Touring Orcas Island's quieter side
Turtleback Mountain's new status as a public recreation area is sure to bring more visitors to the lesser-traveled west side of Orcas Island. A Turtleback travel itinerary should also include visits to two impressive pottery galleries nearby:
Crow Valley Pottery: When this beloved gallery opened a shop along the main drag in Eastsound earlier this year, many locals mistakenly assumed the historic wood cabin where the business got its start in 1959 had closed. Thankfully, it hasn't.
The cabin, which opens seasonally, is the oldest building on Orcas in its original location, built in 1866 as a homestead. Owners Michael Rivkin and Jeffri Coleman use the cabin's original cook stove as a prop to display pottery, which covers a range of folk-art styles and is the work of mostly San Juan Island and Pacific Northwest artists. Crow Valley also sells paintings and glassworks, and opens its orchard and garden for special shows during the summer.
"We like to tell people that they can come in here and spend $1 or $1,000," Rivkin said. "There's something for everybody."
2274 Orcas Road; 360-376-4260 or www.crowvalley.com. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in summer, weekends in spring and early fall
Orcas Island Pottery: Down a forested road, this beachfront garden estate begs the question: What's more pretty — the setting or the pottery?
Started before World War II, this gallery claims to be the oldest pottery studio in the Pacific Northwest. Visitors, if the timing is right, can peer through studio windows to watch potters working. In the summer, big kilns fire every other day.
With a treehouse and a relocated 1860s log cabin, the grounds are a delight. Pottery — from tiles to tureens — is spread throughout the main gallery, the log cabin and the gardens.
338 Old Pottery Road; 360-376-2813. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
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