Destination WhidbeyGreenbank April 1, 2024

Greenbank Farm

Greenbank Farm was originally established in 1904 by Calvin Philips, then sold to loganberry farmer John Molz in 1940. The farm grew to become the largest loganberry-producing farm in the United States by 1970. Seven years later, the farm went up for sale. In an effort to retain its history and save the farm from becoming a residential housing development a collection of community governments purchased it. Today, the gorgeous barn still stands among the beautiful farmland attracting tourists and residents alike. Visitors enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, perusing the fine art galleries, a walk along the trails, or a slice of the heavenly marionberry pie.

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

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Whidbey Island March 25, 2024

Working From Your Remote Whidbey Home

Ah. That’s better. Pardon me as I settle into my favorite chair in the living room with a view of the water. What was the question again? Why work from home? Especially why work from home on Whidbey Island? Even without a view, it can be worth it. Besides, if you’ve bought a house, why not use it? #WorkFromHome is more than a hashtag. Hmm. Maybe it is time to freshen my cup of tea.

Working from home

Working from home existed before Covid. People specifically moved to Whidbey to get away from the traffic of The Big City. They saved hours every workday in changing a commute from something that involved a few thousand pounds of vehicle for whatever fuzzy slippers weigh and cost. They saved money by making breakfast, lunch, and coffee in their kitchen. Looking up from a desk or a computer doesn’t end at a cubicle wall. Depending on the place, it can be the water, a forest, or maybe even mountains. If their house doesn’t have a view, it’s probably a short walk or drive. 

None of that is news. But, the pandemic proved the value of staying home to work. It doesn’t work for everyone. People who make things might still have to go to a factory, assembly plant, or construction site. Office workers with the right company and conditions can operate as long as they have a good internet connection. To Microsoft’s, Google’s, and Apple’s chagrin, Zoom has become the new verb and noun for meeting online because meeting online has become so common. People in offices might be meeting online for global coordination’s. Why not meet from home? Put up an artificial background, and a spare bedroom can look like a penthouse apartment that has a view.

High-speed internet opened a pipeline that allowed #WorkAnywhere, not just #WorkFromHome.

That’s not news specific to Whidbey. Of course, that’s part of the point.

Working from your remote Whidbey home

Another enabler has been commercial flights from the mainland. For years, some islanders have commuted to job sites and client visits anywhere in the world with access to a good enough airport. They had to manage Seattle traffic. Now, flying from Bellingham or Everett negates the need for downtown traffic. Get a ride on the airport shuttle, and you don’t even have to worry about driving or parking. Remember that Amtrak runs by the island, too. Catch a couple of ferries and be in Canada. 

Whidbey isn’t as isolated as it was, and yet, it is remote enough to be quieter, slower, and more relaxed. Sure, we get sirens, but probably not as many as in some mainland neighborhoods.

The thanks to the enablers don’t stop there. Delivery services like USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. mean supplies get delivered to your house, and things you need to send have options for how to get there, wherever there is.

Working from home can have its limits. The island does have business centers with their high-capacity printers and some supplies. That trip may require a drive, but the traffic should be more manageable. Also, keep in mind the services available from our libraries. Sno-isle Libraries can fill in gaps thanks to their high-speed internet, printers, meeting rooms (check for rules and schedules), and generally quiet meeting places. 

Speaking of meeting places, particularly ones that are more commercial, be glad the island has so many coffee shops. Some even come with meeting spaces to rent for more commercial meetings, privacy, or solitude. And, of course, coffee. Maybe even tea and juice. The concept of working from coffeeshops is common enough that buying a cup of your favorite beverage can be like renting a table for a while. They’re running a business, too, so enjoy the expertise of the barista, the indulgence of good baked goods, and the fact that someone else will do the dishes. Start with breakfast or stay through lunch or dinner and remove those distractions. Or, skip the coffee and meet and work over a glass of beer or wine, and maybe a late day meal.

Check around. Enough people are working from home, or at least from the island, that co workspaces have popped up. They tend to provide some office services, and can be great places for networking and collaborations.

Got a bigger event?

The island is known for hosting seminars and conferences. Rent a space and find that attendees might prefer traveling to an island instead of a generic hotel backroom by some airport. Some sites are even listed as retreats, and retreating can be just what a group needs. Who knows? Maybe they’ll like Whidbey enough to make it a more frequent destination. Maybe they’ll even move here. Bring them to you.

The island isn’t a workers’ utopia.

