Tag Archives: small town

James in his Jeep Getting Java–The Coupeville Edition

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The look on Grinfinn’s face when I grab his collar and my Jeep keys is priceless. He always does this little dance when he knows we’re going for a Jeep ride, and it’s the only time he bolts out the door as fast as his one inch legs can carry him.

This past weekend we travelled to Coupeville, Washington on Whidby Island, a town of approximately 2,000 people. I travel to Whidby Island a lot, and have blogged about it on more than one occasion. The town of Langley is a favourite travel destination that you can read about here. This historic site still has that frontier look from the 1900s when the town incorporated. Its history as a settlement from the 1850s is a fascinating one, and well worth the read.

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Beautiful, friendly, and peaceful, this was the perfect spot to go after a particularly rough week. There is something therapeutic that happens on road trips, kind of an erasing of the emotional cache that leaves me fresh for the following week. As always, Grinfinn was the hit of the town with lots of people stopping to take photos, pet him, and ask what kind of dog he is.

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Grinfinn and I wound up spending our time on a bench overlooking Penn Cove. Thanks to the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, there was free wi-fi so I had a great spot to rest and write. There was also a hot dog stand where I was able to get my lunch.

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I managed to grab a cup of java from the Knead & Feed Bakery before they closed. (They literally locked the door as I entered the building.) They have a great place to sit outside that overlooks the cove, and once while passing through I had stopped for lunch here so I can say the food is delicious.

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During our walk Grinfinn became enamoured by this statue of a dog. It had me laughing out loud, and when others saw what was making me crack up they also laughed.

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My theme song for this post is Dare by Stan Bush. I’ve been digitizing my LP collection at my library, and now this is one of the many songs I have to play on my road trips. It’s from the 1986 Transformers movie.

James in His Jeep Getting Java-Edison, WA

Wow, it’s almost been a month since my last road trip. The weather has been particularly rotten lately here on the West Coast, plus the semester at school is wrapping up so there is plenty of work to do. However, I just got my NEXUS pass and have been itching to try it out, so since today looked like it would be a sunny morning I took a short day trip over the border for lunch to Edison, WA.

Edison is a small town just off Chuckanut Drive, south of Bellingham, Washington. It has a population of 150, and was named after the famous inventor, Thomas Edison. Also notably, in 1897 it was once the headquarters of a utopian socialist project–according to Wikipedia, anyway. So of course I had to see it.

Funnily enough, while at my dentist last week, I mentioned that this was a destination I was hoping to get out to see. The dental hygienist told me that she had been there, and that it was an amazing place. She even gave me the name of a bakery to check out.

First, when you enter Edison, it looks like a pretty typical small town. I’ve actually given up on what I at first mistook as the “small town staples”; a steam clock, an old church, and a museum. I’ve now come to realize that’s a staple of the “historic downtown” in a bigger metropolis, and not at all what you’ll find in small towns. The first shop I found was “The Lucky Dumpster,” which was an antique/artisan shop with many cool finds. The shop owner was busy sweeping the sidewalk in front of his store, but greeted me politely and we exchanged some friendly banter.

There were also two art galleries, a fitness studio, and a cafe called, “Tweets” that I did not go to this time around. That water fountain below is in front of one of the artist galleries.

I took these photos because they reminded me of my zombie WIP, and I’m considering if I were to write a sequel to it that it may take place here. Just look at that truck! And that shed is filled to the brim with pieces of wood.

I wound up here, Slough Food, which was beside the Bread Farm–the bakery my dental hygienist had told me about. It didn’t look like much on the outside, and it wasn’t fancy on the inside, but I just had a very good feeling about this place so I gave it a shot.

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What I will say, is that the staff at this restaurant were two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. When I looked like I might be a little lost, one of the servers told me they had a seating area out back with heaters if I were interested. I was, so I ventured through a door that felt like the doors on the wardrobe leading to Narnia.

It. Was. Awesome.

