What an Excellent Day

Sunny skies greeted us our first week in Whidbey. Coming from Southern California, we’d been warned about drizzly Washington weather. Fully prepared for gloom, we were pleasantly surprised to experience back-to-back days of warmth and piercing blue skies filled with puffy, cotton ball clouds.

As we continued to acquaint ourselves with the island, we decided to go for a short drive north towards Coupeville, the second-oldest community in Washington State. Known for its iconic red wharf building and beautiful views of Penn Cove, the town takes you back to the 1800s. First on our visit was a stop at a bakery. Built in 1871, over the years the building has housed an undertaker business, a home furnishing store, a telephone exchange and a Chinese laundry. Today it is a quaint coffee shop filled with fresh-baked deliciousness and views from the corner table down to the rocks and tide below. Breakfast was followed by a crisp stroll along the beachfront, past centuries-old, wooden building supports clad in sea life and moss. It was low tide, which meant walking under the old wharf was possible. The seagulls were out in abundance, scavenging among the squirting clams and mussels for breakfast. We stood for some time watching as the gulls moved among the shellfish smorgasbord, laughing at the comedic ways they searched for a morning meal.

Gold dandelions and white daisies swayed in the breeze among the grassy expanse, and we found ourselves walking along the old battery path.

We then set off for a short drive to Fort Casey, which is known for its Admiralty Head lighthouse, the only lighthouse on the island. Driving into the state park was like a walk through history. Built in the late 1800s, the fort was part of the “Triangle of Fire,” along with nearby Forts Worden and Flagler — a trio of forts built to defend Puget Sound. Old barracks welcome you at the main entrance, followed by the grass-covered fort battery offering stunning views of the Coupeville ferry landing and Keystone Harbor. As we continued to drive towards the main entrance to the park, the tree-lined road opened with a view of the Olympic Peninsula, with steam from Port Townsend’s paper mill visible in the distance.

Getting out of the car, we began our walk to the Admiralty Head lighthouse, which stood proud and distinguished next to the forest line. From there, we could see the snowy Olympic Mountain range, which was in stark contrast to the spring day in which we found ourselves. Gold dandelions and white daisies swayed in the breeze among the grassy expanse, and we found ourselves walking along the old battery path. Deer grazed peacefully in the distance and, aside from a few kite flyers and chirping birds, we had the park to ourselves.

As usual, hunger determined the next chapter in our adventure and we decided to drive south towards Freeland to try a new restaurant. With panoramic views of Holmes Harbor, the location on top of a hill created the sense of a treetop hideaway dining experience. After a delightfully satisfying lunch surrounded by local artwork, we found ourselves meandering back towards Langley, enjoying the glimpses of the beach and sprawling farm properties as we made our way home.

To quote my sister, it had been “truly an excellent day.”