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Island and Peninsula Road Trip

It's fun to play visitor in your own area. A visiting family member wanted to see the tulips in Mount Vernon, so we decided to string together stops in other places we like. Here's a look at where we ate and stayed.

Day 1

It was off to the tulip fields. Going on a Monday paid off as there were few vehicles on the road. After driving around to several fields, we had lunch at La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib where we indulged in their prime rib sandwiches (one "traditional" one "La Conner style" with peppers and onions). We also tried their side salads again which were also good and fresh. First time to try their French fries and those were good as well with a crunchy texture. Nice window table looking at the channel. Very popular place!

Photo courtesy of La Conner Prime Rib & Seafood

La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib, 614 South First Street, 360-466-4014,

From there, it was off to Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. We spent the night at the Majestic Inn & Spa, an historic boutique hotel. It has been beautifully redone. The radiator heating in the rooms actually works; it's not just for show. Windows in the rooms, the lounge, and dining room are plentiful and large. The rooms have what you need, lovely bathrooms, comfortable beds. Although called "Inn and Spa," the spa, while in the building, is operated by a different company.

Dinner was right in the hotel at the 5th Street Bistro. We had a drink in the bar (big windows!) which was a good experience. In better weather, there is an outdoor rooftop lounge. After we were seated in the dining room and decided on our meals, we were told that at least six items were off the menu (it had been a busy weekend). The charcuterie plate had nice meats on it, pedestrian cheeses, and smoked salmon which was fairly bland. Vegetarian lentil stew was alright. Lots of service issues at dinner.

This did not stop us from having breakfast in the dining room, which was much better. The young man working was much more professional than servers the night before. Only one item wasn't available at breakfast. The traditional breakfast, quiche, and lemon ricotta pancakes were all good.

Photo courtesy of Majestic Inn & Spa

Majestic Inn & Spa, 419 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, 877-370-0100,

5th Street Bistro

Day 2

Lunch at Front Street Grill in Coupeville. We've been there before, and it didn't disappointment. Crab cakes, coconut shrimp, and a great non-alcoholic Bloody Mary. Wonderful view and very popular. Full about 10 minutes after it opened. They may have been short-staffed, but service was very good.

Photo courtesy of Front Street Grill

Front Street Grill, 20 Front Street, Coupeville, 360-682-2551,

We visited Mt. Eyrie , Deception Pass , Meerkerk Gardens (rhodies!), all gorgeous.

We've tried to get to Frasers Gourmet Hideaway a couple of times and this time we made it. Worth the wait! Steaks melted in mouths, scallops cooked perfectly. Service was good, it wasn't noisy or rushed. Desserts were excellent: white chocolate cheesecake, profiteroles with banana foster ice cream.

Frasers Gourmet Hideaway, 1191 SE Dock Street, Oak Harbor, 360-279-1231,

We stayed at the Oak Harbor Hotel and Conference Center, which is a Best Western Plus. We had stayed here before and it was fine; it was even better this time. Rooms are very spacious with a couch, desk, chair. Rooms are quiet, water pressure is good in shower, nice bed. They've redone their pool/hot tub area and it is great. We brought some healthy breakfast items with us, but they did offer the typical "free" breakfast. Theirs included a breakfast sandwich with Canadian bacon, cheese, and egg, which we haven't usually seen.

Best Western Plus Oak Harbor Hotel, 33175 State Route 20, 360-679-4567, click here for website

Day 3

Our pizza craving was satisfied at Pizza Factory in Port Townsend. Pizza was fine, side salads quite good and very fresh. Nothing more to report here.

Pizza Factory, 1102 Water Street, Port Townsend, 360-385-7223, Pizza Factory Port Townsend

Happy Hour was held at Sirens, a spot we've enjoyed in the past. It has the feel of a locals' spot, with a cool bar top. Drinks were good. Service was bad this time around.

Sirens, 823 Water Street, Port Townsend, 360-379-1100,

Silverwater Café was our dinner destination. We walked by in the afternoon and they were busy, and dinner was busy, too. They offer a nice choice of appetizers and entrees, and they source their ingredients from local producers. We thought the food was fine, but not overwhelming. The good news is that one of us had eaten there before and said it had improved. Ambiance could be better; office-like chairs at tables not particularly comfortable.

