Welcome back to another chapter of our continuing series: “Life on the Lakes,” where we give you glimpses into our daily life here at Lakedale. First, we hope that you and your families are all safe and well and that you were able to enjoy the summer! We doubt it needs to be said, but 2020 has been a very challenging year for pretty much everyone, everywhere. We thought it would be fun to give our friends and fans an update on how we’re doing.
Ready. Set. NO!
It’s no secret that San Juan Island is a happening place to be in the summer months. While we stay busy year-round with our Lodge Rooms, Log Cabins, and Yurts, things really ramp up when we open the Campground, Canvas Cabins, and Cottages from May through September. Every year, after the summer is over and we’ve readied Lakedale for fall and winter, we usually take a deep breath and focus on planning and preparation for the following season. By the time we get to February and March, we’re almost like thoroughbreds behind the starting gates of a Triple Crown race: a little stir crazy, a little nervous, but ready to go and do what we do best.
At the end of March this year, we were ready to race, but the gates didn’t open! State and county regulations closed all hotels on the islands, so you can imagine us at the starting gate, chomping at the bit with nowhere to go and no guests to please! Fast forward to Memorial Day weekend, which is always sold out and is the big kickoff to every summer. It was a pretty surreal feeling to be one of only two people on an 82-acre property on a Saturday that is traditionally one of our busiest days of the year. Instead of delivering bundles of firewood to campsites at 6:00 pm, the two of us hit golf balls across the lake to The Point via some pretty nice golf swings. Ok, fine…the actual quality of those swings is debatable.
But not being open for guests didn’t make the grass stop growing or dust bunnies from breeding, so we kept plugging away. Unfortunately, we had no idea when we might be allowed to reopen, nor did we know under what circumstances that might be. We decided to work as if we would be allowed to reopen with little advanced notice.
The Endless Summer
After three months of being closed to the public and multiple postponements of reopening dates, we finally got the good news: Lakedale could reopen for business on June 21st! We reopened the resort at just under 50% capacity, heeding state, and local health department regulations, which meant pulling something out of circulation from every accommodation type we have on the property. Because of that, many of Lakedale’s Campsites, Canvas Cabins, and Cottages, Log Cabins, Lodge Rooms, and Yurts were unavailable to rent for the entire summer.
All of our annually scheduled events like the Triathlon/Marathon, Gourmet Glamping Series, and Jazz Festival were canceled. We were also unable to host any of the weddings or retreats we had on the calendar. This was a huge bummer for us and many of our guests, but we certainly understood, given the circumstances.
Lakedale enjoys a very loyal following of repeat guests, which is fantastic for us from a business standpoint. And being able to see familiar faces year in and year out is wonderful for us as individual human beings. It’s good for the soul to welcome back folks who love spending time with us in our home! Most of our frequent guests make their return reservations months in advance, so, unfortunately, we had to cancel over seven hundred reservations between April and August just so that Lakedale would be allowed to open at all. This was heartbreaking and easily the most challenging part of the entire process for us.
When we had all of our ducks in a row and knew we could not only reopen but reopen safely, we admit that we had no idea what to expect. How would our guests feel about being here, about traveling, and about adhering to health ordinances? We were prepared for a mix of reactions and feelings, but we didn’t expect what we ended up with: an overwhelmingly and palpably positive experience!
Lakedale is the place to go for people who want to disconnect and get away from their day-to-day life and routines. We appreciate this, of course, but we completely underestimated how much the vast majority of our guests wanted, and needed, the experience we offer here every day. It turns out that Lakedale’s open spaces and naturally distanced accommodations gave our guests the confidence they needed to truly relax and enjoy time with friends or family that they’d lacked for months. We know happy people when we see them…even if we could only see the top half of their faces!
We’re used to being sold out from June to the last week of August, with Labor Day weekend effectively ending the summer, then watching the activity trail off substantially through September. Not this year! Lakedale was still busy through the first three weeks of October. No crowds, no congestion, and no worries. The summer that almost didn’t start almost wouldn’t end. And wrapped up in a year that we might want to forget, we had a summer that we’ll always remember!
We’re off and Running!
Now, as we’re solidly into fall and moving towards winter, we finally have time to reflect and plan the next steps for Lakedale. Grappling with so many unknowns is daunting for sure, but we always do our best to stay positive and learn as we go. We learned a lot about a lot of things this year. We won’t bore you with all the details, but we will tell you that we’re excited about the future! Of course, our year-round accommodations are open, and we’re running some fantastic promotions, especially for multiple night stays. So, if we missed you this summer, visit us this off-season, or make a reservation for next year when you’re comfortable with traveling again. We’ll be here for you when you’re ready. In the meantime, take care of those around you, and wear your mask! See you soon!