Spartan Mansion

Tucked along the quiet Seaview, WA coast, beneath a canopy of towering Douglas Firs, sits an odd collection of vintage travel trailers. The fleet clusters around a grand, colonial-style lodge with sweeping porches and the landscape is accented by the perpetual, gentle lull of the Pacific. The setting is equal parts ominous and magical.

This humble acre of Peninsula land holds one of the Northwest creative's best kept secrets, The Historic Sou'wester Lodge.

While the lodge has provided a creative oasis for over a century, Portland transplant Thandi Rosenbaum and Kathy Duffy are in the process of creating it as an active host for Northwest culture. Typically, coast culture conjures pastel galleries, bead shops and seashell art. Forget driftwood furniture, forget taffy shops, the Sou'wester breathes new life into Seaview, WA and draws a wide audience from the likes of Portland, Seattle and Olympia.

Lodge marketplace-ran on honors system

The vintage, travel trailer fleet perhaps represents the Sou'wester's greatest draw. Originally installed by the scholastic couple who previously owned the property, each vessel carries a theme: the Chaplin-inspired “Tramp Tower”; the enormous, Saharan “African Queen”; or the 50s, art deco “Spartan Mansion”. All kitsch aside, they have applied decades of design experience and community connections toward the property's restoration and the lodge's eccentricities now feel more intriguing than quirky.
The Thrifty Trailer, a makeshift on-site thrift store and treasure trove
  • Elissa Hall
  • The Thrifty Trailer, a makeshift on-site thrift store and treasure trove

One notable aspect of the revamp is the recently implemented artist residency program which provides artists a trailer for creative projects. While one trailer has been specifically deemed the residency trailer, the Sou'wester housed 3 artists in residence during my stay: Portland-based Julia Barbee, Shelley Short, and Seattle-based Jesse Lortz of Case Studies. Recently, English Nursery Gallery hosted a showcase of work completed at the residency program. Events like this indicate the creative momentum quietly building at the Sou'wester and the owners' event savvy delivers much-needed resources, community, and visibility for its participants.

Pop-up shop, curated by artist in residence Jesse Lortz
  • Elissa Hall
  • Pop-up shop, curated by artist in residence Jesse Lortz

The summer season holds a grip of promising events. Almost each weekend offers a fantastic show. Personal favorite Little Wings plays this weekend. May 25th showcases Hits of Sunshine, a percussive performance based around Portland artists Heather Treadway, Allan Wilson and Lisa Schonberg's residency in Joshua Tree, CA and Ruby Feathers plays the lodge's first anniversary party on June 1st. Music not your style? August 9-11th marks a Vintage Travel Trailer Rally.

Lodge Fireplace

Indeed, in less than a year the Sou'wester has become a gathering place for performers, artists and seekers of creative community. Perhaps its the strange aura of the Washington sea, the cedar and doug fir incense that hangs in the fog, or the quiet, eclectic crowd of lodgers but the Sou'wester conceals an intimate magic in its teak walls and Rosenbaum and Duffy have applied their skilled hands and warm spirit towards harvesting its full potential.

Book now for the summer season. More photos after the jump...

Potato Bug vintage trailer

Local flora