find the perfect gift at one of Whidbey Islandâ€™s many unique shops
GIFT GUIDE A supplement to the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record
Penn Cove Gallery offers a wide variety of artistic gifts
By KIRA ERICKSON
If you are looking for a unique and creative gift, Penn Cove Gallery in downtown Coupeville offers several options for the choosiest art connoisseur. For the past 25 years, the co-op owned gallery has displayed local works in all different mediums, from pottery to paintings to jewelry to stained glass to wood carvings. Artists take turns running the gallery, eager to share their work with locals and
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visitors alike. One of the gallery’s newest artists, Shari Thompson, brings intricate bead work to the display. She uses miniscule seed beads, a thread and monofilament fishing line to string together necklaces and bracelets. She creates the patterns as she weaves, and no two are the same. Surprisingly, bracelets can take just as long to create than necklaces, depending on the pattern. She finds it easiest to work with the smaller beads. The whole process takes several hours. “If I sat and paid attention to how much time I was taking, I probably wouldn’t do it,” Thompson said with a laugh. Her favorite piece in the gallery boasts a myriad of purple beads. Many of her beaded jewelry pieces include other elements, such as stone pendants, buttons or shells. Other handmade gifts in Penn Cove Gallery reflect Locally Owned
Tis the Season for Gifts, Gadgets, and More! WH I
221 2 Street, Langley 360-221-2727 www.SweetMonas.com 2 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
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A selection of Shari Thompson’s beaded jewelry at the Penn Cove Gallery. the nearby marine environment: bowls made of driftwood found on the island shores, stained glass pieces depicting leaping orcas and knitted scarves in every color of the ocean. As one of the 26 artists in the gallery, Thompson has enjoyed the inspirational surroundings. The people she met in the Whidbey Island art community told her about joining the gallery. “It’s been fun,” she said. “It’s interesting getting to know everybody and everybody’s work.” With the immense variety of art on display at the Penn
Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News-Times
A stained glass piece sparkles in the sunlight. Cove Gallery for sale, there’s bound to be something to please everyone on your holiday shopping list.
December Events Calendar
Dec. 5-15: “Elf Jr. — The Musical.” 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Whidbey Playhouse Community Theater in Oak Harbor. This modern day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. 360-679-2237. Dec. 6-21: “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Presented by WICA. The beloved holiday film comes to life as a 1940s radio broadcast in the world premiere of a new adaptation by David Ossman. Dec. 7: St. Mary’s Annual Christmas Bazaar & Bake Sale. In Coupeville. Dec. 7: Holiday Bazaar. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oak Harbor Senior Center. With over 30 vendors find unique holiday gifts, handmade items and much more! 360-279-4580. Dec. 7: Methodist Church Holiday Bazaar. 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Coupeville. Dec. 7: Holiday Bazaar hosted by NASWI Officers Spouses Club. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CPO Club. Open to the public. Features military spouse home businesses/artisan products from clothing to crafts to woodworking. Dec. 7: Handmade Holiday Market. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hosted by South Whidbey Elementary PTA. Handmade/handcrafted goods or offer services like photography. Dec. 7: Annual Jingle Trail 5K Run/Walk. 10 a.m. at Camp Casey. This race is great for families, runners, and walkers alike! Put on your holiday spirit and see Whidbey Island in all its splendor.
