Valentine’s Day is almost here, the first excuse in the year many people have for visiting Whidbey Island. As the Tourism Committee points out, that’s because it’s; “The Shortest Distance to Far Away™” – assuming you’re starting near the Salish Sea. That’s a bit of a misnomer, though. People are drawn here from around the world. But, where to stay when you get here? There’s so much to pick from that it becomes a quandary.
I won’t try to compile the list of lodgings. Others have tried. The variety is too great to contain in one post. Take your pick of tree houses, writer’s retreats, yoga lodges, artist cottages, farm stays, and classics like view properties or tourist towns.
For a long time, inns and B&Bs covered most of the options, but the Internet changed that. The inns and B&Bs are still here, but more unconventional choices have grown from a few incidental options to entire communities of AirBnB, VRBOs (Vacation Rental By Owner), and sites managed by Vacasa.com.
The Tourism Committee lists over 200 choices (probably with some overlaps):
- 72 houses
- 39 cabins
- 39 cottages
- 23 Bed and Breakfasts
- 15 suites
- 15 inns
- 11 motels
- 7 hotels
- 3 lodges
Considering Whidbey’s unconventional culture, don’t be surprised to find other options that didn’t make the list. Depending on how they draw the map, AirBnB lists over 300 places. So does VRBO. Overlaps? Inevitable. But, think about how hard (and how fun) it would be to try them all. Creating a comprehensive guide based on actually staying in each place, even only in one of the rooms from each hotel and inn, would probably take more than a year. (Anyone want to fund that? I’m up for it.) With an average nightly rate of $165 (according to AirBnB.com) the total for one year would be about $60,000. That would make an interesting GoFundMe.com campaign.
Romance and relaxation come in many styles.
- Inn at Langley – “One of the top 500 hotels in the world.”, according to Travel & Leisure magazine.
- Yoga Lodge – One of the 25 best retreats, according to Coastal Living
- An authentic treehouse – really
- Writer’s Refuge – “A getaway for work, not play.”
- Artist’s Cottage – Where I worked on one of my first books.
- Jenne Farm – farmstay in a historic farmhouse on Ebey’s Prairie
- Fort Casey Inn – more history, this time in repurposed officers’ quarters
- and an amazing list of waterfront properties, some with beaches, some even with docks. Want to sail to your vacation? That’s one way to skip the traffic and ferry lines.
From Valentine’s Day through the rest of the year there is a long list of events and seasons that pull people to the island: Mystery Weekend, Tulip Festival, Rhododendron Blooms, Mussel Festival, music, art, fishing, sailing, bird watching, the inevitable eating, wine tasting, and shopping – and arguably the most popular way to spend time on the island, romance and relaxing.
Dive into the sites for dream shopping or vacation planning, and don’t be surprised if you wander through hours of opportunities.
Also, don’t be surprised if a short visit inspires a longer visit inspires buying a vacation home that becomes a regular residence.