Doe Bay Resort & Retreat
I recently had the pleasure of visiting a fabulous wedding venue on Orcas Island, Doe Bay Resort & Retreat. Upon arrival, I was warmly greeted by the owner, Maureen Brotherton. She and her husband, Joe, purchased the resort over 5 years ago and have been laboriously working to turn the resort into a premier wedding destination. It wasn’t long into my tour of the property that my mind began racing with ideas for ceremony and reception styles, decor and set up. Left to it’s natural elements, the backdrop of the San Juan Islands from the main lawn area sets the stage for a very simple and organic wedding celebration. Picture the soft glow of the sun setting, sailboats sauntering, seagulls gliding, and serenity and peace surrounding you, as you say your I Do’s. If pomp and circumstance are what you imagine for your wedding day, then let’s transform the site in to glam and gala! The possibilities are endless.
After my tour, I made my way to the soaking tubs and sauna. This was my first of three trips to the soaking tubs in my short 24-hour visit. Enough said! After my soak, I went to the cafe for dinner. The cafe is all vegetarian with fish, and they get most of their produce from their on-site garden, as well as local organic farmers on the island. The Executive Chef, Abigael Birrell is the former Executive Chef of one of New York City’s favorite vegetarian restaurants, Candle Cafe. Also in the kitchen is Ande Janousek, the former Executive Chef of the beloved Carmelita in Seattle. Maureen and Joe were dining in the cafe, and graciously asked me to join them. In all honesty, I’m a bit of a self-proclaimed food snob, so my expectations were not terribly high. I ordered the pistachio crusted Alaskan halibut served over curried Israeli cous cous in a roasted tomato-saffron broth drizzled with zattar infused yogurt sauce. The dish was SO fresh, innovative, perfectly prepared, and heavenly in every way. For dessert, a sinful dish of warm pumpkin bread pudding with bourbon caramel, dried cranberries, candied ginger, and a gluttonous dollop of whipped creme! Yum! I’m not one to hand out gratuitous compliments, and actually found myself holding back the praises for fear of coming off insincere! The cafe manager, Freddy, was our server for the evening, and his passion and knowledge of food and wine were evident throughout the meal. The entire experience left me feeling as though I had just dined with family.
The next morning, I had a (not so surprising) delightful breakfast at the cafe. Simple, rustic, Southern scrambled eggs with creamy grits, collard greens and vegetarian sausage. And you better believe I wasn’t going to leave the resort without squeezing in a full body massage. Carol Jo has been doing massage therapy on Orcas Island for over 18 years, and her expertise was flawless! I slithered off the massage table, waved goodbye to the soaking tubs, and reluctantly melted in to my car for the trip back to Seattle.
Doe Bay is the perfect location for a wedding retreat, offering an entire weekend of activities for you and your guests–sea kayaking, whale watching, horse back riding, massage, yoga, and hiking, to name a few. Doe Bay may not be for everybody, but if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and focus completely on family, friends and your wedding celebration, I can’t imagine a better location than Doe Bay. Oh, and did I mention the food?