Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Review 3746: Orcas Island Rentals, Maggie's Manor
4bed/2bath house on Orcas Island, Washington
August 2008, 1 week
This house was on a sound on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. It was advertised as being on 140+ acres but they did not mention there were neighboring houses within a block or two so we were a bit surprised to actually be in a "neighborhood." It was a quiet area, except of course, for the boating activities in the nearby sound, but that was pleasant.
It had a lovely view of the sound, the surrounding hills and forests. But on any of the little roads we took away from the house there were other homes, so it was not as private as we expected. The owners lived about 150 yards or so away but were very unobtrusive.
There was a lovely marina about a mile's walk from the house where we could get good coffee and basic grocery items if need be. The closest village with restaurants, market, etc. was about 15 minutes away by car. That was fine as we did much of our own cooking. The few restaurants we experienced were not that good. And the area is known for its organic produce so we enjoyed using the large kitchen, which was incredibly well equipped.
The building itself was probably 40 or 50 years old and had been added onto here and there. Some parts were in good shape and some not so good. It was not well built to begin with but was well equipped and comfortably furnished. There was a fireplace in the living room and a fire pit outside. Plenty of fire wood. There was a separate dining room plus a kitchen dining area, both with big tables. There was also a large table on the deck overlooking the sound. There were actually great views from almost every room.
No pool, but we didn't need one. We went swimming in one of the lakes in the national forest, where we also fished. Outside seating on the front deck and also in the back yard by the fire pit. A jazuzzi, too, which had a view of the sound. No shared outside space. Private enough and we really didn't run into our neighbors.
There were nice little flower gardens and blackberry bushes with big fat berries, both on the grounds and everywhere we went on the island. So we had pie and cobbler, etc. galore!
There were some nice antiques and all the furniture was in good shape, beds comfy, fairly clean. I didn't like the indoor/outdoor carpeting in the kitchen as it's not easy to keep clean. Plenty of furniture and seating for all of us.
The linens were not very good or soft. They were very inexpensive. I enjoy nice linens. The towels were very scratchy but that could have been from the detergent.
Bathrooms were fine, clean, adequate. The bedrooms were also quite comfortable, except, as mentioned above, for the linens. There were little screens to keep the windows half open and keep the flies out. Nice views from three of the bedrooms. Cozy, warm bathrobes for everyone in the house.
Kitchen was great as it was very large, an add on. It had everything necessary to make anything one wished. I didn't like the electric stove, but that's just my preference. More than enough decent cooking utensils. A nice big refrigerator. Matched dishes, cups, flatware, etc.. As I said earlier, the only thing about the kitchen I didn't like was the carpet. And the island in the kitchen had two extra sinks in it so there was plenty of cooking space for all of us.
Problems or Bonuses
The three outside doors did not lock even though there was a key given to us. We tried everything but they never worked. The front door also had a screen door that had no screen in it. I don't care much for TV on vacation but we wanted to see a couple of DVDs and the player was on the fritz.
The biggest surprise was that we thought we'd really be more remotely situated than the we were.
We loved being able to pick berries and bake. And the farmer's market was a treat. The sunsets and sunrises are spectacular there. The national forest a treasure. It's a serene and peaceful place of beauty, that's for sure.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners were very pleasant and when we did make one request they were there immediately to fulfill it. They left us alone and that's what I most appreciate when I rent a house for a week.
In conclusion I think that the website was a bit misleading as far as how the property was actually situated. And I think it was overpriced, though it was high season for that area. We paid, with taxes, $2450 for the week. I wouldn't have minded if the linens were of better quality, the doors locked and the neighbors weren't within shouting distance.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
My qualifications are mentioned above. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to others as I imagine there are many places there that are as good or better. As you might hear, I am a bit ambivalent. It was fine, not fantastic. It met our needs nicely but was not "special."
Things to do in this area
I'm sorry to say that we were not impressed by the few restaurants we experienced.
There is boating, fishing, sailing, horseback riding, bicycle riding, farmer's markets, hiking and community events. There is a chamber music festival in the little village of East Sound in August.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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