The books in my Downward Dog Mystery series are all set in Pacific Northwest locations that I know and love. My second, A KILLER RETREAT, takes place on Orcas Island, a small wooded treasure off the Washington coast. The island is only accessible by ferry, so once you get there, you are truly an ocean away from it all.
Of course, no writing project would feel complete without research trips, and I took more than a few. If you’re ever near the Washington coast, be sure to visit my five favorite spots on Orcas. You’ll be glad you did.
Tracy’s Top Five Orcas Island Destinations
1. Doe Bay Resort and Retreat. This relaxing retreat center sits on 38 acres and was one of several meditation centers that inspired my vision for the Elysian Springs Resort, which is at the heart of A KILLER RETREAT. Visitors can choose from houses, cabins, tent sites and yurts. My German shepherd, Tasha, says that if you take your dog—and who wouldn’t?—you should stay in Eden, the cabin right outside the garden. Tasha likes wandering along Doe Bay’s trail system, resting on the beach, and staring at the deer that graze in the fields surrounding the cabin.
2. Eastsound. No vacation would be complete without wandering the streets of a quaint little town in which I can drink a margarita, browse through a local book store, and buy some can’t-live-without trinket. Eastsound fits all of these needs perfectly! The pie shop I reference in A KILLER RETREAT has unfortunately closed, but be sure to check out Kathryn Taylor designer chocolates!
3. Olga. This tiny little town sits in halfway between Doe Bay and Eastsound. Its primary attractions are the Orcas Island Artworks Cooperative Gallery and Café Olga. The food is great, and I never manage to get out of the gallery without buying a memento or two. Both businesses are temporarily located in Eastsound due to a fire, but they will be back in their original location in spring of 2015.
4. Mountain Lake Trail. Wandering along this trail is Tasha-dog’s favorite part of every Orcas Island vacation. The three-and-a-half-mile loop hugs the lake’s coastline and is home to a variety of Northwest vegetation and wildlife. As day hikes go, it’s relatively easy. Even my husband can manage to make it all the way around, so grandma and your toddler will probably be fine.
5. Pawkis. This may not be an official tourist destination, but no trip with Fido is complete without a visit to the local pet food store. This fun Eastsound business offers healthy pet food, treats, toys, and beach essentials including doggie lifejackets. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, they offer single ingredient treats like Tasha-dog’s favorite, dehydrated lamb lung. (Gross!)
The above are only a small sampling of what Orcas island has to offer. Much of it can’t be easily described; the rest is a forested playground of beaches, open green fields, and cliff-side ocean views. Believe me—and my yoga teacher/sleuth Kate—once you arrive, you might never want to leave.
Leave a comment below to win either an autographed copy of MURDER STRIKES A POSE, the first in the series or a $15 Amazon gift card. Winner’s choice!
About A KILLER RETREAT
When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes to wedding guests at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity, even though it means being forced to endure the wedding ceremony of the center’s two caretakers.
Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate’s problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort’s hot tub, shortly after a loud, public (and somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate. The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she’s forced to team up with boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they’ll have to solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime–behind bars.
About Tracy Weber
My writing is an expression of the things I love best: yoga, dogs, and murder mysteries.
I’m a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.
My husband and I live with our challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha and our bonito flake-loving cat Maggie. When I’m not writing, I spend my time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at my favorite local ale house.