Tourist-friendly Coupeville on Whidbey Island keeps things much like they were when the town was settled in the mid-1800s.
Explore the Loop’s west side for island magic
we-inspiring Liberty Bell Mountain and Washington Pass comprise the gateway to the North Cascade National Park and westside destinations on the Cascade Loop. Highway 20 winds upward from Mazama to 5,477 feet at the pass, still far below massive 7,600-foot Liberty Bell. This is photo paradise and there are plenty of easy hikes if you need to stretch awhile. The highway through North Cascade National Park is one of America’s most scenic. For those who want a different perspective, North Cascades Institute offers an interpretive tour of the park with a Diablo Lake boat tour, among its many educational programs. While Westsiders travel the Cascade Loop to popular tourist destinations like Winthrop, Lake Chelan and Leavenworth, drylanders from the east use the Loop to access island paradise. Ferries through the San Juan Islands depart daily from Anacortes. The soaring bridge over Deception
September / October 2013
A clear day on Whidbey Island affords paradise views over Saratoga Passage and Mount Baker in the North Cascades. Pass leads to Whidbey Island. Rushhour traffic can be irritating between Burlington and Oak Harbor, but you’ll be pleasantly soothed once you reach the quiet village of Coupeville. Settled in 1852, Coupeville is one of the state’s oldest towns. Waterfront buildings and a friendly atmosphere preserve its historic charm. Every restaurant serves famous Penn Cove mussels, raised nearby. I feasted on mussels cooked in three different styles at Front Street Grill, washed down beautifully with white wine blends from Whidbey Island Vineyards and Blooms Winery, both located on the south part of the island. Several Victorian homes have been converted to bed and breakfasts, including the Lovejoy Inn, where I stayed. Mitch Richards, who owns the inn with wife Lynda, previously worked as manager of Fort Casey State Park and had all the information on local history and tourist information anyone would need. Greenbank Farms makes for a
diversely entertaining stop while touring beaches, backroads and Olympic Mountain scenery farther south on the island. Originally home to the nation’s largest loganberry farm and later owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle Estates, it’s now publicly owned thanks to efforts by Island County, the Port of Coupeville and The Nature Conservancy. Gift shops, art galleries, a wine shop, a cheese shop, a cafe and home of delicious Whidbey Island Pies are located in the historic buildings. Off-leash dog trails meander over the hillsides, a farm school trains students on all aspects of running a community farm while providing fruit and vegetables for the restaurant and public markets. Solar panels and a rainwater capture demonstration explore harnessing natural resources. Langley, near the south end of the island, is Whidbey’s art community. Schedule a night’s stay if you can, or at least a few hours to shop and dine before heading to nearby Clinton and the Mukilteo ferry back to the mainland. F
Published on Aug 21, 2013