Rosario Resort Honeymoons

I have a penchant for ferries, and I suspect I’m not alone in this. Anywhere that requires a ferry ride awakens the romantic in me. I�m one of the first to rush upstairs from the car deck, scout out the perfect window seat and spend an hour or two utterly absorbed in the view as the trusty vessel sails quietly past forested islands. To me, a ferry ride is one of the best possible ways to begin a honeymoon, and so much better if it�s taking a newlywed couple to an island that�s off the beaten track.

Orcas Island is a perfect example. One of the five main islands in the San Juan archipelago (which consists of 172 islands in total), it�s a 90- minute ferry ride from Anacortes, WA. Given the commute from Vancouver and the border crossing, you feel like you�re traveling a serious distance to escape the aftermath of the wedding flurry, when, in fact, your destination is only three hours away by car and ferry.

Shaped like a horseshoe, Orcas is a mixture of farmland and mountain, with its town centre, Eastsound Village, smack in the middle. To the visitor, every day feels like Sunday, with a tangible sense of peace and quiet that suits the honeymooner to a tee. No traffic jams. No crowded coffee shops. Just roads that curve around the mountainside, magnificent vistas of ocean at every turn and a rugged, unspoiled beauty that makes this island a charming, wonderfully serene honeymoon destination.

Orcas Island has its share of bed-and-breakfasts, but the place to stay is Rosario Resort, once a mansion belonging to a self-made industrialist millionaire, Robert Moran. He built the 54-room mansion in 1909 and lived there until his death in 1932, donating 4,000 acres of land to the state for the creation of Moran State Park during his lifetime.

Historic resorts have an aura of dignity and stateliness lacking in their brand new counterparts, and Rosario is no exception. Though the mansion no longer accommodates guests in suites, it houses the Mansion Dining Room, the music room with an Aeolian organ still used for concerts today, the mansion�s original heated indoor swimming pool, the spa and an upper level that�s been partly converted into a museum showcasing the appearance of rooms and bathrooms during Moran�s reign.

Many of the guest suites today are located on a promontory overlooking Cascade Bay on Orcas Island�s East Sound. The resort�s honeymoon suite, however, is set apart from the other accommodations. Titled the Round House for its unusual round shape, it features an antique-style bedroom with a massive sleigh bed, and a bathroom with spa bathtub for two overlooking the ocean. Moran built the Round House as a playroom for his children, but under the supervision of Rosario�s parent company, Rock Resorts, it has been carefully styled into an intimate suite ideal for a honeymoon couple seeking utter privacy.

Rosario has the usual assortment of resort amenities, including an indoor and outdoor pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, spa and tennis courts. But it has a few extra features, too. Like an exercise room with weekend fitness classes, weekly concerts in the music room and live music on weekend evenings in the bar.

In the summer months, Orcas comes alive with activity and there’s lots to do. Pottery and art shops abound, and Eastsound Village has plenty of neat gift and book stores that make for great browsing. Mount Constitution, a 2,409-foot peak, offers amazing views right across the archipelago and into Canada, and area watersports include rubber-ducking around the island, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba.

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