Funny Valentine Lane
Recently, my husband and I had the pleasure of spending a few days on the San Juan Islands off the coast of northern Washington. We were both looking forward to visiting Lopez Island – not only for the promised landscape but also because my husband’s last name is Lopez. Although I haven’t yet decided if I am going to take his name, or keep mine (and presumably will never actually decide), it still seemed like “our” island and I was looking forward to the day. We hoped to score at least one cheesy picture with a “Lopez Island” sign to send back to his family. A scavenger hunt, of sorts.
Although it was early June and we were told to expect lots of other sightseers, hardly anyone else got off the ferry and we pleasantly surprised that we hardly ran into anyone the rest of the day. With only the day to explore we quickly mapped out a few targets: Shark Reef Park and McArdle Bay. A detour off the ferry made navigation easy and we were skirted around the edge of the island until reaching Lopez Village. A grocery store caught my eye and we figured we’d stop to pick up some picnic items for later in the day. We came out $70 later with several bottles of Lopez Island wine. Luis was looking forward to taking a sip, and I could relate, as I always enjoy drinking a wine named “Mason”, even though it has nothing to do with me.
Fully loaded with a packed lunch and plenty of wine to keep us (un)hydrated, we took off in the direction that seemed to lead towards Shark Reef Bay. As we drove away from the coast and into the innards of the island, what struck me most was how non-islandy it seemed when you were out driving through the middle. I didn’t really have expectations, but at the same time was a bit surprised to find so much cultivated farmland that naturally made me feel at home. Of course, an island of the Pacific Northwest couldn’t be less similar from a drive through Sac County, but for a few miles that minor detail was forgotten.
Further down the road there was an abrupt re-entry into what one would expect of a Pacific Northwest island. Thick patches of tall trees lined the road and the rocky cliffs of the coast were spotted. After turning the map around and around in our hands a few times we finally decided that we were definitely not going in the right direction, but since we were just lazily trying to reach our easily changeable destination, this wasn’t really a big deal. The road ended though and so we had to turn into a little lane to turn around. The name: Funny Valentine Lane. As we spent the rest of the day exploring the island and enjoying our picnic on a patch of grass overlooking a rock out in the water where the sea lions were sunning themselves, I remained intrigued by that name. How did someone come to the conclusion that this little lane needed that name? Were they frequent recipients of funny valentines? Was there once a woman who lived at the end of this lane that was named Valentine and was really a hoot? Whatever the reason, it provided me with an entertaining mental hum for the rest of the day.