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.
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.
Island Thrift | 600 SE Barrington Dr, Oak Harbor
Upscale Resale | 210 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
Habitat for Humanity | 280 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor
The Garage of Blessings | 800 SE Barrington Drive, Oak Harbor
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:
North Whidbey Solid Waste | 3151 Oak Harbor Road, Oak Harbor
Coupeville Solid Waste Complex | 20018 State Highway 20, Coupeville
Bayview Solid Waste | 5790 S Kramer Road, Langley
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.
● Cardboard boxes
● Plain paper boxes and bags
● Plain wrapping paper
● Holiday Cards (w/o embellishments)
● Tissue paper
● Bubble wrap
● Plastic Bags
● Holiday Lights
● Foam Packaging
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.
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.
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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Have you been outside lately? There has not been a coatless day in WEEKS and the trees downtown are one harsh wind away from officially being bare.
The point is…it’s cold.
We all know the drill here. We put away our summertime flip flops in exchange for wool socks and thick boots. Our tank tops get pushed to the backs of our closets as sweaters emerge. Winter is coming and we are preparing our closets accordingly.
But how are you preparing your home?
It’s hard to imagine failing to maintain the greatest investment we’ve ever made yet every year a shocking number of homeowners fail to do basic winterization tasks. Some don’t even know that they should! To lend a helping hand here are the Top 5 Winterization Tasks you should do every year.
Clean out the gutters
Those beautiful fall leaves we’ve been watching descend so gracefully from the sky are the same ones descending into your gutters. Although that might not mean much now, when the temperature dips down to freezing it can mean a whole lot. Water unable to escape the drains due to fallen leaves expand as it freezes. This can cause gutters to become damaged or pull away from the house. Eventually these become overhead hazards that threaten to fall from above.
Cleaning your gutters may not be fun, but it is vital and pretty easy. Simply grab a ladder, some work gloves, a trash bag, ang get to work! You’ll probably find it goes faster than you ever imagined.
Flush irrigation systems
If you have a sprinkler system for your home, it is of the utmost importance to have the lines professionally blown out before the cold hits! As we talked about with the gutters above, when water freezes it expands. This is bad news for those underground pipes! Frozen water that expands within irrigation pipes can cause pipes to crack or burst destroying your system and your yard. Below are some local companies certified to service irrigation systems:
Precision Plumbing and Backflow Testing | 360-914-0321
Everflow Irrigation | 360-840-4793
GCF Backflow Services | 360-320-9871
Evergreen Landscape & Maintenance | 360-679-2363
King Water Company | 360-678-5336
Cover outside faucets
Going hand in hand with blowing out that sprinkler system is covering ALL outside spigots. BURSTING PIPES! It’s a very real issue that can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. Luckily, covering your pipes can be as easy as going to your local hardware store and picking up one of the below faucet covers. They are extremely easy to install and if you are even a little concerned we have found a helpful video to guide you through!
Fertilize the lawn
Winter months seem to only to bring with them frost and death. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the story for your lawn. Winter fertilizer helps your grass recover from minerals lost in the scorching summer sun and stock up on the nutrition it needs to withstand the cold winter months. This will prevent it from dying away when spring hits.
However, living on an island brings with it special considerations when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. Traditional fertilizers often contain high amounts of hazardous chemicals such as zinc, lead, cadmium, chromium or sometimes even arsenic. The risk of these chemicals is only elevated with the addition concern of their runoff into the Puget Sound. Living on Whidbey increases this risk drastically even for the most centrally located island properties. That’s why we highly suggest using eco-friendly fertilizers such as Milorganite’s Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer which you can pick up Home Depot today!
Replace weather stripping
Every year countless sums of money are spent on the excess heating required to keep our homes warm in the winter months. But is all that money necessary? You’d be shocked to learn all the different ways in which the sacred warm air inside escapes from your home. Although some of these issues require big solutions like reinstalling insulation in your roof or switching to a better heating system altogether; quite a lot can be done in simply replacing some of your weather stripping around the house!
How long has the weather stripping along your exterior doors been there? Since you’ve moved in, right? Well every time that door opens and closes there is a little more wear to the stripping and after a few hundred passages it’s no wonder it starts to give way.
Replacing weather stripping is easy and relatively cheap! Check it out:
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Whidbey Island Wineries & Distilleries
“With intriguing accents of spice and musty earth [and] a gripping mouthful of tannins dance on the lengthy finish.”
These are the words used to describe Spoiled Dog Winery’s Estate Pinot Noir. If you are a fancy wine connoisseur, you probably knew what all of those words meant. Or maybe that entire sentence was gibberish to you.
