Tasting Hood Canal

Alderbrook Resort opened their doors on Hood Canal in 1913 – accessible only by boat for those looking for the ultimate Northwest getaway. Things have changed over 105 year making the trek to this Northwest gem less arduous, and more delicious!

Warm tootsies fireside!
A view even a pug can savor …

Opening scene: Feet kicked up against hood canal’s seawall as I settle into a waterside Adirondack chair. Crackling fire with a gathering of family and friends. Herons wade and dip – finding their treasures in the ebbing tide. Loons calling out in the distance. Cormorants with wings extended atop every available post. The subtle smell of a century’s old cedar forest is my backdrop and Lady Alderbrook’s gentle purr  beckons me to climb aboard for a quick trip to beachside bliss.

Chef Ben in his element – living his #LiveLifeLoveFood mantra.
Time for a canal cookout feast!

Enter Alderbrook’s Canal Cookout: A delectable taste of Hood Canal’s natural larder. This monthly pop-up feast takes place just down the highway from the resort at Union City Market adjacent to the historic marina – a short drive, shuttle or chartered cruise from the resort. The market itself boasts a trove of locally made, foraged and created items – from art to ‘canal ware’ to Washington-made items for your pantry. Just outside, where gentle waves tickle the shoreline, Alderbrook’s chef Ben Jones looks to be a kid in a candy store. He’s buzzing about a makeshift beachside kitchen creating the elements of a showcase of Hood Canal riches. Each month’s cookout features the freshest of ingredients – curated through local farmers, fishermen, ranches and artisans. Jones’ mantra, ‘Life Life, Love Food’ is evident in every nibble of this waterside feast. From sautéed greens to fresh-from-the-sea clams to rustic lavash with squash hummus (all created on a wood-fired oven) the flavors from the canal blend with Ben’s love for food to create an unforgettable experience.

Glamping at its best with breakfast amidst a sea of moss and cedars.
Crispy bacon, flavorful sausage … ready for our plates!
Cowboy coffee in a rainforest. This is the Northwest at its best!

But wait – there’s more! Picture yourself nestled beneath a forest of old-growth trees, amidst a sea of brilliant-green moss, earthy lichens and a sea of tiny mushrooms. Imagine woodland sprites dancing by firelight then ducking behind salal and maidenhair ferns the moment you turn to glimpse them. Then imagine a tall, bearded man (again, chef Ben) in his element – leading a culinary team in creating an unforgettable breakfast in the mist of the forest on a drippy Sunday morning. Cowboy coffee and pear mimosas greet us after a short hike through an old-growth forest. A crackling fire is ablaze with the elements of our breakfast-in-the-woods: A Dutch oven full of fluffy biscuits awaits their blanket of rich, fragrant gravy. Heaps of crispy bacon sizzle and snap nearby. Perfectly-poached eggs (how do they do that in the forest anyway?) are prepared. We’re seated – snug in our plaid blankets – welcomed by twinkling overhead lights in a gazebo in the woods. This is Alderbrook’s ‘Gathering Grove’ – a picturesque perch created for groups to come … gather … and enjoy the riches of the Northwest. Looking for one of the most unique ways to bring a group together to bond? I can think of no place better suited – rain or shine – than this breakfast nook in the forest.

Cozy up with a good book for an afternoon … or a weekend.
Views for miles. This home-away-from-home makes me want to come back often!

Now, let’s talk about Alderbrook’s accommodations! Every creature comfort falls within Alderbrook’s resort – whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, or a weekend with family. Looking to treat yo-self? Their spa offers a broad range of treats and treatments for mind, body and spirit – from massage to aromatherapy to facials. Rooms are spacious, oh-so comfy, and (honestly) I can’t imagine why anyone would venture any further than their picturesque window seats. Bring a book, open the window a crack to let the canal’s salty air in, and relax. And of course, enjoy the views!

Along with Alderbrook’s lodge accommodations are a handful of family-friendly cabins. My next trip? I’ll bring along friends and get cozy in a cabin!

Until then? Rest. Relax. Eat. Adventure. Repeat.

Leave a Reply