Last week your GBSA staff got up early to catch the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston en route to a few days in Port Ludlow. After a foggy 20 minutes crossing the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula and the Hood Canal bridge, we arrived to the glowing smile of Susan Windle, Senior Sales Manager at the Inn at Port Ludlow
Susan had helped arrange a staff retreat for us, offering a perfect opportunity to get out of the city for a night and decompress after a long (but rewarding!) season of renewals, the next edition of the Guide, two galas, and more. She set us up in the Olympic Room and Andrew Suite, a separate area designed to hold small conferences and comfortable retreats like ours
. Led by the esteemed and fabulous Barbara Grant
, we spent the next day and a half strategizing and developing plans for the coming year. Our meeting space had everything we could want (including some tremendous views) and Steven took care of us every step of the way.
Of course, as much as we all love staff retreats, the best part came after the work was done. Some of us chose to quietly relax on our balconies overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, watching the river otters scamper down the banks into Ludlow Bay and bald eagles swoop down just feet away. Others enjoyed very refreshing happy hour cocktails on the sunny porch of the Fireside Restaurant
However it was the incredible dinner that was the crowning event of the evening - we were treated to a seven-course feast with wine pairings, presented to us by Anne Sackett
, Inn at Port Ludlow’s highly acclaimed Cellar Master who is currently studying for the level 2 sommelier. Curated by Anne, Fireside's wine list received the 2014 Washington State Grand Wine Award. From crostini, soup, salmon, blueberry granita, asparagus with egg mimosa, the tenderest beef, and a heavenly chocolate mousse, each course was a pure delight. And considering the sheer number and variety of allergies across the staff, it was nearly a miracle that the kitchen under Chef Dan Ratigan
was able to sate us all. The menu was a bounty of locally sourced riches and was a unique experience for many of us around the table.
The rooms, too, were beyond compare. With some of the most comfortable mattresses we have ever slept on, not to mention the fireplaces in every room. A coworker adds “My favorite thing was the fireplace in the rooms and the HUGE tub with bath salts! For a high-strung person who isn’t usually able to relax, I was able to do so in just one day there.” Coffee makers in each room, and small private balconies to read the paper (or check Facebook) in the morning as the early morning mist clears to reveal the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. And, really, we’re all Northwesterners here… a day of fog can soothe our souls, and there is no better place to experience it than along Ludlow Bay.
And, we’re almost ashamed to admit it, but if you just can’t quite unplug while away for the weekend, the wireless connection was excellent.
The Inn at Port Ludlow is a luxurious place to rest at the end of the day, but also offers convenient access to many other attractions of the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas. From the Resort at Port Ludlow’s famous golf course (named “Most Scenic in the World” by Esquire) and 300-slip marina (including kayak and skiff rentals), to the abundant hiking opportunities around the eastern slopes of the Olympic Mountains, to the exceptional wildlife viewing, there is no shortage of options for any taste. Several members of the GSBA staff were able to extend their stays into the holiday weekend and enjoyed visiting nearby Port Hadlock and Port Angeles, as well as the wineries on Bainbridge Island.
For both a fabulous work retreat and a relaxing personal getaway, it’s safe to say that the GSBA staff unanimously and enthusiastically recommends the Inn at Port Ludlow.