Roche Harbor Marina was on the agenda for the day, so we left Stuart Island early in the morning after Shane finished paddling around the island (that was a very early wakeup call for him). We motored for approximately one hour through strong currents passing Spieden Island and it’s channel to Roche Harbor.
The boys and I had driven to Roche Harbor over the winter when we moored at Friday Harbor. It was a different vibe then. Few people and those that were there gave the impression that they lived in the development attached to the resort in retirement. The grounds were maintained, but not as colorful, and the artist shops were closed for the season. It was still beautiful, just different. I had explained to the kids what it was like going there as a teenager. Tennis, pool, beautiful views, and people everywhere. I believe we had gone one year when it was under construction and it was still fun. I had even wanted to get married in the chapel above the marina.
Today’s visit did not disappoint. We arrived well ahead of the noon check-in, but the harbor master allowed us to grab a slip. Awesome! The dock hands were there and ready to take our lines. We loved the oversized wooden cleats and festive environment as we stepped off board.
First stop was donuts. The kids had the sprinkled donuts at Lime Kiln Cafe over the winter and were excited to grab more. Ordering was quick and we hustled back to the boat to give some to Shane. After donuts, can you guess what we did? Laundry.
Roche Harbor Marina washers were $4 a wash and $.50 for 10 minutes. Pretty spendy, but they were high quality and efficient. In comparison, the laundromat in Blaine we went to was only a quarter less for a wash, and no where as nice. When we first got there we were the only ones in the laundromat around 10am! In between washing and drying the kids and I checked out the resort, visiting the pool and tennis area, the chapel, the Company Store, the clothing store above the laundromat, and the local artist booths. They played some bocce ball and admired a wedding being setup in the gardens.
The real fun began after laundry was done. We head off to the pool, which is included with your stay at the marina. The whole pool is 3 feet, 3 inches. We were the only ones there for almost two hours! Kids slowly filtered in over the last bit we were there. The boys had a blast. It was sunny at in the high sixties. They even got to play some pingpong before we left.
You could feel the boat humming with electricity when we returned. Not really, but I kept picturing Coco Mar as the supervillain, Electro from Spiderman, glowing with power. We charged all of the goodies; our new insect repellent machine, night lights, phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and the vacuum.
Before dinner Shane washed down the boat and made a quick fix to his fiberglass paddleboard then we were off. First, to provision. Well, grab fresh veggies and some snacks from The Company Store. Talk about spendy. We got whatever we really needed and called it good there. To be fair, not everything was expensive. I grabbed the kids some Annie’s Mac and Cheese, which was a normal price. They were excited.
As we shopped Kelly played Bocce ball by the historic kilns. He met a few kids and had fun. Wyatt came with us to ensure we grabbed the kids the net they had wanted for finding sea creatures.
It was off to dinner. We were excited to try out Madrona Grill. The menu looked promising and the views even better. The Grill also did not disappoint. We absolutely loved it. Delicious entrees that were unique and full of flavor and a kids menu that they would actually eat. The boys even ordered a slice of cake after dinner. Yum! The sun was setting and it was getting chilly so we went back to the boat.
On our way back to the guest dock we walked through the gardens, Shane identifying plants and reminding the kids about what we had grown in our garden. The Hotel De Haro was beautiful in the sunset, lit up with a warm yellow light.
As the sun set further, Roche Harbor went into it’s colors ceremony, a summer tradition dating back to the fifties. They retire the American, Canadian, and British flags with flair from the color guards. We watched from the bow of our boat. The kids were not as impressed as I had hoped they would be. They are kids after all. My favorite was the bride and groom of the evening standing on the building behind the ceremony. I bet the photos they got from that will be incredible! The ceremony was finished up by horns from the super yachts in the marina and announcements in the form of celebrations and weather forecasts.
We finished up our Laundry, Shower, Grocery (LSG!) session with showers. The marina shower was $2 for 5 minutes of hot water. I have become a marina shower connoisseur. I’m a fan of piping hot showers, with ample room for toiletries, that keep the changing area dry. This shower setup was probably a 6 out of 10, if I’m being critical.
There were sounds of Snoop Dog and Spice Girls as I walked back to the boat. Someone my age was getting married and that made me happy.
Overall, Roche Harbor was an entertaining experience. I had assumed Kelly would want to stay here all week and that they would both want to go back to the pool every chance they got and I was right. I’m grateful that they got this view of what boating in the Pacific Northwest is like.
Coming to Roche Harbor just before their big Fourth of July celebration felt like a Mrs. Maisel episode. The summer camp one, where all of the families who had been going there for years were returning and seeing each other once again. They knew the staff, they were looking forward to certain traditions, and everything on their boats was just right. There was a lot of “oh hey, did you just get back in for the summer” call outs. Older, more senior staff members sat by boats chatting with the husbands and paying the wives compliments. It was like Dirty Dancing and Mrs. Maisel and I loved it.