Sandy Beach is a wonderful place to collect shells or watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains. This is the beach that Jenny and I walked and gathered shells our first year of marriage (June 1992-May 1993) when we lived Rich and Virginia Wayland’s daylight basement apartment while I did an internship at Camano Chapel. Jenny collected the shells, and we displayed them in a glass vase in our home in Indianapolis, IN where we lived for 13 years (2002-2015). She gave the shells away as little gifts to our congregation there when we moved back to Washington.
The historic Camano Island Inn, Restaurant and Spa that sits on the bluff overlooking the beach, offers travelers and Islanders lovely rooms, a walking path to that beach and a dining experience featuring al fresco farm to table, organic and local ingredients.
Mom and I were given a tour of the Inn last week and I snapped a few pictures.
I imagine the sunsets are spectacular from its rooftop balcony.
The Kikialos tribe once lived near the Inn. After 1855, pioneers began to settle the area. The Van Cleve shingle mill was started in 1904, the Camano Hotel (which is now the Camano Island Inn), or at least part of it, was towed in by a scow and towed up the hill and in place by 1907, and the small town “Camano City” began to take shape. According to a small one-sheet newspaper called the Camano Enterprise “there was a wharf, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, school, general store, confectionery store, and a boatyard” at Camano’s first and only “city”. (Karen Prasse, Camano Island, Arcadia Publishing, 2006, p. 77) Propeller steamer ferried hauled traffic back and forth between Whidbey and Camano City’s wharf.
When in the 1940’s tourism began to develop on Camano Island, the Camano Beach Resort lured fishermen to try their luck. The Shirley Ludwick, whose story I share in an previous blog, lived in Camano City, fished with her father at its resort, attended its school – Camano City School, formed in 1903, was the first school on Camano Island – and walked its beach with the “boys of summer.”
The Camano City Hotel operated until the late 1950’s, when it became a private residence, and later, a nursing home. In 1995, previous owners, Jon and Kari Soth, remodeled the facility and the Camano Island Inn Bed and Breakfast opened for business on July 3rd, 1998. The Camano Island Inn was sold and purchased in 2009 and is under new management.
I remember one hot summer day long ago when my brother, my cousins Derek and Ethan, and I had hiked around the south end of Camano and made it all the way to Camano City. Bedraggled and hot, we quenched our thirst with the waters of Chapman Creek that runs year round to Sandy Beach.
It was fun to be with mom on that beach that holds so many happy memories for me.
I’m happy too that today guests at the Camano Inn, Restaurant and Spa enjoy access to the beach and can watch the sunset over the Olympics while dining on the farm fresh food created by chef Kristopher Gerlach or watch the sunset from its balcony just like its guests did so many years ago.