Our Community Joined Together for a Greater Good and it was “MAGICAL”
The Event: David Davinci
On May 3rd Oak Harbor, Washington welcomed a particularly unique traveler to our shores with promises of mind-bending illusions and thrilling prestidigitation. Great anticipation brought over 450 people to fill every seat in the Oak Harbor High School auditorium. When the doors closed and lights dimmed breathless wonder filled every soul and what happened that night within those four walls can only be described as “magic.”
The Thrillusionist David DaVinci did not disappoint on his assurances to the Whidbey Island community. Every moment of his performance was packed with excitement and mystic, capturing the attention of everyone in the room.
The Purpose: Raise Funds For the Oak Harbor Boys and Girls Club
Brought to the island by Windermere Whidbey, David DaVinci’s performance was a charity event to raise money for the local Boys and Girls Club. We are ecstatic to announce the show was an overwhelming success in raising over $5,300! Tickets sold out the day and the auditorium was PACKED.
So, THANK YOU!
If you missed out on this amazing performance, don’t be down hearted! DaVinci will return next year with another shocking display of his master illusionary. Watch David Davinci Here.
History of the Penn Cove Mussel Fest
Every city or county has that one thing they are famous for. Their claim to fame that puts them on the world map. For some it’s a world-famous sports team, others it’s a historical location, still some gain fame from the presence of rare exotic animals.
For Island County, it’s our mussels.
You may not know this, but Island county is home to the oldest and largest mussel farm in the United States (and maybe the world). Penn Cove Mussels, Inc. began culturing mussels in 1975 with the desire to harness the cove’s naturally nutrient rich water to harvest bigger and better mussels than the ones currently available. The results were incredible! Penn Cove mussels grow at a remarkable rate, enabling the mussels to reach harvest size within one year. This rapid growth rate causes Penn Cove mussels to have a firmer texture, sweeter flavor, and a thinner shell with more meat. As you can imagine, it makes them quite a crowd pleaser.
Whidbey Island’s proximity to Seattle and the Sea-Tac Airport mean these wonderful shellfish don’t have to be a local secret. Instead, these mussels are quickly air shipped all over the world for others to experience and enjoy. Mussels harvested in the morning are on the lunch plates of Seattle seafood lovers by that afternoon and dinner entrees in Houston by the evening.
This year Coupeville celebrated their 33rd Annual Musselfest.
A little different from the original mussel chowder contest, todays Musselfest included 3 days’ worth of activities and fun. The event attracted more than 6,000 from far and wide which helps local merchants recover from the slow winter months.
Musselfest festivities kicks off on a Friday with the “Mussel Mingle.” This is a time where people gather at the Coupeville Recreational Hall to enjoy food, drink, and music. The next two days are packed full of mussel cooking demonstrations from incredible Seattle chefs, the massive mussel chowder competition involving 16 different local restaurants, the mussel eating competition, tours of Penn Cove Shellfish, Inc., a mountain bike event (“Mussels in the Kettles”) and more!
Musselfest is a massive community affair that requires all hands-on deck to pull off. Dozens of volunteers from all over Coupeville donate their time, finances, and resources to make this festival work. For the past few years Windermere Whidbey agents have volunteered their time at the Waterfront Beer Garden where they serve up some great local ale while listening to amazing local musicians.
We can’t wait to see you there next year!
You might also like:
Get the Buck Out of My Yard
They are the wild and majestic creatures of Whidbey Island, often found in the peaceful pastures of Ebey’s Landing or beneath the cooling tree shade of the state parks. They are elegant, graceful, mesmerizing… and frankly a pain in the arbor.
Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer.
Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE our Whidbey Island deer and are grateful to live in a place where wildlife feels welcomed. However, if you’ve been working hard cultivating that garden all year long, the last thing you are interested in is a handful of fauna munching on the fruit of your labor. To top it off, deer can carry ticks with Lyme disease which can be extremely harmful to both humans and their dogs.
