“I measure the time and I stand amazed” – Orcas Island

A year ago, my best friend* and I took a day-hiking trip to Orcas Island on President’s Day. We left at 5:30 in the morning to find the first Zip Car’s keys were missing; got a ticket in a speed trap in Skagit County; didn’t pack enough food; weren’t able to get food at the brewery where we planned to eat lunch (my bad); wandered around tipsy in the middle of the day; had a late lunch of lemon tarts; went to a hot spring and watched Venus come into view and the sun set; hightailed it back to the ferry after burgers; and listened to podfic and ate homemade brownies on the way home, where I dropped her off at midnight.

It was a long, ridiculous day, and I never wanted it to end.

This year, we went back to Orcas for a three-day weekend as a couple. We didn’t want this trip to be a “do-over,” per se, but at the same time, we wanted to explore the area again without having to rush to the ferry or part ways at the end of the day, so we stayed in a bed-and-breakfast and spent the whole weekend hiking in the rain making Twin Peaks jokes. It was brilliant.

Donut House, Anacortes

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Image: photo of the cake, raised ring, maple bars, and crullers at Donut House, Anacortes.
We actually got doughnuts here twice: once on Saturday morning at 9:30 on the way to the ferry and again Monday around 6 pm on the way back from the ferry. They’re open 24 hours! The photos are from Saturday morning.

To the ferry, Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department style:

 

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Image: two raised rings with sprinkles, one black forest cream-filled doughnut, and a maple bar on the ferry.

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Image: two raised rings, one black forest cream-filled doughnut, and a maple bar.
I’m not even exaggerating when I say these are the best doughnuts I’ve had so far. The yeast-based ones are fluffy without being too dense or too airy and insubstantial; they’re just the right size; the frosting is excellent; and they’re not too sweet.

White Horse Pub

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Image: White Horse Pub’s Judd Cove oysters on the half shell

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Image: half-consumed pint of Island Hoppin’ Brewing of Fir Island Raspberry Saison

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Image: White Horse Pub’s shepherd’s pie
We weren’t sure when we’re be back from hiking Turtleback Mountain (provisions: miso-eggplant oyaki, kabocha oyaki, tuna-mayo onigiri, and umeboshi onigiri courtesy of my partner), so we didn’t make reservations anywhere. Because it was a holiday weekend and the space in the restaurants is somewhat limited already, we couldn’t get in to New Leaf or Mijitas.

We were actually hoping to get shellfish somewhere. You all know I’m a big nerd, so when I tell you that we’d both wanted to eat oysters ever since we finished reading Tipping the Velvet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. (I haven’t really had oysters since leaving Ishikawa, either.) We were happy to discover White Horse Pub had a table AND oysters. And a great view of the windstorm outside.

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Kangaroo House Bed and Breakfast

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There are plenty of places to camp and or stay in a cabin in Doe Harbor or Moran State Park, but since 1. February is windy and rainy in the PNW and 2. most cabins we found were priced for large groups, we decided to try a B&B. Kangaroo House is adorable. The rooms are cozy, and there’s a fireplace and reading room in the public space. The owners, Charles and Jill, are so sweet and helpful, and the food? :clutches face: Heavenly!

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Gif: Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks eating a doughnut and giving a thumbs up. Source: serial-dexiller
Breakfast 1

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Image: Pineapple and blackberry with ginger crema

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Image: fresh orange and grapes, Rösti with fresh herbs and cheese, steelhead salmon
 

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Image: croissant with blueberries and pecan cream
Breakfast 2

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Image: fresh fruit plate: blueberries, plum, raspberries, orange slice, strawberries

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Image: root vegetable frittata with lemon asparagus, chicken and mango sausage, strawberries, apples, grapefruit, coffee and orange juice

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Image: blackberry crisp in a ramekin
 

I was really glad that the owners asked about food allergies, preferences, and dietary restrictions when we booked the trip.

The dining room is also lovely:

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Image: three tulips in a vase on our table, overlooking the deck
The plum tree in the backyard by the hot tub was blooming as well. The rain mostly let up so we could enjoy the tub after all the hiking–Turtleback Mountain on Saturday, Cascade Falls and Mountain Lake Sunday, and Obstruction Pass on Monday.