www.jingletrailrun.com. Dec. 7: Peter and the Wolf, Free Family Holiday Concert. 1-3 p.m. at Coupeville High School Commons. Join the Saratoga Orchestra and Conductor Anna Edwards for a festive afternoon of fun for the whole family. These events will start with an Instrument Petting Zoo. Try your hand at playing the cello, trombone, clarinet and more. All kids and kids-at-heart are encouraged to participate. Dec. 7: Greening of Coupeville Parade. 4 p.m. beginning from First and Main streets. The route goes down North Main to Front Street, then up Alexander to the Coupeville Library. Stick around afterwards to enjoy caroling and the lighting of the tree at Cooks Corner Park. Shops and restaurants in the Coupeville Historic District will be open late. The Oak Harbor Yacht Club’s Lighted Boat Parade is scheduled to sail by the Coupeville Wharf around 5:45. Dec. 7: Holly Jolly Holiday Parade & Shop & Stroll. 1 p.m. in downtown Langley. Musicians, service and youth groups, pets, families and floats will march up and down First and Second Street. Dec. 7: Home for the Holidays Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival. 4-7 p.m. in Oak Harbor on Pioneer Way. Choirs and Taste of Holiday Memories run 4-7 p.m., the tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m. www.oakharbormainstreet.org/ events. Dec. 7-8: Clinton Winter Market and Tree Lighting. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists, crafters and vendors with a great variety for all your holiday shopping
needs. Bring the kids to meet Santa and get their photo taken! (Santa photos 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., donations for photos welcome). Saturday night, 6-7:30 p.m., carols led by Mel Birch, hot chocolate, tree lighting, a visit from Santa Claus and the announcement of the Clinton coloring contest winners. www.discoverclintonwa. com. Dec. 7-8: Made Right on Whidbey, Holiday Art Show. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at Coupeville Rec Hall. Ten local Whidbey Artists that will have a beautiful display of art for you to choose from! Stop by for some great company, art and goodies to nibble on. Dec. 13-22: The Nutcracker. Whidbey Island Dance Theatre’s 27th season production is a holiday delight for the whole family! WIDT’s production of this classical ballet set to the music of Tchaikovsky features many of the beloved characters and themes of the traditional ballet but with a Whidbey Island twist. Dec. 14: Winter Holiday Art Festival. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Coupeville Middle School. Kids activities, entertainment, raffles and local artists/vendors. Dec. 7-15: Holiday Market. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Greenbank Farm both Saturday and Sunday. Come join us for another holiday shopping season in the historic barn on the Greenbank Farm! Back by popular demand, have access to 19 vendors while sipping hot chocolate and taking pictures with Santa Claus. Dec. 19: Holiday Celebration— Friends of the Oak Harbor Library. 3-4 p.m. at Oak Harbor
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Drawing to be held Sunday, December 22nd at 1:00pm at the Island County Historical Museum Hot Cocoa and Music starting at 12:30pm. Must be present to win, be 18 years of age or older and love Coupeville.
Library. Celebrate the season with friends, food and fun. Your favorite librarians will present the best gift books for adults, teens and children. Proceeds from a silent auction will support the Oak Harbor Library. Dec. 21: Green Ticket Drawing. 4 p.m. at Harborside Village in Oak Harbor. Shoppers, collect your tickets for a big prize! Participating Oak Harbor merchants give green tickets while spending in their stores. At the end, there’s a drawing for a big prize! Dec. 22: Red Ticket Drawing. 1 p.m. at Historic Downtown Coupeville. You or a representative must be present to win. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 2, every $20 worth of purchases you make with participating merchants, restaurants and service providers gets you a red ticket! Five prizes drawn; $1500, $500, and 3 $100 winners! Shopping local has never been so much fun! Dec. 22: The Night Before Christmas Holiday Concert. 7:309:30 p.m. at WICA. A musical celebration of the season featuring Whidbey Island Community Orchestra and storyteller David Ossman. www.wicaonline.org. Dec. 7-23: Oak Harbor’s Christmas Village at the Blue Fox Drive-In. 3-7 p.m. weekends Dec. 7-15. Daily Dec. 20-23. Admission is free. Enjoy a visit with Santa and his elves, petting zoo, games, holiday craft/gift vendors and more. Food and other vendors onsite as well. Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Fireworks. 9 p.m. at Oak Harbor Bay. Join this annual celebration.
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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 3
Shopping opportunities flourish on Whidbey Shopping for the holidays on Whidbey Island is a treat for those who love to peruse artisan craft, gourmet food and drink, clothing and artwork for all tastes. There’s a variety of independently owned shops with original works in every nook and cranny. Here is just a smattering of the unique shops that dot the island:
Downtown Oak Harbor offers a wide-range of gift shopping. The Jewelry Gallery has unique, vintage and highend pieces in the sparkling cases. Frida’s A Beautiful Mess has art supplies, gifts and home decor. Dina’s Great Finds has a selection
of vintage items. Whidbey Wild Bird is a great place to buy gifts for people who love their feathered friends. You can make someone a special gift at Paint Your World or find a unique present at Purple Moon. Also on Pioneer Way, Whimsies Treasures is chocked full of locally made fare ready-made for holiday shopping. There’s woolly wear for babies and big people, woven rugs and scarves, handbags, totes, teas and tea cups. Dozens of artists are represented at the store. Of course, there’s also Popsies, a favorite for children and adults alike. The shop is famous for its homemade caramel corn, but also sells ice cream and sweets
The Giving Tree Support our local non-profits by purchasing ornaments for your own tree or as gifts!
