Seattle Genealogical Society


FAQs: SGS100 Writers’ C(r)amp


Date: 20-23 April 2023

Location: UW Friday Harbor Laboratories, Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, WA

Event:  SGS100 Writer’s C(r)amp, a writers’ retreat

Sponsor: Seattle Genealogical Society, Centennial Committee


Where is the UW Friday Harbor Labs?

Friday Harbor Laboratories is a University of Washington research station and nature preserve set within one mile of Friday Harbor in the lovely San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington.


What are the goals of the SGS100 Writers’ C(r)amp?

There are multiple goals:

  • Provide a relaxing atmosphere in which to write;
  • Provide resources to assist in the research of your writing your family histories or portfolios;
  • Provide the camaraderie of like-minded individuals in which to cross-fertilize writing ideas; and
  • Provide you with the time to write without distractions.

Why now?

SGS is celebrating its 100th anniversary and it seemed logical that we try something new while working on our heritage–the SGS theme for our Centennial. We all yearn for “get away time,” SGS is providing it in a unique setting that is inaccessible to many. 


Describe the weekend.

Thursday: arrival day. Check in time is 3:00 pm. Recommended ferry arrival time is at 11:00. This is ”settle-in” time into our cabins. Happy hour will begin at 5:00 for appetizers, wine and introductions. Friday Harbor is just 1.5 miles away–a nice brisk walk or we can car pool. We will have made dinner reservations for those who wish to dine as a group. Dinners are not included in the price.


The San Juan Island Historical Society will host a get-together at noon on Thursday. SGS will provide a sack lunch for everyone and the SJIHS will present a history of the islands and tell us about their museum


Friday and Saturday: two full days of writing. Breakfast will be available starting about 7:00 am. Quiet time will start at 8:30 am when it is expected that you will either retreat to your cabin, to our common room or other laboratory locales to write.  A sandwich and soup lunch will be served about 11:30-12:30 in our common room area. About 3:00 pm a short activity will be planned; participation is voluntary. At 5:00 we will gather in our common room for a happy hour where we will share our progress, ask questions, and get answers. Dinner will be on your own in Friday Harbor where we can either eat as a group or individually. 


Sunday: departure day; Check out time is 11:00. We will serve breakfast from 7:00-8:00 am and let you pack a lunch to take. We will clean our rooms sufficiently and pack the cars in preparation for catching the ferry back to the mainland.


What is included in the fee and what is not included?

The fee for SGS members is $500/$550 for non-members. This includes breakfasts, lunches and happy hour as described above (not fancy food, but satisfying). It includes 3 nights in a personal bedroom with a shared bath and shared living and kitchen area in a two bedroom cabin. It does not include transportation to/from the island or dinners. Personal snacks etc. are not included, but fee free to bring them. There will be some snack food available. We will have coffee available in the common room. We can accommodate some food preferences, but only if you let us know well in advance.


How do I get to Friday Harbor?

It is accessible by a car/pedestrian ferry from Anacortes. We recommend that you take the ferry from Anacortes no later than the 10:20 am sailing. The cost of the ferry is not included in the fee for the weekend. FHL is about 1.5 miles from the ferry terminal. We recommend car pooling.

For more schedule information:

For fare information: 


What should I bring?

Bring clothes for variable weather conditions and your own toiletries. Although sheets, towels and pillows are provided, it is recommended you bring your own bedding and towels. If you have unique meal needs you should bring your food in case we cannot accommodate your needs.  Have to have that diet pepsi at the 2:00 hour?–then bring snacks or drinks you cannot live without. Remember, Friday Harbor is just a few miles away and can supply things you forget. Bring what you need for writing–paper and pencil? And, of course, bring your laptop and any reference materials you think you may need. Friday Harbor is a totally smoke-free facility.


What are the accommodations like?

Friday Harbor is a working laboratory with students and researchers coming and going throughout the year. As such, the cabins are well outfitted but not fancy! The kitchens (in each cottage) are well stocked with dishes, pots, pans and bakeware. Appliances include a stove and oven, full size refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. If you prefer French press coffee or like to start your day with a smoothie, we recommend bringing your own equipment. In addition to two bedrooms, each cabin is also furnished with a couch, chairs and typically at least two desks. 


Can I bring my pet?

Only if it is a service animal as defined and pre-approved by the University of Washington. Notice that some service animals are not allowed at the reserve. No pets or other animals are allowed. 


Is there Wifi? And do I have access to UW resources?

Please bring your own laptop or devices of preference. The wifi is robust and there is a library on site. We have multiple ways to access the library resources, just ask us.


What is the weather going to be like?

Spring in Washington?… rain is likely! While your guess is as good as ours, we recommend layers in recognition that it may be warm in the sun, but it could also be rainy, overcast, and cool. Check your local weather app closer to the date for the best predictability. Here is a link to average annual weather in Friday Harbor.


What about liability?

The FHL is set in the woods; rough terrain, and limitation of services should be expected. SGS assumes no liability for accidents or other untoward events. 


Sounds great! What’s next?

We expect full payment by 20 March. Space will be assigned based on order of receipt of  payment. The cost to SGS members is $500; the cost to non-SGS members is $550. Both of these rates assume a non-shared bedroom in a two bedroom cabin.  We have reserved 10 rooms. Once those fill, you will be placed on a wait list. Some rooms have twin beds. It is possible to double up if two people are willing to share. Should you need to cancel before 6 April, then all but 10% of your fee will be refunded. After 6 April, no refunds will be allowed. This parallels the UW FHL cancellation policy to us.


SGS100 Writers' C(r)amp Registration & Payment


Seattle Genealogical Society and your Centennial Co-Chairs are happy to bring this unique event to you–an opportunity we often crave, but rarely have the opportunity to enjoy.