Get To Know Alderbrook
Woodland to Waterfront
The American Matsutake Mushroom
A hiker recently saw me armed with a pick and shovel and asked if I was mining for gold. I was just doing some trail maintenance with no intention of looking for literal gold in these hills, but I am aware of another kind of “gold” found here, the American matsutake mushroom.
How About Them Berries?
We are lucky to have a plethora of fruiting plants here in the PNW. As one species starts to wane, another ripens in its place. Right now is prime picking season for salal berries, which are arguably the best we have (Disclaimer: I say this about EVERY berry). The dark blue berries are sweet, juicy, and best of all, plentiful.
Usually when we think of plants, we think of green leaves photosynthesizing in the sun. We call these autotrophs because they create their own energy. But there are some oddball plants, called heterotrophs, that get their energy from outside sources. Some of these parasitic plants attach straight to the root of a host plant, while others, known as mycotrophic, use fungi as intermediaries to derive energy from nearby host plants.
For a couple of months now, I have been hearing the call of a Barred Owl coming from our Big Tree Loop Trail. The call, which sounds like “Who cooks for you”, is all too familiar to me at this point, following me from the forests of Southern Indiana to the rugged mountains of the Appalachian Trail.
It’s always a good idea to look where we’re stepping while on a hike, but it’s especially important at this time of year to avoid squishing a Banana Slug, named for its resemblance to a banana. These martian-like mollusks are endemic to the PNW and are the second largest slug in the world, sometimes reaching a quarter pound and ten inches long.
You don’t have to go far to find beauty during this time of year at Alderbrook. The resort grounds are laden with plants in full bloom, and I could say the same about our trails. Yet if you are looking for an excuse to get out on a nice, long adventure, here is a good one: the Pacific Dogwoods on our Dogwood Ridge Trail.
It is always a delight to come across wildflowers, but there is something especially delightful about Trilliums. Maybe it's the simple form, having just one stalk with three petals and three leaves (they’re technically not leaves, but bracts.) Or maybe it’s the early flowering, a much needed break from the gloomy winter. Regardless of why we all love them so much, Trilliums are a staple of the spring experience that should not be missed.
Lichen, the Biomonitor
From the rocks by the dock to the trees around the playground; from the benches on the trails to the pavement of the parking lot, lichens can be found just about anywhere here at Alderbrook Resort and Spa. They are incredibly diverse, with over 1,500 different species just in the Pacific Northwest, adding to the beauty of our enchanted landscape. Learning, or at least attempting to learn the different species can be a pleasant activity for all ages.
As the last of the snow melts off the hillsides here at Alderbrook Resort and Spa, there is a plant marking the start of spring: the Indian Plum. Also known as Oemleria cerasiformis or Osoberry, the native shrub is starting to pop with bright green, oval leaves and small, white flowers.
Winter Blooming Camellias
With evergreen foliage and a tranquil waterfall, the third story courtyard is the perfect spot for a morning cup of joe or a small gathering. The ‘Setsugekka’ Winter Blooming Camellia makes this garden especially sweet at this time of year with its large, lightly fragranced white flowers.
Shortly after Christmas on a chilly, wet morning, I came across something on the trail that I thought might’ve been Santa Claus’ beard. After looking around for reindeer tracks to no avail, I played around with the silky white hairs before they melted away in my hand, which assured me that Santa himself had not wrecked his sleigh in the Alderbrook Woods. Rather, the wintery weather created an ice structure known as hair ice.
The Licorice Fern Trail is a 1.4 mile out and back hike that might just be my favorite stretch of trail in the Alderbrook Woods. With the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalks and Salmonberry Bridge making a graceful, dry hike out of a soggy thicket, you are free to explore the Dalby Creek ravine and all its wonders… one of which is the Licorice Fern itself.
Hey all you cool cats and kittens!
We installed a couple game cameras awhile back here at Alderbrook Resort and Spa and it didn’t take long to catch some photographs of a cougar. As exciting as it was to see such an awesome animal, I couldn’t help but feel a primeval chill go down my spine knowing there could be a mountain lion lurking over in the bushes.
Pool or Greenhouse?
