Friday Harbor on the brain. Friday Harbor is located on one of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. I visited there when I was 12, and it still ranks as one of the most fantastic places I've ever been. It's most definitely the best family vacation I can remember.
As I recall, my dad was going to Seattle for an expo of some sort, and my parents decided to make a trip of it. The four of us flew into Seattle about a week in advance, rented a car, and immediately caught the ferry (which I loved). We explored the town, went whale watching (saw a whole pod of Orcas!), went ocean kayaking (where we were stalked by a young sea lion), happened upon an alpaca farm, and then got soaked to the skin in a rain storm. All four of us ended up buying brand new sweatshirts, which were quickly proclaimed the best any of us had ever owned. Seriously. I have never had a sweatshirt which kept me so dry in the rain.
From Friday Harbor, we traveled to Ruby Beach, with which I fell in love and which started my collection of beach stones. It's a magnificent place. We headed into Canada and spent the night in a tiny bed and breakfast outside of Victoria. All I remember of it was that there was a tray of cocoa outside my door in the morning and that my brother and I discovered a deer nibbling a tree outside who was so clam she let us walk right up to her.
There is so much of that week which remains crystal clear in my memory, but I can't help but wish there was more. Returning to Friday Harbor is something I've thought about for a long, long time. One of these days, I'll cave in and just go. Days like today bring me ever closer to that precipice.