OK. The Friday after Thanksgiving is done. That’s the big day for the big box stores, the big brands, and the big traffic and parking hassles. If you didn’t find what you were looking for there, maybe something less mass-produced will help. Whidbey’s more artistic shopping districts are each unique, slower paced, and have a lot more character than malls and food courts. Maybe bring a hat and a jacket, though.
The easiest places to start are the three best known destinations. Langley, Coupeville, and Pioneer Way in Oak Harbor. All three are near the sea (you don’t get that in a mall). Park at a mall and spend a good part of an hour hunting for a spot then having to trek to the far side of the lot just to get to the mall’s doors. Park in a small town downtown and the walk is short enough that you can make several trips so you don’t have to lug around everything all day. Shop a bit. Drop it off at the car. Repeat as necessary, then enjoy lunch or dinner unencumbered instead of trying to stuff it all under a tiny table. It might even be a bit quieter.
And there’s more!!! (Wincing as that sounds like a late night infomercial.) But it is true. Many and maybe most of the artists and experts at various crafts live outside those three shopping districts. Greenbank, Freeland, and Clinton each have galleries and studios. Beyond that, creative folk make themselves available in many ways. One handy resource is the Whidbey Art Trail, a collection of two dozen artists scattered across the island. The site includes a map.
Beyond the shops, galleries, and studios there’s also the option of staying home and shopping online. That list is too long to compile and include; and update, because the art community on Whidbey is always changing.
For a start on more literary options, there are several bookstores. Librarians might have some opinions and suggestions. There are hundreds of writers, authors, poets, screenwriters, and such on the island. There’s even a blog/podcast that might a good starting point, or at least entertaining and possibly inspiring.
Here’s to enjoying the season – and relaxing, something we can all gift ourselves.