Best Places to Watch the Sunset
Since it is February and love is in the air we would like to acknowledge that there are few things as romantic as the setting sun. As the business of the day dwindles down and the colors in the sky change, it paints the perfect scene to forget all your worries and appreciate the one you’re with.
You don’t have to own waterfront property to enjoy the splendor of Whidbey Island. Jump in the car and within a few minutes you could be sighing with wonder as you watch mother nature work her magic. We’ve decided to help you and your loved one find your perfect spot for a romantic night by compiling a list of the best places to watch the sunset on Whidbey Island. We hope these dreamy locations help to ignite passion that’s as deep as the sunset colors in the sky.
Ebey’s Landing Bluff Trail – Ebey’s Landing Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239
Situated right between the sweeping views of the valley fields and the expansive Puget Sound with the Olympic range visible in the distance; Ebey’s landing is easily one of the most breathtaking views on the island. When the sun begins to drop down across the sound it will be a hard call on you’ll be torn between watching the sky change its hue or viewing the night fall on the sleepy valley below. Both are good options.
Libbey Beach Park – 2750 W Libbey Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239
Sometimes the hardest part about watching the sunset is finding a place to sit and cuddle up. That is no issue at Libbey Beach! All along the rocky beach you will find a log wall with a flat top. A perfect place to perch for the setting sun.
West Beach County Park – 2407 W Beach Rd, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Unfortunately, Whidbey isn’t always the warmest this time of year. For those of us who still want to see the beauty of the sky changing into night, West Beach County Park is a great option! This little park is located on the North end of West Beach Rd and has a wonderful little lot where you can simply put your car in park and watch the sun fade from the comfort of your vehicle.
Fort Casey – 1280 Engle Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239
Watching the sunset behind this historic army fort is a great way to end any adventurous date. Before the dark overtakes it, the both of you might want to take some time to get lost within the fort’s empty corridors. When you’re ready, simply climb up to the top of the concrete fortress and watch the sun inch it’s way below the horizon.
Joseph Whidbey State Park – Crosby Rd & West Beach Rd, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Cuddled up on the lone westward facing bench of Joseph Whidbey State park is possibly the most romantic place to be as the sun fades away at the end of the day. Removed from the rest of the park’s picnic tables, the solo bench towards the edge of the hill and above the community BBQ shelter provides the perfect place to look out over the stunning view Strait of Juan de Fuca. Void of visual obstacles, you and the one you love will fully be able to experience the sky dance through the stages of the setting sun.
Deception Pass – 41229 WA-20, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Perhaps sitting on a bench just isn’t your style and you want something a little more exciting and dynamic. Deception Pass bridge provides the perfect experience for couples wanting a little more adventure in their sunset experience. Sunsets at the bridge provide a unique and breathtaking experience from every location. You and your significant other can enjoy the rush of cars going by as you walk across the historic bridge and see the lights from the sky dance across the flowing water below. Or you can find your way below and see the patterns the bridge’s shadows make across the trees and beaches.
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How to Get the Wiggles out in the Winter!
Its that time of year where the holiday decorations have been stowed away, the invites for parties and activities have slowed, and the festivities for the season have come to an end. However, there is just one issue; that little one of yours did NOT get the slow down memo. With tiny feet still wanting to go a mile a minute and the weather outside not quite ready to cooperate; what do you do? We have a few tips and tricks to help you get those wiggles out this winter!
Indoor Science Projects:
As a parent, you know the best activity for a child is one that keeps both their body and mind active. That’s why indoor science experiments are a perfect cure for winter restlessness. Encouraging your child’s curiosity and engaging their mind at an early age can help to encourage a life-long love for learning. Who knows! Maybe they’re the next Einstein.
Raising da Vinci offers some great indoor science experiment ideas: Check it out! There is a video with 10 fun ideas in 10 minutes! Watch it with your kids and challenge them to complete all 10. Tell us how it goes.
Open Skate at the Roller Barn:
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On Whidbey we are spoiled with an assortment of unique activities that are hard to find anywhere else and our beloved Roller Barn is one! Although it now primarily hosts the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Harbor, the Roller Barn still has Friday Night open skate from 6pm – 8pm. This is a great way to not only support our local Boys & Girls Club but also teach that little one of yours how to boogie on some blades!
For more information, visit the Roller Barn’s Facebook.
Indoor D.I.Y. Activities:
What could be better than playing games with the people you love? Also, creating those games! Doing D.I.Y. games and activities with your kids this winter is a particularly good idea because it’s not only fun and engaging; it will keep them entertained for twice as long! This will also allow you to change the rules the way you see fit. It can create a great space to not only get out that excess energy, but also encourage problem solving and cooperation.
For indoor activity ideas: Click here!
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Looking for something extra special and fun to treat those little ones with? Try taking a trip to Bouncin’ Arcade and Fun Center! Bouncin’ is a local indoor playground and arcade center with activities for tots to teens. With an entire floor covered in bounce houses, you will be guaranteed a tired tiny one by the day’s end.
For more information on Bouncin’ including their hours and pricing, check out their Facebook!
Yoga for Kids:
It might seem counter intuitive but the one thing your hyperactive kid might need this winter is just some calm, relaxing, and restful yoga. Yoga is just as good for kids as it is for adults! It helps kids learn about and engage their body in a way that requires thought and concentration. The breathing techniques children learn in yoga can also help to be calm in other situations as well!
Parents Magazine has picked out a few really great poses for you and your little one to try out: Click here!
Do you have something you think we should add to our list? We would love to hear. Share with us in the comments below.
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What’s Your Winter Style?
It’s official. The clock has struck twelve and the new year has begun; bringing with it a time of resolutions or rest.
For many, January is the restart button for their workout routines. With the holidays passed they can finally buckle down and bust out the dumbbells again. For others, the winter winds make that idea unimaginable. They would far rather grab their favorite warm drink, a comfy blanket, and cozy up on the couch with the ones they love.
So, which is your winter style? Or are you both?!
For the Workout Warrior
January brings new inspiration to the workout warrior. With a vision of the new year in mind they are dedicated to bringing back that bikini body or conquering some challenging goals. Unfortunately, winter weather doesn’t always make outside exercise possible. Below is a list of local gyms where you can stay fit!
Thrive Fitness – 32650 WA-20 Bldg D, Oak Harbor
North End Fitness – 2800 Goldie Rd #102, Oak Harbor
Crossfit – 720 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
Unsize Me – 670 SE Pioneer Way #101, Oak Harbor
Hoping to complete your workout at home?
Check out these 15 Best Apps to Help You Get Fit: https://www.menshealth.com/technology-gear/g23007883/best-fitness-apps/
For the Cozy Cuddler
If the whole workout routine isn’t for you, you probably just need a little more Hygge in your life. Hygge, pronounced “hue-guh,” is a Danish word loosely translated to fun, cozy, comfort, and happy. It’s more than a word though; it’s a concept and a lifestyle. It’s to live in comfort and contentment with the things and people who make you happy. Below are some ways you can bring Hygge into your home.
Wrap yourself in comfort!
Things like scarves, sweaters, and chunky blankets can really bring a feeling of comfort to a person. Need a new something cozy? Swing by Seaside & Sylvan in Greenbank to find your perfect Hygge style pieces.
Try to remember that this moment right now is special, unique, and will never happen again. If you find this difficult, the app Headspace can give you some meditation techniques to help.
Warm up with a hot drink!
There’s no spirit lifter quite like a warm cup of coffee, tea, coco, or cider. Lavender Wind Shop and Rock Island Coffee may have just what you need for that warm winter drink.
Spend time with friends!
Find something fun to do!
Relaxing hobbies like journaling, art, knitting, reading, or hiking can be a great way to bring a sense of peace. Want to discover some great local trails? Download the AllTrails app.
Want to learn more about Hygge?
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O’ Christmas Tree, O’ Christmas Tree how ever did you come to be?
Every year around this time families all over America participate in the annual ritual of putting up the Christmas Tree. Laughter, joy, wonder (and sometimes a little fighting) ensue as we pack ourselves into the car and drive to our nearest tree farm (or store) to find the perfect tree. Have you ever looked at the gleaming lights against those evergreen needles and wonder why we do this?
The truth is humans have been decorating their homes with evergreens for as long as historians can tell. It’s believed the evergreen pine’s ability to survive the coldest of winters served as a reminder that one day spring would come and the world would be green again. The custom was especially resilient in Germany where many continued to decorate their homes with these trees well into and past the renaissance era. It is even believed that the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, was the first to place lit candles on this winter tree.
The Christmas Tree, as it’s known today, really gained popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria. Victoria’s German husband, Albert, brought the tradition of the evergreen tree into Buckingham Palace and caught the attention of the entire world. Soon there was not a home in all of Europe or America without a Christmas tree donned with ornaments and lights.
Want to know where you can get that perfect tree? Below is a list of local farms and stores that can help!
Pacific Wind Tree Farms – 2870 N Torpedo Road, Oak Harbor
Ready for some family fun? Pacific Winds Farms has been beloved local Christmas Tree farm for generations. You have the option between looking through precut trees place conveniently close to the entrance or you can brave the forest, saw in hand, and put those high school woodshop skills to work! While friendly staff help to bind your tree, feel free to visit the gift shop and sip on some fresh hot coco and cider. They will be open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm.
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A Knot in Thyme – 4233 DeGraff Road, Oak Harbor
When you drive up to A Knot in Thyme you might just feel like you fell into history. The gift shop’s vintage green farm building has a warm rustic charm and the horse drawn wagon adds a romantic feel to exploring the 60-year-old groves. Be sure to ask the store clerk about their “Kissing Balls” and grab an ornament or two to go on your brand-new tree! They are open Monday – Saturday from 9am – 5pm.
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Oak Harbor Lion’s Club – 32630 WA-20, Oak Harbor
You may notice every year, directly after Thanksgiving, the patch of forest next to the Chamber of Commerce gains a few more trees. That is because Oak Harbor’s Lions club pitches up tent there every year to sell Christmas trees! The club sells trees of all kinds from to the public through their pop-up shop and all their proceeds go to their non-profit. It’s a great way to get a tree and give back this holiday season! They will sell every day from 10am – 7pm until every tree has a home.
Hennrich Tree Farm – 1650 Hastie Lake Road, Oak Harbor
Want a winter weekend adventure? The surrounding forestry at Hennrich Tree Farms makes your tree hunt feel an adventurous nature walk. Breathe in the fresh air and let your wild side out as you forage for your perfect tree. Hennrich opens their doors December 1st and are open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm while supplies last.
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There is nothing that will make you appreciate delicious berries more than the sweat and work that goes into picking them. Working for those juicy goodies will only make them taste even better, and that’s why we love the opportunity to visit local farms for their U-Pick berry events. There are several farms on Whidbey Island that give you the chance to take the family and pick your own strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries!
Bell’s Farms: 892 West Beach Rd, Coupeville.
Bell’s Farms is practically famous on Whidbey Island for their plump and juicy strawberries. They host the annual Strawberry Daze Festival where you can not only pick strawberries, but also enjoy a glass of strawberry lemonade and other delicious strawberry treats while you are there. Bring the kids they have a petting zoo and fun activities too! UPick strawberry season can vary so follow their Facebook page for real time updates. https://www.facebook.com/Bells-Farm-164501900234634/
Bonnie’s Blueberries: 4414 N Jones Rd, Oak Harbor.
Boasting of 75+ year old blueberry bushes, Bonnie’s Blueberries is the perfect place to pick your own fresh Rubels, Atlantic, and Jersey blueberries. This small, mother and son run business is a favorite in Oak Harbor due to their welcoming personalities and of course the delicious blueberries! Their blueberry season typically runs somewhere around July 1st through September 31st, however the blueberry crop is totally dependent on mother nature. For updates on Blueberries and when they will be ready, call 360-679-3600. If you just can’t’ wait that long Bonnie’s Blueberries offers frozen berries year-round, just call to place your order!
Hunter’s Moon Farm: 935 Bunch Lane, Oak Harbor.
Hunter’s Moon Farm, a certified organic blueberry farm, provides the chance to pick a variety of late season blueberries. The farm is open Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10-4pm and the blueberry season is expected to begin the end of July and run through the middle of September. To stay up to date on their season and other happenings around the farm, you can sign up for their mailing list here: http://huntersmoonorganics.com/ . Hunter’s Moon is also known for their blueberry honey, snack bars, syrup, and jam which you can grab while you are there for your blueberry picking adventure! You can also follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Hunters-Moon-Farm-764648210260935/
Crescent Harbor Blueberry Farm: 2726 Laurel Lane, Oak Harbor.
If you’re looking for more of a “private” blueberry picking experience. Crescent Harbor Blueberry Farm is the place to go, and they don’t stop at blueberries! This small, family farm also offers raspberries, Marion berries, tayberries, and boysenberries. U-Pick berries at Crescent Harbor are available by appointment only. To make your appointment and get updates on the crop availability, give them a call at 360-679-4210.
K&R Farms The Stand: 36699 SR 20, Oak Harbor.
Previously known as Dugualla Bay Farm, K&R Farm “The Stand” is making its presence known in Oak Harbor. Stop by for a U-pick strawberry and raspberry experience, then reward your hard work with a hearty serving of ice cream! The Stand has not released their U-Pick days just yet, so you will want to follow their Facebook page for updates on their crop, and hours of operation as it changes from week to week. https://www.facebook.com/KandRFarmsLLC/
Map of UPick Berry Farms:
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Whidbey Island Pop-up Flower Stands
Summer on Whidbey is a magical time for many reasons but one of the most idyllic reasons is the beautiful little flower stands that pop-up all over the Island as the ground warms up. They’re almost all honesty stands, which speaks to the culture we enjoy in this community and they are run by individuals who operate them almost as a labor of love! If you don’t drive past one on your daily “commute” you may not even know they exist or how many are out there so we created a map for you! This shows the most well-known stands in the Oak Harbor and Coupeville area. We would love to add more! If you know of any additional stands please send us pictures, a specific location, what they typically offer, cost, etc. and we will add it to the map!
Whidbey Island Pop-up Flower Stand Map
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Summer Programs for Kids
With only a few weeks left in the school year, the thought of having the kids home all day is probably on the forefront of your mind. What will you do to keep the kids busy this summer and keep their little minds engaged? A perk of living on Whidbey in the summer time is that there are plenty of opportunities for the kids to get outside and play. On top of the longer play hours and beautiful weather, Whidbey offers a variety of programs the kids can get involved with throughout the summer.
- Sailing Camps are offered for kids ages 9-15 by Oak Harbor Youth Sailing. These week-long camps begin June 25 and run through July 30 from 11:00AM – 4:30PM. See https://www.oakharboryouthsailing.org/registration-information for more information on registration and pricing.
- The Camp Casey Pool is open to the public on June 16th and is open every day (except for Sundays) from 12-5pm. Admission is only $5 per person, with the option to purchase a punch card for frequent visitors. The Camp Casey Pool also offers American Red Cross swim lessons for ages 4 and up. Click here for swim lesson dates and prices : http://spu.edu/depts/casey/Recreation/swim-lessons.asp .
- The Whidbey Playhouse will host their 4th annual Youth Summer Theater Workshop July 9th through August 2nd. This workshop is a great place for young actors and actresses to learn new skills and get comfortable on the stage. For more information on the course, pricing, and registration click here: https://www.whidbeyplayhouse.com/summer-camp .
- The Whidbey Children’s Theatre in Langley is a great place for kids to get involved in theatre, participate in shows of their own, and take classes to work on their skills. Classes are offered for kids as young as 4 up to 19 years. For more information on how your kids can get involved, check out their website here: http://wctmagic.org/ .
- Summer Dance Camps are offered through Leaps & Bounds Dance and Tumbling Center for children ages 3-5. Week-long camps begin on June 5th with the last camp beginning on July 24th. Each week has a different theme, perfect for those who want to continue past their one-week camp. For more information regarding registration and pricing, click here: http://danceoakharbor.com/summer_camps .
- Sno-Isle Libraries offer some really fun summer reading programs and activities in both Coupeville and Oak Harbor. Their annual “Explore Summer” program for kids begins on June 1st, along with a variety of other reading activities throughout the summer. This is a great way to keep your kids fresh on their reading skills and continue learning during those months away from school. For more information visit their website at https://www.sno-isle.org/summerteens/ .
- Sign your kids up for the Kids Bowl Free program! Oak Bowl in Oak Harbor participates in this program, where kids can bowl up to 2 games per day for FREE. Find out more information and get your kids signed up by clicking here: https://www.kidsbowlfree.com/index.php .
- Create your very own glass art at Callahan’s Firehouse in Langley! Callahan’s Firehouse offers the unique experience of glassblowing and the opportunity to make your very own creation. Ages 5 and up can participate by choosing their own colors for their art and be guided through each step to creating their very own masterpiece! Visit their website to schedule your appointment and read up on important information before your visit. https://callahansfirehouse.com/schedule-glassblowing/ .
- You can never go wrong with a trip to the Blue Fox Drive-In. With an arcade, go-karts, and a huge selection of yummy snacks, the Drive-In is a treat for the whole family. The longer daylight hours will make for a late start on the movie, but just think of the sleeping in that will be happening the next day! Check out their website to see what’s playing each week, along with their weekly concession deal. http://www.bluefoxdrivein.com/ .
- For military families, take advantage of the Youth Activities Center and the wide variety of programs to take place throughout the summer. The Youth Center is available to kids ages 12-18 of active and retired military, DOD civilians, and DOD contractors. Different programs are available for different interests (art, team sports, video games, etc.) as well as volunteer opportunities and field trips to different places. Learn more by clicking here: https://whidbey.navylifepnw.com/programs/92723cd7-11c2-4e97-9e22-1f663d448a94 .
As you can see, there is no shortage of things to keep the kids occupied this summer. What are some summer activities your family enjoys?
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Where to Donate in Oak Harbor
Does anyone else breathe a huge sigh of relief when you’ve purged your home off all the extra stuff that has been cluttering up your house? It’s that time of the year again, Spring cleaning season is here! It can be a bit daunting to think of all the things you need to need to get rid of and where to take them… SO we’ve made that part easy for you! Here are a few of the great places where you can donate your old items for a new lease on life.
Garage of Blessings
The “Free” store of Oak Harbor, the Garage of Blessings is an excellent place to donate your gently used items. In 2012, Kristina Miller opened her garage doors at her home and invited people to come and take what they needed free of charge. Now, with help from Mike Rowe (Dirty jobs, deadliest catch… yeah that Mike Rowe!) and his team, the store has grown from its original location in Miller’s garage to its current 6,000 square feet location on Goldie Rd. Check out the video of his visit here… http://www.americastube.com/video/46qi7229tnp7?the-garage-of-blessings—returning-the-favor-with-mike-rowe . Anytime the Garage’s doors are open you can bring in your donations of gently used housewares, clothing, electronics, books, baby items, hardware, emergency food, crafts, and more.
Island Thrift is open for donations Monday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm. They accept a variety of gently used items such as clothing, toys, books, baby items, housewares, furniture, and more! (For a list of items not accepted visit their website here: https://www.islandthriftoakharbor.org/donations/ ) Island Thrift is also a non-profit organization with a purpose “to enhance the quality of life in Island County.” Island Thrift’s sales fund programs such as the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Island County, Boys and Girls Club of Oak Harbor and Coupeville, Oak Harbor Music Festival, Oak Harbor Senior Activity Center, Compass Health, Wildcats Robotics Team, and so much more!
WAIF Thrift Store
The Whidbey Animal’s Improvement Foundation was founded in 1990 as a “place to care for pets and their people.” You are probably familiar with their adoption center in Coupeville and Cat adoption center in Oak Harbor, but did you know that they support and offer a wide variety of other community outreach programs? (For a full list check out their website here: https://waifanimals.org/programs/ ) You can donate your gently used items at the WAIF thrift store and help keep the WAIF adoption centers up and running, as well as support their other community programs. WAIF accepts household items, clothing, linens, jewelry, collectibles, furniture, and more!
The Soroptimist International is a “global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.” Upscale Resale is a thrift shop that helps support the mission of the Soroptimist International program, as well as supports their scholarship and grant programs. They are open for donations of clothing, shoes, jewelry, glassware, books, tools, luggage, lamps, and more from 11am to 5pm, Wednesday through Saturday. To see a full list of items they accept visit their website here: https://www.sioakharbor.org/upscale-resale/ )
Habitat for Humanity Used Furniture Store
If you’re not sure where to take your large furniture items or appliances, Habitat for Humanity is happy to take them off your hands. You can drop off your useable items directly at the store or schedule a pick up at your home. (Call them at 360-675-8733 to schedule your pick up!) Habitat for Humanity is a “community of members who recognize the need for affordable housing” and by donating your items to the Habitat store, you are helping this organization continue to provide affordable housing and help “families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.”
So while you’re busy cleaning out all that extra clutter, why not make a difference in the lives of others at the same time by donating those items to one of these great organizations?
A historical living landscape
You may have heard of, or even spent an afternoon hiking the bluff on Ebey’s Reserve. It’s spectacular landscape, and unparalleled views of Admiralty Inlet and the Olympic mountains are a treat for the eyes and refreshing to the soul. But, while you are busy soaking it all in, you may not realize how Ebey’s Reserve is a preservation of not just human history but a preservation of how humans interact with the land and nature.
As Early as 1300, Western explores began inhabiting central Whidbey because of the abundance of natural resources from both land and sea. However, it wasn’t until 1851, by suggestion of his friend Samuel Crockett, that Colonel Isaac Neff Ebey claimed land on Central Whidbey. Ebey was delighted with the area and wrote home urging his family to join him. Soon after hearing about the paradise Ebey described, they emigrated to and settled on the island, making the Ebey family one of the first permanent settlers on the Island.
During your visit, you can still view the home of Colonel Isaac’s father, Jacob Ebey, and his blockhouse that was built to protect and defend his claim of the island from Indians. The house sits overlooking the prairie that is now known as Ebey’s landing and stands as a memoir to the beginning of life on Whidbey Island.
But, the story doesn’t end there! In addition to farmers, central Whidbey attracted sea captains and merchants because of the protection Penn Cove offers and the high value timber for shipbuilding. One of the many settlers that made their way to Whidbey was the daring Captain Thomas Coupe, who astonished his fellow seafarers when he sailed through Deception Pass in a full-rigged ship, a risk very few were willing to take. Coupe then claimed 320 acres of land on Central Whidbey, that later became our beloved town of Coupeville.
Protected by the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978, Ebey’s Reserve stands as a historical living landscape that promises the same experience for generations to come. It is a place to enjoy the unchanged views, celebrate and honor the history of the area, and preserve the natural resources that attracted so many here in the first place. Ebey’s Reserve is a true treasure of Whidbey Island, no matter how many times you visit you will always return feeling like it’s the first time.
Our favorite hike in Ebey’s Reserve is the “bluff trail” https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/washington/ebeys-landing-trail
To learn more about life on Whidbey in the past visit the Museum
For ways to get involved, attend events or support the Reserve http://www.friendsofebeys.org/events.html
For more about Ebey’s Landing visit them on the web http://www.nps.gov/ebla
Follow Ebey’s Landing on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ebeyslanding_nhr/?hl=en
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