Homesteaded in 1857 by Louis Cayou, the original property encompassed what is now known as Cayou Valley. Deer Harbor, where Cayou Cove is situated, is said to have been named by Louis.
At that time Orcas Island, along with the other San Juan Islands, was a notorious no-man's land, a hideout for smugglers and worse. Indian wars still occurred. It wasn't until 1872 that the San Juan Islands were awarded to the United States after a long and bitter dispute between England and America.
Louis Cayou first came to Orcas Island in the mid 1800's with three others from the Hudson's Bay Company of Canada to hunt for deer to feed the troops and other residents of the fort at Victoria, British Columbia. After several trips, Louis chose to make his home here becoming the first recorded permanent settler on the island. He married a Native American woman, farmed, and ultimately prospered in the lumber business. The brick for the main house was balast for the returning ships that had hauled lumber to as far away as San Francisco.
By the turn of the last century the San Juan Islands were a lumber, mining and salmon fishing mecca with a larger population base than the islands have today - over 20,000 residents. The San Juan Islands were also major producers of apples and other produce. Several old apple trees are still thriving on the property.
When Louis's oldest son, Henri, built the main house in 1913, he was a prominent citizen of the area serving for 27 years as a San Juan County Commissioner as well as helping organize the Orcas Power and Light Co. He was the foremost fisherman in the San Juan Islands, perhaps the State's most successful, with a fleet of boats and a cannery that ultimately employed over 300 island residents even throughout the Depression of the 30's.
Henri and his second wife, Elizabeth, lived here for nearly forty years, splitting their time between Cayou Cove and their farm on Waldron Island. Henri died at the age of 89.
In the 1940's the property was sold and the new owners offered lodging in the three cottages on the property as vacation rentals. In the 1960's it was sold again and became lodging for Henry Kaiser's many craftsmen for the estate he was building on the Island. It then was a commune and boarding house with miscellaneous lodging facilities (including a tent) and remained so into the 90's.
In 1996 Charles and Valerie Binford bought the property with the firm commitment to restore it to its former prominence and the desire to create a small, intimate, luxury inn for the discriminating traveler. All the modern amenties have been provided, while maintaining the original character of the buildings and their place in time.
We invite you to share the serenity and peace that is Cayou Cove.