One could say Alderbrook Resort and Spa is defined by water. From the Hood Canal to the water features of the gardens… Heck, water is our name. A special aquatic feature at the Resort is the saltwater pool, although from the outside you might mistake the pool house as a tropical greenhouse.
Thanksgiving is here and for many, it’s all about the food. But let’s not forget about all the things we are thankful for. More than ever in 2020, we’ve come to not take anything for granted. Whether it's our friends and family or our favorite PNW getaway, COVID-19 has rocked our world, often keeping us distant from all the things we hold so dearly.
The Hood Canal
On the westernmost end of the Puget Sound is the Hood Canal. It’s not actually a man made canal. In fact, it is the only fjord in the lower 48, which means it’s an exceptionally long and deep inlet between steep sides. 600 feet deep in some parts, to be exact, with the neighboring Olympic Mountain peaks jutting up to almost 8,000 feet. The gouging glaciers of the Late Pleistocene geological era 13,000 years ago are to credit for such a spectacular topography.
Trail Etiquette in the COVID-19 Era
If you’re anything like me, you’ve looked to the outdoors more than ever the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting outside has been a way for many people to keep their mental sanity during such a crazy time, and still be able to abide by social distancing guidelines.
Guest Post: National Mushroom Day
Happy National Mushroom Day! I’m Jennifer Burns Bright, a food and travel writer specializing in the Pacific Northwest, especially its wonderful wild foods. Foraging for mushrooms is one of my favorite activities, so when I have the good fortune to stay at Alderbrook, I relax by the canal, of course, but also by wandering around miles of groomed, forested trails right there on the resort property.
Packing Essentials for a Fall Adventure
Now that it’s officially fall and we can no longer depend on warm and dry weather, I want to share with you some tips I’ve learned, many times the hard way, to keep us all safe and happy in the outdoors. Here is my pack list, no matter how small the adventure.
The next feathered friend I want to tell you about has a storied past. Having been our national symbol since 1782, it’s quite ironic that we nearly extirpated the majestic bald eagle. Don’t worry though, the species that was once federally endangered can be found thriving at Alderbrook.
The other day when I was working on the trail, I heard a loud sound that made me think Paul Bunyan was in the forest chopping down a tree with his ax. I rounded the corner to find not Paul, but a pileated woodpecker hard at work on a hemlock tree. I see and hear evidence of these awesome creatures quite often, but seeing one up close is a special treat.
Putting the Alder in Alderbrook!
I couldn’t help but smile when I overheard a little girl say “I feel like I’m in the Jungle Book” as she and her family headed off into the woods at Alderbrook Resort and Spa. It’s probably the huge western red cedars, douglas firs, and western hemlocks that make her feel that way. But we cannot forget about the red alders, especially here at Alderbrook!
If you go to the store to buy mushrooms, it is very likely they were grown commercially indoors. Luckily for us in the Pacific Northwest, conditions are just right to grow mushrooms outdoors, which produces much higher quality mushrooms. Fun fact: Shiitake mushrooms grown outdoors have double the amount of health promoting polysaccharides, the most abundant carbohydrate in food.
Sullivan Family Blackberry Pie!
Trailing blackberry (Rubus ursinus), our only native blackberry, is a plant with a rich history and a sinfully sweet berry that you cannot miss out on. I recently found a family on our trails foraging for the berries to make blackberry pie, which they have been baking on the Hood Canal for six generations now. Luckily for us, they shared their secret recipe! Enjoy, thanks to the Sullivan family.
Learn with Morgan!
Now that you know a little about me and what Alderbrook Resort and Spa has to offer from my first and second blog posts, let me tell you what to expect out of this series. Most simply, I love learning about our natural world. Having just moved to the Olympic Peninsula not too long ago from a very different place, there is so much to learn.
Explore the Hood Canal in February
From the trails of Olympic National Park and Forest to the beautiful waters next to Alderbrook Resort, serene adventures and sweet treats are coming to the Hood Canal. As the dreary days of winter start to wane, we find ourselves wanting to get out and explore. After being stuck inside during the rainiest months of the year, we emerge from our dens hoping to dust ourselves off and get back into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. We long to connect with others, eating good foods and spending time with loved ones, away from the dwellings we have been in for the past few weeks and months. Along Hood Canal, you’ll be able to find both indoor and outdoor activities that will make the gray skies seem sunny.
