We know many have been waiting to hear the “State of Doe Bay.”  We can’t begin without acknowledging this tumultuous time in our country.  Doe Bay  will continue to strive to be a place that is tolerant and welcoming to all.  We abhor violence and injustice and racism and our love and support goes to all victims thereof.  We can do better and that is our goal and our hope.


The worldwide pandemic has affected all of us.  We need to be resilient and we need to be flexible and Doe Bay is showing that it is both.  We have stayed in business with as many staff as possible even without guests and therefore no revenue. Cash has gone one way only since February.  We were damaged by the shutdown, but we know that others were hurt even more.  We also know that Doe Bay is a healing place, a magical place and, as many of you describe it, “My Happy Place.”  So, we have evaluated everything we do and everything you know about Doe Bay and repositioned to reflect the current circumstance. Many things will be the same and some will, necessarily, be different but we have set a goal of making sure that different doesn’t mean compromised. If we are lucky enough to have you spend time with us this summer, I expect we will make more great memories together.  I hope you will plan your summer vacation at Doe Bay.  I look forward to welcoming you back home.

You are our biggest supporters and closest friends, so it is time to give you an update.  To allow you to jump to the subjects that interest you, I will address the following:

  1. Doe Bay Fest
  2. Re-opening the Resort
  3. Safety & Cleanliness
  4. The New Doe Bay Rules
  5. The Doe Bay Café
  6. The Doe Bay Garden
  7. The Doe Bay Spa & Wellness Program

Doe Bay Fest 13

Doe Bay Fest 13 is canceled (postponed). I can’t tell you how hard that is to say to you.  I know that the magical weekend in early August is often the best weekend of the year for those who attend.  The irony of the fact that we called it DBF 20/20 is not lost on us.  We jokingly said we wouldn’t call it 13 to avoid being unlucky.  We will be back, but we decided that this year, even if we could produce it safely and legally, we should take a pass.  We take seriously that we are a neighbor to many fellow Orcas Islanders and some of our neighbors would be uncomfortable with our annual gathering this year.  As you may have heard me say from the Doe Bay Fest stage, “They didn’t do anything to deserve us, so please respect our neighbors.”   We do.

If you have purchased tickets for Doe Bay Fest, you will receive an email this week which will explain two options.  Rest assured that one option is to simply request a refund and we will process one.  We know that money is tight for many and some have no choice but to seek a refund.  If you are able and inclined, we ask you to consider applying your credit to be used at Doe Bay this summer or whenever you can return. If you elect that option, the following applies:

  • You will be helping Doe Bay stay stable and continue to do what we do and we THANK YOU!
  • We will increase the credit by 10% so if you have spent $300.00 on tickets and camping, you will receive $330.00 of credit.
  • Your credit will never expire.
  • Your credit is transferable if you choose to give the gift of Doe Bay to someone else.

You and I are disappointed by this cancellation, but so are the artists who were part of the unbelievable lineup we had planned.

We love our artists! We are heartbroken at how directly and mercilessly the pandemic has affected them.  It is unclear what music venues will ever re-open and what they will be like.  There will be very few places for musicians to perform live music.  Most of our musician friends lived close to the edge in normal times and we do not want them to give up the dream.

  • We are dedicated to providing a place to safely perform live music in the summer of 2020.  The emphasis is on safety.
  • Doe Bay is well suited to do this because of the wide open spaces available with dozens of possible outdoor venues.
  • We hope to create the possibility of the unscripted moments of Doe Bay Fest occurring every day, all summer; impromptu musicians on the beach, by the campfire, in the Treehouse or out on Meditation Point.
  • The experiences will be intimate by design and necessity.  Each venue will have absolute limits on capacity to allow social distancing in excess of the standards in place. Safe enjoyment of music is the standard from which we will not vary.
  • We will pay our musicians to perform. They need it and deserve it. We will transport them to the island, house them and feed them.  The financial model for this does not work because we will not charge for performances and the limits on size are too severe.  Maureen and I will underwrite the Doe Bay Summer Music program from July through September.  The Doe Bay artists have given so much to all of us that it is our honor to give a little back.  I was a practicing musician when this new idea called “Disco” started.  We had bumper stickers that said, “Live Music is Best!”   It is still true.
  • If you are a musician and are interested in a 5 to 7 day performing residency in July August or September,  please send an inquiry to EVENTS@DOEBAY.com.  We will get back to you.  Email Subject: Summer Music Residency at Doe Bay.

