CoupevilleThings to Do on Whidbey July 25, 2022

Fort Casey State Park: Unique History and Breathtaking Views

Located on Whidbey Island, Fort Casey State Park is a great place to visit for those looking to explore the Pacific Northwest and Whidbey Island. It’s hard to pick just one thing that makes this place so special! So we picked three!

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#1 The park’s location is perfect for history buffs who also love the outdoors. There are miles of trails winding through forests filled with towering Douglas Fir trees, open grassy fields, and dotted throughout are all the historical infrastructure. It affords several unique photo opportunities from the expansive water views, military relics like the large cannon guns, the infamous Admiralty Head Lighthouse, and fauna like bald eagles and deer.

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#2 There are so many stories associated with this one location. History buffs will learn about the Civil War-era military fort that was built here in order to protect against a potential invasion via water from Japan or Russia during World War II with the “Triangle of Fire. The Admiralty Head Lighthouse adds another slant of historical intrigue. The original lighthouse, which was built in 1894 and first lit on January 21st of 1895 could be seen as far away as 14 miles with a focal plane of 128 feet above the high tide line. You can now visit the lighthouse in its expertly restored state and learn from the volunteer docents that keep the small museum housed inside. Learn more here http://www.washingtonlighthouses.org/data/lighthouse_ah.html

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#3 So many ways to stay! If a day trip is not long enough to soak it all in you can book a campsite at the base of the bluff on the Southern end of the park. It’s located on a bit of a sandy plateau right next to the Ferry landing that serves the Washington State Ferries Port Townsend to Coupeville route. In fact, a neat feature of weekend camping here is that you can walk on the Ferry and explore the historical Water Street in Port Townsend! Grab an amazing meal from one of Port Townsend’s excellent restaurants just don’t miss the last ferry back! If that sounds too risky then head over to Callens Restaurant for some of Coupeville’s best food and drink. If camping accommodations is not your thing you can stay at Camp Casey with a variety of accommodation types. Check it out here https://casey.spu.edu/staying-at-camp-casey/lodging/

Whichever you choose, a day trip or an overnight stay at Fort Casey State Park is sure to leave you with some one-of-a-kind memories!

CoupevilleNeighborhoodsReal Estate May 30, 2022

Admirals Cove

Located on the West side of Whidbey Island just South of the Port Townsend – Coupeville Ferry Landing discover Admirals Cove. It is the largest congruent neighborhood within the Coupeville zip code. Admirals Cove offers some of the most affordable properties in Coupeville, with a wide variety of homes built in various stages from the 1960’s to today, along with a plethora of amenities. It might come as a surprise as you enter the neighborhood from highway 20 to discover waterfront properties as you head down the hill. Want to learn more about the neighborhood? Click here.

Equally surprising, Admirals Cove does NOT have an HOA. Interestingly, the neighborhood operates as a club.  In 2011 it was ruled that Admirals Cove could not be an HOA because it allows people to be associate members when they don’t own property in the community. Property owners however do not have an option to opt out of being a member of the club. Their dues directly impact projects like their latest one shoring up the bulkhead between the pool and the beach.

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Admirals Cove is the Place to be if You are Looking for Amenities

We spoke about west facing properties before in our article, “What View is Best on Whidbey Island” where we explained why West-facing properties are some of the most sought after on Whidbey. The extra sun exposure in West-facing neighborhoods explains why the neighborhood includes amenities like a pool, beach access, shelter, playground and more to soak up the sun when others do not.

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The Community Pool

Admirals Cove is recognized as one of the few community pools on Whidbey Island. Intriguingly, the pool is right on the beach and has been here for over 50 years. It has recently been remodeled and is open for use between May 28 – September 5 in 2022. As an added benefit, they offer swim lessons in the summer for members and non-members.

Beach Access

Park next to the pool and enjoy the beach just a few steps away! Check out the latest tide heights here https://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/Admiralty-Head-Washington/tides/latest.

