Highlights From A One Tank Trip to Snug Harbor Resort on San Juan Island

by Lara Dunning

What do you do when someone hands you the keys to a brand new 2019 Honda HR-V Sport? After a few moments of being utterly giddy from that new car smell, you take it on a road trip, of course! Where do you go? Snug Harbor Resort on San Juan Island. My assignment is part of the “One Tank Trip Sweepstakes,” and after testing this sleek and sporty car, I can say without a doubt, you want to enter this contest. It has a fabulous line-up of prizes, including eight-weekend getaways and the ultimate grand prize of a 3-year lease for a 2019 Honda HR-V Sport AWD CVT... the very car I used for this One Tank Trips challenge!

Day 1: On My Way To Snug Harbor Resort

It’s a cool and cloudy morning as I drive up to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, but the weather doesn’t seem to sour anyone’s mood. Friends and families gather outside cars chattering enthusiastically. Like me, everyone seems to be excited and eager for the journey ahead. Mine began when I picked up the car at the Lynnwood Honda the night before. Now, being only a ferry ride away from my destination makes the adventure feel official. Upon my arrival in Friday Harbor, I fuel up at Cafe Demeter with a spinach, goat cheese, and red pepper quiche and chai tea latte and plan my 17.5-mile route for the day.

Lavender Farms, Historic Sites and Lighthouses

A prime location to watch whales from the shore, for over 30 years, Lime Kiln Lighthouse has also served as a whale research facility.

At Pelindaba Lavender Farm, visitors can wander through 25 acres of heavenly scented flowering fields. Don’t forget your camera!

For over 15 years Americans and the British occupied San Juan Island, and both sites, American Camp and British Camp, are part of San Juan Island National Historical Park.

The short and easy trail to Cattle Point Lighthouse takes you through a meadow and over grassy dunes.

Destination 1: Pelindaba Lavendar Farm. The flowering purple fields and fragrant aroma at Pelindaba Lavender Farm mesmerize me. For over an hour, I take photos from every angle imaginable and listen to the hum of bees as they buzz from flower to velvety flower. You can harvest your own fragrant bouquet from the cutting field, browse the 200 lavender products Pelindaba handcrafts on-site or visit the distillery to learn how the lavender oil is extracted and used. Don't miss the lavender lemonade, iced tea or ice cream when you visit!

Destination 2: American Camp. At American Camp, I follow the trail to the parade grounds with a handful of other visitors. As I make my way to the Officer’s Building, I try to image what life was like when Great Britain and the United States both occupied the island from 1859-1874. Records show the soldiers at American Camp had a hard time of it. Devastating isolation, poor housing, and lousy food caused some to desert. In comparison, the soldiers at English Camp on the north end of the island fared much better and were even sorry to leave. 

Destination 3: Cattle Point Lighthouse. The road to Cattle Point Lighthouse crosses over an exposed bluff with jaw-dropping views of rocky beaches, windswept meadows, and the churning sea. When the skies shift from grey to blue, I pull over and snap some photos before the weather shifts again. I don’t know it yet, but another surprise waits for me at the lighthouse – an eagle sitting proudly atop its highest point!

Destination 4: Lime Kiln Point State Park. I make a quick trip to Lime Kiln Point State Park hoping to catch a glimpse of whales cavorting offshore. I’m not the only one with high hopes, and while no whales surface,  a group of sea kayakers glides through the surf next to the 100-year-old lighthouse.

Destination 5: Trash to Treasure Art. My next destination is the island’s most unique roadside attractions; a collection of trash to treasure art that includes a yellow submarine, a giant orange fish, and a strawberry and pineapple house made by local artist Kevin Roth. The art is on private property, but there is plenty of room on the road to pull off for a few minutes and admire their whimsy.

