You can count on one hand, all the activities you might care to do on Lummi Island, and frankly, that might be the best reason for going there. Semiahmoo Mariners that venture south will find that Lummi Island just might offer that peace and quiet you expected to get over on Matia or Sucia. With a sixteen-hundred-foot mountain comprising the southern third, the rest of the island is home to a bevy of artists, a venerated fishing community, and one of the most famous restaurants in the world.
Peace and quiet
If you’re looking to connect with your Zen spirit, anchoring in Inati Bay might be for you. Protected from the west by Lummi Mountain and heavily treed right up to its rocky shoreline, this anchorage keeps you safe from rough water and wind from most directions. It’s small enough to suggest to encroaching boaters, that the fewer the merrier. While certain summer weekends will find this bay chock full of serenity seekers, most times of the year peace and quiet reigns supreme.
More than a famous restaurant
The Willows Inn has been mentioned in the New York Times and a host of other travel publications. The Willows restaurant features a unique menu of local produce and seafood that once enabled by its world-famous chef, Blaine Wetzel, can arguably provide you with the only reason you need to visit the island. The Willows Inn, located on the northwestern side of the Island, offers two mooring buoys for its nautically inclined visitors.
Just because the Willows Inn gets its name in the papers doesn’t mean it’s the only game in town. Food and beverages can be had at several other island establishments including the Beach Store Café which also offers locally influenced comfort food with a happy hour to boot. It’s located a couple of hundred feet from the ferry landing. The Lego Bay Winery, the Artisan Winery, and the Island Store are all worth checking out.
Home to many artists and artisans, Lummi Island hosts three Gallery tours during the year. The island’s limited access offers visitors a great opportunity to bicycle the incredibly scenic countryside without being run down by oversized diesel trucks, RVs or significant commercial traffic. Kayakers love exploring the edges of the island. In fact, Moondance Kayak offers kayaking tours of the Lummi Island and others in the San Juan archipelago.
I’ve always wondered why artists tend to live on islands. I’ve decided (without asking them) that the main reason is simply that we’d all like to live on a beautiful island, the only difference is they can, so they do. Lummi is no exception. Painters, wood carvers, glass artist, and sculptors inhabit every corner of the island. Much of the Island’s home-grown art can be seen at the Lummi Island Art Gallery.
Lummi Island is home to less than a thousand full-time residents and occupies less than ten square miles. Originally, the Lummi people called the island Sa Nam. Spanish explorers call it Isla de Pacheco before the British came along and decided to name it McLoughlin Island. That didn’t sit with the U.S. Geodetic Survey which called it Lummi Island. Not to make life easy for anyone, The US Post Office referred to it as Beach, Washington in 1882. Luckily, reason prevailed somewhere along the way and it simply became known as Lummi Island.
Outside of using your own boat, the only access to the island is by the Whatcom Chief, a small 25-car ferry that has allowed the island to maintain some of the old San Juan charm that other nearby Islands relinquished decades ago. The Whatcom Chief takes about 10 minutes to make the crossing from Goosberry Point. You can find the schedule here.
If you and your Semiahmoo shipmates are looking for a bit of adventure that won’t take forever to get to, you might consider dropping anchor at Lummi Island. Learn more about Lummi Island at this link.