Welcome to The Historic Balch Retreat on Hood Canal!A Natural Historic Paradise Where the Olympics Meet the Sea
The Historic Balch Retreat on Hood Canal is a private family-owned historic home in Brinnon, Wa.
When reserving your vacation or requesting support, you are dealing directly with Tori and Wade, the property owners. So you can expect friendly, professional, individualized, and prompt attention.
Wade and Tori adore The Historic Balch Retreat; in fact, if we didn’t need to be elsewhere for our jobs, we would be permanent residents of this historic paradise!
The Balch Retreat was built in 1920 by T. B. Balch and his wife, Hilda. They raised their family here, while they ran the town’s general store next door. Mr. Balch also ran the local US Post Office for a time. In the early days, the Balch’s supplied electrical power to local townspeople, generated by a water wheel on the property. The water wheel has long since vanished (darn it!), but the property deed still allows for generation and sale of electric power.
The Balch’s owned the property until 1962, when they sold it to the French family. Frenches also raised their family here, and owned the property until 2005.
The early days of Brinnon were infused with colorful adventure in the spirit of the Old West. During your stay at The Balch Retreat, be sure to browse through our hardbound copy of “A Scrapbook History of Brinnon”. It is fascinating reading; in it you will find further details and photographs of the Balch family adventures, and the property.
What our Guests say
Balch Waterfront Retreat Five Star Stay!!"What a great surprise. Not only were we blown away by the beauty and magic of the Hood Canal and the Wildlife Wonders that were giving us a non-stop show...that house, that beautiful house. My mother-in-law has trouble getting around - so we knew - she's be spending most of her time house bound. So...we needed a space that was a vacation in and of itself. Thanks Tori. You delivered. We loved the place and all the touches. Michelle & Miguel"Recommended for: Age 55+, Adventure Seekers, Pet-friendly, Girls Getaway, Sightseeing, Families with Teenagers, People with Disabilities, Romantic Getaway-- MichelleE Seattle
Historic Balch Waterfront RetreatOur stay was magnificent at the Balch Waterfront Retreat. The Retreat has excellent location and the view was breathless. We spent a lot of time on the back porch, with the propane heater keeping us warm as we had morning coffee and late afternoon happy hour, listening and watching the otters, seals, bald eagles, and countless ducks play in Hood Canal. The owners were always a call away, if needed. The Retreat was spotless and well appointed. The grounds were amazing, beautiful flowers still in bloom in November.Recommended for: Adventure Seekers, Sightseeing-- Pam Harrison, OH
What an amazing gift!I had the wonderful experience of staying at the Balch Retreat House on Hood Canal the week of June 19, 2011. I was so impressed by the attention to detail with every aspect of this absolutely beautiful vacation home. I was first struck by the beauty of the landscaping with the gardens, grounds, the hanging flowers and an abundance of beautiful flowers & plants. The brick walkways and the wonderful fire pit area, all done with such care. The home itself is truly a step back into history with just the right amount of updating to make staying there a huge treat. The decor, the furnishings, the color choices for every room, was thoughtfully and beautifully well done! The place was wonderfully well stocked with everything we could possibly need, and was absolutely clean and spotless as well which I appreciated so much. Then there is the wildlife!!! ...you just can't fully describe with words the amazing display that is different and unique each day. With tide out and tide in this beautiful fjord and estuary take on a different look each time. We were greeted every single morning by countless seals peeking at us and performing their swimming shows. The otters would be there as well enjoying the oysters and playing in the water. The birds for me were just a huge blessing. There was a non-stop show of bald eagles, hawks, blue heron, hummingbirds, robins, wren, swallows, and both red & yellow finches. I really was amazed at the number of hummingbirds, and swallows. One evening we were on the deck enjoying dinner and watching "the show" when a beautiful double rainbow appeared over the water, I thought my heart would explode. The combination of the beauty of the Balch House, the grounds, and the breathtaking display of magnificent nature at it's best was exactly what I needed. I'm so thankful for the gift that is The Balch Retreat.Recommended for: Age 55+, Adventure Seekers, Girls Getaway, Sightseeing, Families with Young Children, People with Disabilities, Romantic Getaway-- Claudia Spokane, WA
Great place to gather and relax with familyBased upon several internet sites for different waterfront properties in Washington, everyone in my family chose this property. We had high expectations based upon the website, and we were all thoroughly satisfied with our choice. My sons are active outdoors people and they enjoyed hiking the many trails which are nearby. We all enjoyed walking on the estuary at low tide and seeing the wildlife. The only thing we didn't get to do was go kayaking. The kitchen is also well equipped, and allowed us to cook our own fresh seafood dinners every night. We also has "s'mores" around the campfire on one night. Truly a wonderful place to relax and get reacquainted with nature.Recommended for: Age 55+, Adventure Seekers, Sightseeing, Families with Teenagers, Romantic Getaway