Re-opening the Resort

Without sounding too much like Governor Inslee, Doe Bay plans a phased re-opening.  We will only take actions which experts, regulators and our own judgment tells us are reasonable and safe.

We expect to offer our fully independent (bath and kitchen) cabins and houses for rental beginning June 17th or as soon thereafter as the San Juan County Council can adopt the Governor’s phase III guidelines.

We plan to watch carefully and expand very slowly to allow camping as well as our domes and yurts in late July and August. People who rent a cabin, will be able to add a campsite as long as their campers will share their kitchen and bath facilities.

We do not expect to reach over 60% of our normal capacity this season. That means that that many of our long time guests will miss the opportunity to join us, given the limited availability. We apologize for that. We will take reservations on a first come first serve basis, online, starting Monday June 8th at Noon.

  • We will work with each reservation to determine what is best for you and workable for us.  Honoring current reservations is a priority, subject to our new minimal stay structure.
  • Further we will give existing reservation holders first priority to make new reservations this week.  Before open up for receiving new bookings on June 8th, we will help you move your reservation if possible.
  • If we cannot make a reasonable accommodation, we will process refunds or allow you to maintain a credit for use at Doe Bay at any time.
  • Summer Reservation holders will receive an email this week to begin the process.  Please respond promptly.

Safety & Cleanliness

We have adopted what we call, “Doe Bay Comes Clean”.  It is based on the highest standards being established for hospitality which we then applied to our unique property. The Doe Bay Comes Clean program includes the implementation of measures to improve safety—such as the installation of social distancing floor decals and front-desk partitions—as well as the enforcement of heightened and comprehensive cleanliness standards on an ongoing basis across five key areas.

Doe Bay Comes Clean elevates our existing cleaning practices and protocols to a new level. Protecting guests and employees is our highest priority and today that is most often achieved through a tremendous focus on cleaning practices. Travelers can rest easy knowing that Doe Bay Comes Clean is the new standard for DB Resort cleanliness. We are putting the safety and well-being of guests and employees first.”

  • New protocols will minimize guest contact with personnel through a streamlined check-in and check-out process similar to our after hours check-ins. Information kiosk on front porch to supplement the welcome package.
  • Social distancing measures will be implemented, wellness best practices signs will be prominently posted, Including, in the Doe Bay Store, a you touch it, you bought it reminder to guests that if they should not take something from a shelf unless they are committed to buy it.
  • Enhanced sanitization procedures will be in place at the front desk, in the lobby and across guest touch points throughout the property with disinfecting taking place regularly.  Guests will be able to clean after their use nd staff will regularly clean.
  • Sanitizing stations or wipes will be available throughout the property.
  • Unnecessary items will be removed from guestrooms, such as decorative pillows, bed scarves, paper notepads and pens.
  • Housekeeping offerings will be modified, including the elimination of a full cleaning service unless specifically requested and arranged by guests.
  • Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guestrooms. Guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens and all touch points, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals aimed at killing COVID-19.

By reservation, we will be offering Room Service and Take-Out food options purchased in advance for consumption in your cabin or at designated areas on the grounds. We have made a substantial investment in new picnic tables which will serve as safe eating places.

  • When allowed to open, public amenities such as the spa will be cleaned on closely monitored schedules with disinfecting chemicals. Each evening, these areas may also be sanitized with the use of available chemicals.
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes will be provided for guests and employees in all public areas.
  • Hotel employees will follow strict guidelines, including utilizing personal protective equipment, frequent and stringent hand-washing protocols, and housekeepers/laundry staff will wear both gloves and a mask.
  • Employee workstations will be cleaned and disinfected after every shift.
  • Employees will be empowered to stay home if unwell, communicate their potential exposure to COVID-19 with management, and will be fully educated on how to maintain a safe and clean home.