Luckily, expertise is not a requirement for enjoyment when it comes to wine. This is evident annually with the “Autumn on Whidbey Tour” when people from all over and with all levels of wine knowledge flood the tasting rooms of local wineries to make memories. The tour is filled with friends having fun, amazing wine, and local art displayed in every tasting room.
Hosted by the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association, this year’s Autumn on Whidbey tour is widening it’s horizons by also including some local spirits! This expansion helps to include individuals interested in participating, but not really interested in wine. It also provides recognition and traffic to some pretty great local distilleries.
Below are some of the Wineries and Distilleries participating in this year’s tour that we had the pleasure of visiting:
Holmes Harbor Cellars
When you think of vineyards and wine tours, do you think of gorgeous Italian villas overlooking expansive acres of grape vines? If so, Holmes Harbor is the place for you! This locally owned winery opened its doors in 2008 with the hope of blending art and science to create some of the most incredible wines on Whidbey. This blend is evident both in their wine and in their tasting room which has the facade of a beautiful authentic villa while proudly displaying their fermentation tanks within. You can’t help but feel like you are about to have the best weekend of your life when you enter this incredible space.
Mutiny Bay Distillery
You are going to LOVE this mom, pop, and son distillery. After retiring as pharmacists Rod and Kathy Stallman utilized their deep understanding of chemistry to create spirits that ignite your imagination. With the engineering innovations of their son Scott, this trio created what can only be described as a dream line of liquor distilled from almost exclusively local ingredients. Their love and passion for their craft is evident from the moment you enter the tasting room. They love walking people through their selection of spirits and their process. You do not want to miss this stop on the tour!
Spoiled Dog Winery
As one of the most established and favorited wineries on the island, Spoiled Dog is without doubt a real treat to visit. Approaching the property guests are enveloped in trees that open suddenly to acres of vineyards and one of the most charming farm style buildings on Whidbey. Walking in one is immediately met by friendly tasting room staff standing in front of countless barrels of aging wine. The staff are knowledgeable and eager to help. Their selection is incredible and nothing beats the view of the vineyard with tall evergreens in the background.
This year’s Autumn on Whidbey Tour is November 9-10. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 or $30 day of the event. You can purchase yours here!
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Dun dun. Dun dun. Dun dun…. They’re here…..
It’s Spider Season!
It comes without fail every year. In what feels like a blink of an eye every tree, bush, and building corner are covered in shiny interwoven silk with a beady eyed creature lurking somewhere nearby.
If you’re like most people, this is probably your least favorite time of the year. The occurrence of these little eight-legged animals provokes feelings ranging from mild disgust to outlandish fear. A lot of this fear comes from misinformation we’ve been given for a long time. So, let’s debunk some of these myths, shall we?
Myth #1 – “Spiders have dangerous venom that could kill.”
Although it is true all spiders have venom (yes, ALL spiders); only a VERY small number have the ability to harm humans, and of those, few are fatal. Even a bite from the most notorious arachnid, the Black Widow, is mostly non-life-threatening for healthy adults. Thanks to modern medicine our access to antivenom has increased dramatically.
Myth #2 – “We have Brown Recluses and Black Widows on Whidbey Island.”
No, you did not see a Brown Recluse in your bathtub and the black spider on the bush outside is not a Black Widow. Although these spiders do live in Washington State, the vast majority of them live on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Sightings of these spiders in western Washington is very rare and practically unheard of for Whidbey Island.
So, what is the “scary” brown spider in your bathtub? We’re glad you asked! Here are 3 of the most common spiders to see on Whidbey:
The Common House Spider
Yes, there is a spider called the Common House Spider. Although there are several subspecies, they are all harmless but enjoy dry, warmer areas. You’ll often spot these spiders in the unused corners of your house hanging out and waiting for a fly to make its way towards them.
This was probably the spider is the bathtub! Also called a Wood Spider, these little eight-legged friends are plentiful on the island and admittedly a little intimidating. To an untrained eye these guys look a lot like a Brown Recluse; however, they are actually a little bigger and 100% harmless. You’ll find them mostly outside on the ground as they are not the best climbers and typically don’t build webs.
European Cross Spider
Probably the most majestic of our Whidbey Island spiders, you can thank these large rear-ended arachnids for the early Halloween decorations you find in your trees and bushes. Found almost exclusively outside, these beauties are the kings of webmaking. They are one of the few spider species who weave circular webs. Although mildly annoying, you can’t help but admire their workmanship.
So, there you have it. No need to take a torch to that tree this fall or scream when you see the tiny brown friend hiding in the corner. Just scoop them up and take them outside! Spiders are actually a great help when it comes to getting rid of actual pests like mosquitos or termites, and with any luck they might just do the Halloween decorating for you this year.