Truly the BEST of Hood Canal and Olympic PeninsulaWhat I wouldn't give to be able to live in this historic environment filled with the sounds and sights of impressive wildlife, and some of the most alluring views we've ever seen. The combination of fun architecture, superb use of color, and a deck with stairs that connect to the beach was perfection, along with fresh seafood right from the tidelands. We will never forget the baby seals right on the beach (yes, we kept our distance. otters, and elk. The attractive brick area with fire pit by the water was the icing on the cake. Our grandkids adored this part. The bottle of sparkling wine that Tori left for us was also a thoughtful touch. We really wanted to make special memories with our grandchildren. The Historic Balch Retreat was the perfect place for this and we hope to return in the near future, as it was truly a family favorite. The owners have quaint down to an art. It's a definite must for anyone's bucket list if vacationing in the Pacific Northwest.Recommended for: Age 55+, Adventure Seekers, Pet-friendly, Girls Getaway, Sightseeing, Families with Teenagers, Families with Young Children, People with Disabilities, Romantic GetawayDiane and Jim Harris Wenatchee, WA
Perfect Stay!Balch Retreat is even better than advertised! If you are looking for the ideal water and mountain retreat on the Olympic Penninsula, none better. From seals (and their pups), herons, bald eagles, hummingbirds, the wildlife abounds on your doorstep. The garden is immaculate, foxgloves were still in full bloom. Inside, very comfortably accomodates > 6 people. A wonderfulplace and loo forward to returning. Hope you enjoy as much as we did!Recommended for: Adventure Seekers, Sightseeing, Romantic Getaway-- Steve Zirconia, North Carolina
Amazing views, comfortable for the entire familyHi Tori, To sum up how we felt about our stay...We didn't want to leave! The house was amazing. The views were beautiful. The flowerbeds were lovely. The home was beautifully designed. The fire pit was a nice touch, but we didn't use it. You had everything we needed to be comfortable, even a hairdryer. My fifteen-year old son took the lower level room. I swear it was a chore to get him to leave the house, actually the water. He didn't even want to come inside to eat! He spent the most of his time down at the water messing around. My father-in-law and mother-in-law took the main floor bedroom and told me they were quite comfortable. My father-in-law spent a lot of time on the back deck. He had hip replacement surgery a few years back and two surgeries in the middle of June so he didn't venture down to the water but once to hang out with my son. He loved the house also. My husband and I stayed in the master suite. My husband and I were impressed by the beautiful views from the top floor. The skylights were neat. We didn't use the whirlpool tub but my father-in-law did. He only had trouble with tripping the breaker once after we spoke. Otherwise he loved it. The house was extremely comfortable. We each had a separate area but yet we were very close, if that makes sense. On our first night a town across the canal was shooting off fireworks. It was quite a large display. It was a nice way to start out the stay. The second day we just hung out at the house. We eventually decided to venture out for ice cream. I found out sorbet doesn't have dairy in it so I also got a nice treat. On Sunday we checked out Port Townsend, the Dungeness Spit area and drove up to Hurricane Ridge. All were beautiful. We wanted to see so much more but we simply ran out of time. I think we were all tired of driving, riding. When we left we decided to take the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds to see if we could save some time. It was a good call. We were back in Seattle by lunch. If we do come back to Washington State we will definitely see if you have any availability. Thank you for sharing your home with us. The Wittig family of South Texas Holly, Brad and Tyler Leonard and LilRecommended for: Age 55+, Sightseeing, Families with Teenagers
Don't Hesitate!This wonderful retreat will surpass your expectations. It is clean, well equipped, in a tremendous spot on the waterfront of Hood Canal, and, most of all it exudes an ambiance of comfort and relaxation. Gathering oysters is a breeze, even in cold weather! I recently spent a week here for a personal "getaway". Though there are not a lot of restaurants around, the ones that are, serve the purpose well. The clam strips at the Geoduck Restauant were great. The steak I had, I wouldn't reorder. The pizza at the nearby Pleasant Harbor Marina was very good, though you might consider it for a take-out meal if you are looking for anything more than a table to eat on and a TV to watch within the restaurant. For me, this was a spot to really unwind and take pause from routine. I enjoyed it tremendously and will look forward to returning.Recommended for: Age 55+, Girls Getaway, Romantic Getaway-- Cheri, Sequim WA
Wonderful Family RetreatWe stayed at this wonderfully appointed home with our children and grandchildren. 4 different couples in all, and plenty of room for everyone! Numerous amenities, and the details of this home add to the historic charm. Our granddaughters enjoyed combing the beach for shells (there are thousands!) and splashing in the water. On our last day, we made a fire in the fire pit (the wood burned well and was very easy to light, even in damp conditions) and we all sat around roasting hot dogs and making smores-a wonderful memory! We brought our 2 dogs, and really did not encounter any challenges with this (except our retriever loved to run out into the water every chance he got!) In the evenings we sat around the table and played games, enjoying some quality family time. Would do this again in a heartbeat!!!Recommended for: Age 55+, Pet-friendly, Girls Getaway, Families with Teenagers, Families with Young Children, Romantic Getaway-- Fun4Fam, Enumclaw, WA
