Winter Vacation Special

Hood Canal Vacation SpecialHike, Wine tasting and Shellfish

If you are looking for a short getaway this winter, now is a great time to visit Hood Canal.

Whether its quiet hikes with less people, the Olympic Red Wine and Chocolates Winery Tour in February, or the start of low tides for gathering Oysters and Clams in March, all make for a quick getaway to refresh your spirits. And, the National Park Service announced that they are waiving park fees on Presidents Day…What a great Valentines Day getaway weekend!

And take advantage of the Winter special at most of our vacation homes. For stays prior to March 31st, stay for 2 nights and get the 3rd night free. (applies to most homes).


Winter at Hood Canal

Rocky Brook Falls

Rocky Brook Falls in Winter

Have a resolution to make healthy choices this year? Imagine a weekend getaway to relax and recharge while hiking, gathering fresh clams and oysters, and taking in the water and mountain views. Hood Canal is just two hours from Seattle, three hours from Portland or Vancouver BC. Yet it feels like you are in a whole other world.

Hiking in the winter at Hood Canal offers hikers spectacular views on crisp, sunny days from the trails of Mt Zion, Mt Townsend, Mt Walker, and Mt Ellinor. But even cloudy, misty days offer the benefit of less people and choosing hikes with waterfalls and moss covered trees: Dosewallips River hike, Steam Donkey trail, Murhut Falls, Lena Lake, and Staircase. Use the hiking guide at and choose the east Olympics region.

And while you are at it, enjoy our Winter Rate Special:
Stay two nights get third night free


Holiday Vacation at Hood Canal

Madrona Waterfront SplendorWhy do so many people increasingly choose a vacation rental for holiday get togethers?
It is a way to create new memories in a completely different place. A way to start new traditions. Sharing a house offers both togetherness and privacy; you can enjoy meals together in the dining room, but you’ll also have enough space for everyone to come and go as they please.

Save Money
Price-wise, a rental home will often give you more space at a lower price than a hotel room. And being the off-peak season now, rates are lower too. You’ll also have access to a kitchen so you can save money on food by preparing your own meals. And Hood Canal is within easy driving distance to major cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Vancouver BC, so you’ll reduce travel costs and the stress associated with travel. When choosing a home, remember there is a trade-off: a waterfront location will normally be more expensive than a forest cabin. However, the more amenities the rental offers (Fireplace, WiFi, Satellite TV, Beaches, fire pit, etc.), the less money you’ll need to spend on outside activities.


Hood Canal Upcoming Events

September Hood CanalSeptember is a fantastic time to visit Hood Canal. With the kids back in school and the summer crowds dying down, many of the most popular beaches and hiking trails are a bit quieter after Labor Day. Fall weather can be just as nice as summer—maybe better! If you’re thinking about visiting Hood Canal, we’ve got a list of events and top spots that will inspire and tempt you.

Olympic Music Festival. September 6 & 7th is the Final Weekend of the summer. Pack a picnic, bring your friends, and spend a wonderful day roaming the Festival grounds before the concert. Then sit back on a blanket on the lawn and let the music envelop you. Details at:

Jefferson County Farm Tour. Sunday, September 14th, 14 local farms will open their gates and offer tours. You’ll learn about farm composting and livestock; cheese making and other demonstrations; walk the vegetable CSA fields and learn about seed varieties; listen to live music and so much more. Many farms will host food vendors serving locally inspired dishes, and there will be many farm activities to entertain the entire family.

Quilcene Fair. September 20th. Small town fairs are fun and authentic. Kids can enjoy the carnival, you can listen to music, view the winning entries to the Garden Produce Contests and the Photo Contest and watch the Parade. This years theme is Quilcene: Gateway to Olympic Mountain Hiking. The North Hood Canal area features some of the greatest hikes in the state.  Find out by going to

Oysterfest Shelton. October 4th & 5th is the 33rd annual Oysterfest located At the fairgrounds in Shelton. Oysters, wines, microbrews, live music and so much more including the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship.




Vacation Packing List

Packing List

In many ways, packing for a vacation home rental is like packing for a hotel stay; you’ll need your personal items like clothes and toiletries. In some ways, however, it differs. Because rentals allow you to cook your own meals, you will need to bring more food supplies than normal. Planning a menu will help make sure you don’t bring things you don’t need as well as having everything you do.
Knowing what is available ahead of time helps narrow down your packing list. Don’t assume that everything you need is provided. Bringing a few extras like towels and paper products can help make your trip worry-free while you’re at your home away from home. Check the amenities section of your vacation rental to see what is supplied
In some cases, you will have access to a washer and dryer. That means you can pack a little lighter on your clothing, since you’ll be able to do laundry. Once again, check the amenities section to see if a washer and dryer are available.
When you rent a vacation home, you will find that there are some things included with the rental and some things you need to bring yourself. Several items are commonly included with our vacation rentals include: Linens (but not beach towels), Dishes, Cookware, Utensils, Basic appliances, Basic cleaning supplies.
Also, just because a house sleeps 8 doesn’t mean there are enough towels for that many people, especially if you need both pool or beach and regular towels. Be prepared to pack extras of basic items, just in case.
Click Here for a printable Vacation Packing List to help you prepare for your trip!


Hood Canal Crab Season Starts July 3rd

happycrabCrabbing Season opens July 3rd and remains open through Sept 1st. Crabbing is only allowed Thursdays through Mondays.
Get your shellfish license at your local sporting goods store. You’ll need a crab catch license as well.

