The Gnome House

27 Mar

The Gnome House, Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, Washington.

In case I haven’t mentioned it often enough, I live in Minnesota. My parents and sisters, however, live in Washington State. It’s a total drag being so far away.

When we had very small children, I suffered some serious parental-location jealousy pangs when my friends would talk about going to Grandma’s for Sunday lunch, or spending the weekend at Mom and Dad’s or, worst of all, dropping the kids off at Grandma’s while they went out with their husbands for dinner or even for a WHOLE NIGHT!!!

Yes, I was jealous. Still am sometimes.

There were lots of games in a cupboard and even some movies and books.

But then along came the holidays. My friends would talk about having two Thanksgiving meals in one day. About 6 Christmas celebrations, about having to drive here, there, and everywhere just to make all the relatives happy.

And suddenly living hundreds of miles away from my family didn’t seem so bad any more.

At least, that’s the silver lining I chose to find in it all.

Outside the front window.

We do our best to get out to the Pacific Northwest as often as possible. Or we meet half-way at my Aunt and Uncle’s in Colorado for reunions (thanks, Aunt Sandy!). Strangely, no one seems to want to come to the prairies of Minnesota. Go figure.

This looks like a wood carving, doesn't it? But actually it is a pine cone we found out back - I have never seen one like this - don't even know what kind of tree it's from, but it's so cool!

You might think that when we went out to Washington over Christmas that I spent every possible minute with my family…and you’d be mostly right. HOWEVER…I also took advantage of “dropping off the kids” for a night or two…after all, when I can never do that, do you blame me?

So many little fun things inside the house.

So, as I posted about in January, my husband and I went to Vancouver, B.C. for two nights, but we also spent another night sans children when we were on Orcas Island. We stayed at a quaint, marvelous, cozy, fun, picturesque, fabulous little cabin called The Gnome House. With a name like that, how could I resist?

We took the kids with us the first night, because we knew they’d love it, too.

No matter how you feel about plaster Gnomes...this house is wonderful!

The Gnome House is located in Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, Washington. It is owned by long-time islanders and it has marvelous off-season rates! It has a woodstove but also electric heat – so it’s cozy, no matter what. It has a small kitchen with basic pans and such, a hot tub, two beds – both double, and comes with a beautiful drive around Orcas Island just to get you there.

It is so worth the stay and I’d totally go again – and recommend it as well! (There is a two-night minimum…though two nights is, of course, not enough!!)

I’ll let the pictures tell most of the story…

My sister and my kiddos - upstairs in the Gnome House.

The view down from the balcony.

The stairs and kitchen - where my husband made us a marvelous dinner of salmon and noodly stuff with mushrooms and bacon...yum!

A close-up of the log supporting the stairs - true island driftwood.

The kiddos - peeking out from their bedroom.

It's good to be small. Our youngest slept on the slelf...and LOVED IT...and the other two slept on the mattress which IS the whole room in their room just off the stairs...and I'm not sure why I didn't remove the wadded up sheets...sorry!

More wadded up sheets. Oops. But the wall is wonderful!!

Fun little touches everywhere - the top of the stairs; the second bedroom.

Everywhere you look...funness.

The window above the double bed.

The double bed upstairs.

Yes, there's a hot tub behind the house. But, of course, that's not what you noticed at first when you saw this picture, is it? We called this the Lord of the Rings gazebo. Not sure any other name is possible.

It's pretty cool. Upside down case you were wondering.

The side of the Lord of the Rings gazebo. Yes. We played LOTR inside of it.

The roof from the inside. Very, very neat-o.

So...ready to book a vacation?


20 Responses to “The Gnome House”

  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots March 27, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    What a fabulous place. I can see why anyone, adult or child, would love staying here. It’s the little touches, like the squirrel and the gazebo, that give such charm.

    I understand the jealousy thing about dropping kids off with grandparents. We never had that luxury either of dropping kids off with grandparents, even with both sets of grandparents living in Minnesota. However, they were 2 1/2 hours away in opposite directions. What I really did not like was grandparents day at school.