Fabulous 40th GetawayWhat a remarkable home! Our family needed a place for 7 for my husband's 40th birthday celebration. We stayed for 5 days and were sad to leave! The owner, Tori, is gracious and superior in customer service. The home is immaculately clean and cozy. The master bedroom is a dream with an unbelievable view from the jetted tub. We especially enjoyed the fire pit for making s'mores. We grilled hand picked oysters and made gourmet meals in the well appointed kitchen. My kids kept a log of all the wildlife they found; eagles, otters, seals, shellfish and sea stars! We took advantage of some of Tori's sightseeing suggestions and made to the nearby waterfall. All in all a lovely week and perfect way to celebrate! Thank you, Tori for your gracious home. -- Jennifer H.
We love coming hereThis was our second stay at the Balch house, and we'll certainly be back for a third. The property is fantastic - everything from the two decks to the firepit to the house itself. It's incredibly peaceful for relaxing and reading a book or playing a game with friends (both of which we did), and it's also close to activities if you'd like to explore nature for awhile. You can rent kayaks just up the road or go up Mt. Walker for exceptional views. We also were able to bring our dog, and it's an easy 5 minute walk up the road to Dosewallips park where we were able to get her exercise.
At night, you can't not make smores and sit back and listen to the seals in the distance. Bring some binoculars during the day - you'll be able to catch their heads popping up out of the water.
1. On your way to the house, I recommend stopping and stocking up on groceries for your trip. There are small stores close by you can go to in a pinch, but you're going to get the best selection and prices by stopping before you get to Brinnon. If you're coming from Seattle and taking the Bainbridge ferry, I'd recommend stopping by the Central Market in Poulsbo, which is where we usually end up.
2. Bring sunscreen and bug repellent. Both the sun and mosquitos will get you. It's nothing severe, but always better not to be burnt or bitten if you can help it!
3. Try not to bring any work with you, but if you're like me and need to check in, the free wi-fi is incredibly useful.
All in all, we can't say enough good things about this house. It's now become our go to place to spend our "local" vacations. You won't be disappointed.
Beautiful house, great views and lots to enjoyWe had a wonderful time at the Historic Balch Retreat. It is a beautiful house with great views. The house is so well furnished and the kitchen has all the appliances and spices I need for cooking. The lovely bottle of wine that greeted us on our arrival was such a thoughtful gesture.
We spent some time on the beach picking oysters and clams, and met some seals basking in the sun. There was so much to see and to do. The house is so comfortable that often we just sat at the balcony, watching the many types of birds and taking in the beauty of the place.
Thank you very much for providing us the opportunity to stay at the nicest holiday house we have been to. -- Alice N.
5 star relaxation - great house in fab locationMy family of 5 travelled from Edinburgh, Scotland (3 children aged 10, 7 & 6) on a 3 week holiday to the Pacific Northwest. After a week in an RV along the Oregon coast, we were looking forward to a more comfortable and relaxing home from home after being on the road. The house was everything we hoped it would be and we were not disappointed and had a fabulous time at the Historic Balch Retreat in Brinnon. I was slightly worried before we got there as I had been told by so-called "experts" on trip advisor that there was not much to do around Brinnon and was advised to stay along the north coast of the Olympic Park. I am glad we did not. It is a great location to enjoy what is on offer in the Olympic National Park. The house itself was excellent - very clean and comfortable and well-equipped - but what sets this apart is the location - as you can arrive at the house down a steep and short narrow lane, you can see right through the house onto the Hood Canal. This place is all about the views. If you are after rest and relaxation - this is the place for you. The deck at the back of the house sits above the (tidal) Hood Canal and there are steep steps which take you onto the water. You are virtually floating on the Hood Canal! If wildlife is your thing, you are in for a treat, as In the space of a week we were blessed with seeing bald eagles, kayaked with seals and even got up close and personal to a family of sea otters who were swimming along the shore. The kayak belonging to the house was a big hit and we had several paddles along the still shores with the kids squealing with delight as the seals popped their heads up as they swam around the boat. It was truly magical. If oysters are your thing - you cannot help but find them - there are bucket-loads of the things! Evenings were spent toasting marshmallows and eating ice cream on the fire pit while enjoying a bottle of wine - it was certainly relaxing. As for activities other than kayaking - there is plenty to see and do within a shortish drive. Port Townsend for whale watching (yes - we did see orca!) was about an hour away - and we went to Hurricane Ridge which is well worth a trip. Other excursions to Lake Crescent, Lake Cushman and the Mount Walker viewpoint are all within easy reach and to be recommended. We also went for some walks to some waterfalls - all within 10-15 minutes away. Would I recommend this place to stay? Most definitely. We would love to go back!-- Jake T.
