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Forest Stewardship

Timber Harvest

Next time you’re visiting you may notice that our upland forest looks a little different. That’s because this winter we performed another thinning of our southern acreage. This was done in part to address several forest health related issues – laminated root rot and fire hazard among them.
Forest Stewardship
Thinning is also helping us to preserve this portion of the property – which we as a family are very excited about. Additionally, managing the property as a working forest has allowed us to rezone it as designated forest land (DFL). This helps to protect its status as an undeveloped property for the long term.


Forest History
Historically this has been the third significant harvest that the Gibson family has performed since purchasing the property in 1911, with our first harvest around about 1920. The last time the timber was harvested was in 1959 by our grandmother, Edna Gibson. Some of our long-time guests may remember the logging trails and landings from that harvest. These were evident for many years afterwards.

Prior to our family’s arrival, the property had been mostly clear cut in the mid to late 1800’s to fuel the local island lime kilns and to make way for the extensive apple orchards that once flourished here.

For a glimpse of what our forest and our harvesting methods looked like in years past, follow this link to the Orcas Island Heritage website:  Historical Photos


Forest Future
During the next several years you will notice a number of changes. For one, we will be replanting trees with disease resistant species. Especially in the areas that had the large groves of alder which were beginning to decline. Also, the much-improved lighting will encourage the regrowth of younger trees along with deer forage.

You may […]

By |April 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Historic Gibson Family Farmhouse

The Family Home
Over the years most of our guests have probably noticed the little yellow house halfway down the drive. This is the Gibson family home that our great uncle Jim purchased from the original homesteader, Al Hill, in 1911. Our understanding is that the house was built in about 1894. Also it was possibly moved to its current location from elsewhere on Orcas Island prior to 1911.  While now private property and no longer owned by North Beach Inn, the Farmhouse remains in the Gibson family and is an important part of our family heritage.

Over the years, four generations of Gibsons have lived and died there. In addition there has even been one birth. That’s when my father, Gordon, was born in front of the living room fireplace in June of 1932.
Food and Lodging
In the 1910’s our great-grandmother Mary Telford cooked meals in the Farmhouse for guests. This was because in those days our guests stayed in tent cabins in the apple orchard. Later on, after
the North Beach Inn main lodge was built, the Farmhouse was rented out to summer guests along with the cottages down on the beach. In 1968 our grandmother Edna left the farmhouse and the surrounding property to my father. As a small boy in the early 1970’s I have fond memories of making mud pies in the front yard. Later when I helped with meals at the Lodge, I would dig up homegrown carrots and potatoes in the garden.
The Farmhouse Remodel
As you can see from the photo – work to remodel the Farmhouse has now begun. We are all very excited to see improvements being made to this historic family building.

For a glimpse of how things looked over 80 years […]

By |April 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Experience the Beach on Orcas Island

By |March 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A History of New Beach Cabins at North Beach Inn

At North Beach Inn we have the privilege of preserving a beautiful and natural corner of the world. To support this, throughout our family’s history on Orcas Island each subsequent generation has added new beach cabins. This approach has kept the property whole and largely undeveloped for over 100 years. It has also allowed us to continue sharing it with many new and returning guests.
In the Beginning

In 1911 our great uncle James Gibson left Seattle with his young daughter Virginia and followed his mentor and former employer, Robert Moran of Rosario Resort fame, to Orcas Island. He purchased this property, once part of a large apple orchard from the original homesteader. Uncle Jim’s dream was to retire from the “big city” and take up farming. Within a few years my great-grandparents, William and Mary Gibson, and their seven other adult children had followed Jim to the farm.

By the mid teens the family was operating the property as North Beach Farm. We offered home cooked meals and tent cabins under the apple trees and along the shoreline. When Jim passed away in the 20’s he left a business that was feeling the pressure from a depressed farming environment and a declining apple market. However my grandmother Edna and grandfather Ed committed to the keep the property intact. To avoid the typical route of selling off portions of the property until nothing was left, in the early 1930’s they decided to expand the business into a full-fledged resort by adding six new beach cabins and a dining lodge; in the process changing the name of the business to North Beach Inn.

Times were tough and my grandparents worked multiple jobs to keep the property in the family. Ed spent time as a ranger and CCC supervisor at Moran […]

By |March 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|5 Comments

Eagles and Springtime

One of the advantages of having 1/3 of a mile of beach and nearly 100 acres of fields and woodlands is that we get to see lots of wildlife, from black tailed deer, seals, otters, raccoons, to even an occasional pod of orcas. In addition, the north shore is frequented by many kinds of birds, both migratory and non-migratory: hawks, loons, gulls, kingfishers, waders. In early spring the Canadian geese return and delight us with their honking calls, and the swishing sound of their wings as they pass in formation overhead. Most of the year, we can watch bald eagles in their natural habitat. With the low spring tides, the eagles can often be seen hunting for fish, swooping low over the sandbar and resting in the fir trees along the shoreline. Here’s a photo of one we saw on the beach last spring.

By |March 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Christmas Time Beach Getaway!

Come join us for the holidays at North Beach Inn this year. At this time we have a handful of our more weatherly cabins open and the offer is of course weather dependent. Bring your holiday lights along with your favorite coffee and cocoa mix!

By |December 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|2 Comments