• Mary Perrollaz

What's Island Life really like?

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

The really great part about owning a shop in a tourist town is that you get to meet people from all over the world and share a little bit with them about what makes this island so special. Everyone loves to learn something new from a 'local's perspective' and when I can send someone out to South Beach to (respectfully, at a distance) see fox kits or let them know about the Sculpture Park and suggest stopping by Spring Street Deli on the way to pack a picnic lunch I feel like I perhaps steered them towards a wonderful day that will remain cherished in their memory bank. I really love that about my job!

I'll just throw the disclaimer out right now that my husband, daughter and I only moved to the island full-time in 2016 so we are still 'newcomers' in many regards. Many families here go back generations. There is so much history in Friday Harbor, the town was officially incorporated in 1909. For those of you interested in finding out more about the local history I highly recommend you stop by the San Juan Historical Museum and that you download Historic Friday Harbor on Foot. I just recently did this and I learned so much about the buildings I frequent everyday.

Down at the shop we get asked a lot of questions. The most popular of which is directions to the public restrooms (green building by the ferry or Sunshine Alley), the rest center around what island life is really like? Visitors are fascinated by what life is like on this isolated little rock that you can circle by car in about 45 minutes and a town that is one square mile in size. They want to know what we do for groceries, schools and what the heck we do all winter long! I often tell people that speaking for myself, life didn't change that much from the way it was when we lived on the mainland. You have to plan ahead, ferry schedules and complicated logistics become part of your life and thankfully fills a lot of holes.

They say if you live on the island you either have two jobs or two homes, we fall in the two jobs category and you'll find most islanders hold down multiple part-time jobs to afford the cost of living here. In addition to owning and managing the shop I also work part-time for an online vocational school and my husband consults and teaches in addition to his full-time job. We just have an incredibly scenic backdrop to go about our daily life and routines and we still do pinch ourselves that we get to live here, I don't think we'll ever take it for granted.

I plan to post here as I can, little tidbits of what is going on in town and snapshots of #islandlife for those that are craving details you won't find in a guidebook about Friday Harbor and San Juan Island.

Exploring with Ruby! Photo location: The Laundresses Quarters, American Camp, San Juan Island


(360) 378-4013 Shop Phone (no voicemail)

(425) 205-0670 Owner Direct Line

100 Front St # 6, Friday Harbor

Mailing:  P.O. Box 2745
Friday Harbor, WA  98250

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