    Anyway, I’m glad you can always look on the positive side of situations.

    As always, I thoroughly enjoyed traveling via your story.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 27, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      I tell you, I have no gnomes in my garden, but this house will forever be in my heart! It’s lovely.

      And yes, there are many people who can relate to the grandparent thing…we used to trade babysitting with some friends who were in the same situation and that was nice!

      Yes, grandparent day is sad and so, actually, is Veterans Day and the breakfast when the kids are supposed to invite their veteran relatives…but my dad is too far away…

  2. Valerie Fletcher Adolph March 27, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Wonderful! You’re a one-woman publicity department for Orcas Island. I’m, tempted to book a holiday there right away.

  3. bitsandbreadcrumbs March 27, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    What a fun house! Absolutely reminiscent of Hobbits, and I can see that your kids were in heaven!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 27, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Yep, so much fun – I felt kind of bad sending the kids away for the second night we were there…kinda…not bad enough not to do it, though…

  4. cravesadventure March 27, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    What a Great Place – thanks for sharing and beautiful photos! Have a Great Day:)

  5. prairiewisdom March 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    I do love to travel and enjoy staying at places with character. Looks like you found some great, fun character.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Yes, it was very fun! I agree – plain old hotel rooms are SO BORING now!!!

  6. whatimeant2say March 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    What a neat place to stay! My daughter would love that! By the way, that pinecone is absolutely perfect!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      It was great for the kids, that’s for sure. And I know – that pinecone! I wish I knew what kind of tree it came from – so neat. I would have asked the owners but never got a chance to…I guess I’ll just have to return some day!

  7. hotlyspiced March 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I had a holiday in Washington State many years ago staying on a private lake called Wauna Lake. I remember it being a fairly short drive from Portland. It truly is a very beautiful part of the world. Amazing scenery. That house is gorgeous and like you say, so many adorable features. It would be a wonderful place for a holiday. So cute! I’d like to book it but I think the cost of the flights might make it prohibitive! xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Yes, traveling between you and anywhere over here is gonna prohibit a lot of stuff! That’s fun that you were in Washington, though, so you can kind of picture it! It is beautiful, indeed. My dad has been in all 50 states and he says that Oregon is the most beautiful (just south of Washington). But then, I always love the Australian and especially New Zealand scenery I’ve seen…so it’s a good thing that every part of the world has good stuff to see!

  8. Just A Smidgen March 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    I love that gazebo.. very cool! You’re just like us, if we ever went anywhere without the kids we’d say to each other.. “Oh, look at that, the kids would have loved to see this!” You were smart to just include them and THEN take a night or two to yourselves!! Enchanting location!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell March 29, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      It was nice that it worked out, yes! And yes, it’s impossible not to think of the kiddos, isn’t it? Although for sure when we were in France and Germany last year I thought often, “The kids would be bored stiff here!” Or at least they would have not made it nearly as long as we did in many museums!

      • Just A Smidgen March 29, 2012 at 10:11 am #

        Hahaha, that’s also true.. a few more years though.. and they will love museums:) Thankfully:)

  9. pinklightsabre February 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    More than weird: I think we were the guests who stayed in the house after you did, assuming you were there Xmas ’11. We were there about 12/27-12/30/11. That’s when I last went to Orvill’s. Wish my woodstove at home worked as well as that one, there. Preferred the double bed upstairs over the one in the other room, which left my wife and I bent over and limping that first day. Love the LOTR observation. I didn’t make that connection. Really enjoyed the small hillside behind the house, and the views. – Bill

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 8, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Yep, X-Mas ’11! I think about that place often – the woodstove and the coziness and the view. Great place. What a crazy cooincidence that we were both there like that. My nephew is getting married on Orcas next summer and I’m hoping we can maybe stay there again! Anyway, nice to connect with you – and I like your blog title!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: