Almost five years ago now, I moved from San Diego, California to Seattle, trading warm weather and beaches for gusts of wind, rain and city life. My favorite way to spend the weekends is to explore this region, one that I still barely know. Day trips are the perfect way to get a taste for everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer—and maybe find some new favorite haunts.
Whidbey Island is only a short jaunt away from Seattle, either via ferry from Mukilteo or over the Deception Pass Bridge. I recommend the latter, as I-20 runs almost the entire length of the island. It is a great way to explore almost all of Whidbey Island. When you are done exploring and ready to head back to Seattle, pick up the ferry (it runs twice every hour) in Clinton at the base of the island.
Explore: Deception Pass Bridge
Despite living in Seattle several years, this recent trip was my first chance to check out Deception Pass. It is a favorite spot for many for its epic beauty—not a phrase I use lightly. Coming from the north, this monumental bridge seems to appear from nowhere. The Deception Pass Bridge is situated with a view of Skagit Bay to the east and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the West, separated by the two large islands and dotted with smaller ones. The scenery is simply picturesque, and is quintessentially “Pacific Northwest.” Driftwood and stones crowd the beaches below, and the water almost glows with a tropical blue tone. The swift currents make the water a mesmerizing view from the bridge and the trails that lead to the beach. For thrill-seeking kayakers, these rapid-like conditions are a major attraction, as larger boats tend to wait on either side of the pass for slack tide, when it is safe to navigate through the narrow waterway. There’s also a campground nearby…if you want to turn your day trip into a getaway.
Eat: Prima Bistro
This little French-inspired eatery is situated in Langley, and is pretty much famous within the small town. Almost everyone we asked recommended it as the best food in town. The menu ranges from croque monsieurs (and madames) to tarte flambée. The first thing we ordered (didn’t even wait to get a drink first), was the raclette. Listed on the menu as a “small plate,” I wouldn’t recommend embarking on this rich dish on your own. Served in a piping hot skillet, the roasted alpine cheese is paired with potatoes, cornichons and house cured lonza. It is creamy, salty and just plain indulgent. With windows looking out over the sound, it is the perfect place for lunch on the island.
Edit. is a beautifully designed and curated store right on First Street in Langley. Founded by artist and designer David Price (previously represented by Patricia Rovzar Gallery) Edit. features a bevy of locally and globally sourced goods, including home decor, art and books. Its products mesh beautifully in the space, feeling less like a shop or showroom and more like a complete environment. My favorite items were the Douglas Fir Spring Tip tea and the organically crafted cutting boards by Wood Turn Co. Goods. Pick one of these simple slabs up to display cheeses or charcuterie at your next gathering.
Sip: Kalakala Co. Mercantile
Kalakala Co. Mercantile is the retail presence of Kalakala Co. Animation founders Drew Christie and Amanda Moore. This unique cafe and shop is a wonder for the eyes. Its clean lines and modern display are soothing and inspiring. If you’ve had the chance to visit Moorea Seal in Belltown, the aesthetics are beautifully similar—nearly all white with pops of organic materials. Air plants, succulents and exposed bulbs brighten up the space. Delicious coffees and teas are available, as well as house-made biscotti (deliciously coated in smoked chocolate from Ballard’s Hot Cakes). Soups and salads are available, as well as beer and wine. Currently on tap are Aslan Brewing Company, Birdsview Brewing and Anacortes Brewery. The quiet elegance of the space is perfect for a bit of down time after exploring the island.