private tourThe quickest of ferry rides takes one to Whidbey Island, the lengthiest of the islands offshore to the west. The plan for our excursion this day involved traveling the island from bottom to top and stopping at a few of the numerous interesting places on Whidbey.

Two-thirds of the island can be observed by following the Whidbey Island Art Trail and making stops at studio locations. Another way to get a sense of the resident arts community is popping into a gallery and conveniently, the town of Langley, at the outset of our route, has a few where one can view works done by the island’s artists. Langley’s walkable town center consists of ample storefronts, eateries, and a walkway above the shoreline of Saratoga Passage.

Now in the springtime when some of the resident gray whales are spotted, the ringing bell has people scampering to take a look. During our visit, regrettably, neither we nor anyone else rang the bell.

As our journey continued, the town of Coupeville, hugging the shoreline of Penn Cove was our next stop. It is here where those eponymous mussels are harvested. Of course, we ordered a bowlful along with some fried oysters for lunch. Nearby we indulged our sweet tooth where a “single” consists of three scoops of ice cream. And then an interesting find – a consignment handbag store one would not expect on the town’s Front Street. Starting as a web business, their inventory is drawn from all over the country. Most well-known designers are represented and the condition of the bags is excellent.

Deception Pass is at the far north end of Whidbey and it is here where a bridge allows one to leave the island. Whidbey possesses interesting landscapes with the various bays that dot its’ perimeter; however, the views from the West Beach section of the state park here are particularly spectacular. Parking at water’s edge we followed a trail that led to sightings of the bridge which spans a narrow water passage far below.

After crossing the bridge one has several options for returning to Seattle. Next time we’ll likely make that decision upon pulling off the highway to stop at what appeared to be a very popular roadside drive-up – the Shrimp Shack.

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