About a half hour past Bellingham, Lummi Island awaits. A ten-minute ferry crossing. A world away.

With a population of less than 1,000, it's a pretty good bet almost everyone here knows Riley Starks.

Starks was the owner of Lummi's acclaimed Willows Inn and its award-winning restaurant.

"Very proud to have played a part in that," Starks said.

A few years ago, he chose to slow down and retreat to his rural hideaway, Nettles Farm. And you can, too.

"It's almost a sacred experience," Starks said. "You can pick tomatoes and greens and herbs and things for your dinner."

When you stop in, say hello to his truffle-hunting dog, Stella.

"She's just loveable," said Starks.

Starks and Stella offer farmhouse and cottage accommodations, including gourmet kitchens and other amenities. Minimum stay, two days.

"You have to allow enough time to really get the experience," Starks explained.

The egg breakfast comes straight from Nettles Farm's resident chickens. Freshly roasted coffee completes the meal.

While enjoying a stay at the farm, guests are also welcome to visit Starks' nearby reef net fishing operation. Using centuries-old techniques, he and his partners gently catch, bleed and ice salmon right at sea. Guests are welcome to grab one fresh off the boat and make it their next meal.

"It's the most amazing salmon in the world," he said.

The fishing method has a long history and, Starks hopes, a promising future.

Starks said, "This is the most sustainable way of fishing salmon."

If you stop by this little-known island, be sure to say hello to its best-known resident. You might just end up becoming friends for a long time to come.

"People come back year after year," Starks said.