My husbands 50th birthday was approaching. He wanted a quiet getaway instead of a party and I wanted something authentically elegant, unpretentious and undiscovered. The Willows Inn fit the bill perfectly.
The kitchen is headed by a rising culinary star, Blaine Wetzel. The chef believes that the menu should should showcase the local, organic products from the islands farms or be foraged from the surrounding environment. The flavors are pure and fresh and served in the most imaginative ways. There are no gimmicks here just the best seasonal and delicious food presented with a very modern philosophy. His creations are the ultimate tribute to the locavore and head-to-tail movement.
There is a warm and comfortable atmosphere that I have never found at any other restaurant. The sign on the kitchen door says "please pass though but do remember to close the door behind you". The talent in the kitchen is immense. Wetzel has assembled his team brilliantly. The staff has cooked in the most respected restaurants all over the world and at The Willows the kitchen staff comes to the front of the house to serve the meal. They get to know the guests as you get to know the food. There is no impermeable boundary between the kitchen, dining room and guests. All in all it is a lovely and refreshing way to be served some of the most beautiful food on earth.
We rented the beach house for two nights. The gentle waves rolled ashore under the bedroom windows. A fire blazed in the fireplace and sea otters, sea lions swam past our windows. It was expensive but worth every penny. Our only regret was that we didn't rent the beach house for an entire week.
I was determined to make the trip short but spectacular so we arrived on a chartered Kenmore Air float plane from Lake Union in Seattle. Our pilot made a beach landing where Riley and Lisa were waiting for us. Everyone should travel by seaplane to a remote island at least once in their lives. OK twice. Out and back.
Lisa arranged a whale watching tour for us which turned out to be SPECTACULAR. Oh, and another beach landing! We saw a transient pod of Orcas make a kill and then play and jump in happiness after their meal. The huge male breached right next to our boat facing us and then turned sideways with a huge flipper slap to the water (was that an Orca High-Five?) before disappearing. On the trip back to Lummi, the sun came out and we saw Stellar sea Lions basking on the rocks, Bald Eagles tending their nest and and the most lovely untouched coastline with old lighthouses.
Without a doubt, we will return again and again to the most perfectly magical place we know -- The WIllows Inn and Lummi Island.