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!

CoupevilleDestination Whidbey January 3, 2022

Fort Ebey Fort

Treading toward the pinhole of light at the end of the dark tunnel, you hear the creak of an old metal door as it’s caught by a slight breeze. Your steadiness escapes you as you break into a firm sprint until your eyes see the safety of the trees and vista. It’s hard to keep your imagination at bay when visiting Fort Ebey’s eerie bunkers. Built in 1942 as part of the coastal defense system for World War II, Fort Ebey was home to a state-of-the-art battery with two 6-inch guns. When its usefulness ran out, the property was purchased by the state who chose to keep elements of the old battery when opening up the park, making it possible for thousands to explore and enjoy these thrilling bunkers every year.

 

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CoupevilleDestination WhidbeyThings to Do on Whidbey December 6, 2021

Ebey’s Landing

In 1850, local history was made on the shores of Whidbey Island when Isaac Ebey landed on a rocky westside beach and became the first official white settler on the island. With an entire island to choose from, Ebey couldn’t have done much better than the pristine pastureland of what is now known as Ebey’s Landing. This brilliant landscape is situated right at the southwestern side of Coupeville and features breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain range. The landing’s soft rolling hills blanketed in rich soil—perfect for cultivating crops—was this area’s true draw to its original settler. Today this landscape remains largely unchanged from the early days of settlers thanks to Ebey’s Landing Reserve. It’s the perfect place for a long walk to get lost in the life of the past.

 

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CoupevilleDestination WhidbeyNeighborhoodsPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey October 11, 2021

Ebeys Landing

In 1850, local history was made on the shores of Whidbey Island when Isaac Ebey landed on a rocky westside beach and became the first official white settler on the island. With an entire island to choose from, Ebey couldn’t have done much better than the pristine pastureland of what is now known as Ebey’s Landing. This brilliant landscape is situated right at the southwestern side of Coupeville and features breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountain range. The landing’s soft rolling hills blanketed in rich soil—perfect for cultivating crops—was this area’s true draw to its original settler. Today this landscape remains largely unchanged from the early days of settlers thanks to Ebey’s Landing Reserve. It’s the perfect place for a long walk to get lost in the life of the past.

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

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CoupevilleDestination WhidbeyNeighborhoodsThings to Do on Whidbey August 30, 2021

Crockett Blockhouse

In the late 1850’s, word of the Indian Wars came to Whidbey Island encouraging settlers to construct blockhouses as an effort to protect their families and land. After several other blockhouses were built by other settlers Col. Walter Crockett built his own in 1857. These houses were small two-story buildings built with logs placed horizontally parallel to each other. The top story was considerably larger than the bottom with numerous gun ports to provide visual access from all directions.  

Luckily, no war or invasion ever transpired and the blockhouses were never used for their intended purposes. Many became storage locations for goods and one even became a law office. Over the years many were repaired and transformed into historic monuments.

Today, the Crockett blockhouse is one of four that remain part of the Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve and have been maintained to preserve this piece of history. 

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

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CoupevilleThings to Do on Whidbey April 9, 2021

QR Codes Connecting Us to History

Whidbey Island is home to several wonderful little towns each with their own fascinating history and culture. Perhaps the most intriguing is Whidbey’s oldest town; Coupeville, home of the first Whidbey Island settlement.

Coupeville:

coupeville

Coupeville is an adorable waterfront community rich in history and culture. In 1850 Issac Ebey became the first official Whidbey Island settler when he applied for the first land claim on the island. Claiming over 600 acres of what is now Ebey’s Landing, Ebey was soon to be followed by his nephew and many others. By 1854 there were 29 settlement claims in Coupeville alone and in 1881 it officially became the Island County seat.

Preservation:

Although all of Whidbey is covered in fascinating history, Coupeville is unique in its preservation. Where many of the original buildings of Oak Harbor and Langley have been torn down or decimated by historic fires, downtown Coupeville’s original buildings remain intact and in use. In fact, the town of Coupeville has more historic buildings in a condensed area than anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Technology:

To celebrate this fact and educate people on these beautiful historic buildings, Island County’s 4-H club took on the project of using modern technology to connect us to the past. Next time you’re in downtown Coupeville, take a closer look at those historic store windows. You might just see one of these:

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Scattered down Front Street are tons of these QR codes leading to the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association website developed by the 4-H club in 2012. This website is full of information gathered from the Island County Historical Society, City Records, and over 100 personal interviews with people recounting memories and stories of the historic downtown. Each building’s QR code will lead you directly to that building’s history: when it was built, its original purpose, and the different stores that have occupied the space.

So, the next time you are strolling down Font Street whip out that smartphone of yours and learn a little bit of history along the way.

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