How the Whidbey Working Artists Began:
In the early 2000s Whidbey Island was a community buzzing with potential and truly coming into its unique identity as an island full of diversity. During this time a small group of North Whidbey artists decided to band together to draw attention to the island’s ever-growing artist community. Thus Whidbey Working Artists was born!
Since 2004 these artists have been opening their studios once or twice a year for the general public to come, explore, and learn about the process of creating beauty. As these tours gained in popularity more and more artists have been included on their roster and today the tour now spans across the whole of Whidbey! Today, Whidbey Working Artists includes over 70 artists working across multiple mediums.
But why open their studios? Their website says it best:
As an organization we believe that opening our studios offers visitors the opportunity to share in the process of how art is created and a glimpse of how artists inhabit their creative space. This shared experience between artists and visitors provides a stimulating creative conversation that enhances the arts while also educating and developing an appreciation for the handcrafted.
This year’s summer tours are scheduled for August 24th & 25th from 10 AM to 5 PM. Come watch as painters manipulate the pigments on their canvas to just the perfect shade of purple, or welders bend metals into shape you never dreamed they could, or watch craftsmen reveal a magnificent creature from beneath the bark of a tree stump.
See below for an interactive tour of each artist’s studio!
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The adventures available on Whidbey never quite seem to end. Between wondrous hikes, quaint local shops, and astounding historical buildings there never seems to be an end to what this island has to offer. You might just start to believe Whidbey Island is perfect and we can’t say we disagree.
Among Whidbey’s countless opportunities is one for the more athletic individuals – cycling.
Whidbey Island is FILLED with amazing roads and trails perfect for individuals whose preferred method of transportation is two wheels. The centralized location of highway 20 and 525 draws motorized vehicles away from roads near the water, making them ideal for cyclers! Enjoy breathtaking views of the sound while flying down the rolling hills of the island or testing your resolve while going up them.
In fact, cycling is so popular that the island has its own club. The Whidbey Island Bicycle Club was formed in 2010 to “support, promote and educate about cycling on beautiful Whidbey Island.” Through the years this group has teamed together with other island organizations providing resources to island cyclists (like this amazing Whidbey Island Bike Map!) including some pretty great cycling events. The best place to find their events is through their Facebook page.
Each summer cyclists come from all over Puget Sound to ride the Tour de Whidbey (on August 17th this year). With four different routes to choose from, this beloved island tradition is perfect for all cyclists regardless of their skill level. New riders can enjoy the short 10-mile ride circling Crocket Lake, while experienced riders with a passion for pushing the limits can test their skills with the POWER route that covers the entire perimeter of the island. To bring this event full cycle, all proceeds benefit Whidbey Health Medical Center.
Ready to gear up for your own cycling adventure and not sure where to start? We’ve talked to our resident cycle enthusiast and got the 411 on where to start:
Visit Skagit Cycle
Located in downtown Oak Harbor on Pioneer, Skagit Cycle is a blessing to all Whidbey Island cyclists. The employees are knowledgeable and eager to help. Simply spend a few minutes with any sales associate and you will soon be out the door with exactly what you need to get your journey started. Check them out here.
A dangerous mistake made by one too many riders is not taking proper precautions. Biking without a helmet or proper attire is a large risk that can cost your life. Make sure when to wear a helmet properly fitted to your head, clothes that are bright and easy to spot, and include proper reflectors/lights on your bike if you are going to be riding at night.
Try Crockett Lake
Crockett Lake (near the Coupeville ferry and Fort Casey) is a great starting point for any new cyclist. The low traffic roads and relatively flat area provide a ride that eases newcomers into the activity while still enjoying some spectacular island views. When you’re done grab an ice cream or meal at Callen’s Restaurant across from the ferry terminal.
So, get out there! You’re sure to have a wheel good time.
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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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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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