Balch historic 1920 home in BrinnonWe had an incredible visit. The wildlife was incredible as were the views and amenities. So close to local dining and great hikes. All we can say is WOW and hope to visit again. Thank you for a wonderful birthday and anniversary memory. -- Denise and Randy Colerick
MagicalThis incredible historic home had all the elegance if another time and all the comforts you could want. The property has beautiful and interesting plants, the owner couldn't have been more helpful on what to do and see and cared that we had a wonderful stay. It is quite possibly the most magical place I've been to around the Northwest yet. Sitting in comfort on the deck just watching a non-stop show the Sea Lions and Seals put on. We watched a Sea Lion right out in front bring up his catch of a very large salmon and saw him play with it before eating it. There is so much very close to do. We chose to stay and completely unwind. This beautiful home was immaculate and had everything you could need. We are already planning our trip for next summer here and for a longer time. -- Elizabeth P
A Beautiful and Relaxing StayThis wonderful historic home is beautiful. Everything about our stay was phenomenal . The house was wonderfully decorated and comfortable. It was immaculate and had everything you needed.The views were amazing and kept us sitting out on the deck watching the wildlife for hours. We picked oysters at the beach each day. We went canoeing and hiking. We had an amazing time. The owner was very helpful on what to do and see and cared that everything was just right when we arrived. I am planning my visit again for next summer and for a much longer period of time.Carolyn B.
Dreams realizedHaving been in the hospitality business, it can be a curse or a blessing when putting on the 'tourist' cap. As with any experience, we look (without meaning to) for the finer things to be wrong (dust missed, toilets not totally cleaned, etc). I can tell you without hesitation that this was a stellar wkend from start to finish. All that is described in the houses description was spot on. The house was wonderful, and fully appointed to the extent where much of what I packed was unnecessary. The house was pristine, and our wkend was one that will remain in my memory as the gold standard. Tori (the owner) was a dream to work with-it was obvious that her highest priority was fulfilling our every needs. The best compliment I can make (and I was hard put to narrow it to one highlight), is that we didn't want to leave, and are already looking at our calendars for a return visit. So please, do yourselves a favor and visit this lovely home. You won't be disappointed. We loved not only the house, but the kindness and caring that Tori put into assuring that ours was an unforgettable experience."Recommended for: Age 55+, Adventure Seekers, Girls Getaway, Sightseeing, Families with Teenagers, Romantic Getaway-- PamDreams realized
A gorgeous getaway on Hood Canal!
This house is beautiful, comfortable and perfect for a group getaway. It's right on the water, with a balcony and deck that are ideal for sipping coffee in the sun and listening to the sea birds. The entire place was immaculate, and the kitchen had everything we needed to make a delicious dinner. The dining table was also great for after-dinner games! We stayed in the master suite, and the bed was really comfy. Waking up to the sun rising over the Hood Canal was amazing - we'll definitely be back!
Recommended for: Adventure Seekers, Pet-friendly, Girls Getaway, Sightseeing, Families with Teenagers, Romantic Getaway-- Jamie K.
Magical winter getawayWe spent two wonderful nights here and can't wait to come back. Awakening in the master suite to the winter sunrise across the canal was splendid. The home is well appointed and I felt like an invited guest. Everything was top quality and we never felt like we were getting the "rental equipment" while the good stuff was packed away. Sharp kitchen knives, a whole array of spices for cooking, comfy linens and abundant cookware, dishes and glassware. We were able to collect fresh oysters at low tide and enjoyed the many books and games on site. It was a very peaceful setting for us (2 parents and 3 teenagers and our dog). I especially appreciated the check-ins from Tori (by email) during our stay and the free wifi was a plus. Highly recommend this magical spot. -- Lori C.
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