Sorry Bambi, but no one messes with mans’ best friend.
We’ve done a little research and decided to give you a hand with those pretty, yet pesky visitors.
5 pro-tips to get the grazers out of your garden.
- Cut ‘em Off! – It might seem like the most obvious solution, but fences are always a great first step to keeping out unwanted guests. Although deer are great jumpers, the additional effort required might just be enough of a deterrent. < We’re all a little lazy.
- Don’t Plant Tasty Treats – Deer LOVE plants rich in nutrients, moisture, and basically anything else your doctor said you should eat more of. This includes almost all produce plants as well as leafy ivy and bright, water filled flora. Instead of these, try planting pungent flowers like lavender with greenery that is thorny, hairy, or prickly. You can also use these less-desirable plants as a natural barrier for the tastier ones. If all deer see and smell is lambs’ ear and snap dragons, odds are they won’t investigate much further.
- Let Rover Out More – Chances are your dog is like most others and DOES NOT see grazing deer as welcome guests. Barking dogs are a big deterrent for deer. Who wants to eat with someone yelling at you? Eventually the deer will likely decide your home isn’t a safe place to eat and wont return.
- Shine a Light on the Situation – Deer are more skittish than the commitment-phobe you dated in college. Installing motion-sensitive floodlights can often leave a deer stunned and anxious to get away as fast as they can.
- Live a Little! – Although we might find them beautiful and nice to look at, deer aren’t that excited about us. Chances are if a deer sees you out and about in the yard they will simply turn around and find someone else’s garden to plunder. So, get outside more! See this as an opportunity to re-imagine your yard and incorporate more outside living space. Your health and your hydrangeas will thank you.
You might also like:
The Gray Whales Return to Whidbey
As the cold melts away and flowers start to bloom again, Whidbey Island is blessed with a rare and wonderful gift. Many people hike to the very tip of a bluff or edge of the waves hoping to catch a glimpse of this phenomena. Then it happens – water spurts into the air from nowhere and at the surface you can just barely see a tail appear.
Oh, what a whale of a tale to tell….
Spring brings with it a special excitement for this curious island. As the waters warm, they welcome back one of our favorite travelers; the gray whale! Migrating every year from their winter home in Mexico to the wild waves of Alaska; gray whales often make a special stop within the waters of the Puget Sound.
As food foragers, the gray whale “dig[s] up the mudflats [on the ocean floor] for shrimp and worms.”1 They then filter these small creatures through their baleen, or whalebone, which acts as a strainer to keep the food in their mouth and push out all the water.2
Given their foraging requirements, gray whales’ proximity to the shore and repetitive presence in the Puget Sound comes as little surprise. While the average depth of the Pacific Ocean is a little over 12,000 feet, Puget Sound’s deepest point is approximately 930 feet. The shallow waters of the sound serve as a great benefit to this massive mammal that relies on both oxygen and access to the ocean floor in order to survive.
On Whidbey Island we take great joy in the return of these travelers every year. Many islanders and tourists alike find their way to the water’s edge and peer into the waves in hopes of a glimpse. Luckily, sightings are not at all uncommon on the island. To commemorate the love we have for these ocean friends, both Coupeville and Langley have erected what is called a “Whale Bell.” These bells have a simple instruction: “See a whale, ring the bell.” These bells serve as both a monument to the whale’s impact on our island culture and a creative way to notify others of the whale’s presence so they can also look out and see!
If a bell simply isn’t enough and you really want to get your whale on; you might consider taking a trip to Langley April 13th & 14th for the Whale Festival. Every year the town pulls together to commemorate the beginning of the whale season. Complete with a Saturday parade, this festival speaks volumes of the love islanders have for their precious whales.
- “Gray Whales.” Orca Network, https://www.orcanetwork.org/Main/index.php?categories_file=Gray%20Whales
- “Gray Whales.” National Geographic, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/gray-whale/
You might also like:
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.
You Might Also Like:
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:
View this post on Instagram
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!
