Tag Archive | Whidbey Island

2018 Whidbey Island Weekend

March of this year was really busy!  I had my 15K the first weekend, a weekend trip to Whidbey Island with friends, and then at the end of the month a girl’s road trip coming up!  I had to turn down a girl’s trip to Boise since I had so much going on!

My friend Brandon was having a birthday, so we decided to celebrate by renting out another friend’s AirBnB house at the south end of Whidbey Island, in the town of Clinton.

We headed down Friday after work, and since March is still winter, it was long dark by the time we got to the house.  We chose bedrooms, and lit up the gas fireplace on the deck for some chat and relaxation.  I had a glass of wine and just chilled.  It was such a nice evening!

The next day, we were up for some exploration, so decided to choose a winery to try.  The first place we had planned to check out wasn’t open yet for the day, so we stumbled upon Comforts of Whidbey winery a little way down the road in Langley, WA.  What a gem of a place!

Brandon and I did a tasting (Brandon was a sport, even though he isn’t much into wine) and I was very pleased with the wines I tried.  They had some amazing sparkling wines!  I also loved their Madeline Angevine, Siegerrebe, and Syrah wines – delicious!

After Comforts of Whidbey, we went over to the Whidbey Island Distillery.  They gave us a little tour of the distillery – it is a very small batch operation, basically all being operated out of one small room, but the owner really gets into the science of distillation and created a complex, amazing still! I won’t even try to explain it, since I wouldn’t get it right; just suffice it to say that he has made some technological advances in the distillation process.

The distillery is best known for its Rye Whiskey, which contains 51% Rye and 49% Barley.  I am not a Whiskey drinker (I have tried and just continue to fail to like it), so I had a little sample and declared it, “not my thing.”  However, they also make liqueurs…  Blackberry, raspberry, loganberry and boysenberry.  These were absolutely my thing! They also had little recipe cards to make cocktails with their liqueurs – I got the raspberry to bring home.

Liqueurs at Whidbey Distillery

Along the way, a few other friends met us, so our little party was growing!  We headed into Langley and got lunch at SpyHop, a brewery just a few blocks of the main drag.  It was outside of normal lunch hours, so it was really quiet and the food was fantastic!  I had fish and chips – yummy!

Fish and Chips with Iced Tea – Spyhop

We poked around the shops for a bit, splitting off from others as we saw something we wanted to check out.  There was ice cream had by a few, and beer by a few.

The Olympic Mountains through the telescope

As the town was winding down after 5, we headed back to the house to relax and talk and enjoy some beverages.  We walked down to the beach to watch the sunset.  It was a nice day!

Sunday morning I made breakfast for the gang – eggs and bacon, and sliced avocado.  So yummy!  Then I headed down to the beach to wander – I found a huge, intact oyster shell and it posed for some photos for me.  I took it home with me to decorate the garden, but sadly, the racoons at my house found it as intriguing as I did and absconded with it a day or two later!

Before we headed home the next day we headed to Greenbank Farm for a late lunch and pie!  If you have a chance to have the pie at Greenbank Farm, do.  You won’t be disappointed!  We also poked around in the various artisan shops for a bit before saying our goodbyes and heading home.  It was a nice, relaxing weekend spent with friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 9

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

Whidbey-Heron

Great Blue Heron, Whidbey Island, March 2018

Mi Vida Loca Photo Series, 4

Life has a way of catching up with you sometimes, and getting crazy busy and a bit overwhelming. So while I devote some attention to it over the next few weeks, I am going to share a few photos of the adventures over the last several months that I haven’t had a chance to post about.

Sunset, Friend’s Weekend, Whidbey Island, March 2018

Whidbey Half-Marathon 2017 Weekend

Last winter, I signed up for my ninth half-marathon, the Whidbey Island Half!  It was April 23, 2017. 
 
There was just this one little issue that came up: I was fighting one of the worst colds I have had in a while.  I had been completely down for the count the weekend before.  Like the kind of sick where you are awake for less than 2 hours and you already are in dire need of a 3 hour nap…  In fact, my only outing the weekend before the half-marathon had been to venture out for a very slow stroll around the tulip fields for a few hours, which had completely wiped me out and sent me back to bed… 
 
During the week I was feeling a little better, so I decided to still try to do the race, knowing I could just take it easy.  I didn’t need to run much, or at all, if I still wasn’t feeling up to it.  Katie, Shelley and I all met up at the expo, then headed off for a girls’ weekend excursion in scenic Coupeville, Washington.
 
We checked into our accommodations, the Wisteria Cottage at The Inn at Penn Cove.  It was a very reasonably priced option for Coupeville, where most of the lodgings are Bed and Breakfasts.  Most of the hotels in Oak Harbor were either booked, or had jacked up their rates for the marathon weekend.  The Inn at Penn Cove is also a historic house and cottage, consisting of the Jacob Jenne house built in 1889, and the doctor’s office turned cottage where we were staying, which is also historic (sadly I don’t know when it was built – trust me, it was old!). 