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3 Apple Things You Need to Know if You Live on Whidbey
Fall has officially found its way back to our little island on the sound. The evidence of this is prevalent in the sounds of geese flying overhead, the return of long yellow busses escorting our children to and from school, and the ever-cooling weather that seems to drop one-degree cooler each day. This season marks the welcomed return of so many things including comfort and routine.
One returning theme of this season that we hold particularly dear to our hearts is apple season! Few things speak to the hearts of fall loving Washingtonians quite like the crisp red fruit that grows from so many branches here in the evergreen state. Whether it’s apple pies, apple cider, or apple scented – something about the fruit just feels like home. Below are 3 things you should know about apples if you live on Whidbey Island:
#1 Has to do with Apple Pie
Probably the most obvious apple topic to be obsessed with is Apple Pie. Possibly one of the best baked goods to grace this earth, there is one pie on Whidbey Island that is simply a slice above the rest:
Words cannot describe the beauty found in this Whidbey Pie creation. Simply one of the best apple pies on the island and worth a trip to their Greenbank Farm Café or if they have any in stock at the 3 Sisters Market in Coupeville.
#2 Changes at the Red Apple Market
Residents of Coupeville and Clinton are well acquainted with the “Red Apple Market”. However, some Clinton residents may be surprised to learn there has been some changes to the ownership of their local store. In spring of this year Tom Brierley, or “Tom the Butcher” as he’s commonly called, gained ownership of the store after the previous owners decided to sell. Although he’s known for being a quieter, more behind-the-scenes man, Tom has big plans for improving the South Island grocery and we can’t wait to see where he takes the shop!
#3 This Recipe!
Few things in this world are as delicious as apples and cinnamon. If you’ve been to Whidbey Coffee recently and tried their Apple Walnut Cinnamon Roll, you know this well. We are so obsessed with this culinary masterpiece that we found a copycat recipe and it is simply THE BEST thing you could cook this fall. Let us know how it goes!
Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
Buttery sweet cinnamon rolls full of apples and walnuts!
Keyword apple walnut cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls
Servings 15 rolls
Calories 487 kcal
For the Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk warmed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp apple pie spice
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup apples diced
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Warm milk (105-110 degrees F.) and add packet of yeast. Add a pinch of sugar, stir to combine, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Yeast should froth slightly.
- Add sugar, butter, and eggs to bowl of electric mixer. Mix until combined. Add salt and flour. Combine. Pour in milk/yeast mixture and switch to dough hook of mixture. If not using mixer, hand knead. Mix (or hand knead) for 5-10 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
- Place dough in an oiled or buttered bowl. Cover and place in a warm location (such as oven with light on). Allow to rise for 1 hour (or until doubled in size). Punch down and allow to rise for additional 15 minutes.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface (to approximately 18″ x 12″). Combine butter with sugars and spices. Spread evenly across dough. Sprinkle with apples and walnuts.
- Rolling from the long edge, carefully roll dough up tightly. Use a sharp knife to cut cinnamon rolls (about 1 1/2″ thick) and place in an oiled or buttered 9×13 dish. Cover and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake for 20 minutes. Don’t over-bake.
- In a mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls. Optional: garnish with diced walnuts.
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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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Did you know Whidbey Island gets half the rain of Seattle and about 30 additional days of sun? The island is one of the sunniest Washington areas west of the Cascades! Because of this extra boost of sunshine, we have a secret superpower. Or should I say Solar Power?
Residents all over Whidbey have been tapping into this natural resource and benefiting big. Granted, preserving our environment by investing in sustainable energy is already a great benefit to us and generations to come, but solar power has a lot more to offer consumers than the feel-good fuzzies from giving back.
Here’s 4 benefits/incentives to going solar:
Net Metering is a program set up to allow residential and commercial customers for energy services to store up credit with the company when they generate excess energy during the summer months from their solar panels. During the winter months, when the sun is less likely to come out and play, that credit can be applied to their account!
30% Federal Tax Credit (2019)
Individuals who purchase and install solar panels to their home or business by the end of 2019 are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit when filing. This amount will reduce to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021. – Don’t let the sun go down on this great opportunity!!
Sales Tax Exemptions
Purchasers of solar panels are also eligible for sales tax exemptions! This can save some customers 8.7% of the upfront install cost. That’s a total of 38.7% in tax savings!
Increased Property Value
Finally, installing solar panels increases the value of your home. Homes that are energy efficient save owners hundreds if not thousand throughout the year and can greatly increase the value of your home when you go to resell.
