When I crave a weekend getaway requiring minimum effort that yields maximum satisfaction, Whidbey Island is high on my list. Whidbey is 35 miles long and the fourth longest island in the country.
Here are my criteria for a low maintenance/highly enjoyable weekend:
Convenience: A 25 minute drive on I-5 from Seattle to the Mukilteo ferry, 20 minute ferry ride, and then you are there. You could even squeeze your excursion into a one-day adventure if you feel like sleeping in your own bed.
Hiking/Biking options: Since I sit on my arse all day with my office job, I crave as much physical activity as my body can tolerate on the weekends. Fort Ebey State Park fits the bill. The Bluff Trail and Lake Pondilla Trail, located just steps from the Fort Ebey Campground, conveniently connect to the Kettles Park Trail System where endless hiking and mountain biking trails await. Featuring panoramic views of the Puget Sound and Olympics, the park and campground are also an ideal destination for picnics, beach walking, and fresh water fishing in Lake Pondilla.
Good eats: The island towns of Coupeville and Langley both rank high in the charm factor. Owned by the Kroon family since 1974, walking into Coupeville’s Knead and Feed is like walking into the cozy living room of an old friend. Operating as both a bakery and restaurant, the two window seats looking out into Penn Cove have got to be the best seats on the entire island.
The Oystercatcher: Sometimes you have to compromise top notch food when you’re in a charming town surrounded by a Zen setting, but thankfully not in Coupeville, thanks to The Oystercatcher. Dishes such as the salmon duo special of salmon belly and cured salmon blew me away, but the rabbit loin served with duck fat biscuits, honey and a poached egg seemed to be the biggest crowd pleaser. When the chef made his rounds at each table, a sophisticated 12 year old diner confidently professed, “I would pay 100 dollars for that rabbit dish.”
Head to Local Grown Espresso on the pier, where you can look out and catch a glimpse of Mount Baker on a sunny day. Owner William Bell says on a windy day, it’s trippy because you can feel yourself swaying along with the pier underneath you.
Reading is sexy: In Langley, I always make a pit stop to the two-story house where Moonraker Books resides. I will never tire of the enjoyment I get from walking into a mom-and-pop bookstore, sifting through the books and looking at the covers.
I know I am not the only one out there as Moonraker just celebrated 40th birthday last year.
Where to stay: Whidbey is flush with both bed and breakfasts and campgrounds. I can never seem to deviate from Fort Ebey campground, where you are steps away from the bluff and each campground is landscaped with trees to provide the perfect amount of refuge between you and your neighbor.