Monday, June 6, 2011

FoodTrek: Once in a Blue Moon, Wasabi Takes a Holiday

It's official, Mr. Wasabi and myself are "one of those people." You know, the kooky couple who treats their dog like their child and insists upon taking their fuzzy friend everywhere, even on vacations. We've gotten to the point where we plan our trips based on the ability to bring the dog, aka, the frap-taculous Miss Indiana Jones, Indy to her friends. While we haven't crossed the threshhold of true pet insanity and come up with coordinating outfits (they just don't make cute argyle-knitted twinsets for dogs of Indy's size... yet), we did manage to discover a fantastic pet find if you're visiting Orcas Island -- make sure to get a barn, er, loft at Once in a Blue Moon Farm.

Life on the farm with Wasabi and company - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Yeah, sure, maybe it doesn't sound appealing at first -- staying in a barn?? It's actually an old carriage house, and the whole upstairs has been renovated into a really charming loft space with a full kitchen, bathroom, and two sleeping areas. Plenty of room for two people and a big, fuzzy dog, and it can easily keep a family comfortably nestled as well. We specifically chose this spot because they are openly dog-friendly -- Once in a Blue Moon's website says it on the homepage that they love pets -- and it's a working farm.

Pet-friendly travel done right at Once in a Blue Moon Farm - Photos by Wasabi Prime

They have acres' worth of gardens, grazing areas for their sheep and alpacas, an impressive section for chickens, geese and a very photogenic turkey, and their harvests help supply the local restaurants on Orcas. Owner, Shana Lloyd, is there to greet you when you arrive, and she's probably the person you'll chat with over the phone or email when you book a room. She's super-sweet and happy to give you a tour of the farm. There's several different spots where you can stay, but we opted for the loft as we definitely wanted the kitchen. That's one of the tricky things about taking your pet with you -- always plan on cooking at least a few meals in the place you're staying at, so making sure you pick a spot that you don't mind spending a bit of time at is worth it. Knowing we had access to farm fresh eggs was icing on the cake!

Farm fresh eggs, the right way to start the day - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Shana was such a doll and gave us a basket of beautiful multicolored eggs, which we used for both breakfast and dinner. We've gotten more accustomed to traveling with Indy and bring some basic groceries that travel well. You know, the important stuff -- a bottle of wine, flask of favorite Scotch, some savory snacks like peppered salami and a jar of sundried tomato-stuffed olives. The basics... right? Slices of hard-boiled eggs served with the bread we got at Rose's in Eastsound, topped with salami was our breakfast of champions, and the eggs were just as good for dinner, served atop a simple spinach salad. A bag of greens, some smoked turkey, blue cheese crumbles and a little jar of pre-mixed dressing is easy enough to bring in a little cooler, and it's easy to add new ingredients like fresh bread or eggs to make the salad even more hearty.

Green Acres is the place for me... - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Shana was so kind to bring us a plate of cookies she made with, of course, the farm's eggs. She was saying when you raise your own chickens you're never at a loss for eggs, just a challenge to figure out ways to use them! One of the things we brought was a container of cocoa. A quick trip to the store for a little carton of milk and we spent one rainy afternoon with hot cocoa and cookies. Sometimes vacations don't have to be about filling the day with tons of activities, but reminders to slow down and enjoy the quiet, simple joys in life. It helps when you've got a view of the farm and can look out onto the field to see the alpacas and chickens wandering about.

Life on the funky farm - Photos by Wasabi Prime 

I loved the quirky, vintage country-feel of Once in a Blue Moon Farm. The main house is a bright green-turqoise color that's hard to miss, and the springtime flowers were in full bloom, cheery blossoms covering the trees and tulips and daffodils everywhere. I'm sure the farm changes its look, depending on the season. And there's funky decor everywhere. It was easy to make little discoveries in every corner, so definitely bring a camera to capture everything.

The local residents of Once in a Blue Moon - Photos by Wasabi Prime

The weekend spent here was relaxing and it reminded me of when I would spend summers at my grandparents' home in Maui, in the little town of Makawao. The noise of the modern world falls away, no highway sounds aside from the stray car driving past the gravel road, the cel coverage is spotty so there's no temptation to be glued to your phone. You wake up to the sound of roosters crowing and the morning light pouring in through the windows. It's easy to fall into the natural rhythm of the day's hours. Bring some books you've been meaning to read or a board game. These are the activities we don't often get to indulge in, as other things get in the way. It's almost jarring when you first settle in, the quiet of the place and no typical distractions like ringing phones or checking email, but take a stroll around the farm, watch the chickens scratch around for a bit; you'll settle into relaxation mode soon enough.

Parting views of Blue Moon - Photos by Wasabi Prime and Mr. Wasabi

I have to give a thumbs and fuzzy paws-up to Once in a Blue Moon Farm, and much thanks to Shana for making us feel so welcome. They've done a lovely job of making their farm into a welcoming experience for guests, and you get to sample a little of that sweet, quiet contented life that they're fortunate to enjoy year-round. When you drive around Orcas Island and see so many little farms everywhere, you can't help but wonder what it would be like to live in that little peaceful space, even if it's just for a weekend. This was a perfect escape from the modern world. Something else about farm living and life on Orcas in general -- be mindful of what you bring and what you leave. Many places compost what they can, but anything you can do as a visitor to the island to reduce waste is appreciated, even little things like bringing your own travel mug for coffee. Along with Indy, we're looking forward to another visit to Orcas and Once in a Blue Moon Farm very soon!
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  1. So glad to read your review of the place! Now I really can't wait to stay there!

  2. Looks like a slice of heaven! I totally understand the need to plan your trip around dog-friendly spots. With a sweetie like Indy, why wouldn't you? Too bad we don't live within driving distance of this place, I would so want to stay there--it looks charming and cozy and gorgeous (thanks in part to your fab photos). This is good inspiration though to plan a trip here in CA with our new furry friend Sophie...


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