It will work for some but not for all. Whidbey is Whidbey, which means stories about the bridge, ferries, power outages, and other island quirks. But then, no place is perfect. 

In the meantime, boats and whales are cruising by. Calls from our varied wildlife outcompetes our occasional sirens and rare horn honking’s. Ah, there’s the sunshine. OK. Time to take a break for another cup of something, and time to quit looking down at a computer and look up to see if there’s a rainbow. And, there’s that delivery I’m waiting for. Maybe some exercising and stretching. That explains the sweats. Oh yeah, and there’s making a dinner that benefits from more preparation than hitting Start on the microwave. Work? Yes. But life is more than just that. Might as well live where you want to live, and fit work in around that. 

If you’d like to brainstorm your ideas about working from Whidbey with some local expertise let us know and we will connect you!

ClintonCoupevilleFreelandGreenbankLangleyOak HarborPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey January 15, 2024

A Trip Through Whidbey’s History

Whidbey has history? It must; there are museums here. Compared to any place in Europe it can seem that there’s no real history here; but, Whidbey has had visitors for thousands of years. Follow along with us as we take a trip through Whidbey’s history. 

The island was built from some of the newest geology:

The west coast of North America was originally at Spokane, but tectonic plates moved and eventually some small ones slammed into the continent. That’s where “The Rock” gets its rocks. They hold up our bridge. Further south on the island could arguably be called “The Gravel” because a series of glaciers and ice sheets scraped mountains down to bits. Those bits were dumped into moraines and stream beds that help explain the south end’s hilly roads, as well as some of the slopes that slide.

About 16,900 years ago, those ice sheets finally left. Over 2,000 feet of ice retreated, leaving lands that waited for something to drop by and grow. The plants began to grow providing forests and prairies. The whales, fish, birds, and land creatures arrived. Today you can walk the beach and you may find mammoth teeth and bones (not a joke).

People came soon after:

They didn’t call it Whidbey. One name that became associated with the place was Tscha-kole-chy. Ask the Tulalip tribes or a local historian about how to pronounce it. 

The island became populated just like the rest of the Salish Sea lands. There was food, a good climate, and relative safety from things like volcanoes.

Humans were busy for over ten thousand years, but we have few stories considering how long that period lasted. One good view of that life is the Maiden of Deception Pass sculpture and description

Skip ahead a few thousands of years to when more people started showing up. 

In the late 1700s:

European explorers sailed in. They were to explore the island and discover what existed here, a very natural and human endeavor. Captain Vancouver’s crew named many of the features. The features already had names, but now they had newer names.


Joseph Whidbey circumnavigated the island. Originally, they thought it was a peninsula, but when they completed their counter-clockwise trip and found the pass they were surprised it was an island, hence Deception Pass. 

By 1848:

Some settlers tried settling on the west side of island, near Penn Cove. Thomas Glasgow, Antonio Rabbeson, and A. Carnefix established a farmstead. It didn’t last long. Local tribes were upset in general with settlers throughout the Puget Sound region. The settlers were encouraged to leave, which they did, without even taking many of their tools. 

There was some disagreement between the Spanish, the British, and the pesky Americans as to who owned what. The original inhabitants had their perspective, of course. The various negotiations and treaties are complicated and fascinating. One place to start is with the Pig War on San Juan Island, a seemingly silly disagreement that almost started a real war.

The 1850’s:

Soon after, more settlers arrived. They too saw the value of the forests, farming, and fishing. Coupeville got started in the 1850s, and became the second oldest town in Washington State. The south end towns were quieter; but, Maxwelton had a 3,000 seat auditorium, for a while. The site of Bailey’s store was basically a trading post in the 1850s. Oak Harbor started then, too; and was incorporated in the 1910s.

The island was fractured. There were few roads. The main way to get around was by boat or walking the beaches at low tide. 

It was about this time that Ebey’s tale became history, a fascinating story of someone who regularly rowed to Port Townsend, and then was killed over a misunderstanding. Check out the links at the end of this article if you would like to learn more about this story. 

The next few decades were a bit rough, but profitable for some. Seattle was growing and it became the destination for island food and lumber. Some of the island’s tallest trees became masts for that era’s tall ships. The branches went into the growing steamship fleet’s boilers, as well as into the landfills that became Seattle’s waterfront.

Throughout those decades ships turned from oars or paddles, to sail, to steam, to internal combustion (to electric?).

Ships operated before docks were built. Some ran up onto the beach, got rid of cargo and passengers, picked up more, and backed away before the tide stranded them. A ferry carried people across Deception Pass, before the bridge was built.


