Thanksgiving Afloat

We found plenty to be thankful for at Rosario Resort & Spa

  Tied to the dock at Rosario Resort & Spa Marina, Easy Goin’ rocks gently to the rhythm of the waves as the sun plays hide and seek in the broken gray winter clouds. The wind is a stiff southeast 16 mph with gusts to 27. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and we are here to take advantage of the resort’s amenities — and the Thanksgiving buffet.

Our adventure began two days earlier, when we took advantage of a weather window and headed to Friday Harbor for a couple of days before continuing on to our ultimate destination. Arlene and I had been monitoring the weather for the past week and were fearful we wouldn’t be able to cross Rosario Strait the day before Thanksgiving. So when the wind and seas settled on Monday, we took the opportunity to get into the protection of the San Juan Islands.

The cruise across Rosario Strait couldn’t have been smoother as the afternoon sun beat down on a mirror-like surface. At Port of Friday Harbor we had the pick of guest slips.

As the sun set, we walked into town and stopped at one of our favorite hangouts, Haley’s Sports Bar and Grill, to watch the Seahawks play on Monday Night Football and have dinner. Our dinner and drinks were good, especially the sriracha chicken bites, but unfortunately the Seahawks lost.

The following morning we ate breakfast at another one of our favorite establishments, Rocky Bay Café, but it rained all day, hard at times, and the wind blew strongly, for good measure. We spent the day in the warmth and protection of Easy Goin’.

Wednesday was moving day. In the morning when we woke, the rain had stopped and it was calm but predicted to increase throughout the day. By the time we departed the wind was southeast at 11 mph with gusts to 17. The opposing wind and tidal current made it bumpy as we rounded the southern end of Shaw Island and at the mouth of East Sound. The whitecaps settled as we moved up East Sound, and when we arrived the wind was gusting 23 mph.

Out in Rosario Strait the wind was a steady 28 mph with gusts to 35. We made the correct decision to leave Monday and get into the protection of the San Juan Islands. We would not have been able to cross in these conditions, so we’re glad we came early, because the first evening of our visit we enjoyed fireside martinis and artisan pizza in the rich mahogany of the turn-of-the-century setting in the Moran Mansion’s original living room, now The Moran Lounge.

The centerpiece of the resort is the mansion (see The Mansion sidebar), and the centerpiece of the mansion is the Grand Music Room. It features a two-story 1913 Aeolian pipe organ, a 1900 Steinway piano, a Belgian stained-glass window and a Tiffany chandelier. Thanksgiving morning, guests were treated to a concert and history lesson by the resort’s general manager and accomplished pianist, Christopher Peacock.

Midafternoon marked the time for the day’s main event in The Mansion Restaurant where guests enjoyed a magnificent traditional Thanksgiving feast prepared by Executive Chef Raymond Southern, Sous Chef Jesse Berning and their staff. The holiday menu featured fresh local produce, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and a charcuterie board full of meats. Even the turkey and prime rib beef came from the nearby farms.

The bread and a huge selection of dessert items were created by Christina Rockweit, the mansion’s pastry chef. We paired our meals with a bottle of handcrafted Washington wine from the restaurant’s extensive wine list.

With a beautiful sweeping view of Cascade Bay and East Sound from our table, we enjoyed our incredible two-anda- half-hour meal. After at least one taste of each of the offerings — and a return trip to the dessert table — we headed back to Easy Goin’ to watch a movie and enjoy a nightcap. The wind down made for an excellent ending to a wonderful day.

We have many things to be thankful for, and the ability to boat year-round in the Pacific Northwest is high on the list. For boat owners who appreciate a quiet, peaceful Thanksgiving getaway, a visit to Rosario Resort & Spa can be especially enjoyable.



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