On Lopez Island, passing cars salute each other with a one-finger wave, whether or not the drivers know each other. You might not find cell service, but you are likely to strike up conversations with strangers at the coffee shop or karaoke bar. Also, did we mention that you won’t see a single stoplight on the island? This kind of laid-back charm is what sets Lopez apart from neighboring San Juan islands and if you’re looking to unplug and unwind here for a while, we couldn’t imagine a better home base than the Edenwild Boutique Inn.
Located in the heart of Lopez Village, the Edenwild has been an island institution since 1989. Its exterior is akin to a historic New England inn, but on the inside, guests can expect spacious rooms and modern amenities (with the exception of TVs). Other perks include a locally-sourced breakfast delivered to your door each morning, plus on-site bike and kayak rentals.
The Edenwild was initially designed and built by Susan Aran and her husband Tom Skeritt, the latter of whom you might remember as an actor in legendary films including “Top Gun” and “Alien.” Today, however, the boutique inn is owned and operated by Anthony and Crystal Rovente, who discovered the island while looking for the perfect place to raise their children. The whole family works hard to help their guests have the quintessential Lopez experience— think hiking, biking, kayaking, and plenty of low-key evenings in front of the fire.
“Lopez is unique in that you have to physically disconnect from the rest of the world to get here,” Anthony says. “Everything moves at a much slower pace, which forces guests to relax and enjoy the moment.” This slowness is exactly what characterized our trip to Lopez. A typical day might include a late breakfast of scones and cinnamon rolls from Barn Owl Bakery, a charming bakery/grain farm known for its island-grown grains and organic ingredients. From there, we’d embark on an easy hike to sites like Iceberg Point, with its rugged cliffs and dramatic views of the Olympic Peninsula.
Next up would be a bite to eat from places like El Taco ‘Bout It, a beloved Mexican food truck, or Setsunai, a noodle shop serving up some of the best made-from-scratch ramen in the North Sound. Once refueled, we might embark on a kayak trip, or a bike ride, or— depending on our energy levels— perhaps just a visit to Odlin Park Beach to read a book. We’d finally settle in for a waterfront dinner around sunset, then finish the day at the Edenwild with s’mores around the fire or a nightcap on the deck.
Once our visit came to an end, we fully understood why Lopez has earned the nickname “Slowpez”— but that doesn’t mean the island isn’t growing and changing. Anthony says its population experienced a bump during the pandemic, when some part-time residents decided to settle on Lopez for good.
More residents means more community events, more businesses, and— as word-of-mouth continues to spread— more tourists, especially during the summer months. But even with this growth, Anthony says Lopez is still “Slowpez’’ at heart. Like we said, don’t expect to find a stoplight here— but do expect stunning scenery, farm-to-table food, and plenty of island hospitality.
“The natural beauty, friendly community, and quaint and charming surroundings are all still intact for guests to explore and enjoy,” Anthony says. “Lopez still feels like a place stuck in a simpler time, and that is our most endearing amenity.”