August 18, 2009

Friends, Meet Whidbey Island

I thought it high time you peeps got acquainted with the place I now call home. Forgive the factoid-bulleted-list coming your way, but I have shared information with some of you that may not have been acurate and the purpose of this post is to set the record straight. Some of the stories I first heard about Whidbey Island and Deception Pass were flat out wrong; so if I have passed those incorrect stories and facts on to you, you have my deepest apologies. I hope this post makes amends and sends you a whole pound of chocolate.

Ooo, I hope it sends me a whole pound of chocolate, too!

Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen (do any gentlemen actually read this blog? I wonder . . . ) without any further ado, I give you Whidbey Island:

  • Located in the Puget Sound thirty miles north of Seattle, it is the largest island in Washington
  • It is around 60 miles from extreme northern tip to extreme southern tip. Go here for a map. Driving the full length of the island takes over an hour, mainly because the road doesn't follow a straight line.
  • Some sources, such as this sign found at Deception pass, claim Whidbey is the second largest island in the US. Others claim it is fifth.

  • There are only a couple of ways on and off the island: you can drive over Deception Pass at the northern tip, which will take you to Fidalgo Island, then on to Mount Vernon on the mainland. Or you can take a ferry further south. The Port Townsend ferry takes you to the Olympic Pennisula (home of the temperate rain forests and the famous Twilight town of Forks). At the southern end of Whidbey, you can also take the Mukilteo ferry which dumps you off pretty darn close to Seattle. Since we live in Oak Harbor, we generally drive Deception Pass to go off-island:

  • The island boasts 5 state parks; we've been to four of them. :)
  • Average yearly rainfall differs widely at various places on Whidbey. Oak Harbor sees about 26 inches annually. The area south of Coupeville sees the least, at about 18 in. For comparison, Seattle gets 36 in. and New York City, 40 in. We'll see how well I do this winter, since San Diego in contrast sees only about 6 in. Ha. Ha ha. Check back with me in February.

Oak Harbor owes much of its growth and prosperity to the presence of two military bases: the Naval Air Station and a sea plane base. Odd that I've lived close to military bases my entire life, and yet have never been military myself. My parents weren't. My husband isn't. Travel any further outside the family circle, though, and they start popping up all over the place: my grandfathers, my grandma, my uncles, my cousins, Jason's dad. The list goes on.

I guess you could say I come from an impressive military heritage (name that movie).

Or else I'm just using my family history to brag. Nah, I wouldn't do that. Would I?

Ahem. Moving on.

Jason and I haven't gone further south than Greenbank yet, but I do believe Oak Harbor is the largest city on Whidbey. Even so, the city only boasts 20,000 inhabitants (as of ten years ago . . . sheesh, we need a new census!), which is quite a change from San Diego (at around 1 million).

So far, we like the small town atmosphere. People are very friendly, often stopping to chat in Wal-Mart about the weather or the child running loose with fruit snacks and paper clips. Oh wait, that was my son.

The only thing I haven't been able to find up here are Reynold's Foil Baking Cups. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but my mom came to the rescue just in time and is shipping up a whole boatload. My peanut butter brownie cups thank you, Mom.

That's pretty much our new home in a nutshell. If you want to hear an interesting story, scroll back up to the first photograph and read the sign (if you haven't already). It gives a history of the island and how Deception Pass got its name.

Did I leave anything out? Pique your curiosity and then leave you hanging? Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. Mind you, I'm new around here so I may not know the best place to eat sushi or if vampires really haunt the Olympic Penninsula. But if there's anything else you want to know about the island or WA in general, ask away!

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