The New Doe Bay Rules

I won’t review all of the, now well-known and widely adopted protocols, but suffice to say that handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing will be the standard at Doe Bay for the foreseeable future.  And, of course, all of us will be expected to stay away if we are at all ill.

Traditionally we have strongly encouraged our guests to go to restaurants, shops and the grocery store in Eastsound or elsewhere on the island. We know that Doe Bay has a following and this was an opportunity to support other Orcas Island businesses in the hospitality and tourist trade, even though they were technically competitors. In the short term, that policy has to change. When you come to Doe Bay, we will expect you to stay at Doe Bay. You should bring what you need in your cabin and for your stay, purchase food from our Café or store and not head to Eastsound. You are encouraged to use the Moran State Park, subject to whatever regulations are in place and to enjoy walking, hiking and bike riding on our end of the island. You are discouraged from interaction with others on Orcas island.

We have always tried to make Doe Bay a welcoming place to all and especially Orcas Island folks. Unfortunately, the entire resort must be closed to the public, allowing only registered guests. We cannot have unidentified people on our property and comply with the governments goal of contact tracing.

A five day stay is the minimum. All reservations will be for 5 days with a 24 to 48-hour cleaning window between guests. This loss of 1-2 days a week has as big impact but it allows us to leave a cabin empty upon departure of a guest and with additional hours to clean and sanitize the unit for the next guest.

The Doe Bay Cafe

The Café has done a great job providing exceptional take-out food to our many quarantined neighbors in the last 2 months. When the resort reopens to guests, we will have 3 food service options.

I know it sounds seriously uptown for a place like Doe Bay, but we will deliver food to cabins on site by reservation.

The second option is take-out food that you can purchase in advance and pick up for consumption in your cabin or at designated areas on the grounds. We have made a substantial investment in new picnic tables which will serve as safe eating places.

Finally, we will have a very limited number of tables available. Initially, they will be widely spaced tables in our outdoor dining patio and additional adjacent spaces. We may offer a couple of widely spaced inside dining tables if there is demand and our staff and our guests feel comfortable.

All meals will be by reservation only.  Priority will be given to on-site guests. In fact, initially we will only serve on-site guests and we will be closed to outsiders.

We are buying your meals this summer.  Yes, you read that right.  Not all of your meals, but each registered adult guest will receive a Café voucher for $75 which should buy a dinner and two breakfasts.  Our hope is that you will enjoy more meals than that during your five day (or longer) stay, but this will encourage all to enjoy the great food the Doe Bay Cafe creates in a safe environment.

The Doe Bay Garden

One of the earliest decisions we had to make was how to plan and fund the garden this season.  The commitment needed to be made in March when we were facing great uncertainty.  I am proud to say that we elected to continue and even expand our best in class organic farm program.  You will enjoy the freshest produce on the planet directly from the Farm to the Table. Planting a seed was also symbolic to us that we see the future and it is bright.

The Doe Bay Spa & Wellness Program ​

The soaking tubs will reopen when it is deemed safe to do so and allowable by law. The Spa will re-open by reservation only.  You will not share a soaking tub outside of your quarantine bubble. Yoga and massage will start up as soon as standardized protocols can be identified and implemented.

Thank you for reading this far. Please refer back to our website as we will update it as decisions are made or information becomes available.  I think the preceding provides a highly likely scenario, but it will be fine-tuned. On a personal note, it became clear last month that the best financial and the easiest route would be to close Doe Bay for the year.  Interestingly, that has probably been true each year since Maureen and I bought it some 16 years ago.  We get a lot out of the Doe Bay experience and I know that so do many of you.  Please support us with a visit this summer or fall.  I promise it will not be a compromise and the magic of Doe Bay will likely prevail.  Reservations open June 8th at Noon at DoeBay.com . You are always welcome here.