Due to the squally and rainy conditions, I decided to spend most of the day at a hostel which I found in one of the brochures I picked up on the ferry. After a two-hour bike ride, I arrived at the Golden Tree Resort and Hostel in Eastsound. The small village is the main commercial hub on the island. The ride to Eastsound on Orcas Rd. was punishingly hilly with a steady flow of traffic on mostly no-shoulder roadway ... I received a preview of what the guidebooks were warning ... Orcas is very hilly, some very steep, with roads that twist, turn and switch back. Bicyclists use caution.
The Golden Tree opened three years ago under the ownership Ian Woolworth whose vision was to offer less expensive accommodations in the tourist area of Eastsound, Orcas Island. His original partner, Ken Katz, is no longer in the picture. The pair took on a very gnarly project of remodeling an abandoned homestead built by pioneers of the area. It was a difficult task but Ian was skilled in construction and the project came to fruition. In addition to a hostel's normal offerings of dorm rooms, private rooms, shared baths, common kitchen and living areas, the hostel offers several yurts and teepees. Recently, a hot tub and sauna were added, a welcome addition, especially to cyclists. An outdoor kitchen area and stone oven was under construction. Golden Tree is only one of two hostels in the San Juan Islands ... the other one is located in Friday Harbor.
The day that I left, a shipment of new pillows for the beds arrived ... a welcome replacement to the gnarly ones used. The $45 for a dorm room in peak season is higher than most hostels but there are a few extra amenities. It is within walking distance to Eastsound and the beach.
For a more detailed review of the start of Golden Tree, read this article.