Our Beach – Then and Now

One of the unique things about North Beach Inn is our 1/3 mile of gently sloping sand and gravel beach. Although the wave and weather conditions are constantly changing, for weary travelers the beach itself has remained a pristine retreat.

For over 100 years our family has been hosting guests from the outside world. Originally they “roughed it” in tent cabins and cooked their meals in the White Swan, our community cooking cabin. Nowadays our guests stay in our quaint cottages nestled in the trees, many located just steps away from the shore.

Sights and Sounds

Not only is it a rejuvenating retreat for us humans, but our beach is also a wonderful habitat for a wide variety of birds and sea going mammals. We regularly see eagles, seagulls, kingfishers, seals, river otters, and many more. At low tide the rocks along the sandbar can be investigated for miniature crabs, chitons, anemones, and other sea life.

The sounds on the beach are delightful too – the early morning foghorns during the late summer and fall, the gentle lapping of water on calm evenings, the constant thrum of the rollers crashing onto the shore during winter storms, and the calls of loons and other migratory birds in the off-season.

Wildlife watching, fishing, boating, wading, skipping rocks, and evening fires by the shore – the beach adds a whole other dimension to the Orcas Island experience.

For a glimpse of how things looked 100 years ago, check out this link to the Orcas Island Heritage site: Historic Photo. It was taken in 1916 by James Geoghegan, a friend of the family during my great-grandparent’s time.

Just recently I also discovered these photos from the 1940’s that show views to the east and to the west. Although the world is rapidly changing, North Beach Inn offers the feeling of a relaxing and historic trip back in time.

– Craig Gibson

North Beach West View 2015
North Beach East View 2015