on view December 6-30 Bayview Cash Store 5603 Bayview Road Langley
Island Athletic Club 5522 S. Freeland Ave Freeland
360.321.4145 • www.goosefoot.org
4 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
of all different kinds. The Garry Oak Gallery showcases an ever-changing range of artwork made by Whidbey artists. Shoppers may find paintings in different media, photography, glasswork, pottery, jewelry and wood pieces. The gallery is located in the Harborside Shops building. Up a block on Fidalgo Avenue is Whidbey Beer Works, a specialty beer shop with a selection of more than 600 beers, ciders, meads and wines. From the hippest IPAs to imported stouts, the shop has something for just about any beer-drinkers on your holiday list. For those looking for unique gifts on a budget, the city has several thrift stores to choose from. Island Thrift and the WAIF Thrift Store are both large spaces that are packed to the seams with items. On the south end of the city lies the Ishler Pottery Studio. Dan Ishler creates creatively crafted, functional and artistic pottery. He is known for using unique glazes on his works: crystalline, ash and spitfire. He also creates whimsical cars from clay. Three Sisters Market is located farther south in the San de Fuca area. It’s owned by a fifth-generation Whidbey farm family that raises grass-fed beef, pork and cage-free eggs. The retail store, however, doesn’t just carry Whidbeyraised meat, but a wide range of Whidbey-made products, including food, unique gifts, health and
beauty products, pies and other baked goods.
CENTRAL WHIDBEY Shopaholics will find no shortage of stores in Greenbank and Coupeville filled with items crafted with care right here on the island. In Coupeville, there are variety of Front Street businesses that carry a little bit of everything. To bring home a gift that’ll remind someone of island life, walk down to stores like Penn Cove Gallery where many of the artists featured capture the area’s beauty. Kingfisher Book Store has the right book for everyone on your Christmas list. At bayleaf, the gourmet food shop not only sells delectable imported meats and cheeses, but the shop features a variety of Whidbey-made products and unique decorations. Find cookware from Cooked on Clay, a Coupevillebased ceramics business, as well as cheese boards and other trinkets from Turnco, a South Whidbey business. Grab some locally-made crackers to go with that cheese for your next holiday gathering. Not far from bayleaf, the Lavender Wind shop sells a range of products made from lavender grown at the Lavender Wind Farm on West Beach. The store has essential oils, gift sets, cleaners, scents, decorative bundles, lotions, shampoos, culinary lavender, baked goods, eye soothers, massage oil, soap and on and on. SEE PAGE 5
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 Elkhorn Trading Company is a great place to find treasures from the past. A Touch of Dutch has been in business for over 20 years and offers Dutch-themed items and more, including candy, breads and spreads and decorations. It also has a famously long list of licorice. Back to the Island sells clothes and novelties popular both with tourists and locals. Collections Boutique is located adjacent to the Coupeville wharf and sells women’s apparel, jewelry accessories and baby gifts for your young gift recipients. A whimsical, “far from normal” store, Far from Normal is the aptly-named novelty toy store for unique gifts. Their horse-head “mascot” is frequently seen around the store. The Honey Bear is burgeoning with toys, children’s books, plush animals and smart gifts. It’s also packed with a rainbow of selections of candy, from the educational and old-fashioned to the colorful and tasty. Stop by Coupeville Seaside Salon and Spa for a gift certificate or indulge yourself. At Greenbank Farm, Raven Rocks and Artworks galleries offer collections of art in varying mediums from
metalwork and glass art to painting and mixed media art. Whether it’s a large sculpture or a dreamcatcher, both galleries offer something for pretty much everyone’s pocketbook. Also at the farm, Greenbank Cheese Specialty Foods & Gifts offers not only a variety of cheese — some of which are made locally — but a variety of gifts and locally made items. Sample some wine made by a Whidbey Island winery before picking up a bottle for that holiday party at Greenbank Wine Shop.
SOUTH WHIDBEY South Whidbey’s selection of one-of-a-kind gifts is expansive because of the hundreds of talented crafters, artists, artisans and manufacturers who call the island home. Right off the ferry in Clinton, look for an old storefront marked MAKE Whidbey. Described as a “little shop of Whidbey makers,” the store blends handmade home decor with wooden crafts as well as soaps, candles and other original goods. It’s filled with the finely crafted cutting boards, clocks and carafes made by store owner Janae Cameron and her husband, under their Turnco Wood Goods label.
Nearby, Abundant Earth Fiber is an independent textile mill that churns out small batches of naturally-dyed yarn, perfect for the knitter on your list. A small storefront at the mill sells yarn, batts, tincture dyes, tools and kits. The city of Langley is Whidbey’s artsy epicenter. Its tiny, charming downtown is jammed-packed with small speciality shops, art galleries, studios, restaurants and wine bars. Dubbed The Village by the Sea, Langley merchants offer wearable art textiles, gemstone jewelry, delightful holiday ornaments, puppets and sea creatures for kids and gorgeous glass-blown wares. The stores all have fun and unusual names. At Music for the Eyes, Langley’s de facto international street bazaar, check out its array of beads, jewelry and wooly winter hats, mittens and gloves, direct from markets in Central Asia, Middle East and Tibet. Wish by the Sea is the place to find locally made ornaments and small vintage treasures. Are you buying for an artist? Check out another new store, Feather and Fox, for art and craft supplies, paper goods and small home gifts.
Picking out a present at Foamy Wader is like picking a shell from the beach, they’re both one of a kind. Owner Alexa Allamano, whose last name coincidentally means “by hand” in Italian, uses sea-colored gemstones and employs artisan wire work and metal smith techniques to craft her pieces. Looking for puzzles, poetry or puppets for kids and kids at heart? Then, take time to explore Moonraker Books lined with literature, cookbooks and children’s books and games. A dazzling display of Folkmanias finger puppets, hand puppets, stage puppets and hard and soft cover books can be found at Act 11 Books and Puppets. Callahan’s Firehouse Studio and Gallery is a repurposed firehouse where flames form glass art. Tumblers, pumpkins, flowers, paper weights, dishes, vases, garden art and many more sparkling items are created on site by Callahan Campbell McVay. Buy a fragile fish or treat someone to a glassblowing lesson. Just up the road from Langley is Bayview, which offers a variety of gift ideas. Bayview Farm and Garden is a great place to find decorations, plants and more.
moonraker books 10 Front Street in Downtown Coupeville
2 Front Street in Downtown Coupeville open everyDay 11am - 5 pm
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Whidbey farm has salty offerings “W e grow edible flowers, and we harvest salt from the cove.” Kim Gruetter gets right to the point when describing her sea salt enterprise in Penn Cove. And that straight-shooting personality serves her well in the sometimes-arduous process of turning five-gallon buckets of cove water into fresh, unadulterated sea salt. In two back-to-back classes earlier this year, Gruetter and members of Whidbey Island’s Slow Food USA chapter offered a glimpse into how simple seawater from the cove
6 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
Photo by Wendy Leigh
Kim Gruetter from Salty Acre Farm on Whidbey Island mixes herbs and edible flowers into sea salt. ends up in colorful packets of salt blended with edible
flowers and dried herbs, peppers and other organics. It’s easy to assume a big factory-style operation with lots of helping hands, but Salty Acres Farm in Central Whidbey is a “cottage industry” in its purest form. The hands belong to Gruetter, and so does the passion – even though her husband’s first response was, “What kind of crazy person decides they’re gonna make salt?” The location of the farm was a crucial enabler when Gruetter first came up with the idea. She explained to the eager class participants what makes it possible for her to gather salt from the cove. “We’re right across from the mussel flats,” she said. “The flats along the shoreline are loaded with Penn Cove mussels, and there are, I believe, five different kinds of clams in our sand down there, as well as oysters and all kinds of things.”
What’s vital about the mussels is that the bivalves do nothing but clean water, according to Gruetter. One bivalve cleans between 14 and 20 gallons a day, which means clear water that needs less filtering and purification. To demonstrate, she holds up a glass of crystal-clear water freshly scooped from the cove. “It’s amazing; you can see 20 feet down,” she said, before describing how she crosses the road to a winding trail leading straight down to the cove and then lugs five gallons at a time up and over to the farm. Even though the water is essentially clean, they always filter it to remove any microorganisms or solids. And they never harvest after a rain because brackish waters mean extra work, which the mussels will naturally do for them within about three days after a storm. SEE SALT, PAGE 7
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6
Then the real work begins. Using marine-grade pots (because ordinary ones split, warp and crack from the salt), they boil the water on a propane burner for hours and hours, adding more water and continuing to boil until salt crystals form. “The first time I did it, after boiling for about eight hours and almost giving up, it started making this funny noise,” Gruetter said. “I looked in there, and it was like this magical fireworks show. The crystals were about to form … and it looked like these little diamonds just shooting through the pot.” When it reaches a certain stage, she moves the salt to clay pots made by local Whidbey artist Robbie Lobell from Cook on Clay. Hesitant at first to use the cookware because of the intense process of cooking the salt overnight, with it crawling up the sides, crystallizing, and getting mashed down and broken up, they discovered that the Cook on Clay pots actually retained the heat for so long that they could turn the oven off and it would be perfectly dry. The sea salt from Salty Acres is never bleached for color or chemically filtered, and there are no harmful additives such as anti-caking agents or chalk – which Gruetter notes are things that aren’t even
Twelve gallons of water create natural sea salt at Salty Acres Farm on Whidbey Island. Clay pot by artist Robbie Lobell from Cook on Clay. required to be listed in “standard” iodized salt products such as Morton’s. Without the additives, salt naturally draws moisture, which can be easily remedied by putting it in a 250-degree oven for about an hour. Sea salt in its natural form has a deep history in the Pacific Northwest, long before it became a processed product sitting in round blue cans on every grocery store shelf. The U.S. Center for Military History states that when Lewis and Clark came down the Columbia River in 1805, stopping in Astoria and Seaside, Ore., they spent many weeks processing salt in five huge iron kettles to preserve their meats. The Lewis and Clark saltmaking camp kept the fires burning throughout the day and night, turning an estimated 1,400 gallons of water from the surf into about 28 gallons
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of salt. The campsite is now reconstructed as the Seaside Salt Works. With the surprisingly similar process taking place at Salty Acres Farm on Whidbey more than 200 years later, Gruetter notes that it’s pure sea salt and is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. She also laughs and admits to becoming “salt snobby” since taking her hobby to entrepreneur status. A lot of
Whidbey Island chefs now use her salt, at least partially because it leaves no distinct aftertaste. Flavors in the Salty Acres salt blends come from the edible flowers and herbs grown onsite, including roses, calendulas, bachelor’s buttons, marigolds, hollyhocks, dahlias, shishito, sea lettuce and dozens more. The blends end up in salads and desserts at restaurants such as the Captain Whidbey Inn, and they’re available for purchase at Orchard Kitchen in Langley or the Oystercatcher in Coupeville. The Salty Acres website also sells sea salt packets online, either coarse, fine or in blends with names such as Penn Cove, Confetti and Sunset Blends.To order the local Whidbey sea salts or inquire about future classes, visit www.saltyacresfarm.com.-
WIN 2300 CASH!
$ ©Don Bush Photography
EVENTS Dec 7
Jingle Trail 5K Run/Walk
Greening of Coupeville Parade and Tree Lighting
Mar 7-6 Musselfest
T i c ke t
S h o p L o c a ll y
SHOP, DINE & STAY IN COUPEVILLE!
Enjoy in-store specials & events every weekend of December! Drawing to be held Sunday, December 22nd at 1:00 pm at the Island County Historical Museum. For more information, visit online at: CoupevilleHistoricWaterfront.com
Must be present to win • Must be 18 years or older • Must love Coupeville
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 7
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