Visitors and residents alike are fond of Lummi Island because of its bucolic, peaceful setting. Life on Lummi moves at a slower pace, with islanders feeling an intimate connection with each other and the natural world that enriches the everyday island experience. Residents are less inclined to worry about locking doors, walking after dark, or keeping track of their children's every move. Community spirit abounds; friends and neighbors organize the delivery of evening meals for those recovering from illness or the stresses of settling in with a new baby. We’re also the only San Juan island with easy access via a short ferry trip to the mainland and urban services, which is one of the main reasons Lummi can remain as commercially undeveloped as it is. Here, Mother Nature is at her best with spectacular water and island views, an abundance of seabirds, eagles, herons, and even passing pods of Orca whales.
Read on to learn more about what to find on Lummi Island including things to do, where to eat, accommodations, and other information about our island community.
The island community association newsletter, The Tome, keeps residents up-to-date on events such as the annual pancake breakfast, salmon barbecue, the fire department's open house, the island-wide talent show, and our much anticipated annual Christmas Bazaar (to name a few!).
Many resident islanders use the social media app, Nextdoor, to stay connected with and up-to-date on island activities. Ferry news, orcas sightings, lost and found objects, missing pets, and other important information is often shared on Nextdoor.
Lummi Island children attend the island's elementary school, Beach Elementary. A part of the Ferndale School District, Beach Elementary became an International Baccalaureate School and is considered a community hub, as its campus and community graciously host all-island events like the annual Veterans’ Day Assembly, Harvest Festival, Halloween haunted house and party, and Holiday Bazaar. In the summer, island kids and visiting children participate in the annual theater camp and other programs. Our middle and high school students take the school bus to nearby Ferndale, on the mainland. To learn more about our school, visit Lummi Island Foundation for Education.
The Whatcom County Lummi Island Library branch is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with a well-curated selection of books and the ability to order any book an islander may want. The library also offers board games and dvds for rent, WiFi, and and computer stations, and board games. There is a children’s room as well as a teen room for island youth to explore. The library also hosts many monthly events, talks, and activities like storytime for children and crafts for adults and youth. Monthly presentations are well-attended and offer an opportunity to showcase our creative and adventurous residents including local well-known authors, illustrators, wildlife specialists, photographers, and world travelers.
The Lummi Island Post Office is open 24-hours for PO Box access, and the window is open for a fews hours daily during the week; it’s located just in front of our office at 2211 North Nugent Road, Bldg 2.
THE ISLANDER STORE
The only general store on island stocks a limited supply of groceries, sundries, snacks, wine and beer, movie rentals, and souvenirs. It’s open daily, year-round. The Islander also provides the island’s only ATM. Call (360) 758-2190 2106 or stop in at South Nugent Road, just south of the ferry dock.
There are two churches on the island. The Lummi Island Congregational Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ but opens its arms to people wherever you are in your spiritual journey. The congregation is very active in the community, sponsoring the Island Plant Sale and hosting the All Island Fair, Rummage Sale, Vacation Bible School, Parish Nurses and Care Team, Adult and Children's Choir, and Sunday Church on the Beach events. The Congregational Church also offers weekly yoga, monthly parish dinners, book clubs, Elderberries for island seniors, and other programming developed by islanders for islanders. They are located on Legoe Bay Road.
The Island Chapel meets at the Grange Hall for Sunday services and offers Bible study groups, vacation Bible school, Family Camping events, Youth Groups and multiple activities for both adults and children.
Lodging & Dining
Unlike many of the other islands in the San Juans, there are no resorts or large hotels on island. However, there are plenty of places to stay on Lummi Island. Many islanders offer up their properties as well-appointed vacation rentals; you can find these listings on Lummi Vacation Rentals, VRBO, and Airbnb.
Full Bloom Farm is a local island peony farm and produce stand offering two well-appointed options: a cottage as well as a loft for visitors.
Nettles Farm, a bed-and-breakfast farm retreat, offers two units (studio and a suite) for guests.
Fine dining and lodging can be found at The Willows Inn. The Willows hosts guests in comfortable rooms at the Inn and in spacious guest houses and cottages nearby.
The Beach Store Cafe is an islander favorite hangout. Serving up fresh, local fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Cafe is an ideal spot to enjoy a meal, wine, or coffee with friends. If you’re in the mood for takeout, grab a pizza to go. Their front porch is perfectly situated for soaking up views of Mt. Baker or idly watching the ferry make its way back and forth across Hale Passage. Enjoy live music every Friday night, and in the summer months, the back beer garden becomes an open-air music venue for local and traveling bands. Check their website for hours, menu, and event information.