The Wisteria Cottage at the Inn at Penn Cove

Katie was convinced our cottage was haunted.  So haunted in fact that we had to drag the futon into the main room, because she didn’t want anyone sleeping in that bedroom alone…  The proprietors are warm and welcoming, giving us a rundown of the quirks of the place, and even letting us know that it was no problem at all to have a very late checkout so we could go back to the cottage for showers after the race.  And in case you were wondering, no, we didn’t see any ghosts…  However, the drawers in that bedroom wouldn’t stay closed – was it due to the fact that the floor was sloped, or something supernatural?!  You decide…
 
After getting our lodgings squared away, we poked around in some of the shops in the historic downtown area, and enjoyed a wine tasting at the Vail Wine Shop, where we chatted and laughed and enjoyed ourselves. 
After that, we enjoyed the lowering sun and the remaining afternoon while we waited for the Front Street Grill to have a table ready for us for dinner.  I love spending time with my girlfriends, and we thoroughly enjoyed the quiet afternoon relaxing.

We had a water view table at the Front Street Grill, and I had the Saffron Mussels and a beer sampler.  So delicious!

Katie and my beer samplers at the Front Street Grill

I had a wonderful day, despite my continuing fatigue…  After dinner we headed back to the cottage to turn in early.  We had some calorie burning to do in the morning!

 

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Christmas Day was a beautiful day on Whidbey Island (Yes, I’m pitifully behind on all the things I want to blog about.  I blame work).  It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t snowing, and there was even some blue sky peeking through the ever-present winter cloud cover.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know you have to use these opportunities to get outside – if nothing more than to try to expose your face and hands to the heavens for some much needed Vitamin D.  So after a delicious breakfast at my in-laws, and after we all gathered round to open presents and stockings, we decided to go for a walk at Ebey’s Landing.

Ebey’s Landing is a National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island that is directly adjacent to Washington State Park land, creating a large chunk of waterfront prairie land that has been protected from development.  It was established in 1978; the first National Historical Reserve in the United States.  The reserve is a partnership, with federal, state, county and privately owned land managed in a way that preserves the historic nature of the area by a local Trust Board.

Ebey’s Landing, and Ebey’s Prairie are named after Colonel Isaac Neff Ebey, who was the first permanent white resident of Whidbey Island.  He was born in Ohio in 1818, and had an adventurous spirit that led him to leave his wife and two young sons to travel west.  He landed first in California and worked as a gold miner briefly, then moved north to the Puget Sound region of the Oregon Territory.  In 1850 he landed on Whidbey Island and was impressed by the beauty of the area, and the perfect land for farming.

View of the Cascade Mountains from Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

View of the Cascade Mountains from Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

Ebey staked a land claim under the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 and began homesteading the land; meanwhile he sent letters back east to encourage his family to join him on Whidbey Island.  Within a couple of years, his wife, two sons, several siblings and siblings-in-law, a couple nephews and a cousin had all made the overland journey and began homesteading there with him.  Isaac constructed a dock to allow ships from nearby Port Townsend to bring goods and people to the area.  Isaac’s prosperity was short lived though.  In 1853, Ebey’s wife Rebecca died of tuberculosis shortly after giving birth to his daughter.  He remarried and tried to make the best of it.

Jacob Ebey, father of Isaac Ebey, built this house on his donation land claim in 1855

Jacob Ebey, father of Isaac Ebey, built this house on his donation land claim in 1855

In 1857, Native Americans seeking vengeance for the deaths of tribal members at the hands of the U.S. military came to the door.  They were originally planning to kill Dr. John Kellogg, but luckily for him, he was away from the area on the night the party arrived.  So instead they decided that Colonel Ebey would be good enough.  After he answered the door, they shot, beheaded and scalped him.  Historical records placed the blame on several different tribes over the years; it is safe to say that no one really knows.

Isaac’s headless body was buried next to his wife in the family graveyard on the prairie.  The rest of the family stayed on at the homestead, with the exception of Ebey’s new wife, who decided that she wanted nothing more to do with the area and left with her daughter.  Isaac’s scalp stayed with the tribe for several years until a steamer captain was able to purchase it back for the family.  To be honest, I’m not sure I would have wanted it back…  But as nearly as anyone can tell, it ended up with Ebey’s sister Mary and then was passed down to his niece Almira.  Truly a conversation piece.

After Isaac’s death and the departure of Isaac’s second wife Emily, his brother Winfield Ebey took in Isaac’s children, and built an inn near the dock in 1860.  The inn, named Ferry House, operated for over 60 years, providing lodging for travelers coming and going from the boat dock.  The inn also operated as a tavern, post office and general store, providing an income for the children.

