Orcas Island Shopping

An afternoon of shopping on Orcas Island was perfect for a girl’s weekend out! It was a treat of unique stores, yummy food, and spectacular scenery. We decided as soon as we got back to the bed & breakfast, that we would eat just a little cheese and fruit to tide us over until we got back to town to find a cafe.  My daughter had to use the internet to work for a tiny bit, so I took off to explore the water’s edge just across the road.


The beach wasn’t your sandy variety, but piled high in small shells, small rocks (no agates – darn!) and driftwood. I decided to put together a collage of shells, sea glass, a small crab and a slab of driftwood for the next beachcomber to enjoy. 


By the time I got back, my daughter was done with work, so off to town we were headed. Lunch, first thing! We found a little cafe, Spyhop Subs, that was perfect. I had a chicken salad on fresh greens. YUMMY!


Now it was time to explore the shops – no big box or chainstores here! With my daughter being a graphic designer, our first stop was the Print Shop. You could choose your own local artist’s design to have screened on a shirt, towel or bag of your choice. It was great as we got to watch them do the whole process right there.


The San Juan Islands are famous for their resident artists. Crow Valley Pottery & Gallery, founded in 1959, had more than just pottery. It showcased beautiful jewelry, gorgeous paintings, glassware, wood carvings and more. It was a delightful store representative of the diverse, amazing talent found on the islands. 


We found an adorable metal cow sculpture standing in a garden as we walked around town. 



He led us to something sweet to eat! We had the choice of ice cream or chocolate. Ice cream won!


Our next store, was the bookstore. I can spend hours in a book store – they are my weakness. This was an AMAZING bookstore! Besides books, there were gift items and even a coffee shop in the back.There were so many books I had to buy – I couldn’t help myself! I just hope I can get them to fit in my suitcase when I have to fly home!


The stores in East Sound aren’t like stores on the mainland that stay open till 9:00 in the evening or  24 hours a day. Most of the stores, unless it was a restaurant, stay open till 5:00. We had one more store to see that wouldn’t be open on Sunday – Orcas Island Pottery. We had to drive a ways, so we had to scurry.


We had been told that besides exquisite pottery, their view was spectacular and they were right! The yard had  picnic tables with impressive stone-ware and porcelain. The yard backed up to a view of President’s Chanel, other islands and Canada providing an overlook that was sensational.


This is the oldest existing craft shop on Orcas Island and the oldest pottery studio in the whole Northwest. Originally it was started by Joe and Marclay Sherman before World War II ended. In 1953 is was sold to Julia Crandall. It continues to remain in the family as it has for the last 70 years. Julia’s grand-daughter, (Syd Exton) son, Matt Haeuser is the 4th generation potter. Besides dinnerware, vases, and trays, there is also light fixtures, bird feeders, sculptures of seals, birds, bears. The yard is a work of art, in and of itself, with unique driftwood, interesting plants and spring flowers.


Our day had been packed, for sure. The stores were closed now and twilight was approaching. We decided to go to the Orcas Hotel for a taste of their local cuisine. It was a cozy dinner with the fire crackling in the fireplace and a view of nighttime settling in on the bay. 



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