Backyard Bucket List Destination

Over the years, we have heard many folks talk about their travels through the Hood Canal and specifically how great the Alderbrook Resort and Marina are to visit. So buddy boating with our good friends, who have a 53ft. Selene, we decided to check it out. We can now check that adventure off of our backyard bucket list!

While not the best start to Washington’s spring weather, we did have a few dry days with some sun breaks. This allowed us to get in a little bit of exploring while making our way to the Alderbrook Resort. Unlike driving, making way by boat through the Hood Canal is not just a 2 hour drive. At trawler speeds of 6-7 knots we took a full week to make our way there and back.

Our plans for the first night was to anchor in Port Ludlow; however, by the time we arrived, the winds were really kicking up with 25-30 knot gusts so we were fortunate that Port Ludlow Marina could accommodate our boats for the evening on short notice. We didn’t arrive until late afternoon. While we did make the attempt to hike to the waterfall near the marina, we had dinner reservations and didn’t quite have enough time. We were told the hike was about a mile but after returning we estimated it was more like 3 miles round trip. What we did encounter was a nice forest-like hike winding through some of the residential areas along highway 101. It had been many years since we last visited Port Ludlow so it was nice to re-aquaint ourselves and start our week-long vacation with a dinner out.

Our next planned stop was Pleasant Harbor Marina. The cruise from Port Ludlow to Pleasant Harbor was flat and calm. It took us about 4 hours at 6 knots to cruise the 26 or so nautical miles. Upon entering the channel it did get a bit narrow and we took note that the depths were deeper at starboard. We spent two days at Pleasant Harbor. Since we had never been there before, we really didn’t know much about the marina. Truthfully, we could have easily spent just one day at Pleasant Harbor and spent more time at Alderbrook resort. There really wasn’t much to see or do durning early spring. There were not any places to hike or trails nearby and the Pleasant Harbor State Park was just a small dock with one picnic table. Since the marina sits directly off of highway 101 walking with three dogs was a little dicey and we quickly determined not the safest or most pleasant way to stretch our legs. The pandemic didn’t help matters as the pool was closed and the restaurant only opened on weekends.

For a 3 dog family the marina wasn’t very dog welcoming. We completely uderstand need to keep control of your pets and pick up after them. It just seemed the marina overly expresses this need with signs everywhere including prohibitions regarding not allowing your dog to relieve on trees! I ‘m sure some of the signs were meant to be cute as they were directed to the dog, but as dog owners we just found them to be a bit much. If you plan to visit and have a dog or dogs, be forewarned.

We did have a one nice weather day while at Pleasant Harbor which allowed us the opportunity to drop our dinghy and explore the small harbor. We did see a beautiful harbor seal sunning itself on the dock and a pair of happy otters. We are always amazed and appreciative of the wildlife here in the Pacific NW.

A short video of Pleasant Harbor

After leaving Pleasant Harbor we cruised approximately 25 nautical miles to the Alderbrook resort in Union WA. The cruise start out with 30 knots of wind on the bow with close spaced 4 to 6 foot waves on our bow making for a rocking hores ride with the girls hated. After about 45 minutes the winds died down, and we had a smooth ride. Upon arrival we had our pick of the dock as not many boaters seemed to be visiting. The lodge itelf was bustling with land yachters!

Alderbrook Resort did not disappoint. They have hiking trails just a short walk from the lodge, a golf course , pool, spa services and a restaurant. The resort is also very dog friendly which is important when travelling with three dogs. There are even 2 resident cats that live in the lodge. Needless to say, we avoided the lodge with our dogs so as not to make a scene. All three of our dogs have high prey insticts and the cats would not appreciate their eagerness to chase!

After settling in and registering, we took advantage of the trails nearby. It was a good opportunity for both humans and dogs to stretch our legs and explore. The trails are well maintained with an abundance of signage to educate one about the various trees and fauna. We ran across some deer and even a green dinosaur, yes I said dinosaur! We also made our way to the local market and Hood Canal Marina that was just a short dinghy ride away. The market not only had your everyday grocery basics, but also locally handmade items and antiques. As first mate, I scored a beautiful pair of beach glass/pearl earrings! We only spent two days at the resort but would have loved to stay longer.

Heading back our last stop was in Port Gamble, WA. We anchored for one night and dinghy’d into town. What an interesting place! Rich in history, shops and restaurants. The Port Gamble General Store was a must see. Chalked full of trinkets, gadgets, clothing, candy, ice cream one could spend hours purusing. The cemetary and quilt shop were big hits as well. We left with treasures that included candles, fabric and a Big Foot puzzle! The next morning we made our way South heading to our home port of Tacoma, WA. We really enjoyed our week of cruising through the Hood Canal and exploring places we had never been before.

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