Today, the site consists of four blockhouses that Ebey and the other settlers constructed to protect from Indian attacks – little good that did, right?  Additionally, Isaac’s father, Jacob Ebey’s house is still standing and has been converted into a visitor’s center.  It has been moved from its original location nearby, but gives a good sense of what the homes of the time would have been like.  The dock at Ebey’s Landing is no longer there; it was an active dock for transporting goods from Port Townsend until the early 1900’s, when a new dock was built at Fort Casey a few miles away.

This is one of four blockhouses on the site – one was built in 1855; the other three were built after Isaac Ebey’s murder.

This is one of four blockhouses on the site – one was built in 1855; the other three were built after Isaac Ebey’s murder.

Nearby is the Sunnyside Cemetery – the original cemetery that was established for the residents of the community.  Isaac, his wife Rebecca and his daughter Hetty were originally buried in the family graveyard down on the prairie.  Historical records indicate that the family intended to move their graves to the top of the hill where Sunnyside Cemetery now sits, but it is unknown if the original graveyard was ever exhumed.  The earliest burial in what is now Sunnyside Cemetery was Isaac’s brother Winfield in 1865.

Ferry House from the top of the hill – built 1860

Ferry House from the top of the hill – built 1860

And Ferry House still stands.  It is currently vacant, and has never had indoor plumbing or electricity added.  The structure is one of the oldest residential buildings in Washington State, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is in dire need of preservation.  The second floor is currently being held up by a framework of two by sixes – as a result of its sad state, it is not open to the public.   There are dreams of restoring it for use as a space to teach classes in historic preservation; hopefully this grand old inn will continue to stand the test of time.

Hippie Art and Pie!

This week the weather was a bit schizophrenic. Monday morning it was raining. Pouring really. And actually, surprisingly, this was an improvement because Sunday night it was pouring with high winds. So, pouring with no high winds is quite preferable. Then Monday afternoon we got sunshine. And Monday night we got snow. And Tuesday morning, sunshine again. And it alternated between rain with wind and rain without and blue sky for the rest of the week.  And some full moon with Northern Lights action thrown in too!  I didn’t see the Northern Lights but the full moon was gorgeous.  And now rain.  But the problem is, it’s March. And I’m tired of the endless rain. I want spring and summer and hot weather and semi-drought conditions. I want to have to open the windows to sleep at night because otherwise it’s too hot in the house. I want to not be paying a heart-stopping, depression-inducing gas bill each month. I do know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring is less than 2 weeks away, and each day we should be getting closer to the letup in the rain and cold. And in the meantime, I’ll just have to hold onto that.

Sunday was my mother in law’s birthday, so Jon and I went down to Whidbey Island to spend the day with her and his siblings. 3 of 4 of his sibs were able to make it (his other sister just moved to Florida). Jon’s mom wanted to go to Greenbank Farm, and I had never been, so I packed the camera for our trip. Greenbank Farm was a farm at the turn of the last century – the large main barn was built in 1904 (in case you forget it tells you in huge letters right here on the barn!). Now it houses a café, a few art galleries, a wine shop with tastings, and an eclectic cheese and specialty food shop where you can find something for everyone (it’s a little pricey though). The farm is now owned by the Port of Coupeville and runs through an agreement with a local non-profit.

Greenbank Farm

Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island

My overall impression was that it was fine, but nothing amazing. The art at the galleries is a bit eclectic for me… just a little too out there in terms of hippie, new age, mixed media type stuff. I would compare it to the clothing designs you see at a fashion show. Just because it is interesting to see it walking down the runway, doesn’t mean it is something that I should wear. And just because an artist makes a piece, doesn’t mean that it is something that I should put on my wall.  There was one outdoor sculpture I really liked though, right here….

Outdoor Bronze Sculpture at Greenbank Farm

The shining light at Greenbank Farm is the café. We sat down for a snack, and were treated to an excellent seafood chowder with cod, crab and Penn Cove mussels, in a light broth. And the pie! We got a rhubarb pie to go (sadly they were out of marionberry pie), and it was amazing. The crust was light and flaky, and the rhubarb was tart and perfectly cooked. Let me just say that it might be a good thing that I don’t live closer, because I’d be getting plump on pie!

We also visited the wine shop and had a few tastes – the selection is all Washington wine, with a big focus on Whidbey Island and a few Yakima Valley wineries. I didn’t see any of the Woodinville or Walla Walla wineries represented, which would be nice if they wanted to round out their collection. I had tried a large majority of their tasting menu already on other wine-tasting trips, so I just wasn’t wowed by the experience. Jon did try and buy a Port style Whidbey Island wine (he’s been really into Port style and dessert wines lately). After Greenbank Farm, we headed to downtown Coupeville to do a little shopping. We poked around the shops and galleries, and I even got a present for Jon for some upcoming birthday or Christmas (no Jon, I’m still not telling you what it is).

So my final verdict is that Greenbank Farm is good for a visit on occasion, especially if you want some pie, but there isn’t enough to do there to make it a regular trip. If you do go, be sure to try the pie, and let me know what you think of the art!