If you’re new to crabbing here are a few tips:

When: The time around high or low tide is the best time to crab. During slack water, crabs are generally walking around and foraging for food since they are not getting pushed around by tidal exchange. The best days for catching your limit of Dungeness crab are when there is a relatively small difference between high tide and low tide. Check your tide book for days when that difference is 5 feet or less.

What you need: Shellfish license, crab measuring tool, pots, sinking line, buoys properly marked, cooler, gloves, and bait. Bait: Turkey, chicken, fish carcass, herring, fish-based canned cat food, clams, etc. Fresh bait is best. To keep seals from eating your bait make sure the bait isn’t accessible to them, or use something they don’t like to eat, like turkey or chicken.

Harvesting: Female crabs must be returned to the water. A female crab’s abdomen or tail flap, which is folded closely against its underside, is much broader and rounder than the male’s. To legally keep a Dungeness crab, its shell (carapace) must be at least 6 and a quarter inches wide. The shell of a red rock crab must measure at least 5 inches across. Any crab you don’t keep should be gently returned to the water to protect their delicate internal body parts.

Storing and transporting: Crab should be kept alive and cooked as soon as possible. It’s essential to keep crab cool and damp until you are ready to cook them. Place the crabs into an ice chest and cover them with burlap or a towel soaked in salt water. Place ice over the burlap or towel to keep them cool. Don’t store crabs in water because they may not get enough oxygen.

Cooking: Use about one quarter cup of salt per gallon of fresh water and bring to a boil. Immerse the whole crab and again bring the water to boiling. Boil for about 18-20 minutes. Remove the crab from the pot and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process and cool the shell for handling. Remove the abdomen with your fingers (also called the apron, it is the flap of shell on the underside of the crab). Remove the outer shell (the back of the crab, also called the carapace) by sticking your thumb into the hole left from removing the abdomen and lifting up firmly. The shell will detach from the body with some guts attached. Remove and discard the leaf-like, spongy gills from either side of the body. Rinse out the greenish-brown guts. Break off and discard the mandibles, which are the mouthparts at the front of the crab.Turn the crab upside down, grip it on either side and p ace your thumbs underneath near the midline on the back (where the shell used to be). Push up with your thumbs and pull down with your hands; the crab will crack easily along its center line.

For more information go to:


Shrimp season gets a rocky start

shrimpingboatsSaturday’s opening day of shrimp season on hood canal got a “rocky” start. It was windy, rainy, and pretty miserable. There were white caps and those in smaller boats looked as if they would get swamped and sink at any minute. Friends came back with their 80 shrimp limit each and we feasted on shrimp for two days. My turn came Wednesday, May 7th. A little foggy to start (the picture), then a fine 70 degree sunny day! Not quite the limit of shrimp, but I’ll take the sunny day.shrimpcatch


Time to see Whitney Gardens!


Whitney Gardens, known for its hybrid Rhododendrons, is almost in full bloom. This week is supposed to be sunny and warm, so I wouldn’t wait until Mother’s Day to see it. Go soon. And take your camera!


Roosevelt Elk


Olympic National Park is home to the largest unmanaged herd of Roosevelt elk in the Pacific Northwest. Named for President Theodore Roosevelt, they are the largest variety of elk in North America. Both males and females have dark brown heads and pale brown bodies. Males are larger than females, and identifiable by a set of antlers. Roosevelt elk are much larger than the black-tail deer that inhabit the same areas.
Where to see them
Elk are relatively versatile, and often occupy a range of habitats, from high meadows and forests down to the lowlands, where there is ample food. An excellent place to see elk is near Brinnon. These non-migratory herds stay in the Brinnon area throughout the year, banding together and consisting of females and their calves. Male elk, or bulls, can be seen singly or in pairs.
Elk are primarily crepuscular (active mostly at dawn and dusk), so early morning and late evening are the best times to observe them. But when temperatures soar or when they are harassed, elk may become more active at night.
When disturbance levels are low and temperatures mild, elk may be observed feeding in short bouts throughout the day. They are often seen around Dosewallips Park, near the Brinnon School, near the Fire Department, and off Dosewallips Road.
Other Facts about Washington Elk:
  • In the wild, Roosevelt elk rarely live beyond 12 to 15 years, but in captivity have been known to live over 25 years
  • Olympic National Park holds the largest number of Roosevelt elk living anywhere (about 5,000). This subspecies is the state mammal of Washington.
  • Elk are social animals, living in herds for much of the year. During spring, summer, and winter, elk tend to split into cow–calf herds and bull herds. Cow–calf herds are usually led by older, experienced cows and may include adolescent bulls.
  • In early fall, adult bulls find and temporarily join cow herds. By mid-October; bulls usually leave the cow–calf groups then and the herds disperse into wintering areas.
  • Cows have an eight- to nine month pregnancy, which results in the birth of a single spotted calf in late May or early June.
    The timing of birth seems to optimize calf survival by being late enough that the risk of cold, inclement weather has passed, but early enough so that there is considerable time for calves to grow before the onset of next winter.
  • Just before giving birth, a cow elk will leave the herd and select a birthing place. Because predators would easily detect large groups of elk, cow elk appear to avoid grouping with other elk until their calves are large enough (usually about two weeks of age) to run effectively to escape predators.

Source: National Park Service



Top 5 things to do this spring at Hood Canal

Hood Canal Guest House

  1. Hike the Olympics in Spring Bloom.
  2. View majestic elk, soaring eagles, curious seals, and stroll the beaches at low tide.
  3. Taste fresh oysters, clams, shrimp; the shellfish Hood Canal is famous for.
  4. The Brinnon ShrimpFest is a weekend festival celebrating Hood Canal Spotted Shrimp and other local seafood.
  5. Whitney Gardens when the Rhododendrons are in full bloom!