Meet Our Team: Liv Bourne
With 10 years of experience working in the event industry for Fairmont Hotels and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Liv found her home at Alderbrook Resort & Spa. She grew up in the Olympia area and graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Hospitality Business Management. Liv fell in love with Alderbrook when she and her husband married at the property in 2015 and joined our team shortly after. She is currently pursuing an MBA with a focus in Hospitality Management at Washington State University and enjoys cooking, wine and traveling with her husband and family.
Drawing inspiration from the land, sea, and air of the Pacific Northwest region in which it’s situated, Alderbrook Resort & Spa announced today it completed the first phase in a full property enhancement: the refresh of its 77 guest rooms.
Alderbrook has enhanced its guest room experience with a sleeker, lighter and brighter design drawing from the colors in and around the picturesque waters of the Hood Canal. The guest rooms within the main building are now home to updated carpeting, lighting, paint colors, linens, upholstery, entertainment centers, wardrobes, amenity decor and larger, high-resolution TVs.
Meet Our Executive Chef
Alderbrook Resort & Spa, located on the picturesque Hood Canal two hours west of Seattle, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Jones as Executive Chef. Chef Jones was most recently Executive Chef at The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Mont. and brings skills in fine dining, banquets, off-site catering, and large special events. He also has extensive experience in fostering community relationships and utilizing local fare, which is a key pillar of Alderbrook’s culinary program.
Canal Confections Lollipop
A Hood Canal native, Dallas Miller renders confections in canal kitchens such as the Union City Market and Alderbrook Resort & Spa. Dallas contributes to a creative collective of women focused on showcasing Hood Canal’s bounty and beauty. Purchase handmade confections at Union City Market.
Raikes Beef Co Debut on Menu
The Raikes family places a deep care for the quality of products and services. From the Nebraska family farm started in 1901, to ownership of northwestern iconic destination Alderbrook Resort & Spa, the Raikes Family Farm welcomes you to their family table. Please follow us as we embark on a culinary journey to tell stories from the Raikes family farm table.
Meet our Team: Kimberly Wyckoff
With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Kimberly was drawn to Alderbrook Resort & Spa because of its beauty and healthy work-life balance. After 10 years of being a part of the Alderbrook family, she still strives to create that same special feeling for each client and guest. It is not only a place of work but also where she and her family vacation to make their own Northwest memories. Kimberly resides in Woodinville, WA with her husband and two children.
Guest Blog Post on A Family Reunion by Esther Liu
It all started with the very first phone call of excellent customer service that this trip happened. 2 nights, 26 adults, 19 kids, 11 rooms, 1 cottage, 9 pac n play and 1 catered dinner buffet in a private room. Thanks to the entire team at Alderbrook for making this happen, it is now the highlight of our summer 2018 that will be remembered forever. Alderbrook no doubt has the best team to assist you in any event planning with them. Throughout the whole planning process they were extremely responsive and made not even one single mistake despite all the various requests made to accommodate families of different needs. Dinner buffet was exceptional and was replenished constantly. I’ve had various people coming to me telling how surprised they are with regard to the quality of the food. The final invoice and charges all came through as expected, no hidden charge or unexpected surprise. The families are already talking about coming back again next year.
3 Reasons To Hit The Ball At The Alderbrook Golf Course...and stay at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa
In northwest Washington, along the banks of the Hood Canal, sits the sprawling Alderbrook Golf and Yacht Club as well as the stunning Alderbrook Spa and Resort. Sitting in the shadows of the majestic Olympia Mountains, both destinations have become known for their hospitality as well as the wide variety of activities available to visitors.
Guest Post: Birth Mother Found, Embraces Second Chance To Be A Mother, Family Gathers For Ceremony
Since 1913, Alderbrook Resort & Spa has had the honor of being a special place for memories and traditions of all kinds. Enjoy this guest post by Alisa Tongg about her friend’s story about reconnecting with her son in a ceremony on our property.