A picturesque little settlement at the northern tip of San Juan Island, owned and controlled by the Roche Harbor Lime and Cement Company, but with none of the depressing aspects of the typical “company town.” A pastoral air pervades the gardens and houses and the jagged rocks of the little cove. A small, white-steepled schoolhouse nestles snugly against a green-foliaged hillside. Roses and dahlias grow beneath tall, gay hollyhocks. Set between steep hillsides, the vine-covered and balconied Hotel De Haro (L), with its antique furniture, blends harmoniously with surroundings that re-create an atmosphere of the nineties. Arbored entrances lead to embowered and wistaria-hung gardens where immense outdoor fireplaces invite barbecues.
Roche Harbor continues to be a playground for the yachting set. The Hotel De Haro, virtually unchanged from its days as the hotel for investors and financiers visiting the lime plant, continues to provide accommodations for travelers not sleeping in their boats. Many of the remaining historical buildings associated with the Lime Plant remain in use as part of the Roche Harbor Resort, including an old warehouse that now serves as a general store and John McMillin’s former residence, which now houses a restaurant. Remnants of two masonry lime furnaces dating to the 1880s are present at the foot of the quarry ridge facing the harbor. New developments, including residential condominiums and resort amenities, have recently been added to the resort in a manner sensitive to the historic character of the harbor. These historic structures constitute the Roche Harbor National Register Historic District. A walking tour of historic Roche Harbor can be purchased at the front desk of the Hotel De Haro and is also available online.