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My Husband and I have been meaning to get out to another island since our “exploration” to Anacortes in June. We were thrilled when we received an invite for my sister’s birthday weekend celebration on Whidbey Island. Perfect – we’d get a chance for more exploring, check out a place we had been itching to see, and help my sister celebrate a milestone birthday to boot.
We took the ferry out of Mukilteo to Clinton on the east side of Whidbey Island. Mukilteo is only about 35-40 minutes from Woodinville depending on traffic of course. The schedule has a ferry departing about every 30 minutes so once we arrived it was a pretty quick turn around and a short trip to the island. We were warned during the summer season the ferry could be very busy with long waits so a reservation is recommended.
Our accommodations were arranged at Fort Casey Inn on the west side of the island and only about a 30-minute drive from the Clinton ferry terminal. The total length of Whidbey Island is about 55 miles.
The Fort Casey Inn is the former Non-Commissioned Officers’ Quarters that have been fully restored to their original glory. It was built for the active defensive installation of Fort Casey, which neighbors the Inn.
Built over 100 years ago, most of the Georgian Revival-style homes for rent at the Inn are two bedrooms with one bath and are decorated with patriotic memorabilia and antiques. You feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. The inn is owned and operated by Seattle Pacific University.
I discovered that a few of our fellow guests had stayed at Fort Casey (the installation side in the barracks) in the past as a chaperones with Washington school’s annual 5th grade trip to the island. One guest reflected that it was many of the students’ most memorable field trip throughout their school years and admittedly brought back fond memories for her as well.
In addition to using seven of the houses, we also used Garrison Hall for our gatherings and meals. It was the ideal size for our group, which totaled about 30 for the birthday party. All in all, it was a terrific place for a group to get together.
With Fort Casey right next door, it’s an easy walk around the grounds with fantastic views from the beach. We discovered many trails that looped around the area and offered a variety of sunset views over the water.
Fort Casey sits on Admiralty Bay in the Puget Sound that is part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The strait is 154 kilometers long and is the Salish Sea’s outlet to the Pacific Ocean. It separates Washington state from British Columbia (province) and from the beach at the fort looking across you can see Victoria, British Columbia and Olympic National Park in the distance.
We spent an afternoon exploring the historic town of Coupeville just a few minutes drive down the road. There is a plethora of shops to browse and restaurants for every taste bud.
When we left the island, we drove north to Deception Pass and followed our way around back to I-5. On the day of our visit, the bridge going over the pass was pretty socked in by fog and had an eerie vibe as if we were heading into an abyss. With moments of clearing, however, you could see the magnificence of the bridge. We will definitely plan for a future Editor’s Exploration around Deception Pass!