To learn more about Solar Power you can visit Greenbank Farm’s Solar Fields where they dedicate one acre to solar panels and have helpful information for visitors to read!
Ready to take the leap? Contact Whidbey Sun and Wind! They are Whidbey Island’s experts on renewable energy and will have everything you need to make your home a little greener. They will provide a cost savings timeline which will demonstrate how many years it will take to profit from the up-front expense of installing solar power.
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Making a Memorable Home
Fresh out of college she had little desire to decorate or apply much effort to her home. She figured, “if it’s not functional, it’s not needed.” That all changed when her best friend, a former beauty queen, moved in with her. “Everything was moved! Books were realigned to look nice, plants popped up everywhere, and anything that didn’t look pretty found a discrete new home.” Although the first shock of everything shifting around her was a bit startling, she started to notice a big difference. “All of a sudden the people entering her home would look around and almost immediately compliment her on her ‘Pinterest’ home. She would overhear conversations about how great visiting her house was and when people did visit, they wanted to stay.”
This was the story of one of our agents and her journey in learning the power and positive impact that decorating can have on a home. We’ve all been at the start of this journey at one point or another. Fearful of making mistakes, we settle for what we have or even convince ourselves we like it better without the fancy decorations (even though we drool at Pottery Barn). Decorating can play a key role in turning that house you bought into a real home. It can transform plain space into a memorable oasis for all who enter.
In everyday life this is important but when selling a home, it is invaluable.
To ease your fears we’ve gathered some key interior design tips we hope will help you with your first steps to a new interior design.
5 Rules for Interior Design
Start with a Neutral Palette
Bright colors and bold accents go in and out of style rapidly. Neutrals are lasting and timeless. Start your room off with a neutral palette that will be consistent and lasting. Pops of color are easily achieved in replicable items such as books, floral arraignments, and accessories.
The 10-30-60 Rule
An easy way to decide when and where color should be added is using the 10-30-60 color rule for dominant, secondary, and accent colors. As the name suggests; your dominant color (a neutral) should cover about 60% of the room. Your secondary color, a little bolder, should be used repetitively without overpowering. Your boldest color, the accent, should be included sparingly and with intentionality.
Artwork, wall décor, and tall plants help to bring the eye up off the ground or coffee table. Also, storing items vertically on shelves or other creative options keeps them off the ground or on low areas, preventing the home from feeling cluttered.
The Rule of Threes
Styling surfaces can feel intimidating. Too few items can leave the space feeling sparse and awkward, but too many items can cause clutter. When in doubt, follow the rule of three. Odd number groupings are more appealing to the eye than even ones. Placing three cohesive items in a space can help to create this dynamic.
Everyone loves a good beach themed room but when everything is covered in is shells, sand, umbrellas, and flip flops it can start to look ridiculous. Keeps obvious references to a theme at a minimum with accent pieces and try to enhance the feel of the room over the theme.
Looking for some inspiration or a creative piece to get you started? Visit Seaside & Sylvan! They are a small furnishing boutique located at the historic Greenbank Farm. Their creative décor and helpful associates are sure to spark your style into action.
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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.
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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QR Codes Connecting Us to History
It’s of no surprise to anyone that Whidbey Island is home to some fascinating and wonderful towns each with their own history and culture. Perhaps the most intriguing is Whidbey’s oldest town and home of the first Whidbey Island settlement, Coupeville.
Coupeville is an adorable waterfront community rich in history and culture. In 1850 Issac Ebey became the first official Whidbey Island settler when he applied for the first land claim on the island. Claiming over 600 acres of what is now Ebey’s Landing, Ebey was soon to be followed by his nephew and many others. By 1854 there were 29 settlement claims in Coupeville alone and in 1881 it officially became the Island County seat.
Although all of Whidbey is covered in fascinating history, Coupeville is unique in its preservation. Where many of the original buildings of Oak Harbor and Langley have been torn down or decimated by historic fires, downtown Coupeville’s original buildings remain intact and in use. In fact, the town of Coupeville has more historic buildings in a condensed area than anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
To celebrate this fact and educate people on these beautiful historic buildings, Island County’s 4-H club took on the project of using modern technology to connect us to the past. Next time you’re in downtown Coupeville, take a closer look at those historic store windows. You might just see one of these:
Scattered down Front Street are tons of these QR codes leading to the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association website developed by the 4-H club in 2012. This website is full of information gathered from the Island County Historical Society, City Records, and over 100 personal interviews with people recounting memories and stories of the historic downtown. Each building’s QR code will lead you directly to that building’s history: when it was built, it’s original purpose, and the different stores that have occupied the space.
So, the next time you are strolling down Font Street whip out that smartphone of yours and learn a little bit of history along the way.
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