Island life consists of driftwood sculptures, gluten-free tea bags, and middle aged men with long, flowing hair and beards. The Islanders may shed their oddities when going back to the mainland (which they refer to as “America”) but while surrounded on all sides by the teal blue, ice-cold Puget Sound, they maintain a special sort of nonchalance that comes from a life of dependance on ferry schedules and local produce. Some call it “island time,” others think it’s just kind of slow.
But as odd as it can sometimes be, there’s no denying that Whidbey Island–the largest island in Washington State–is stunningly beautiful.
On a clear day, a trip around the island can result in a view of all the surrounding mountains, sparkling water, and soaring bald eagles. Whidbey is crawling with wild life: deer lope through fields and eat potted flowers, eagles snack on people’s small dogs (only sort of kidding) and signs that say “Otter Crossing” are not unusual. Not only that, but each small city holds its own unique flavor of island living with locally owned shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Whidbey Island also provides access to the peninsula via the Port Townsend ferry. For a 3 dollar ticket and a 20 minute ride, you can go from the rocky beach at Fort Casey to the Victorian-style-with-a-touch-of-hipster city of Port Townsend.
I hold a special place in my heart for Port Townsend, due to memories of trips there with friends, walking on the dock and getting coffee at one of my favorite cafes. Even though it isn’t on the Island, Port Townsend holds the island standard of locally owned shops and specialties you can’t find anywhere else.
It seems air plants are the newest big thing. Don’t waste your money buying one, however, when you can easily make your own! Check out this cool air plant DIY.
You never know what you might find when strolling through the streets of Port Townsend. One time we happened upon a street musician playing his cello like a guitar, another time we found the weekly farmers market and bought fresh raspberries. This visit, my family and I stumbled into the coffee shop in need of refueling caffeine and found a local folk band using the open space to practice. We listened to the strumming banjos, cheery accordion, and warbling voices while admiring the ocean view, watching the ferry approach and depart, while sail boats like little white specks on the vast blue water caught the wind and came back to shore.
[For those of you who don’t know, my family is currently in the process of moving to the island–in the Oak Harbor/Coupeville area–and so when I slightly make fun of the Islanders, I am in fact making fun of my future self. But I’m cool with it.]