Exploring Orcas Island

From farm to feast, getting away to Orcas Island
Sunday dinner at Red Rabbit Farm in Eastsound

Eat & Stay
Once in a Blue Moon Farm
At this working family farm and orchard, you can stay in the middle of the action and still get away from it all. Embracing “agritourism,” the Lloyd-Lefton family offers farm stays, during which you can help out on the farm to help cover the cost of accommodations (or skip the work and pay to stay in one of the charming cottages) and make friends with chickens, goats and the adorable alpacas. Eastsound, 412 Eastman Road; 360.376.7035;

Roses Bakery Café

For more than 20 years, the island has been blessed with an excellent bakery and culinary hub, Roses (Eastsound, 382 Prune Alley; 360.376.5805), which produces perfect baguettes, hearth, rye and other classic loaves, and offers a small but excellent selection of cheeses and charcuterie, including locally made Myers Creamery goat cheeses. The café is consistently superb, under the direction of chef Dante Miller, who works with the freshest seasonal offerings, including the seasonal bread salad with Salish Sea smelt, green olives, Italian parsley and house oven-dried tomatoes.

Inn at Ship Bay

Geddes and Mary Anna Martin bought the 1860s Adams farmhouse near Eastsound and have transformed it into a gorgeous little jewel box inn with 11 quaint rooms and a fantastic restaurant. Before dinner, you can watch a resident bald eagle swoop in for fish bones or visit the inn’s Mangalitsa pigs, behind the garden, which supplies produce for the restaurant. (Area farms contribute as well.) A salad of  local heirloom potatoes and beets is finished with spring onions and pea shoots from the garden. 326 Olga Road; 877.276.7296; innatshipbay.com

Sazio di Notte

Bill Patterson (pictured left) is a dynamo, running his small Italian-style bistro with a watchful eye on quality and consistency. Patterson is inspired by the Italian countryside, and makes his own large ravioli, often filled with freshly caught Dungeness crab, roasted tomatoes and fresh basil, which are to die for. His sausage is house-made, too (from Mangalitsa pigs that he and Geddes Martin co-raise), and a recent braised goat dish was succulent and delicate. Eastsound, 123 North Beach Road; 360.376.6394; dinneratsazio.com


Recent buzz has followed chef Lisa Nakamura from her role as chef de cuisine at The Herbfarm in Woodinville to Orcas Island and her charming Eastsound restaurant, where she features the bounty of many island farms. Eastsound, 310 Main St.; 360.376.4904; alliumonorcas.com

The Kitchen

The smallest restaurant on Orcas is also one with some of the most flavorful dishes. Charles Dalton and Jasmine Townsend are partners in a tiny walk-up-window eatery called The Kitchen, whose menu revolves around what’s freshest. Hand-formed potstickers, just-picked greens, savory salmon curry and sesame-seeded rice cakes bring locals back day after day for lunch. Eastsound, 249 Prune Alley; 360.376.6958; thekitchenorcas.com

The Barnacle

Just across the courtyard from The Kitchen is the island’s newest—and swankiest—cocktail bar, The Barnacle, the brainchild of entrepreneur Jared Lovejoy. Housed in a tiny, quaint white studio, The Barnacle serves hearty noshes, such as “The Pig War,” with Kitchen-made pulled pork, pork belly, Jones Family Farms sausage and house-pickled vegetables. Creative house cocktails incorporate locally grown herbs and flowers, as well as Northwest spirits, including San Juan Island Distillery’s Spy Hop gin and island-grown lavender and wild Nootka rose liqueur. Eastsound, 249 Prune Alley; 360.376.5683.

Doe Bay Café

On the island’s east side, there are fewer farms—and tables—but the center of it all is Doe Bay Resort & Retreat, a 38-acre, forest-to-waterfront resort that dates back to the 1870s, when it was a post office stop for the Mosquito Fleet boats. In its latest incarnation, Doe Bay attracts locals and repeat visitors for its (famously clothing-optional) soaking tubs and sauna, and its quaint yurts, cabins and campsites. With a new focus on house-infused cocktails and the 2-year-old Doe Bay Wine Fest in June, the café is becoming a food and drink destination. Chef Jon Chapelle pulls from the 1-acre onsite organic garden, as well as those of island farmers, to create an imaginative, fresh menu of wild salmon, halibut and black cod, and locally farmed oysters and clams. Olga, 107 Doe Bay Road; 360.376.2291 (resort), 360.376.8059 (café); doebay.com

Island Hoppin’ Brewery

Becca Gray, Nate Schons and Jim Parker came together over their love of beer and their belief in community. Within a year, they had to triple the brewery’s capacity to fulfill the thirst for their creative Northwest-, English- and German-style beers. A new beer for summer is Driftwood, a lightly smoked ale that smells like a distant bonfire on the beach. Eastsound, 33 Hope Lane; 360.376.6079; islandhoppinbrewery.com