The construction of Fort Casey began. After one world war it became obvious that the country needed defenses.  The Navy established its base, and added and shifted as technology changed warfare. Look at the guns at Fort Casey and compare them to the fortifications at Fort Ebey to see a great change in a short time.

Boeing was busy during World War Two, but it was a few decades later that their plant at Paine Field became a major employer. Thanks to the ferries, Whidbey also became a bedroom community.


Meanwhile, after the start of the 20th century, Freeland was started as a place for free land, an experimental community that blended and contrasted socialist and capitalistic principles. Eventually, the culture tended to a more conventional style of community.

In 1919:

Ferries began docking at docks on south Whidbey, not just running up on beaches, and it became possible to ferry cars and trucks onto the island. They probably had wait lines and cancellations, too.

In 1920:

Langley became one of the first cities in America to have an all-women government. They inaugurated a series of reforms that cleaned up the town, literally. 

About that time, some of the other rough edges of Whidbey were softened as artists began using the island as a retreat and refuge. 

Thanks to fishing resorts, Whidbey was already gaining a reputation as a place to get away from The Big City of Seattle. Tourism got a beachhead.

It became obvious to some that Whidbey’s relationship with Seattle could be like the East Coast’s tourist towns relationship between cities like New York and the Hamptons. That tourist traffic became yet another reason to justify the Deception Pass Bridge.

Life in general became easier as the entire island was finally connected with roads and power.


By the end of the 90s, Whidbey was already known for its various communities: farming, the arts, for tourists, for commuters, and for retirees. Currently, it is being redefined again as Whidbey’s rise from obscurity has grown into an international destination for tourism and training. 

What’s next? Being remote is redefining itself. Whidbey Island is being ‘found’. De-urbanization means urban dwellers are trading that lifestyle for something quieter and slower with a bit more room. But, what’s really next? That’s what every resident and visitor and fan gets to help redefine. History never ends. Welcome to this chapter, the one that you are in. What history will you create?

Connect with us whether you already live here, visit often, or want to move here. 

Destination WhidbeyNeighborhoodsOak HarborPlaces January 17, 2022

Maylor Point

In this amazing shot by Willie Shaw at Team Shaw Photography, you can see the actual harbor of Oak Harbor, the marina, Maylor Point with its iconic white radar dome, the spit to Polnell Point, and the snow-covered Cascade Mountains. Phenomenal views like this one can be seen while driving all over Whidbey Island. Winter makes these vistas even more stunning by providing clear air and snow-capped mountains in every direction. This is just one of the reasons a drive down the length of Whidbey is designated as an official scenic byway called the “Whidbey Scenic Isle Way”.


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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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Destination WhidbeyLangleyPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey December 20, 2021

Goss Lake Langley

Located between Freeland and Langley on the southern end of Whidbey, Goss Lake is the perfect spot for relaxing and taking in the fresh PNW air. Enjoy the beautiful greenery and waterfront view with a hike around Goss Lake Loop or (on the warmer days) take a dip in the freshwaters. During the colder seasons, break out the fishing gear and catch some native coastal cutthroat trout. With only one public access point and no motors permitted except for electric, this location remains the perfect oasis for a quiet afternoon. Yet during the annual Whidbey Island Triathlon, this lake gets some extra activity as the location of the event’s swimming leg.


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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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Things to Do on Whidbey September 14, 2021

Must Watch Movies and Shows Filmed on Whidbey


Real EstateStats July 16, 2021

Monthly Stats: June 2021

Market Trends, whidbey Island

Destination WhidbeyGreenbankNeighborhoodsPlacesThings to Do on Whidbey July 12, 2021

Greenbank Farm

In the early 1900s, the Greenbank Farm in Greenbank was used to harvest trees and maintain a dairy herd. The main barn you see today dates back to 1904. By the 1940s the farm was sold to John Molz who began loganberry farming. By 1970 it was the largest Loganberry farm in the US. Later it was sold to Chateau Ste. Michelle who planned to sell the 522 acres for residential development. Luckily in 1997 the Port of Coupeville, Nature Conservatory, and Island County combined forces and purchased the Farm for public use.

Today, this picture-perfect farm features dog-friendly walking trails, demonstration gardens, solar power demonstrations, wetlands, wildlife, several shops, and art galleries. One of our favorites is the Whidbey Pie Cafe that brings tribute to the history of the farm with their loganberry pie among many other delicious choices.

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

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