One of the treasures of the Pacific NW is the collection of Islands known as the San Juans. After a terribly rainy Seattle winter, I was excited about an opportunity to visit San Juan Island this summer. I was ready to unplug, relax, and catch up with the natural world. Well, as things go, I couldn’t help but think about all things “tiny” as I explored the island on my vacation.
Vacationing in Tiny
First off, I stayed at the Driftwood Farm Cottage, a little 380 sq. ft. cottage with a remarkable history. As is the case with most islands, raw materials are more expensive because of the cost of transportation and limited quantities. People have had to be creative and conservative with materials for ages. The cottage originally housed military personnel at “American Camp” in the 1850’s – during the famous Pig War. It is said that Captain George Pickett – better known for fighting at Gettysburg – was housed in the cottage. In the spirit of reuse and re-purposing, the cottage was moved in the 1940’s to the private land where it is today in order to house the manager of the sawmill that was on the property at the time.
This 380 sq ft cottage had everything we required – technically sleeping 4 – with dogs allowed! The open space had a kitchen across from built-in bunk beds, a dining table for four and a queen-sized bed, a chair and lamp. And as “tiny” living goes – one is often drawn to the out of doors where the deck with water view was calling! A good design and a peaceful location can make a small space feel grand, for sure – in any century.
Working Hard & Living Tiny
As we hiked in the sunshine and explored American Camp, we came across this lovely little tiny home which served as the quarters for the laundress of the camp. The laundress was required to be married to a soldier and was supplied with this housing for herself and her family. The view is breathtaking, but winters were harsh with little protection from the elements. But this little home of approximately 380 sq. ft. (noticing a trend?) with a double sided fireplace must have kept the family cozy and warm.
Discovering Tiny Treasures
As we drove around the island, we came across some surprising tiny treasures – creations of local artist, Kevin Roth. He creates delightful “tiny homes” of a different sort from recycled materials.
A Must-See Lighthouse
A trip to San Juan Island is not complete without a trip to Lime Kiln Point State Park – a wonderful spot for land-based whale watching. The lighthouse at the Park is open to visitors – staffed by whale researchers ready to discuss the resident Orca whales. We didn’t see the whales on this trip, but as you can see, there is plenty of fun to be had on the island. I can’t wait to plan my next visit!
Interested in Trying Tiny?
Interested in trying “tiny” on your next vacation? Here’s an up-to-date LIST of some tiny homes for rent across the country. Enjoy!