Now that the kids are out of the house, my husband and I are always looking for easy weekend escapes and romantic getaways where we can totally unplug and relax. I haven’t spent much time in the Pacific Northwest, save for a quick trip to Seattle, so we decided to take a weekend trip to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.
Getting there is a bit of an adventure unto itself, taking a shuttle from the Seattle airport to the ferry. But as soon as I stepped onto the ferry, I knew this place was going to be something special. It’s true what they say that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, especially given the views on the ferry to Whidbey Island. Having grown up on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, I had not seen such amazing water and island views in decades.
So here’s the perfect itinerary for a weekend trip to Whidbey Island.
If your weekend trip to Whidbey Island is a romantic getaway, stay at the Inn at Langley. From the moment you open the door to your room, the only way I can describe it is “breathtaking”. This quaint island inn offers rooms and suites with 180-degree views of the Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Mountains. Rooms are exceptionally spacious and all offer a large outdoor balcony, a jetted tub with a water view and a cozy wood-burning fireplace. Enjoy your jetted tub and wood-burning fireplace. For me, it’s often the little extra thought and extra perks that properties offer guests that win me over. The Inn at Langley certainly knows those perks from a bathscape that includes a candle (with matches) and bath salts to the large array of free snacks and drinks.
Before you head out for the day of your romantic getaway, enjoy one of the best breakfasts that you’ll find quite memorable. An upscale buffet breakfast is served in the open kitchen and includes local delicacies like fruit tarts and veggie-filled quiches. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the breakfast. Chef Matt Costello has been at the Inn for 14 years and is now a business partner and owner. The terrace outside the restaurant is a beautiful English garden, with a plethora of fresh herbs, tended by his wife.
Chef Matt also serves dinner at the Inn three nights a week. The menu? Whatever was fresh in the garden that day. The restaurant seats just 24 people as Chef wants to create an intimate dinner party atmosphere, so you’ll want to make reservations for the three hour feast. The cost is $160 per person but well worth it.
Be sure to check out the Inn’s special packages for some great experiences and rates.
Treat yourself to a treatment at the Inn’s spa before you head off for a day of wine and spirits tastings. The spa (currently under renovation) hails itself as a “healing sanctuary where the forest meets the sea.” Many of the treatments are inspired by the water using ingredients like mud, seaweed, and Himalayan Salt Crystals. Two of the spa’s signature packages include:
- The Saratoga Passage – Let us transport you away from the stress and cares of your day to the “healing waters” of our signature treatment. This ultimate Sea Flora experience launches from the shore with a Renewing Seaweed Body scrub (dry room only), continues to flow on with a 60-minute Relaxation massage with Sea Flora’s Sea Silk Body Massage Oil Blend, and brings you to your final destination cocooned and resting in a Nourishing Alaria wrap. Great for those with sensitive skin or who prefer aroma-free. You’ll be glad you made the journey! 150 minutes – $385
- Ila Chakra Wellbeing – As exquisite as it is holistic, this bespoke treatment – tailored to the needs of each individual – works on the muscles, lymph and nervous system as a whole. Based around seven blends of chakra-balancing essential oils, each unique ritual involves deep relaxation of the nervous system, sensuous lymphatic drainage, subtle healing of the chakras and the pouring of warm oil over the third eye to restore and relax every sense. Ends with a scalp massage. 120 minutes – $325
Wine and Spirits Tastings
Spoiled Dog Winery is a small family-owned winery named for the owners’ Australian Shepherds, Sami and Brix (I’m guessing most winery dogs are spoiled). They make handcrafted wines using their estate grown Pinot Noir grapes and produce a number of award-winning wines using grapes sourced from around the state. Be sure to check the website for tasting times and special winemaker dinners.
Whidbey Island Winery is the oldest winery on the island. The owners have planted grape varietals from the cooler parts of Europe that mirror the climate of Whidbey Island. They also produce plenty of reds using grapes sourced from around the state.
You’ll want to visit Whidbey Island Distillery just so you can say you watched whiskey being made in a bunker. This is a true family-run business. Owner Steve Heising grew up in Saudi Arabia and watched his dad distill his own spirits. He wanted to run a business with his own two sons so he designed and built his own stills and today, runs the distillery with his wife and sons. They produce rye whiskey and liqueurs using local berries – blackberry, boysenberry, loganberry and raspberry. Their blackberry liqueur is among the highest rated in the world and was awarded the prestigious Platinum Medal (98 points) by the Beverage Testing Institute.
For an authentic rustic meal, plan an evening at Orchard Kitchen, where dinner is served by a husband and wife team, in a true family style manner. Arrive early so you can stroll through the onsite garden where virtually all of the restaurant’s meals originate. Dinner is only served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and reservations are a must.
Our menu included:
- Salad of Ebb Tide beets with blue cheese, grilled sweet onion and baby arugula paired with 2016 Patsch Zweigelt Rose from Austria
- Crispy skin Wild Columbia River King Salmon with Scarlet runner & sweet corn succotash paired with 2014 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais
- Braised beef tortellini and roasted eggplant caviar with fresh pomodoro sauce and basil pesto paired with 2014 Le Sang des Cailloux “Doucinello” from France
- Ebb Tide strawberries and crispy meringues with creme Fraiche ice cream and Florentine cookies paired with 2015 Santa Julia Late Harvest Torrentes from Argentina.
Orchard Kitchen also offers cooking classes.
Explore the farms
There are miles and miles of rich farmland perfect for exploring on a weekend trip to Whidbey Island.
Glendale Shepherd Farm is home to 60 milking sheep that are a mixture of European East Friesian and Lacaune dairy breeds, crossed with a variety of North American breeds. Glendale, under the helm of Stan and Lynn Swanson, uses only the finest quality non-GMO hays and natural grains to supplement the goats’ diets, resulting in a rich, sweet, Grade A milk free from antibiotics, additives and preservatives. The Island Brebis, Glendale’s flagship cheese and 2014 Good Food Award winner, is a whole sheep’s milk tomme that is aged from 6 months to 1 year.
Eckholm Farm is a small, family-owned bee farm near Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Bruce Eckholm was a software executive who gave it all up for a more relaxed lifestyle and embarked on a deep education in beekeeping. He has multiple hives spread throughout the Reserve giving the bees diverse nectar sources. Bruce takes samples from each of the hives and sends them off for pollen analysis which identifies the different floral composition of each honey. Each jar of honey lists the varietals of the nectars, much like a wine label.
3Sisters Farm is a fifth generation working beef farm, now run by the three great great granddaughters (sisters) of the original farmer in 1910. Jennifer, Jessica and Roshel (the 3 sisters) all graduated from college with differing degrees and came home to run, and expand, the farms. Today, 600-acre farm, produces grassfed beef, pork, lamb, chicken and eggs. They raise all of their own non-GMO feed. The 3Sisters Market, a short drive from the farm, is a great place to pick up local artisan goods.
After a busy day spent visiting the farms, enjoy a bottle of wine on your deck at the Inn at Langley. In the evening, be sure to enjoy the whirlpool tub in your room with a full view of the Puget Sound.