 

The slough out back was low because of the season, but at this point mid-morning the sun had started to come out and it was actually getting warm. I needed a place to hunker down and do some homework, so I decided this would be where I sat for the remainder of my time here. The soup of the day was potato-leek, and I added a grilled-cheese with ham sandwich to that. The food was amazing.

For much of the morning, I enjoyed their atmosphere while chatting with the server, whose name I asked, but neglected to write down. Drat my memory!

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And while I sat and drank coffee after my lunch, I saw a few birds. The server, whose name I wish I recalled, brought me out refills for my coffee and offered me a fresh pot when she ran out.

And then this guy flew ten feet over my head!

And this was my spot for the morning. The time to come here, so I’ve been told, is during the Tulip Festival. Edison is close enough to the action, but far enough away not be be smack into the mayhem.

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That was pretty much my trip to Edison this time around. Will return again, as there is a lot along the Chuckanut I still want to explore. I did, however, find a steampunk artist shop on the Chuckanut that had the coolest items for sale. It was called the Chuckanut Bay Gallery and Sculpture Garden. I couldn’t take photos of the interior, as that would be unfair to the artists.

Plus, I got my assignments done that I needed to get done and returned home just as the rain started. Edison, WA, is a place worth exploring. And the Slough Food, definitely a place worth eating at.

And the perfect song for this trip:

James in his Jeep Getting Java – Langley, WA Edition

This is going to be a classic edition of the blog, as these photos are from the several trips I took last year driving down to Langley, Washington on Whidbey Island. While there are many small towns along the way to visit, and I’ve been to almost all of them, today I’m going to focus on Langley as that was where I spent the most time.

First, the Jeep. It’s a 2014 Wrangler, and this is what it looks like those few times when it’s clean. Always good to start the road trip with a clean vehicle, and end with it dirty. Last spring when I made all my road trips to Langley, I was fortunate to have sunny skies and hot weather. So I drove with the top down the entire way playing classic rock on the stereo. The soundtrack song for these trips is Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar On Me.

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The drive through Deception Pass is stunning. Every time I drive over it, I have to stop to marvel at the view. There are trails for hiking, if you’re into that sort of thing, but if you’re more like me you can still get a good look at seals playing in the water or eagles hunting along the shore. Amazing.

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Along this particular road, I drove through Oak Harbor and Coupville, both of which I stopped and spent some time in. More on them another time. Langley, WA (not to be confused with Langley, Canada, which is another great place,) is a quaint little place on the water that reminds me of Steveston.

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There’s lots to do in this town. There are three bookstores to choose from for one thing. Kids Books & Puppets pairs up a great book and puppet for your little one, Gregor Rare Books specializes in rare books, and Through the Reading Glass has a plethora of used books to suit whatever your taste.

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But a road trip just wouldn’t be a road trip without a great place to get a cup of Java. Here’s where things get strange – the best place to sit and have coffee in this village actually only makes tea! It’s true! Kalakala Mercantile does make a tea that tastes like coffee, but it isn’t coffee. It is, however, darn good. This friendly spot is the kind of place that you can walk into, and have a conversation with the employees whereby you tell them what flavours you like and they will suggest a tea for you. So far, I have had a dozen teas from them and they have been spot on each time.

 

The photo of me in what I think is a red shirt but probably isn’t was taken one sunny afternoon when I was sitting on the tea house’s patio and I met the woman who is in charge of the town fair. As we sat chatting, she introduced me to everyone who passed by us and I wound up having this amazing afternoon of unexpected shared stories. I loved it!

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The best lunch spot in town is the Useless Bay Coffee Co. They have indoor seating, and a HUGE outdoor patio. Their burgers are yummy, and I even quite liked the American Iced Tea (for those of you who don’t know, Canadian Iced Tea is mostly sugar). I return to this spot every time I’m in Langley.

There’s also a great spot to walk along the water and sit for awhile on a bench. And if you see a whale, there’s a bell to ring so the whole town can know and rush to see.

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The theme song: