Orcas Island’s Turtleback Farm Inn is listed in Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. In fact, it’s received high praise in a number of other travel guides, supported by reviews of many travellers who have frequented the venue. Bill and Susan Fletcher, when seeking out a second home, wanting a getaway place from the Bay Area, where the couple lived. After much hard work and over time, however, they turned the farm into a bed and breakfast. During that process, they ensured that the farm would retain all of its original character, which included the Orchard House that was later built in a way that resembled a barn.
11 unique rooms
There are a number of reasons why the bed and breakfast is regarded as highly as it is. Firstly, each of the inn’s 11 rooms is of superior comfort, furnished with each appointment thoroughly chosen. Each room is also unique from the others and includes a daily but unobtrusive maid service. A number of the rooms have their very own decks, featuring outside seating offering views of the surrounding forests and meadows. Sherries and freshly baked cookies are offered in the afternoon. Such amenities are about as good as you will find in any bed and breakfast, in fact. The rooms also feature refrigerators, a tea and coffee service, hair dryers, CD players, radios, custom wooden comforters and down pillows, gas fireplaces, and claw-footed soaking tubs. What Turtleback provides that the majority of inns don’t is a stunning setting, amidst 80 acres in mainly pastureland for sheep, and surrounded by Turtleback Mountain, forest, and rolling hills. If you’re leisurely walking through the property or gazing out at the pastures, you’ll likely feel that the stresses that you brought with you from your city life just peel away. Added to that, you’re on Orcas Island, which is the San Juan Islands’ crown jewel.
Arguably, the inn’s finest touch is Susan’s breakfast that changes on a daily basis and is served on fine china. What is offered each and every morning, however, is her famous granola, along with her freshly squeezed fruit juices and homemade jams. Some have said that Susan serves up the island’s very best breakfast. She has won numerous admirer, in fact,s thanks to her cooking, and in 1990, there was even a cookbook published that featured many of her own recipes. The proprietors are both gracious and friendly, always doing whatever they can to ensure that their guests feel right at home, and always thanking them for staying. An interesting tidbit is that Susan is the daughter of two-time Olympic swimmer and Tarzan and Flash Gordon actor Buster Crabbe, a fact she proudly displays with a framed newspaper clipping at the front entrance.
Activities in the area include sailing, cruising, whale watching, swimming in the park, bird watching, cycling (bicycles available for rental), sea kayaking, tennis, and golf. There are also numerous quality restaurants and interesting shops and artisans.