It’s hard living so far from Shane’s family, particularly since we had Juliette, so we were all pretty pumped Grandma and Grandpa rolled into town a couple of weeks ago. Welcome, Schnells!
Beloved Uncle Doug and Aunt Val are in the process of moving to Washington and were also in town for the week, so we all convened at Frelard Pizza to celebrate Biz’s birthday.
Last Thursday we high-tailed it out of busy Seattle and set out for a couple of low-key days on Whidbey Island. Nothing puts me in vacation-mode faster than a ferry ride.
My little seagull…
We docked mid-morning and drove over to Useless Bay in Langley for lunch. The sun was trying awfully hard to break through those clouds!
We got settled at the house and then Shane and I left Juliette with Grandma and Grandpa in hopes that the sun would make a full appearance for our walk at Ebey’s Landing. TA-DA!
Green and blue for dayyyyyyyys…
We made good time on our 3-mile “hike” and then headed back to the house to soak up the day’s last rays on the deck. We saw an eagle bobbing in the water below and then watched it awkwardly paddle on-shore, wondering if it was injured. Turns out it had a full-sized duck gripped in its talons!
It was like an episode of National Geographic, watching that ferocious eagle tear into its prey. And mid-meal, another one swooped down to finish the job!
To quote Denny, “God Bless America…”
A third eagle spent much of the afternoon perched in a tree just over the deck. After seeing what that first eagle did to that duck, I understand Juliette’s slightly concerned expression.
We put our binoculars away and Jules and I took a happy hour dip in the hot tub, which has become our new favorite vay-cay pastime.
We cracked open a bottle of bubbly and then feasted on takeout from Toby’s for dinner – the Penn Cove mussels we ordered were freshly plucked from the very water we overlooked!
Bellies full, we hopped in the car and made the short drive back over to Ebey’s Landing to catch the sunset.
That lovely blue foam lapping over those shiny smooth stones is just so…Whidbey.
We closed out the day with marshmallows roasted in the outdoor fireplace at the house, watching the sky fade from pink to gray.
What a DAY.
Friday was gray and cool, but we couldn’t resist the pull of the outdoors and drove up to Deception Pass to walk in the woods and romp on the beach.
Juliette rock-hunted with intense focus, enamored with each purple stone she found.
Skip it, stud.
Such joy, this kid.
The wind eventually drove us back into our cars, but you can’t leave Deception Pass without a quick stroll across on the bridge.
Val and Elizabeth joined us for lunch at the house and then we all walked down to the beach to enjoy the day’s last few rain-free minutes. The seafood scene was serious down there – check out the size of that oyster!
And this cluster of mussels!
We drove into “downtown” Coupeville for ice cream and spent the rest of the rainy day cozied up inside, playing Mancala and Bingo. And Mancala. And Bingo.
And then Shane busted out the 200-piece puzzle sitting on the shelf. Bold move, Schnell! But we put that baby together in record time (minus one heartbreaking missing piece…).
Despite the evening drizzle, Denny got a rip-roaring fire going and we closed out the day with roasted mallows once again. Props to Grandma for packing graham crackers!
Saturday was also wet, so we flipped on the fireplace when we woke up and got down to business with colored pencils and hot tea.
I jetted out for a jog during a short break in the rain and was reminded how much I love these wide open spaces.
Juliette and I took a final dip in the hot tub, spent a few minutes gazing out at our beloved cove, and then…that always-dreaded check-out time.
We eased our check-out woes with coffee and cinnamon rolls at Knead and Feed before heading to the ferry.
We’ve always walked right past the 1000-piece puzzles spread out on the ferry tables, but Juliette was feeling extra-confident after the previous day’s bonanza. Girl’s got skills now!
Whidbey for the win, always. That island never ever disappoints.
After a round of teary-eyed hugs on Sunday morning, Denny and Pat hit the long road back to Minnesota. Juliette spent the rest of the day asking when Grandma and Grandpa are coming back. Not soon enough, kiddo! Not soon enough.