While many Pacific Northwest islands are defined by their
different regions, the Camano community is working together to
promote its picturesque 40 square miles as a unified destination, a
one-hour drive north of Seattle and linked to the mainland by a
Case in point is Camano Island Lodging (CIL), an alliance
between five island accommodations with distinctive selling points
and a common goal.
“Together, we can consolidate marketing expenses, gift
certificate programs, interaction with tourism groups, outreach to
the community and information-sharing,” said CIL member Michael
Handley, who runs Camano Blossom B&B with his wife Melissa.
“This also benefits travelers, who can better select exactly where
they wish to stay based on amenities, views, rooms and special
While enjoying the partnership of the group, Handley sets Camano
Blossom B&B apart by touting the culinary talents of Melissa, a
gourmet Chinese chef.
“We have a large following of people seeking Melissa’s cooking
classes, and we also offer Mandarin and Taiwanese language
classes,” he said.
Clients staying at his B&B also enjoy an upscale decor and
views of Mt. Baker and Skagit Bay.
Another CIL participant is Camano Lakeside Cottage, a
two-bedroom vacation rental.
“All of the five members charge a 2 percent state motel-hotel
tax, a portion of which goes to advertising while the rest goes
back to the county,” said Camano Lakeside Cottage owner Karen
Legee. “Each of us has different amenities to offer, so no one
feels threatened by the others.”
With her husband Michael, Legee has fashioned a cozy dwelling
notable for its lake views, whimsical spiral staircase,
well-furbished full kitchen and functioning pump organ.
“We wanted to create a getaway on the island, something
different from a room in a B&B,” said Legee. “It’s great for
people who want to unplug from the corporate world; who want to get
out of the maze and just relax.”
For Camano Island accommodations of another sort, clients can
book a stay at CIL member The Inn at Barnum Point. Perched on a
bluff overlooking a saltwater bay, the B&B provides rooms with
queen beds, fireplaces and private baths. It’s run by Carolin
Barnum Dilorenzo, whose grandfather came to the island in 1904.
Dilorenzo enjoys sharing Camano Island stories with clients who
come to stay.
“Not only is this a beautiful spot, but I have many pleasant
memories of past events here,” she said. “I built and opened the
inn in 1992, when I returned to fulfill a dream of living on the
island after my children were raised.”
Dilorenzo sees CIL as a great resource.
“We have been able to alert each other when things work well and
when things don’t work,” she said.
A completely different lodging experience awaits at CIL member
Spirit Ridge Inn, covering 15 acres in a forest at the highest
point on Camano Island.
“We built the inn for several reasons,” said owner Kurt Asplund,
“including housing a library for my books and allowing my wife
Leslie, a psychotherapist, to hold workshops for her clients.”
Billed as a retreat center as well as a B&B, the
solar-powered building provides panoramic views of the Cascade
Mountains and the waters of Puget Sound.
Asplund said CIL has made a positive impact on his inn’s
We enjoy friendships with the owners of the other [members of
the group],” he said. “When our rooms are booked, we refer
inquirers to the others and vice-versa.”
The fifth CIL member, Camano Island Waterfront Inn, hugs the
island’s western shores, presenting a prime site for views of
eagles, seals, otters and whales. While enjoying the benefits of
joint marketing, owners Kari and Jon Soth emphasize the unique
romance of their six-room B&B, where each unit has its own
phone, television, VCR, private deck and private bath. They even
offer tours by appointment only, so as not to disturb guests.
It’s one of the many examples of how Camano Island residents
cherish their individuality while coming together to promote
The following is contact information for the five members of
Camano Island Lodging, all of whom pay travel agent
Camano Blossom B&B
Camano Island Waterfront Inn
Camano Lakeside Cottage
Inn at Barnum Point
Spirit Ridge Inn