Hey there. It's been awhile since we updated you on Gingerhawk, the retreat property we've been building in Washington State. When we last left off in May, I shared that Adam and I were spending the summer in Washington to get Gingerhawk rental ready and running smoothly. We had a brand new logo, and we planned to debut the new website and booking page in August. Instead, we ended up selling the property and letting go of our big plans for Gingerhawk Mountain Retreat.
If you had been looking forward to renting out Gingerhawk, I am truly sorry to disappoint you. I know we spent the last two years hyping up how awesome it was going to be, and sharing lots of pictures on the blog and Instagram. While things were progressing well, the truth is that the project was taking more time and money than we felt comfortable investing, and selling was the right decision for our family. It's not something we planned, but ultimately it worked out for the best. We sold the property to the perfect outdoorsy family and we hope they enjoy it for generations to come. It really was a magical place, and I'm sad that things didn't work out how we envisioned, but also relieved. It was a lot of work, and we've got enough to keep us busy here in San Diego.
In 2019, we bought a 25-acre property in Washington State with the dream of building an amazing retreat that we could rent out for family gatherings, yoga retreats, and small weddings or other celebrations. We named it Gingerhawk. It was a beautiful forested lot located in the Cascade Mountains, and it had three little rustic cabins on the property.
We had big plans to create a true retreat property that would comfortably house 12-15 guests, and we intended to do the work in stages over time. In the first phase, which we completed over the past two years, we built a larger "main house" that could sleep 8, as well as a bathhouse with sauna to serve the cabins. Eventually, we wanted to upgrade the cabins to match the comfort level of the "main house", and build a yoga room/art studio as well.
Flash Forward To Summer 2021
After I graduated from acupuncture school and passed my licensing exams, Adam and I spent the summer in Washington putting the finishing touches on the house and ironing out the details of managing a rental property. With the "main house" up and running, we started making plans for the next phase of development - upgrading the cabins with proper insulation, heating, and electricity, and building a yoga room/studio space large enough for 12 or so people.
Dreams Vs. Reality
We started meeting with contractors to discuss plans for our next phase of development, and costs were just totally out of control. We'd already experienced so many delays and upheaval from the global pandemic, and the construction industry is in a wild place right now. The Cle Elum area is experiencing a major building boom along with a significant labor shortage. Plus, due to disruptions in the global supply chain, cost of materials and lead times have gone way up. Ultimately, we learned it would take years - and way more money than we had budgeted - to bring Gingerhawk to the next level.
Hold On Or Let Go?
At this point we had basically built a really nice mountain house with a cool bathhouse sauna, and three little cabins that looked cute, but were debatably usable. It was awesome, but not quite the full retreat property that we envisioned. We had to decide if we wanted to keep the house and continue to run it as a really nice Airbnb (for a lot of work and minimal profit) with the hope of expanding into a full retreat center maybe years in the future, or to let it go and move on. We had poured our hearts into this project over the past few years, and it was not an easy decision. After a number of difficult conversations, we made the decision to let go. Beyond the costs of construction, keeping the property running smoothly was a big commitment that required regular in-person check-ups. Between our 18-month-old son, and new jobs for Adam and I, the timing just wasn't right to make Gingerhawk happen.
It's Ok To Pivot
Some people might consider this project a "failure" in the sense that we didn't achieve what we had started out to do. But I don't see it that way at all. We had the adventure of a lifetime, we learned so much, and everything worked out in the end.
When I shared the news that we were selling Gingerhawk, a friend of mine commented that she always admired my ability to "pivot". I laughed because that's such a generous way of looking at my history of false starts, failed careers, and changes of plans. I've been a chemical engineer, an interior designer, a wannabe real estate developer, and now a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. I have no regrets, only gratitude. And for anyone who needs to hear this, "It's ok to change your mind. It's ok to make mistakes. It's always better to pivot than to continue barrelling down a path that you know isn't right. Success is not linear, and neither is your life. Follow your heart, and don't worry what other people will think."
I'll never forget the all the magical moments we experienced at Gingerhawk. We had the privilege of getting to know this little corner of the Pacific Northwest, and we will cherish the memories forever. From intimate encounters with local wildlife (including bears, elk, and a mystical barn owl) to cozy nights in the sauna with friends, Gingerhawk will always have a special place in our hearts. We hired RB Content Lab to create a promotional video for Gingerhawk and we absolutely love how it turned out. They really captured the magic and spirit of the place. Although the video was intended to promote the rental retreat property, ultimately it helped us with the sale. We got a great turnout and sold for over asking. Big shout out to our amazing realtor, Laurie Roseth Darrow. She really knows her stuff, has an incredible eye for detail, and will work so hard for you. Seriously, she's the best realtor in the Pacific Northwest!
Thank you to everyone we've met in Washington State who helped us on our journey, and to the friends and family who stayed at Gingerhawk. We are so grateful. May Gingerhawk live on forever in our hearts.