View this post on Instagram
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.
If you enjoyed this, you might also like:
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.
View this post on Instagram
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.
View this post on Instagram
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.
View this post on Instagram
You Might Also Like:
A Café in the Woods
Literally tucked back in the woods of Langley at the end of a long and winding road is a little place you may not have heard of but is totally worth a visit! Mukilteo Coffee Roasters “Café in the Woods” is home to the “perfect cup of coffee”. If you are a coffee (and food) lover, this little café is a must visit!
View this post on Instagram
The café prides itself on the use of organic ingredients for all the items found on their menu, and coffee beans bought directly from the growers in Costa Rica. You will be delighted with the smell of freshly roasted coffee wafting in from the roasting room, and food cooked with fresh ingredients brought in by local farmers every day. Their café menu changes seasonally to keep the ingredients as fresh and local as possible, which makes it a great opportunity to try something new!
What Makes Them Unique:
The owners, Gary, and Beth Smith, at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters had a goal to “create the perfect cup of coffee” and many seem to agree that they have done just that! What makes them so unique is that they traveled to Costa Rica to meet the growers and taste the coffee before choosing which coffee they would use. Now their growers, a small family farm in Costa Rica, are considered part of the family and Gary and Beth visit frequently to experience the farm first hand. The café moved to its current location in 2003 and has been thriving ever since. Not only is their little café in Langley a huge success, Mukilteo coffees are shipped to consumers everywhere and served around the globe!
View this post on Instagram
The Café is open for breakfast and lunch from 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday. You can visit their website [ https://mukilteocoffee.com/ ] to take a peek at their most current menu or order a bag of slow roasted coffee to brew right at home. We are sure your visit to the café will have you coming back for more!
Have you visited the Café in the Woods? Tell us all about your experience in the comments below!
You might also like:
Summer Time Sweet Treats
What do you do to keep cool in these hot summer months? One of our favorite things is to head out for a cold and sweet treat! Thankfully, Whidbey is home to some amazing places for just that!
KAPAWS Iskreme – 21 Front St NE, Coupeville
One of Whidbey Island’s best-kept secrets, KAPAWS is a favorite stop for some amazing ice cream and quaint small-town atmosphere. We highly recommend grabbing one of their fresh waffle cones that you can smell a mile away. The best part is their $1 kid cones – for kids only! Open 7 days a week from 11 am to 5:30 pm, KAPAWS offers friendly service, generous portions, and reasonable prices that won’t disappoint!
Ciao – 701 Main St N, Coupeville
You may be surprised to learn that Ciao isn’t just about the amazing pizza. Every day, gelato is made in-house from a recipe created in the 1700’s! Made from milk rather than cream gelato sports a velvety texture that will make your taste buds dance. Stop by Monday through Saturday 11am-8pm to try out one of their many flavors. We especially love their Affogato, which is gelato floated in espresso! Yum!
K&R Farms “The Stand” – 36699 SR 20, Oak Harbor
If you’ve ever driven toward Anacortes, you probably noticed the farm stand on highway 20. K&R Farm’s “The Stand” is a favorite stop for local produce, fresh beef, ice cream, and many other tasty delights. Recently, The Stand started serving Hawaiian shaved Ice and it has been a big hit! Hawaiian shaved ice differs from your run of the mill snow cone because of the soft snow-like texture that absorbs all the flavor of the syrup and makes for a refreshing treat! You can visit the stand 7 days a week from 11 am to 6 pm.
Toppins – 32650 SR 20 A101, Oak Harbor
“Frozen yogurt your way” is our favorite way to describe Toppins. With 12 different frozen yogurt flavors and 80+ topping choices, all self-serve, you can create your own dessert masterpiece. What’s even better is that it doesn’t stop there! Toppins also offer’s floats made with your frozen yogurt flavor choice. We really enjoy their pineapple float with its refreshing flavor that is perfect for summer. You can stop by for your cool off treat from 11 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 9 pm on Sunday.
