field trip with our Group Leader around the south end of San Juan Island to American Camp National Park where we will get an overview of the Pig War, during which both American and British troops occupied the island. Afterwards, we’ll walk to the redoubt area and view the remaining American Camp structures. Our field trip will continue with our Group Leader at Limekiln Point State Park, one of the best places in the world to view whales from land, and home to Orca research outpost and lighthouse. Keeping an eye out for the whales as they search for their main food source, salmon, we’ll make our way with our Group Leader to the lighthouse research center to see the studies being done on Orcas.

Lunch: At Limekiln Lighthouse, we’ll have our sack lunches featuring a sandwich, whole fresh fruit, chips, bottled water, and a chef’s choice fresh bakery treat for everyone.

Afternoon: Continuing, we'll travel to the northern tip of San Juan Island to explore the National Historical Park at English Camp with our Group Leader. While here, we’ll see the parade grounds, formal garden, historical buildings, and the blockhouse, all of which remain from the British occupation. As we look around, we’ll take note of contrasts with the American encampment we saw earlier on the south end of the island.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty meal (served buffet style) featuring salad, an entrée, sides, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Evening: Gathering in the hotel conference room, we’ll attend a presentation given by a local guest artist showcasing the creative and artistic spirits that are abundant in these islands.

Orcas Island, Mt. Constitution, Wine Tasting
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved walkways, dirt paths with uneven surfaces or exposed tree roots; some stairs (less than 60 steps total for all stairways); periods of standing up to 2 hours at museum and 1 hour at hatchery. Getting on/off mini-buses; approx. 20 miles total; 3 ride segments of about 1/2 hour each. Getting on/off ferry; ride is approx. 20 miles roundtrip; approx. 1 hour each way.

Breakfast: Early hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll start out by boarding the inter-island ferry for the scenic cruise to Orcas Island. Arriving at the dock, we’ll transfer via mini-bus to Moran State Park and Mount Constitution (the highest point in the islands). At Mount Constitution, we’ll enjoy panoramic views of surrounding islands and the Cascade Mountain range while we learn about the unique history of Moran State Park.

Lunch: We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant in the village of Eastsound.

Afternoon: After lunch, take some time to independently enjoy and explore the galleries, bookstores, and shops in the waterfront Village of Eastsound. After rendezvousing at a predetermined time and place, our field trip continues to an historic 1800’s schoolhouse. A local historian joins us to share the story of this preserved one-room schoolhouse and its role in the community. Next, we’ll visit a modern farmhouse winery nestled at the base of Turtleback Mountain. We will learn about and taste different Washington state wines during our visit. Back aboard the ferry in the late afternoon, we’ll cruise through the islands and return to Friday Harbor in time for dinner.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Wildlife, Friday Harbor Museums, Gallery Reception
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved, some uneven pathways and dirt trails with exposed rocks and tree roots. Driving approx. 55 miles total; 5 ride segments of about 1/2 hour each.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: A wildlife rehabilitation expert will join us in the hotel conference room to begin our morning with an informative presentation about the wildlife that call the San Juan Islands home. We’ll learn about the rehabilitation efforts and techniques of the organization while also learning about the specific characteristics of local species. Following our presentation, we will set out for a walking field trip to the Whale Museum (the nation's first museum dedicated to whales living in the wild).

Lunch: Lunch at hotel served buffet style.

Afternoon: Everyone will go on a walking field trip to the San Juan Island Historical Museum. A docent / education curator will lead our exploration at the museum. Enjoy some afternoon free time to explore Friday Harbor or otherwise enjoy as you wish! We’ll meet up at the hotel late afternoon to walk to a local gallery and artist cooperative. Enjoy social time at a private hosted reception and learn about the many artists that call the islands home and see their creative works first-hand.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: After a full day, the evening is yours to enjoy. Visit with fellow group members, explore the quaint town of Friday Harbor, or simply relax and enjoy the hotel amenities.

Lopez Island, Ecology, Sustainable Farming & Living
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Earthbox Inn & Spa

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved walkways, dirt paths with uneven surfaces and exposed tree roots; some stairs (less than 30 steps total for all stairways); periods of standing up to 1 hour outside at farm. Driving approx. 20 miles; 3 ride segments of less than 1/2 hour each. Getting on/off ferry; approx. 20 miles total; about 2.5 hours roundtrip.

Breakfast: Early hotel buffet.

Morning: Hopping aboard the Washington State Ferry again, this time we will sail to Lopez Island. The morning begins with a visit a local marine park to learn about its important ecological and cultural impact in the community. After, we’ll transfer to a local waterfront location to hear first-hand from a Lopez Community Land Trust representative about an acclaimed local organization dedicated to building a diverse, sustainable Lopez Island community through award-winning environmentally designed affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, and other dynamic and successful rural development programs.

Lunch: Lunch will be at a local restaurant & grill, where you can enjoy the scenic island water and marina views.

Afternoon: After some free time to explore Lopez Village, we'll visit a beautifully restored historic farm, home to a goat dairy, gardens, and a fruit orchard. Upon arrival, a local resident farmer will lead us around while teaching us about the history of the farm, the process it underwent in order to convert to a USDA-approved goat dairy, and how sustainable farming has enhanced the community. Afterwards, we'll return to the ferry and make our way back to San Juan.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a tasty farewell dinner served buffet style. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: As our program winds to a close, we’ll celebrate the final evening with a brief review of our week and go over the morning departure details. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

Program Concludes
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 7:15 a.m. Ferry transfer to Anacortes, WA, is approx. 20 miles; about 1.5 hours. Driving approx. 100 miles from Anacortes to Seattle; about 2.5 hours. Drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel will be at approximately 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively. Scheduling outbound flights after 2:30 p.m. is advised.

Breakfast: Early hotel buffet.

Morning: Once checked-out of the hotel, we’ll depart Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, via the Washington State Ferry. Upon docking in Anacortes, we’ll transfer to a chartered motorcoach and ride to Seattle with drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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