The Willows Inn, lead by James Beard award-winning Chef Blaine Wetzel, is an ode to the Pacific Northwest. The Willows features a full tasting menu of fresh ingredients of superb quality that are fished, farmed, or foraged on the island or sourced from the surrounding region. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch without a reservation, but dinner is the main attraction with a twenty-course culinary exploration of the flavors of Lummi Island. Reservations for dinner are required and often book out months in advance. Visit their website for information on menu, accommodations, and to make a reservation.
*Willows Inn photo by Charity Burgraaf.
Art & Culture
ARTISTS STUDIOS & TOURS
Accomplished and varied artists have been attracted to Lummi Island for years, and many island artists participate in our three annual Artist Tours. These tours attract visitors from the mainland as well as islanders interested in learning about local artists' recent works. The tours are held on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial and Labor Day weekends, and on a weekend in mid-November. Local artistic talents include potters, sculptors, fiber, wood, and glass artists, and painters. If you aren’t fortunate enough to visit during an Artist Tour weekend, a few island artists, like Nancy of Lummi Island Knitwear & Yarns, are open to the public on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to be an island home to so many beloved island artists; learn more about these creative islanders and their work here.
During the summer months, islanders host a small community market on the field adjacent to The Islander store. Local gardeners and craftspeople are invited to sell their produce and wares, and this has become a favorite time for islanders to catch up with one another while stocking up on some vegetables, fruits, and handmade crafts.
Island resident and artist, Ann Morris, opens up Sculpture Woods, her 15-acre open-air sculpture gallery to the public every first Saturday of the month from 10am-5pm; admission is free. Visitors are welcome to walk among the larger-than-lifesize bronze sculptures on her forested waterfront property. Sculpture Woods also includes a small indoor gallery of Ann’s more delicate sculptures and works made of bone, seaweed, and other natural materials. Recently, Ann Morris generously donated Sculpture Woods to Western Washington University. The property is a treat for anyone who visits, whether it’s in the rain or the sunshine.
Tree Frog Farm is a homestead, garden, and nature sanctuary. Diana and John produce the Tree Frog Farm line of flower essences & aromatherapy products for human, animal, and planetary health. They also host classes and workshops on flower essence making, and usage.
HAPPENINGS AT THE CAFE
Almost every Friday night, the Beach Store Cafe hosts live music. The Cafe also hosts a weekly trivia night, and they display a rotating in-cafe gallery of local and regional artists; more information can be found on their event calendar.
OPEN SPACE PRESERVES
Lummi Island Heritage Trust is a non-profit organization that protects and preserves over 1,000 acres of open space, and they maintain three on-island public nature preserves—Curry, Otto, and Baker. Each of our three preserves offer its own special experience in nature; At The Curry Preserve, you can peruse our community orchard and garden, and take a short walk up the hill for stunning views of Mt. Baker and the Sisters. For a peaceful and accessible (mostly flat) forest walk, stroll the loop trail at The Otto Preserve. If you’re feeling ambitious, climb the Baker Preserve’s steep 1.64 mile trail with 1,060 foot elevation gain to an overlook with epic views of Rosario Strait and the San Juan Islands. The Trust also hosts monthly community nature programs, including activities for children and families. Learn more about the public preserves on the Trust’s website.
BEACH & SHORE EXPLORATION
There are three beaches open to the public. One is located across from the Beach Store Cafe, and it faces east with expansive views of Mt. Baker across Hales Passage. There’s also Sunset Beach, which is located just north of Melcher Ave, near The Willows Inn, on the west side of the island. For stunning southerly views, visit Church Beach, located behind Lummi Island Congregational Church on Legoe Bay Rd. Other beaches should be used only with permission of the owners. Sea kayaking is a cherished pastime for many island visitors and residents. Explore the western shoreline or enjoy paddling within view of Mt. Baker along the eastern side of the island.
REEFNET FISHING ON LUMMI ISLAND
Our community is privileged to host the oldest known salmon net fishery in the world just off of Lummi Island and three other San Juan Islands. Considered one of the most environmentally sustainable methods of commercial fishing, reefnetting relies on no fossil fuels; each powerboat motor uses solar-charged batteries. During the summer, reefnetters dot Legoe Bay using a Native American fishing method practiced in only a few parts of the world. Lummi's history is in large part about fish; the salmon runs that skirt the island created a substantial fishery with many canneries established between 1896 and 1919. Today, there are fewer than a dozen licensed reefnetters allowed to fish the dwindling runs, but visitors can see the flat reef boats, referred to as gears, lined up along Legoe Bay.