Part 2: Eagle Nook is a precious enclave with a first-class staff and an ambience of rugged elegance.
By Kim Kavin - January 2004
If you’re unfamiliar with the Doggersbank design, Endurance’s workmanlike exterior may surprise you. Doggersbanks are built to bash around the world safely, not to sit at the dock and look sleek. Inside, though, these boats are all megayacht—and great for charter. They have more nooks and crannies than most designs, which means plenty of places to nap or get lost in a good book. They also have great gathering spaces inside and out, and their construction makes them exceptionally comfortable to cruise aboard.
Endurance underwent a reported $5- to $6-million restoration during the past four years, everything from engine rebuilds to a new interior decor. Each room was redone, save the two guest heads and the crew head, which were in good condition. The owners worked with Catherine Michel, the lead interior designer at Washington-State-based naval architect Jack Sarin’s office, for about six months to select a palette of neutral tones accented by dark leather amid the medium-stained oak and teak. “We took the existing wood and worked with that,” Michel says. “We concentrated on the master suite and the saloon and dining area, trying to keep the Northwest in mind but adding some lightness.”
The result is a practical boat that is beautiful and inviting. “It’s tough to believe her windows were boarded shut just six months ago,” I told the owners over a dinner of freshly caught salmon.
“You had the vision,” the wife said to her husband, holding out a recent photo of Endurance on the hard.
“C’mon,” he replied. “All you needed was a pair of glasses.”
A lot of people buy on appearance, he explained later, but that’s not always where the value is. The couple applied that same philosophy to Eagle Nook, which they purchased at auction three years ago and have been renovating based on their experience of owning about a half-dozen inns in the Pacific Northwest. The lodge is accessible only by float plane or boat, which makes it a fine cruising destination for a yacht of Endurance’s caliber. Charter guests can request both of Eagle Nook’s private cabins or stay in a few of the main building’s 23 guest rooms, all with lovely views.
I didn’t expect much from Eagle Nook for two reasons. First, I visited Endurance before flying to the lodge, and the boat was in great condition. Often, land-sea vacations have a strong link and a weak link. After seeing Endurance, I assumed the lodge would be the latter. Second, the owners told me the lodge is run entirely on generators and propane, with a single satphone line allowing communication with the outside world. When I heard that, I nearly planted myself in Endurance’s cozy flying-bridge settee and refused to leave.
What a bad move that would’ve been. Eagle Nook is a precious enclave with a first-class staff and an ambience of rugged elegance. Resort manager Jimmy Muhlebach is a great surprise in the middle of nowhere, so knowledgeable and charming that he could easily work in the most luxurious hotels on the French Riviera. Chef Stephen Bondy, an Ontario native, offers a gourmet selection of beef, fowl, and fish during each night’s three-course meal in the cathedral-ceiling dining room. During two of my dinners at the lodge, eagles swooped just outside the roof-high windows that overlook the bay.
Next page > Part 3: We landed in an unlikely field of wildflowers at 4,200 feet. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.