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|1 Comment

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|3 Comments

A princess ought to be beautiful

It’s the cottage with the most misspelled and mispronounced name, but the most often reserved!

Lalla Rook (La-la like singing, ‘rook’ rhymes with book) is the name of an Arabian princess in the eponymous romantic poem-story by Thomas Moore. (You’ll find a beautiful copy of the book on the bookcase!) This popular cottage now has more to endear it to our guests. A thorough facelift this spring has given it wood floors, new kitchen cabinets, fresh paint, and updated bathroom fixtures (the scarred antique tub remains!).

I especially love the new French doors that open out onto the deck facing the sea, letting in light and fresh air. It’s fit for a princess! Or for any soul looking for a peaceful space to relax and rejuvenate!

Check the Lalla Rook cabin page on our website for updated photos, or to make a reservation.

By |July 18th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Splendor of Poppies

Oriental poppies proliferate every May in the circle garden
By |May 3rd, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Orcas Island BirdFest April 30 – May 3

Time to make your plans for the Second Annual Orcas Island BirdFest!  It all happens April 30 – May 3.

The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce hosts BirdFest, a celebration of birds!  Nature tours, workshops, fine art exhibition and scientific symposium; all focusing on the health and wonder of birds and grassroots solutions.  Orcas Island offers an unforgettable experience showcasing the natural splendor of the San Juan Islands.

Check out www.OrcasIslandBirdFest.com to learn about the great events!  Sign up now for a seminar with author Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull) and join us for a dinner celebration at Inn at Ship Bay, featuring professor & author, UW Professor Dr. John Marzluff (Subirdia & Gifts of the Crow).

 And don’t miss the art opening – “All Things Birds & Beautiful” – on Thursday, April 30 (5 pm – 7 pm) at the Orcas Island Historical Museum.

 If you have any questions, please email  or call the Chamber of Commerce (360-376-2273) or The Office Cupboard (360-376-2378).


By |April 17th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Hundred Years of Apples


Before NBI was a beach cottage resort, the family business was fruit:  Gibson Brothers Apples, circa 1915.



Around the turn of the century (before the Okanagan Valley was developed) the prolific orchards on Orcas were among the best fruit-producing areas in the US. All along our upper road you can see the old apple trees in what is now the cow pasture.



There are many vintage varieties represented: Gravensteins, Kings, Greenings, 20-ounce, Banana Apple…

By |November 26th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Long-standing Tradition

Each fall, a few more calves are added to the herd. Here is our latest arrival!  Cows have been grazing the fields since the 19-teens, when this was North Beach Farm.

Later the resort opened, and Mrs. Edna Gibson ran a thriving farm to feed the guests of North Beach Inn.  Some of our guests remember their childhood summers here, going up to the chicken house with Mrs. Gibson to feed the chickens in the afternoons, and visit the cows.

By |November 21st, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Magnificent Mushrooms

Each cool wet fall, a plethora of fantastic fungi push their way up through the grass and moss.
By |November 18th, 2014|Uncategorized|1 Comment

A Horizon of Sails

The annual Round the County Race is taking place this weekend.

Here is our view of it on this blustery day: a horizon full of multi-colored sails moving sedately (from our perspective!) in an easterly direction.  The west tip of Sucia Island to the north of North Beach Inn is visible.

By |November 9th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments