EventsThings to do on Whidbey December 30, 2020

What are we supposed to do now that Christmas is over and um… COVID?

The gifts are all open, the excitement and anxious anticipation for December 25th has come and gone. Any friends/family that did come to visit have already, or are soon to be, returning home and we are left here sitting with the aftermath of Christmas, surrounded by crumpled wrapping paper and half-torn bows. Honestly, after this year, most of us are still holding onto the twinkle of the lights because nobody is quite ready to let the spirit of Christmas go.

After Christmas

Scrolling through the Facebook feed it’s easy to see we are not alone in this feeling and, if you are reading this, you likely aren’t either.

The sudden calm right after Christmas can leave us feeling dazed. It’s a shock to the system when you realize how much post-holiday cleanup there is to complete. Where does one begin when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal and even more so this year because… well… what is normal anymore?

To help you get back on your feet we have 6 ideas for keeping the celebratory spirit rolling well into the New Year and help you with the transition back to some kind of normalcy in your home.

  1. Throw a virtual 2021 bash for the New Year!
  2. Make room for the new!
  3. Donate the old…
  4. Give to the food bank.
  5. Throw a touchless regifting party.
  6. Recycle your tree!

THROW A VIRTUAL 2021 BASH FOR THE NEW YEAR!

What are we supposed to do now, Virtual Bash, New Years, 2021

Keep the Christmas tree and decorations up! Add 2021 balloons and YES… The answer is, yes girl, buy the dress! It makes you feel good, and even though you are home you are still going to be seen during your virtual party and your posts online. Even better, HELP THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER DO THE BOOGIE AND BUY THE DRESS LOCAL! Here is a list of some great places on Whidbey Island to find a dress…

MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW…

Begin by figuring out what you want to get rid of. Then determine where it should go. Not everything should go in the trash, you can recycle, donate, even regift!

Start by recycling

“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Years?” (King5)

It is not hard to figure out why this increased waste occurs. However, it does not make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, to be an effective recycler, you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So, here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.

What to do with my stuff, windermere suggestions, what are we supposed to do now

CAN Recycle:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plain paper boxes and bags
  • Plain wrapping paper
  • Holiday cards (without embellishments)
  • Tissue paper

CANNOT Recycle:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Cellophane
  • Tinsel
  • Plastic bags
  • Holiday lights
  • Ribbons
  • Bows
  • Foam packaging

DONATE THE OLD

This time of year, your home can feel a bit cramped and cluttered with the addition of all those great new gifts. What better way to start the New Year than with a mini overhaul? Start by getting rid of your junk… BUT, just because you might not have a use for some of your older items doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Help keep useful things out of the landfill this year and DONATE!  Once you and your loved ones have decided which items they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used items.

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GIVE TO THE FOOD BANK

It is easy to get caught up in buying food for the holidays and during that generous and abundant mood our food banks are typically full.  It’s the time immediately after the holidays that can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience after the holidays can cause an all-out stop to donations for a while but, unfortunately, needs don’t just stop because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.

Donate, what are we supposed to do now

THROW A TOUCHLESS REGIFTING PARTY

We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply did not want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it does not have to be this way! We know you are not a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it, or at least cause a chuckle? Unwanted gifts do not need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to pass that hot potato on to someone else! Ha!

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So, throw the party! Just get creative in how you do it!

Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephants almost exactly. Invite friends (heck let your friends invite their friends the more the merrier and its virtual so if you don’t like them it’s not really a big deal) give everyone a number and when chosen unwrap your gift to reveal, then deliver, or give everyone an address and drop off your random gift and have fun discovering new treasures! Don’t want to figure out the logistics yourself? Use this easy and free online tool to organize your White Elephant Re-gift Exchange today!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, ITS TIME TO RECYCLE YOUR TREE

Soon that fresh pine smell is going to leave (if it hasn’t already). If you are like the rest of us who set up our trees a month earlier than normal, your clean floors are beginning to be covered in pine needles. So, start thinking now how you are going to prevent the headache of getting rid of the tree without upsetting your neighbors when your tree is still laying on the side yard in May. I know, it is always sad, especially this year when the time comes to take down the Christmas tree, but like every other year, the end of thousands of needles in your vacuum will come as a relief.

If you live in a house with a wood-burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they do not burn slowly like wood, but instead, spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the Island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly.

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We hope your transition into 2021 is smooth and peaceful! Please share with us any other ideas you have for easing out of one season and into the next.

Thank you, your Windermere Whidbey Team!

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PlacesThings to do on Whidbey July 21, 2020

A Trip to Langley

Plan your Trip to Langley

A Little History Before You Plan Your Trip to Langley

On the southern side of Whidbey Island along the Saratoga Passage lies the lovely little town of Langley. With a population of just over one thousand, this quaint town is home to a creative culture and endless entertainment.

Langley’s history has led to its unique and diverse culture. Established in 1891, Langley served as South Whidbey’s trading center for all types of goods with the wharf connecting island merchants to Everett and Seattle. In the 60s and 70s, that same wharf brought in a wave of hippies who would forever shift the culture of South Whidbey.

Although Langley’s docks no longer see the traffic they once did, downtown is filled with remnants of the original trades-town married beautifully with the artistic culture of the mid-century hippies. It’s quite a treat to visit. If you get the chance to spend a day in Langley and aren’t sure what to do, you’re in luck! We’ve created an itinerary for the perfect one-day trip in Langley. Just don’t forget your mask and keep a social distance! 

Itinerary for Day Trip to Langley

Coffee at Useless Bay

Enjoy some amazing early morning coffee from this local roaster to give yourself an extra boost at the beginning of your day. Between the friendly baristas, great drinks, and buzzing atmosphere you’ll be excited to return to this cafe over and over. 

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Breakfast at The Braeburn 

BEST. BREAKFAST. EVER. Or at least it’s hard to top. The Braeburn has an amazing assortment of breakfast choices ranging from light and sweet pastries to hearty mashes and breakfast burritos. There’s something for everyone!

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Morning Stroll Down Seawall Park

When you make your way out of The Braeburn you might consider taking a stroll down Langley’s Seawall Park. This seaside park is full of beautiful art that pays tribute to past island tribes and a walking path to help you get the most out of the beautiful view.

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Lunch at Ultra House

Ready for lunch? This ramen house is tucked away in the dead center of Langley village and serves absolutely incredible food! Enjoy slurping noodles and sipping broth and feeling like you’re another world away.

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Ice Cream at Sprinklz

What better way to end lunch than with some sweets?! Sprinklz is a local favorite when it comes to ice cream. It’s hard to beat their fun store or their incredible old fashioned ice cream. 

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Explore Downtown and the Star Store

Even though a few of the Langley shops have closed their doors during the pandemic, The Star Store alone could keep anyone’s attention for quite some time. This century-old mercantile seamlessly transitions from produce to products and more. 

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End the Night at the Taproom at Bayview

What better way to end the night than with some comfort food and a good beer? Bayview Taproom provides that and much more. You’ll love this community watering hole for its juicy burgers, kind servers, and joyful atmosphere. 

 

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EventsThings to do on Whidbey January 14, 2020

Now What? What to do after Christmas

Now What?

The gifts are all open, friends and family have returned to their respective homes, the ball has fallen, and the kids are back in school. The holiday season has officially come to a close, leaving us with the annual question of “Now what?”

 

Although this question can be an ominous one correlating to all that life may hold for us in the coming 12 months, for many it also applies to right here and right now. The sudden calm after Christmas can leave people dazed or even in a state of shock when they realize they have a bit of post-holiday cleanup to complete. It can be hard to know where to start or what to do when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal. We are here to help with 5 After Christmas Activities.

 

  1. Donate Old Toys

If you’re like most families, the quantity of toys in your home this time of year probably spikes quite a bit. When new and exciting Christmas gifts join those that came before it can feel like you’re living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Sneaking unplayed-with toys out of their room in the dead of night may be the easiest option but encouraging your children to choose which toys they would like to donate can help teach generosity, the importance of cleaning up, and critical decision making skills. Once you and your kids have decided which toys they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used toys.

donate, toys, reuse, more life

 

 

  1. Recycle Your Tree

Now for that (maybe less than lush) tree currently gracing your living room with its presence. It’s always a little sad when the time comes around to take down the Christmas tree, but the end of its needle droppings is usually welcomed. What’s not welcomed is the question of what to do with it. If you live in a house with a wood burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they don’t burn slowly like wood, but instead spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly:

Recycle your Christmas Tree

  1. What You Can and Can’t Recycle

“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?” (King5) It’s little wonder why this increased waste occurs. However, it doesn’t make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, in order to be an effective recycler you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.

Recycle wrapping paper

CAN Recycle

●       Cardboard boxes

●       Plain paper boxes and bags

●       Plain wrapping paper

●       Holiday Cards (w/o embellishments)

●       Tissue paper

CAN’T Recycle

●       Bubble wrap

●       Cellophane

●       Tinsel

●       Plastic Bags

●       Holiday Lights

●       Ribbons

●       Bows

●       Foam Packaging

 

 

  1. Give to the Food Bank

During the holidays it’s very easy to get caught up in the good cheer and generosity of the season. But the time immediately after the holidays can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience directly after the holidays can cause an all out stop to donations for a while; but unfortunately, needs don’t cease just because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.

donate unused foods

 

  1. Throw a Regifting Party!

We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply didn’t want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat?? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it doesn’t have to be this way! We know you aren’t a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it? Unwanted gifts don’t need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to find someone who might actually find use or enjoyment in it.

Regifting Party

Throw a Regifting Party!

 

Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephant almost exactly. So makes some warm drinks, grab a few good friends, and have a great time discovering new treasures!

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PlacesUncategorized June 10, 2019

Blonde Lawns on Whidbey Island

Blonde Lawns on Whidbey Island

Hello Summer! Can you believe it’s here? That beautiful time of year filled with beach walks, swimming lessons, trips to Kapaws Iskreme and so much more! Here on Whidbey we have countless summer traditions we treasure greatly. From our Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration to the Whidbey Island Fair, there is so much to cherish about this time of year. One tradition you may be unaware of is actually more of a movement.

Blonde Lawns.

Through the course of the summer months you can watch the emerald grass of this evergreen island fade to a sandy shade. Before you know it, this rock will be rocking a brand new blonde look.

What’s with the lack luster lawns? Well, it all has to do with conservation.

It’s no surprise to anyone that Whidbey tends to be a rather environmentally conscious. We love taking the extra step to ensure the beauty and resources we enjoy today will be around for tomorrow. One of those resources we care deeply about are our aquifers.

Aquifers:

Aquifers is the scientific term for ground water. Deep below the grass you walk on are pockets of “permeable” soil which store water that can then be tapped into for use. Annually these aquifers are recharged by the rain that falls to the ground.

According to Island County, Whidbey Island’s sole source of potable water comes from the ground.1 Sounds great, right? I mean, it’s Washington and it rains here. We should be good.Whidbey Island

Unfortunately, not all is good in the aquifer hood.

According to a report released by the Washington State Department of Ecology, “increasing demands for water from ongoing population growth, declining stream flows and groundwater levels… have put Washington’s water supplies at risk.” Whidbey is by no means immune to this water depletion; in fact, seawater intrusion and our lack of rain fall in comparison to the rest of Western Washington puts us in a pretty tight spot.

So, what does this have to do with the blonde lawns of Whidbey (I think you can guess).

The summer months, when there is little rain, poses a particularly difficult dilemma for island aquifers. Between keeping ourselves hydrated in the summer sun, watering plants, animals, and filling the pool in the backyard we use A LOT of water.

This increase of use and lack of resource hits hard on our aquifers and our wallets! Many newcomers to Whidbey are shocked when that first summer water bill comes in. The rules of supply and demand are no strangers to Whidbey Island water.

So how can we save our aquifers (and our wallets)? By going blonde!

Grass is far more durable than people sometimes realize. More times than not the golden grass that takes over Whidbey in the summer will be green again by next spring. Blonde lawns DON’T mean dead grass.

So, save yourself time, money, hassle and save our precious resources. Let your lawn go blonde!

 

Resources:

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Geocaching on Whidbey Island

Geocaching on Whidbey Island

Why is Whidbey Island the Perfect Place?

It is no secret that Whidbey Island is an astonishingly beautiful place. It’s the kind of atmosphere that draws you outside to enjoy the many state parks and breathtaking beaches. Countless trails dot the landscape all across the island. These trails and parks are what make Whidbey Island the perfect place for one very special activity: geocaching.

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What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a hobby that has been around for almost twenty years, following the significant improvements on the global positioning system. The concept of the game is simple; go to a location indicated on your app/GPS, find the hidden treasure, re-hide and repeat. Geocaching’s simple, yet successful, concept attracts millions from across the globe to get outside and participate. On Whidbey Island alone there are over 300 caches!

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From the Geocachers:

We asked a few Geocachers about the draw to the hobby and they gave us a wealth of knowledge.

Sandra, a long term Geocacher, expressed “so many activities today [are] related to being indoors and sedentary in nature,” but she believes breaking that trend is what brings people to the hobby.

“Geocaching [is] directly related to being outside, the benefits are exercising your brain and your body! I’ve also been introduced to wonderful like-minded people who enjoy adventures.”

Bill, a fellow Geocacher, echoes every word of Sandra’s beliefs in the benefits of Geocaching. Asked why he started he simply said, “it was a way to get out!” As a retired man Bill is grateful to have geocaching for a hobby. Its something that keeps him active, helps him meet new people and discover new places.

So how easy is it to get into Geocaching?

Step 1: Download the App

This is the easiest part! Both iTunes and Google Play offer Geocaching as a phone app. All you need to do is search for it and download.

Step 2: Set Up a Profile

Setting up a profile allows you to save those caches you have already found and will start to develop statistics after you’ve been participating for a while.

Step 3: Start Finding Caches!

The app will immediately give you directions to the caches nearest you. You will follow it to the location and after that you are mostly left to find the treasure.

geocahing, whidbey island, washington

We Gave it a Try:

We decided to give it a try ourselves and it was great! We discovered there was a geocache right next to our Coupeville office. When we got a little lost and confused, we found out there was a helpful hint to guide the way. After a little snooping we found a tiny pill box with the visitor log!

 

 

 

 

 

Overall it was a pretty great experience and we can’t believe there are SO MANY more caches to find and places to discover on Whidbey Island! Sandra stated it best, “Whidbey Island is a magical place to live and geocache in… I loved discovering the “Mother of All Erratics” in the Saratoga Woods near Langley, (as well as) new trails and Dugualla State Park on North Whidbey, and secret places in Deception Pass State Park. We have lived on Whidbey almost 38 years and all of those places and more were discovered through geocaching!”

Go get out there and explore!

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