Justine dines alone at the Captain’s Galley, only to be visited by Warren, who has heard that she’s been getting friendly with Seth. Since Seth away on his fishing job, Warren takes the opportunity to spend some time with his ex, and Justine agrees to the company.
That same night, Bob and Peggy get a knock on the door of their bed and breakfast, the Thyme & Tide. Standing at the door is a disheveled stranger, who has suffered cuts to his head and hands. When Bob asks what happened, the man says he just needs a place to sleep. He is exhausted, and when he reaches for his wallet, he realizes he has lost it. Peggy takes pity on the man and gives him a room without asking for more details.
The next day, Olivia and Grace watch as Grace’s daughter, Maryellen, sets up for the town’s Art Walk. It is the first year that Maryellen is organizing it and she wants to make sure everything goes well. Olivia and Grace run into Jack and his son Eric, and learn Eric is still looking for a job. When father and son leave, Grace makes no secret of the fact that she doesn’t like or trust Eric after seeing him steal from Jack. Olivia, on the other hand, is willing to give Eric the benefit of the doubt.
At the Thyme & Tide, when Peggy goes to wake up their stranger with a breakfast of fresh scones, she is stunned to find him dead on the floor. Sheriff Troy Davis and the police begin to investigate but can’t determine if the still unidentified man died of natural causes or if foul play was involved. Down at the Chronicle, Olivia pays a visit to Jack. While there, she offers Eric the job of fixing a leaky pipe in her chambers. Eric is looking for work, and though he is reluctant, he can’t refuse to do the job with his father looking on. At her gallery, Maryellen tells Justine that she is so impressed with her jewelry and artwork that she wants to give her a booth at the Art Walk. Justine is excited about the prospect, and her day gets better when Seth unexpectedly shows up in town. A problem with Seth’s boat has given him a little more time to spend in Cedar Cove and with Justine.
Jack goes for his morning coffee, and at Moon’s he hears about the dead stranger. Meanwhile, Eric gets started on the leaky pipe job. Olivia tries to make friends, but Eric isn’t exactly warming up to her, nor is she to him. While Eric is there, Olivia’s ex, Stan, comes to visit. Olivia tells him how well Justine has been doing with her artwork, and Stan feels guilty because he hasn’t been keeping up with his daughter as he should.
Jack goes out to the Thyme & Tide and finds the sheriff just starting his investigation. Bob remembers that the stranger was dropped off by a pickup so the Troy starts looking for a matching vehicle. Peggy is afraid that the stranger was murdered, and Bob does his best to comfort her. Jack goes to see Olivia in her chambers to break a date because he has to follow the story. He sees that Eric has started the work and has left it incomplete; he is nowhere to be found. Olivia tries to cover for Eric but Jack is troubled by his son’s absence. That night, Jack questions Eric about the work. Eric assures him that he knows what he is doing and that he won’t embarrass Jack in front of his girlfriend. Eric also makes a point of telling Jack about Stan’s visit, noting how close the two exes seem to be.
The Sherriff puts together a list of pickups and finds out that there was a robbery in another town just a few hours before the stranger arrived at the Thyme & Tide. One of the thieves was injured during the getting away. Despite the Sheriff’s reticence, Jack continues to pursue the case of the stranger’s death, following the Sheriff around town. Troy finally caves allows Jack to help him out, since Jack’s got experience from reporting in Philadelphia. He’s been looking for a challenge, and this case is it.
Olivia continues to have problems with Eric, who returns to her chambers to finish the leaky pipe. She confronts him directly, asking why he doesn’t like her. He won’t admit much, but it is clear he has a lot of resentment toward his father because Jack wasn’t there for him for most of his life. Eric has been burned by Jack before; he doesn't have much faith in his father.
Seth helps Justine as the Art Walk gets underway. He asks her about a rumor he heard of her having dinner with Warren. Justine assures him that it was nothing and that she did not invite Warren to dinner--he simply saw her there and joined her. Seth accepts the explanation but is still uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, Cedar Cove starts buzzing with gossip about the stranger. With no facts to work from, the gossip gets out of control, with elaborate stories of robbery and murder. But while the town is talking, Jack and Troy are investigating. They find the pickup driver who tells him that he picked up the stranger, whose first name was Howard, along the highway. He was already in bad shape when he found him. All Howard wanted was to be taken to the nearest hotel. Grace goes to see Olivia in her chambers and sees that Eric has, once again, left the job an unfinished mess. Grace warns Olivia again that Eric is manipulating his father, and Olivia could get dragged into it as well. On the plus side, Grace knows a bit about construction, so she decides to finish up the job herself.
At the Art Walk, Maryellen eagerly helps the artists at their booths, and Justine asks for some advice. Maryellen is soon distracted by a handsome visiting artist from Tacoma, whose work she admires. She is nervous and stumbling over her words as she tries to draw him into conversation. It doesn’t quite work, and she feels foolish. Back at Justine’s booth, Warren continues to try and set her up with a shop of her own. He wants to have dinner with her again too, but she turns him down flat. Seth approaches soon after, and Justine is glad to see him, even if he has to leave soon for his fishing job. Stan and Olivia join them, and Justine is surprised to see her father. His attention is caught by one of the paintings of a lake that brings up difficult memories for their family. Stan tries not to think about those memories, and Justine’s anger flares at her father for ignoring the past.
Jack and Troy find the spot where Howard was picked up and, on the ground, they find a cell phone with a dead battery. They also notice skid marks, and off the road, they find a car with a flat tire. Troy gets a message telling him that both thieves have been caught, so Howard could not have been part of the robbery. In the abandoned car’s trunk, they find a suitcase—maybe it will provide a few details. As Jack furiously types up his story for the next day’s newspaper, Olivia comes to see him to tell him that Eric did not finish the construction job. Jack is frustrated and uncertain what to do. He was estranged from Eric for so long that he is hesitant to confront his son. Olivia tells Jack that Eric doesn’t need a friend, but a father. Jack doesn’t appreciate the remark and dismisses Olivia, saying he has to get back to his story.
The next day, Jack’s story comes out, explaining what happened to Howard. He was a journalist--not a killer or a thief--on his way to Cedar Cove to cover the Art Walk. He was driving along when he got a flat tire and went off the road. He tried to change the tire, but ended up getting injured in the process. To make matters worse, he tried to call for help but his cell was dead. Luckily, the pickup driver found him and he wound up at the Thyme & Tide. That night he had a heart attack, which is how he died. Hearing the true story, the townspeople are ashamed that they jumped to such wild conclusions.
When her very successful Art Walk comes to a close, Maryellen is thrilled. She is equally happy with Justine’s work and offers her a full time job at the gallery. Justine will have to give up her job at Moon’s, but she’s glad to have the chance to work full time at what she loves. After hearing the news, Olivia privately tells Stan how much she appreciates his recent attention to their daughter. “It means the world to her,” she tells him. Eric is at Jack’s office, once again contemplating stealing money from Jack’s petty cash drawer, when Jack comes in. Jack considers questioning Eric about his recent bad behavior, but in the end decides not to. Later, Jack sends Olivia a note asking that she meet him at the marina. When she gets there he surprises her with a picnic and a day of sailing. Olivia is pleased, since their relationship seems to be getting back on track.