Silverwater Café, 237 Taylor Street, Port Townsend, 360-385-6448,

It was imperative to stop at The Wine Seller. Although they've postponed their regular wine tasting series, there is so much to look at and the owner is very knowledgeable. You can find plenty you'll want to buy!

The Wine Seller, 1010 Water Street, Port Townsend, 360-385-7673,

It was the first time for all of us at Palace Hotel. What a treat. It was built in 1889: no ground floor rooms, no elevator, no air conditioning (fans in each room). We had booked one top-floor view room and one on the back side of the building. On arrival, they told us they had upgraded the back room to another top floor view room. There was someone available to help weaklings (me) with their luggage. Living room, kitchen, bathroom downstairs. One room had a regular staircase to a loft where the bed was. The other had a spiral staircase to the bedroom loft. Quality throughout. These rooms felt like home. Very cool, very comfortable. Great views. Walk through the building, you'll find amazing communal areas, a silver tea set on a table, bookshelves, art.

Amazing view room with bedroom loft

Palace Hotel, 1004 Water Street, Port Townsend, 360-385-0773,

Day 4

Lunch at one of our special places, The Fireside at Port Ludlow. We got one of the two tables right next to the fireplace. Two of our lunches were big hits: the burger with Whatcom blue cheese and roasted garlic aioli, and the Reuben with local cabbage, gruyere cheese, Russian dressing. The third, the pulled pork sandwich, didn't elicit the same moans of happiness. Yet, it still disappeared completely. It's always a pleasure to look out over the marina.

The Fireside, Resort at Port Ludlow, One Heron Rd, Port Ludlow, 360-437-7412, The Fireside

Despite how full we were, there was a stop in Port Gamble at Butcher & Baker Provisions for cookies. This small café and deli market offers small batch artisanal food. Cookies good! Place was packed.

Butcher/Baker Provisions, 4719 NE St Hwy 104, 360-297-9500,

We did a story about Greg and Betsy Atkinson's Restaurant Marché on Bainbridge Island before it opened. That was 10 years ago and we still hadn't made it in. So we were excited to finally get there. Unfortunately, we had eaten so much at lunch, none of us were hungry, so we didn't do justice to his menu. We each had a cup of French onion soup (beef stock, gruyere). One of us had a side, the twice baked potato with gruyere, crème fraiche, green onion, and bacon. One had wild gulf prawns with fennel, garlic, and lemon, and one had tuna tartare with sesame oil, soy sauce, and house-made chips (both were appetizers). We loved the atmosphere. It's in a little alley off the busy retail/restaurant area along Winslow Way. Once you're in, it's a different world. It was Thursday, a day they say is usually slow, and it was packed. Make your reservations.

Greg and Betsy are working on their 37th anniversary-that's quite an accomplishment in the restaurant world (or anywhere)!

Photo courtesy of Restaurant Marche

Restaurant Marché, 150 Madrone Lane, 206-842-1633,

Day 5

We knew that co-owner of Ba Sa Restaurant in Winslow, Trinh Nguyen, would be our show guest for May, so we decided we'd have lunch there before heading home. What a way to end the trip. That meal was amazing, with incredible flavors. Of course, we overate, starting with spicy truffle wonton-grilled shrimp, steamed pork and shrimp wonton with truffle and chili oil. The Ginger Scallion Pancakes with squash, cherry tomatoes, soy vinaigrette also was amazing. Chili Oil Prawn Noodle with bok choy, fried shallot, green onion, chili oil kept the roll going. Our least favorite was the banh mi with karaage chicken. It didn't have the pizzazz the other dishes did, but we didn't care. We just moved on to the coconut bread pudding and kept smiling. The restaurant was packed, inside and out on Friday at lunch. Listen to Trinh Nguyen on our show at

Photo courtesy of Ba Sa: Spicy Truffle Wonton

Ba Sa, 101 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, 206-565-3287,

While on Bainbridge, we checked out Battle Point Park, the site where pickleball originated, the observatory at the same location, Fay Bainbridge park, and the Lynwood Center neighborhood (it has grown so much!). All good spots to visit.

Connie Adams/May 2022

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