Last weekend, Jonathan and I took our first post-baby trip together up to Whidbey Island for some much-needed R&R and to visit my best friend Jessie and her husband, Joe, who just had a baby girl. (Margot, and she is perfect!)
We’ve both taken trips since Fay was born, but sadly not together. Jonathan has been on several business trips, and we both separately went to Seattle for long weekends in September to celebrate my sister and her fiancé’s bachelor(ette) parties, but this was our first chance to spend time just the two of us without a baby monitor wedged between our pillows. And it was HEAVEN.
As is typical of me, I tend to be so engrossed in what’s happening that I forget to take pictures (I didn’t get a single one of myself at all — not even a selfie!). But I managed a few snapshots here and there, if you’re interested…
I first visited Whidbey Island in 2009, when I went to Joe’s mother’s house in Greenbank for Easter. They were visiting from Brooklyn; we drank spicy Bloody Mary’s and ate loganberry pie; it was cold and windy and I loved it. The proximity to the ocean, the view of the mountains, the quality of the food, and the slower pace of life spoke to me deeply.
When Joe and Jessie moved from New York to the island in 2014, I started to visit more often, with and without Jonathan.
In the past we would stay with Jessie and Joe in their house overlooking the water, but this time (given their recent upgrade to Parent status) we rented a charming and romantic log cabin in the deep woods.
The cabin was down a long dirt road and completely secluded. There weren’t even shades on the windows!
It’s the kind of place designed to help you unplug and settle in. The owners (a pair of best friends) completely remodeled the home over the course of three years (and countless cross-country trips from their full-time lives in Atlanta)–nearly rebuilding the entire historic structure from the ground up. Not a single detail was overlooked; they really thought of everything, from basic decor and amenities, to the symbolic “wrecking ball” in the front yard, and the result is a warm, cozy oasis surrounded by dense forest.
It was a weekend without an agenda, which is the way I like it. We took some time to drive around and explore some South Whidbey neighborhoods and restaurants we’d previously never been. We also met up with Jessie, Joe, baby Margot, and their awesome friend Emily for a rainy jaunt through the woods in Langley.
The hike reminded me that I should probably invest in a new pair of rainboots, because my New Balance sneakers weren’t really cutting it!
Saturday night, Jonathan and I celebrated our 8-year anniversary (one month early!) at Orchard Kitchen–a “field-to-fork” dining experience and brain-child of Whidbey Island native and chef Vincent Nattress. He and his staff serve incredible prix fixe multi-course meals four days a week to a group of about 35 patrons. The menu changes weekly and there is an optional wine pairing with each course.
At Jessie and Joe’s suggestion, we requested to be seated at the bar–and we are so happy we did! We got to see the full kitchen in action, and it was exciting to sit between courses and watch the team prepare the food and chat with them along the way.
It was a marvelous way to spend a cold and rainy Saturday night, and I can’t wait to go back again!
We had nearly all day on Sunday to explore before catching the ferry and heading to the airport for our flight, so we drove up to Coupeville for breakfast and a bit of Christmas shopping. I love going to Coupeville and admiring Penn Cove (where the world’s best mussels are from!). Its tiny downtown feels even smaller and more intimate than Langley, to the south, which is saying something.
After another lunch stop at Greenbank Farm on our way south, we had a farewell visit with our friends to round out a wonderful and easy weekend.
I admit, it was hard to leave this time. If we didn’t have Fay waiting at home for us, it might have been impossible to make me leave!
Whidbey Island is and always will be one of my favorite places. Already counting down the days until we can go back!