Exploring Langley, Washington

By Cait Auer

Drive under a canopy of heavy wooded evergreen trees before a glimpse of coastline greets you, or stretch out your arms on the deck of a ferry and fly alongside seagulls as you approach the petite historical town of Langley, WA perched on the outskirts of Whidbey Island. Welcome to a community where residents sing happy birthday to complete strangers, a variety of wildlife idly roams across blossoming vegetable gardens and sloping coastal fields, and an appreciation of great food and better company enchants a passerby.

DOWNTOWN WATERFRONT WALK: Stroll down the blackberry bush lined trails to the waterfront walkway that is riddled with totem poles, smooth benches, broad picnic tables, and easy entrances into the Saratoga Passage for any kayaker, scuba diver, or swimmer. Spot whale pods from the shore from the end of February into early June and from October through December, and be sure to listen for the ringing whale bell on First Street.

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MUSIC FOR THE EYES: If your wanderlust tempts you to dream of distant shores, get your fix at Music For The Eyes- an eclectic shop filled with a vibrant array of colorful items from Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe. You’ll find rugs, jewelry, hats, slippers, purses, instruments, textiles, and more. Behind each one-of-a-kind item lies a unique story. Fred and Shannon Lundal, retired diplomats who run the shop, hand pick every product. The Lundals currently make two big trips per year, so each item is exceptionally rare. The pair has established respectful relationships with family businesses, particularly carpet makers from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

CLYDE THEATER: Painted robin’s egg blue with a whimsical accent of yellow stars, The Clyde Theatre resembles a magical time machine to the 1930’s when trips to the cinema were events to remember. Rose shaded curtains drape around the screen and line the interior walls of the one-room theatre, immediately setting the tone for a dignified outing at a great price. Lounge on plush chairs and enjoy one of today’s feature films in crystal clear sound and picture quality. Weekend showings include the typical Hollywood faire, but the theatre loves to vary its selections with interesting foreign or independent films. Owners Lynn and Blake consider the Clyde community to be family, and take extra care in accommodating respectful attendees of all ages.

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PRIMA BISTRO: Cozy up at the French inspired Pacific Northwest cuisine restaurant, Prima Bistro, for an intimate setting accompanied with expertly crafted small and large dishes. Whether you decide to dig into an a la carte plate of truffled wild prawns in rich honey sauce, pan fried veal sweat breads in a refreshingly sweet apricot-thyme gastrique, or Washington clams with house made chorizo bathed in a zesty white wine and tomato coulis, each dish provides bursts of complex flavors that are meant to be enjoyed slowly while accompanied with a glass of their superb wine. With the views of ocean tide serving as your meal’s backdrop on their deck, let the time roll by and satisfy your taste buds.

VILLAGE PIZZARIA: If you crave a tangy pizza that has just the right amount of crispy/soft dough ratio, follow the locals to Village Pizzeria and indulge in an array of savory pies washed down with their famously tasty cocktails. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy, as the gooey cheese and overflowing toppings are quick to ooze down fingertips.

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USELESS BAY COFFEE: Artisanal roasted coffee is found in a quiet sanctuary where the Useless Bay Coffee Company blends into the shaded, green scenery.  Learn the tricks of coffee roasting on site while sipping on a nutty, velvety concoction made especially by dedicated baristas. Abandon all preconceptions of coffee at the door, and taste an expertly brewed cup o’ joe.

INN AT LANGLEY:  Spoil your senses at the Inn At Langley, a luxury resort with a rustic flair, providing breathtaking views of Saratoga Passage and crisp, soothing amenities that reflect the laidback lifestyle of this quiet, calm island. After a day of plucking seashells and soft polished rocks from the shore, soak in a jetted tub or lounge on the European down-filled duvet in an oversized guestroom, suite, or cottage. Drift into a new state of relaxation and succumb to being pampered by their extensive spa services. Dine by the light of their cutting edge restaurant’s double-sided river rock fireplace. Revel in the finesse of an interactive, multicourse dinner prepared by award-winning chef Matt Costello, where every dish resembles a deliciously modern piece of art.

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CHOCOLATE FLOWER FARM: Treat yourself to farm-made chocolate themed products at Langley’s Chocolate Flower Farm. Take your love of chocolate to a whole new level with their candles, chocolate-colored flowers, and jams. The farm’s nursery hosts hard-to-find perennials and sultry plants that are perfect to spice up any residential backyard.

CALLAHAN’S FIREHOUSE: At Callahan’s Firehouse, experience the opportunity to blow your own glass and create a curvaceous masterpiece in merely thirty minutes. The studio offers diverse possibilities for glassblowers from ages five to one hundred and five, and allows customers to engage in a centuries’ old art form while customizing their project from start to finish. Observe the glass grow soft like taffy as it is shaped and fine-tuned, and pick up the glistening fruits of your labor the next day. Schedule a day with friends and loved ones!

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Whether it is fine dining, adventure, relaxation, or shoppes you are looking for, Langley, WA is full of engaging and unique experiences to be had. Witness peaceful nature in the Saratoga Woods Preserve. Horseback ride through weaving trails. Select an exceptional book from one of Langley’s bookstores and lounge in one of the many quiet havens in this town. Treasure the escape and listen to Langley’s heartbeat; if you take the time to feel it and hear it, you’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated well after you journey home.

By Cait Auer

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