Island Hoppin’ Brewing

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Island Hoppin’ Brewery has a little taproom where you can drink. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the B&B, which we decided to do after sunset–luckily we had a headlamp since neither of us wanted to drive. We got a flight which was really different than the flight we had a year ago: Fir Island Raspberry Saison (we got a growler), Elwa Rock IPA, Old Madrona red ale, Dockside Schwarzbier, Old Salt’s Brown Ale, Camano Island Coffee Porter on nitro, and Phosphorescent Pale Ale. All of them are excellent, and my favorites were the raspberry saison, coffee porter, IPA, and red ale.

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Image: Fog on the lake, surrounded by pines. Mountain Lake, Moran State Park.
There are a few things I’d like to say about this trip that aren’t really about food. Because I don’t always enjoy reading about other food bloggers’ personal lives (mainly because something strangely heteronormative seems to happen at the intersection of food and gender), I don’t tend to write about my own in depth often. Perhaps I should.

As an out bi AFAB person in a relationship with another bi AFAB genderqueer person (a “tandem bi-cycle,” if you will), my personal life is political.** The importance of not being invisible, not just to straight people and mainstream culture, but also in the queer community, where biphobia (monosexism) and transphobia (cissexism) are just as rampant, is paramount. And that’s why it’s important for me to be out on my blog so that others will see that we are real, live people.

There is a script to heterogamous romance, a relationship escalator, a series of boxes you are expected to tick off to know you are “doing it right.” This heteronormative model affects us all in different ways, not just the straight folks. We internalize from our social groups, family unit, and pop culture, from everything from music to film/TV to the very language we use to describe feelings and ideas about love, how romantic relationships are supposed to proceed. For queer folks, we now have more LG representation in mainstream media than ever, as well as independent media that existed and is being rediscovered, republished, or receiving more attention (such as queer comics and lesbian pulp fiction being collected and republished). We read and hear media–whether or not it’s good or inclusive of queer viewpoints–about Uhauling, butch/femme dynamics, and “lesbian bed death” (ugh) in magazines from Psychology Today to Cosmo to Time, and we now have some cultural expectations about Standard Gay Relationship Models. (Like, you saw The L Word, right?)

When C and I started dating, there was no roadmap. There is no cultural expectation for two bi folks together.*** There’s also no guide to relationship escalation for two people who do not, cannot, and will not fit neatly into “masculine” or “feminine” gender-expression categories. There are no gender roles to play. No assumptions to make. No narrative structure to replicate. We are allowed to be, for the first time in a romantic relationship, completely and utterly ourselves.

I often feel as if I had spent my adult life up to this point–say, 12 years or so–underwater without goggles, looking up at life through a haze, unable to breathe. My stress levels at home ranged from “bad day” to “panic attack.” I was convinced that I was an unlovable freak and that I deserved to be miserable and alone.

In the time after my divorce, I began to feel more okay about myself, but dating was horribly stressful. But when C and I started dating, it was like I had finally resurfaced from underwater. The two of us being in love was the most natural thing in the world. Every single day of my life since then, I have felt mutually respected, mutually appreciated, and mutually cared for for being exactly who I am. Our pillow talk is equal parts romance, fandom, and dismantling the patriarchy. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t tell each other quite sincerely how damn grateful we are to be together at last.

So we happily spent the weekend outside in the woods in the rain, making up Cooper/Truman headcanons, obsessing about doughnuts and beer, and just being happy being together. Other than the food, of course, that’s what I wanted to tell you all about this trip.

Not enough schmoop for you? Have some more here, courtesy of Vienna Teng.

For we don’t realize
Our faith in the prize

Unless it’s been somehow elusive
How swiftly we choose it
The sacred simplicity
Of you at my side

Notes

*I mean that literally and not in a “Save the Date” way: she and I were actually best friends for 5 years.

**It was still political when I was in a relationship with straight cis man, but his discomfort with my desire to be out and do activism and the general lack of support of my other queer “friends” prevented me from getting more involved. For more about uncomfortable monosexuals, see here.

***There’s the stereotype that we’re confused, evil cheaters when we’re with monosexuals and that we just have sex with everyone all the time, but that’s more about bi characters, not bi couples.

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