Shelter and Playground

Next to the pool is a spacious shelter/enclosed gazebo that is available to rent for parties if you are a member. Restrooms, Wi-Fi, grills, picnic area, horseshoe pit, firepits, and a nice playground are all included.

In the Surrounding Area

Admirals Cove central location creates an opportunity for all sorts of adventure. Less than five miles north includes places like Fort Casey State Park, Crockett Lake, Price Sculpture Forest, and the Port Townsend Ferry with Greenbank Farm just over 5 miles south.

Does Jet Noise Bother You?

Keep in mind that OLF or the Navy’s Outlying Field is nearby. The noise from jets practicing their touch and go’s is not for everyone so we encourage people considering Admirals Cove to experience it for yourself. You can see what the upcoming schedule is on this website https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrnw/installations/nas_whidbey_island/news/news_releases/field-carrier-landing-practice-at-nas-whidbey-island-complex-for.html

For more information visit the Admirals Cove neighborhood website here https://www.acbc-whidbey.org/index.html.

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CoupevilleDestination WhidbeyNeighborhoodsPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey November 15, 2021

Fort Casey Forts

Standing tall along the western coast of Whidbey Island, these 10” barrel guns tell the story of a relationship to the United States Department of Defense that began long before any plane took flight. At the time of its construction in the late 1800s, Fort Casey was a military marvel. Part of the “Triangle of Fire,” this military outpost was one of many strategically placed along the Puget Sound as the first line of defense against aquatic attack. Unfortunately, this magnificent fort’s usefulness was short-lived. By the 1920s Fort Casey’s impressive disappearing guns had already become obsolete and in 1956 the property was purchased by Washington State Parks and Recreation. Today, this fort is one of the most frequented state parks in Washington and a deeply embedded part of Whidbey Island culture.

Check out the rest of Whidbey’s beautiful destinations from this series here.

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ClintonCoupevilleDestination WhidbeyFreelandGreenbankLangleyOak HarborPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey July 19, 2021

Bird Watching on Whidbey Island

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50 miles South of the U.S./Canada border and 25 miles North of Seattle lies Whidbey Island, an incomparable destination for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. On Whidbey, you can get lost for hours and find yourself mesmerized not only by incredible views but by a breathtaking variety of birds.

Whidbey Boasts 148 miles of winding shoreline, 6 state parks, 4 lakes, hundreds of miles of trail, and a ridiculous variety of habitats from bogs to estuaries to the prairie. It is not surprising then that Whidbey accommodates roughly 250 resident and migrant bird species.

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Birdwatchers will declare some of the best times to watch for birds on Whidbey are:

Spring:

Late April through May you can expect to be woken early by the Songbirds singing a pleasant tune.

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Fall:

Late July through September It is hard not to miss fat red-breasted Robins filling the apple trees and spot migrant visitors from the north like wigeons, ducks, coots, waterfowl, and red-tailed hawks.

Birds of Whidbey,

Winter:

November through mid-March is a great time of year to watch for Northern Shrike, Bald Eagles, and other raptor-type birds.

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Best places for birdwatching:

If you are just trying to take advantage of easily accessible shoreline almost any time of year works. Some of the best places to watch for shorebirds birds on Whidbey Island are Penn Cove, Keystone Landing, Fort Casey State Park, and Dugualla Bay.

If you don’t live on Whidbey and are coming just for birdwatching be sure to schedule more than one day for viewing. Plan time so you can experience multiple locations, each with its unique features. To better understand all the places you can access the shoreline you really need to buy Getting to the Waters Edge! We sell it at our Windermere offices both in Oak Harbor and Coupeville.

Frequently asked questions:

Some people wonder if there is a time of day that birds are most animated. Typically speaking most birds are bustling around sunrise and sunset but that rule does not apply to all birds. For example, the morning is typically the best time for spotting diurnal species, while nocturnal species are generally spotted in the evening, but it really depends on the bird and the time of year.

