What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of Whidbey Island?
Well, I hadn’t either until I met my friend Lily who grew up there and I hadn’t been there until I headed there this weekend for her wedding. Imagine an island twice the size of Manhattan but with a fraction of the residents and situated out in the middle of Puget Sound. Before heading there for Lily’s wedding, I spent a night in Seattle visiting family and friends and checking out the much-talked about The Whale Wins restaurant.
Getting to Whidbey is pretty simple — it’s only a few minute ferry ride from Seattle but has a rustic, rural feeling that feels eons away from city life. The vibe is what I imagine a romantic Ralph Lauren ad would be like if it were directed by the ever-quirky Wes Anderson. When we got to Whidbey, each of my friends was trying to pinpoint it, drawing parallels to places as disparate as Rockport, Maine and Carmel, California. Maybe that’s because it is a little bit of all those places at the same time that it’s distinctly Pacific Northwest — in every element including the people, the weather, and the attitude.
Truth be told, once we got to Whidbey, almost every waking moment was occupied by a wedding-related activity — be it the rehearsal dinner, sailing the seas with my college friends, or hiking up the hills of Greenbank Farm (with a rest, of course, at the champagne station) to make it to the ceremony. Even so, I got enough of a taste for the island to know I definitely want to go back sooner than later.
Worth Checking Out
The Whale Wins: Recently written up in Bon Appetit Magazine as one of the top restaurants of the year, I decided to try it out while I was in Seattle and it was well worth the 90 minute wait. The design of the restaurant is enough alone to make you swoon but then the food and drinks deliver with phenomenal sardine toasts, lamb tartare, and thoroughly thoughtful cocktails that are too delicious to have just one.
Ace Hotel: I’ve stayed at all the Ace properties at this point and Seattle was definitely one of my favorites. It’s hidden away in the Belltown neighborhood, which gives you convenient access to one of the more happening parts of town and it has a laidback luxury that make for zero pretension but loads of good service.
Greenbank Farm: My friend had her ceremony and reception here but it’s so much more than just a wedding destination. This sustainable farm has everything from a winery and a pie cafe (run by my Lily’s mother) — it’s worth a visit if you find yourself on Whidbey.
Inn at Langley: The Inn at Langley was a treat of a hotel to stay at with waterfront views, a top notch spa, and food that was some of the best we had all weekend. I’d recommend visiting with your significant other because, while I had a great time with my friends, it is a romantic spot made for falling in love.