Destination 6: Arriving at Snug Harbor Resort

Snug Harbor Resort is all about experiencing the best Pacific Northwest with cozy cabins and waterfront suites that can accommodate 4 to 6 guests. My one-bedroom cabin at Snug Harbor (pictured above) featured a living room, dining area, fully-stocked kitchen, gas stove, and a private deck with a gas grill.

As I wander down the path to reception, I pass outdoor fire pits stocked with plenty of firewood and Adirondack chairs positioned to view the bay, a sure sign Snug Harbor Resort is made for relaxation. After an early start this morning, that is precisely what I need. The staff warmly greets me at check-in and gives me the scoop on the property’s store, coffee shop, and complimentary watercraft (Yes!). I’m also told guests can hop aboard a whale-watching boat or go on a sea kayaking tour at the new marina. Minutes later, with a suitcase in hand, I’m in my private one-bedroom cabin (the resort features 17 cabins and 3 suites) sipping on a cup of tea. From my window, I spot an energetic family down at the docks cruising off in the resort's kayaks. Tomorrow that will be me!

Day 2 Begins with Kayaking

My morning kayaking around Mitchell Bay was tranquil and calm. Guests can explore Mitchell Bay with the resort’s complimentary kayaks, canoes, and SUPs.  

The magnificent gardens at Roche Harbor Resort are in full bloom during summer months, the arbor bids a fond farewell to visitors.

The mysterious McMillin Mausoleum sits in the woods near downtown Roche Harbor.

After a good night’s sleep, a leisurely morning is in order. I whip up breakfast in my cabin and think about my one goal for the day–kayak around Mitchell Bay. Checking out the kayak super easy, and soon I’m cruising around the bay spotting eagles in the treetops and kingfishers along the shoreline. I even see a pair of deer foraging along the water’s edge.

Destination 7: Roche Harbor. What is the best reward for any excursion? Ice cream! With my car packed and ready for my afternoon ferry reservation, I brave the summer bustle of Roche Harbor for a scoop of butter pecan ice cream in a waffle cone at the ice cream stand in the Village Artist Booths.

Destination 8: John S. McMillin’s Memorial. From downtown Roche Harbor, I walk off my ice cream indulgence with a short 10-minute hike to the John S. McMillin’s Memorial Mausoleum. Wandering through the old cemetery, the broken headstones and overgrown grass give off a True Blood vibe. Further down the trail, the mausoleum is lit with a rosy hue and I spot one of the island’s famous black foxes slinking through the woods.

At Aurora Farms, you can walk around the property and see a working farm in action.   

Boer goats are inquisitive and love to interact with people. If a farmer has a few spare minutes, ask if you can give them a good scratch behind the ears!

Destination 9: Aurora Farms. With an hour to spare, I squeeze in one more stop at Aurora Farms. The 31-acre organic polyculture farm is open year-round to visitors who can purchase items in the store by the honor system and walk the grounds, checking out the gardens and barn animal enclosures. When the owner takes a quick break and asks if I want to meet the Boer goats, I don’t hesitate to say yes. How could I not? Curious and sweet, they teach me the fine art of ear scratching.

Lots to love about my ride

Thanks to Western Washington Honda Dealers One Tank Trip Sweepstakes, I had the opportunity to check out the 2019 Honda HR-V Sport and cruise to San Juan Island.

After driving over 215 miles in the 2019 Honda HR-V Sport, I can attest to it having more than eye-candy appeal. It handled curvy roads with ease, the multi-angle rearview camera gave every backup precision, and the two USB ports kept my phone charged and ready for the next photo opt. Other features I found liked included the lane keep assist, electric parking brake, hands-free Bluetooth, and the generous trunk space; all make the 2019 Honda HR-V Sport AWD CVT a sweet ride for any road trip.

Enter the Honda “One Tank Trips” Challenge today for your chance to win a 3-year lease on a 2019 Honda HR-V (which is the same car I drove and loved on this challenge), one of four fabulous 2-day getaways to great Washington destinations or one of 10 weekly prizes. CLICK HERE to enter today!