Whidbey Island is native to species like Eagles, Northern Harriers, wading birds, loons, grebes, sea ducks, including Harlequin Ducks, dabbling ducks, Black Oystercatchers, Common Yellowthroats, Marsh Wrens, and more. It is also is a temporary home for migrant birds who frequent the island seasonally for the island’s ideal breeding habitats.  But do not be fooled. Some birds like robins, hawks, cardinals, finches, sparrows, and more stay here all year but they seem to “return” because they become active again during the spring through fall seasons after they have bundled down in their nests and shelters during the winter.

Additional resources:

To learn more about the birds that can be spotted on Whidbey and a guide for when you will likely catch a glimpse check out this detailed Whidbey Island Bird List created by the Whidbey Audubon Society.

Here are some of our favorite spots on Whidbey to watch for birds let us know your favorite spots in the comments below.

 

Things to Do on Whidbey June 30, 2021

Staying Cool This Summer

Staying Cool This Summer

Staying cool this summer, Whidbey island

Water activities are something particularly special to Whidbey Island. After all, we are completely surrounded by water. With the sun making more and more guest appearances in the sky you can place a good bet on the expectation of increased activity on the waves. Between kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, and more; Whidbey shores offer quite a bit of enjoyment for those willing to get wet.

Below are just a few water activities frequently seen here on Whidbey.

Kayaking

Kayaking is easily an island favorite when it comes to water sports. The flexibility of kayaking regardless of weather and the ability to do it alone is a HUGE plus for many. Don’t have your own Kayak? Rent one from Whidbey Island Boats and Boards where you pick the location and they deliver the kayaks and paddleboards anywhere on the island.

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Tubing

Another island favorite, especially in the summer, is tubing! The wonderful thing about tubing is the community feel to it. It’s a great activity that brings people together and almost always results in a few humorous stories.

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Water Skiing

Want to kick tubing up a notch? Water skiing is for you! This sport requires a bit more resilience and core strength, but once you get it down you are sure to leave the water with some epic pictures of yourself.

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Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is a slightly newer interest on the island, but well deserving of the hype. This sport is made for those who simply want to enjoy the water. Sit, stand, lay down, it doesn’t matter! Paddleboarding allows you to enjoy the sea the way you want to.

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Sailing

Sailing is a Whidbey Island classic. There is a long history of sailing on Whidbey that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Water Sports on Whidbey

Boating

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Another beloved activity on Whidbey is boating. Avid boaters will get out on the water any chance they get to relax atop the calm waters surrounding Whidbey. Take in the scenery, sunbathe, read a book, or play a game. All are welcomed while relaxing at sea.

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Fishing

Perhaps fishing is more up your alley for a fun relaxing time. The great thing about fishing is that you can do it by boat or by land and Whidbey offers a plethora of opportunities.

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Splash Pad and Lagoon at City Beach

Maybe you have littles that can’t quite participate in some of the other activities yet. Oak Harbor Windjammer park offers a family-friendly splash pad and lagoon to keep the whole family cool on these hot summer days.

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LangleyThings to Do on Whidbey April 19, 2021

The Gray Whales Return to Whidbey

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 phenomenon. 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….

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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!

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Every year the town of Langley has pulled together to commemorate the beginning of whale season. Complete with a parade, this festival speaks volumes of the love islanders have for their precious whales. Unfortunately, the event has been canceled this year due to covid for the health and safety of the community continue to check back here for updates. While the ring of the bell brings joyous memories of years past residences and travelers alike look forward to a day where gatherings return to celebrate these incredible creatures.

 

References

  1. “Gray Whales.” Orca Network, https://www.orcanetwork.org/Main/index.php?categories_file=Gray%20Whales
  2. “Gray Whales.” National Geographic, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/g/gray-whale/

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Uncategorized April 8, 2021

Get the Buck Out of My Yard

Have you ever been standing there admiring your gardens when a deer walks in and decides it is time for lunch? So have we.

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.

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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.

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  1. 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.
  2. 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 snapdragons, odds are they won’t investigate much further.
  3. 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 won’t return.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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