Welcome back to another episode of the Lakedale To-Do List! For those of you who are new here, and as a refresher for our returning fans, every year around this time we like to talk about what’s been keeping us busy here at Lakedale during our off-season. It’s fun to pull the curtain back a bit and give you a little look at some of our projects, improvements, and new things you might be able to expect to see during your next visit to Lakedale.  

Let’s get started!

Out of the Ashes…

As some of you may be aware, we had a fire here at the end of June of last year. We aren’t talking about the kind of fire that you might sit around and roast hot dogs or s’mores over…no, this was the other kind of fire. 

Fortunately, and thankfully, there were no injuries as the fire was contained to our wood building in our maintenance area, and we were able to repair the damage rather quickly! 

Unfortunately, the fire took our wood shed building and our entire stock of bundled firewood along with it. It was heartbreaking for us to lose the ability to supply firewood to our guests, especially for the folks who were camping and glamping, where having a campfire tends to be an important part of that experience.

Well, every cloud has a silver lining as they say, and after a couple of months of cleanup, setup, and building, we now have a bigger and better wood shed, and we’re well on our way to being fully restocked for the 2024 season! While this building isn’t exactly one of the things that our guests will have access to, and you might not even see it when you’re here, it gives us the ability to once again provide the service that goes a long way toward creating the perfect Lakedale experience! So, get those s’mores and campfire stories ready, because we’ve got you covered!

logs for firewood at Lakedale

How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck…?

Speaking of firewood…ever wonder where it comes from?

As in all communities, the San Juan County government will, from time to time, use its power to implement public works projects to enrich or protect infrastructure and the lives of the people who call this island their home. In late 2023, our county began a project of clearing trees to protect the power lines that supply electricity for most of the island. Those lines run along Roche Harbor Road, which runs along the length of Lakedale’s property. While we are not fans…at all…of cutting down trees, we understand that the county needed to do this to provide the services that we all expect, reliably.  

While the roadside and entrance to Lakedale will look different to our guests who have stayed with us in the past, no trees were removed from the inside of Lakedale’s property. What this means is that we’ve been very busy with the scores of logs delivered to us this winter. While it might take us a few years to fully utilize all of these logs, we’ll have a healthy supply of wood for campfires and other property projects for the foreseeable future!

Six foot guest firepit at Lakedale with deck overlooking lake

Four Elements: One Space!

Many of you may remember that for many years, Lakedale had a vintage Airstream as an accommodation available for booking. The Airstream was quite popular, and it was located in a very prominent position, in the heart of the action, near the General Store, Activity Tent, Boat Rental Dock, and some of our outdoor games. The Airstream’s time had run its course, and so we bid farewell to it last year before the start of the summer season. And because the space that the Airstream occupied was so beautiful, we couldn’t just leave it as it was.  

The Lakedale team thought long and hard about what we could do with that space, ultimately deciding to let it become a new lakeside common area for all our guests to enjoy. 

Adirondack chairs on deck overlooking Neva Lake at Lakedale

Tapping into the idea of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water, we went to work to create one space where guests could relax among all four of these elements. We moved and leveled the ground, and planted grass among the trees.  We built a new deck space over the edge of the lake and added picnic tables and Adirondack chairs for guests to relax in the sun. We also added a large, custom-built, gas-powered fire pit to the space that our guests can turn on and off when they want to use it. You see, relaxing at Lakedale is…elemental!

Dream Cottage glampng remodel at Lakedale

The Dream Lake Canvas Cottage: Now Even Dreamier!

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the term “Glamping” is a combination of the words “Glamorous” and “Camping.” We’ve always said that we didn’t invent the term, but Lakedale has been in this space since before most people had heard of the concept. 

Of course, a simple Google search of the word now produces hundreds of hits, and hundreds of locations across the country that offer glamping-style accommodations. The public awareness is amazing for us, because…well…this is what we do!

Our Canvas Cabins were a huge hit with our guests when we first built them, more than 15 years ago.  Listening to guest feedback led us to the realization that there was quite a bit more opportunity for creativity within the glamping space. So, after a couple of years, Lakedale built its first Canvas Cottage: a similar concept to our Canvas Cabins, adding power and lights, water and plumbing, and things like larger, comfier beds and a larger deck to the equation. We dubbed this accommodation the Dream Lake Canvas Cottage, due to its position overlooking Dream Lake on the eastern end of Lakedale’s property.  This unique accommodation was an instant hit, and a few years later, led to the construction of its six siblings, the Neva Lake Canvas Cottages. Can you guess which lake those Cottages overlook?

The Dream Lake Canvas Cottage has reached the end of its life, and so we’re tearing it down.  


Well, yeah, we really are tearing it down, but we have to do that to completely rebuild it from the ground up. We love the concept, and our guests love the concept, so we’re doing everything we can to keep the look and feel of the Cottage identical to the way it has always been. Guests who have long-standing reservations to stay in this accommodation this summer will be treated to a completely brand-new Cottage. New platform + new tent + new walls + new deck + new fixtures = new dreams!

Canvas cottage at Lakedale

And there we have it, a quick look behind the curtain to see what’s happening backstage before the season starts. It might seem counterintuitive, but as you can see, the “off-season” means “It’s time to go to work” in Lakedale language. With only a few short months to go before the official beginning of the summer season, our entire team here is excited to share these projects, and more, with all of our guests and followers. 

We’ll see you soon!

-Richard Pitchford, Operations Director

Richard makes sure everything at Lakedale runs smoothly. He also makes everything fun! From his charming blog series about our quiet season projects and annual events to his ability to get our small, feathered mascot, Commodore Steve, to land on his shoulder, Richard brings a lot of joy to our 82 acres! Richard has been in the hospitality industry since 2001, doing his thing on both coasts and a few places in between. We nabbed him from Lincoln City, Oregon back in 2012, which makes it more than a decade that Richard has been with us here at Lakedale.  

When Richard is not writing witty blogs or interacting with the wildlife around the property, you might find him painting miniatures for board games, or struggling to play the guitar poorly.

Learn more about Richard—and the rest of Team Lakedale—here.

Richard, operations manager at Lakedale