Café de Lisio – 957 Ault Field Rd, Oak Harbor
It may be easy to miss, but Café de Lisio is famous locally! Their “mile-long” menu of creative combinations for all their delicious coffee drinks may be overwhelming so just tell the barista what you’re after and they can suggest one for you. Everything can be done icy cold and kid friendly! Our favorite cold menu item is the Attitude Adjuster, and trust us, you will not be disappointed. The café and drive through are open from 5am-6pm Monday through Friday and 6am-5pm Saturday and Sunday for your convenience.
If you liked this blog, you might also like:
Parks in Oak Harbor
With summer winding down, we love to get outside and enjoy that glorious sunshine, and what better way to do that than visit some of the many parks in Oak Harbor? We love these parks because they are close by which makes them perfect for an after-work picnic or an evening out in the fresh air.
Flinstone Park and City Beach
Have you ever noticed the famous Flinstone car on Bayshore Drive? You guessed it! That would be Flinstone Park which connects to City Beach. This is a perfect place to take a walk down the boardwalk, look for hidden treasures on the beach, build a driftwood fort, or sit and enjoy the scenery on one of the many benches along the beach. Another thing we love is that it is close to downtown shopping, and restaurants! We love to grab an ice cream cone at Popsies and take a stroll through the park.
Ft. Nugent Park offers a wide variety of things to do for kids and adults alike. Soccer, Football, and Baseball fields take up a large portion of the park providing plenty of space to run free, kick a ball, play catch, or practice your batting skills. A large wooden Castle-like play structure is a favorite among the kids in Oak Harbor and is what gives this park its nickname “Castle Park”. A large disc golf course runs throughout the wooded area of the park which makes for beautiful walking trails to enjoy.
Joseph Whidbey State Park & Rocky Point Beach
Joseph Whidbey State Park is a favorite of Whidbey residents thanks to its cool hiking trails and beach with beautiful views of the Strait of Juan De Fuca. A covered picnic area, grills, picnic benches, miles of beach to comb for treasures, and hiking trails to venture make this park a great place to have an adventure or family day in the sun. When the wind is blowing hard this is a favorite spot for kite surfers too which makes quite a spectacle!
Dugualla State Park
While Dugualla State Park may technically be part of the famous Deception Pass State Park, it is virtually untouched. Dugualla is a peaceful place with hiking trails, spectacular scenery, and a beach area to explore. Not many people know of this hidden gem making it a great place to enjoy quiet and nature.
Deception Pass State Park
This may seem like an obvious choice, but there is so much to love about Deception Pass State Park we had to include it! Chances are you’ve only seen a portion of all it has to offer. The iconic bridge, beaches, hiking trails, and lakes offer so much variety it can take years to explore every aspect. You can swim at Cranberry Lake, spot critters along the beaches, hike one of the many trails throughout the park, enjoy a picnic at a covered picnic area, and soak in a gorgeous sunset over the sound all in one place. Our 5 favorite “hidden” features of this massive park are as follows…
- Hoypus Point is on the opposite side of Hwy. 20 from the main part of the park. Just take Cornet Bay Rd. East till it dead ends.
- There is a little cabin you can rent on Ben Ure Island but you have to have your own kayak, canoe or other human-powered watercraft to get there!
- Rosario Head is a favorite well-worn path out to the most spectacular point and vista. Don’t miss reading the legend of the maiden Ko-kwahl-alwoot on your way or the tidepools! Best way to get here is the trail connecting to Bowman Bay.
- Pass Lake is known for its fly fishing but few know about its miles of quiet and heavily wooded trails on the West End.
- The path to Lighthouse Point from Bowman Bay is spectacular! Little inlets, views of the bridge, and a variety of native foliage make this a visually stunning hike that is worthy of repeat visits.
Oak Harbor offers so many different parks to enjoy, and these are just a few. What are some of your favorite parks to visit? We would love to hear about them!
Take a Closer Look at the Parks in Oak Harbor:
You might also like: