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).


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…

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.

Magnificent Mushrooms

Each cool wet fall, a plethora of fantastic fungi push their way up through the grass and moss.  Here are a few samples from our walk up the driveway last week! Many of these were tiny, but surprisingly delightful when examined up close.

Any experts out there who can name some of them?

White-robed Woods


” I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'” (from “Alice in Wonderland”)


The snow drifted and blew and sank onto every surface, softening lines and blurring contours. It was beautiful.  A new look for NBI’s woods and beach: the trees a feature, not just a backdrop.






Some of us lucky enough to be here loaded up on firewood and cozied up inside with a good view out the window.  Others loaded up with gear, and got outside to walk and wonder and play.



Whatever the season, this lovely old land has so many gifts to give!