Orcas Island

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This past week I took a little vacation up to Orcas Island, where my granddaughter Poppy is attending summer camp.  Orcas Island is the largest in the San Juan island chain, located off Washington state.  The area has so much history, and it was a real treat to visit Poppy while she is away at camp.  My daughters Ella and Jacqueline also attended the same camp as young girls, and it was my first time to go and visit!

Four Winds Westward Ho is the name of the camp;  and it has been in this place for 86 years!  The campers wear the same uniforms (bloomers and sailor tops);  and very few of the traditions of the camp have changed all these years later.

A very refreshing thing to find in this technological world. The girls part of the camp (Four Winds) has wooden cabins;  and the boys part (Westward Ho) they sleep in tents.

After flying into Seattle I took a small  plane out to the island…a real adventure!

In the morning the campers assemble to find out where to go for their classes.  There are costumed skits to describe the classes every morning!

Pictured above is a part of the garden where the campers take  classes in gardening and art.  The campers also partake in pony-carting, sailing horseback riding and swimming.

Above is a really cool old gate with a wagon wheel.  Poppy and her friend India are posing in front of it.

This is one of the coolest berry gardens I have seen.  Built with chicken wire and found pieces of wood, the girls can grow berries in the summer, and keep the deer out.

Another feature of the berry garden is a really inventive gate, where these stones (pictured above) are on a pully system and automatically close the gate behind you.

A fun little carving in a fence that Poppy and I spotted while having lunch in town.  I love finding fun little ideas that give personality to ordinary objects.

A really cool old sun dial, and a type of poppy I had never before seen…Beautiful!

And finally, Poppy sitting in the gardens at summer camp.

I had such an wonderful time and loved seeing the beautiful landscapes of Orcas Island.  An unspoiled Paradise!

17 thoughts on “Orcas Island

  1. tara dillard

    Skyland Camp for girls in Clyde, NC is exactly the same type of camp. Thought it was the last of its type.

    Their main building was the end of the railroad line from New York. For awhile NC was as far south as you could go.

    Are those poppy pods the same as in Wizard of Oz in your pic?

    Love, love, love the berry houses & their gates.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    1. penelopebi

      Your name was screaming in my head when I saw that “berry garden” with those gates with the stones…..and pulleys……good grief! “Use what you have”!!

      so gorgeous……and it took my breath away! Such a “Tara moment!!”

  2. Karen

    What a picturesque little spot. My friend lives on Bainbridge Island and I do love the area. I guess I would love it less in the winter.

    The camp seems great and I loved the poppies you found while in town.


    1. penelopebi

      Those poppies were in the garden at the camp! Are they opium poppies? I have never seen before!!

    2. penelopebi

      I guess so. The reason it is so green is that it rains……..for weeks at a time…….I was so lucky……beautiful sunny day. I could even see sheep from my bed and breakfast…..even a black sheep! (I loved that especially……I am one!!)

  3. B.


    This is fun and you can really find some wonderful new things that may have never evolved, yet still remain perfect forever in a garden. Poppy looks really happy in these great pictures you took of camp. A summer to remember.

    1. penelopebi

      I think she is the personification of “grinning ear to ear”!
      Her roommates all came running to me…..and said: “We have heard all about you! You are the “coolest grandmother”!! “You have ducks and chickens…..and you are fun!”

      Ok…yes….my favorite compliment of my entire life. That is it. I mean it. That is it. My granddaughter described me to her roommates……..that is it.

    2. penelopebi

      Poppy seems to personify “happiness is all over my face!” Lucky Granny!

  4. Marietta Kelt

    Poppy is still such a doll….
    I know you must have been in heaven being with her!

    1. penelopebi

      It was truly a “peak experience” How about “pony cart riding”? I want to take that class!! It was so fun to see her in her element!

  5. Kathy Avakian

    Splendid! Like a ride in a time machine back to when simple enjoyments like reveling in wildflowers and finding a tree in a thicket that yields amazingly flavorful, fruity delights was the stuff that dreams were made of! I imagine the island is named Orcas for a reason, did you see any pods of migrating whales as you flew over in the smaller plane Penny?


    1. penelopebi

      You are so right! I did see whales……and dolphins……..it was totally breathtaking…..I was unprepared for the amount of nature unspoiled I saw there. Very inspiring. It makes me want to redouble my efforts to preserve nature where I am!!!

      Kathy…..thanks…….you are so tuned in!

  6. velvet and linen

    It was such a treat to see Poppy’s smiling face again.

    I loved watching you two together when we went to Rose Story Farm. She is so lucky to have such a loving Grandmother.
    She talks about you to her friends!
    Yes, that is the best compliment I can imagine.

    Orcas Island is beautiful. What a wonderful place to spend the summer.


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  8. Tracey Jackson

    What an amazing place. Your blog is so pretty. I love the nature and your vision. Keep blogging!

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