OCT. 04, 05, 06, 2013 



SAVE THE DATE 4-6 October 2013 – Chapter II

Here are some more juicy tidbits to lure you to our Whidbey Island adventure in 2013. After arriving in Seattle and claiming your luggage, you have two options for transportation to Whidbey Island/Oak Harbor. You can rent a car or catch the shuttle you have previously arranged for to meet your flight. I’ll provide shuttle info and prices as 2013 scheduling becomes available. I’m going to rent a van since we’re planning to arrive several days early to solidify arrangements and schedules – and we’ll have it for local transport of carless couples to dinner and picnic events. Travel distance from Seattle to Oak Harbor is advertised as 48.5 miles via I-5 and Route 20 across Deception Pass Bridge. Travel time will be slightly longer if you use the 20 minute ride on the Mukilteo-to- Clinton Ferry to access lower Whidbey Island via I-5 and Route 525.

I’m going to go the ferry route so I can scout out Greenbank, Coupeville and Fort Casey along the way. We haven’t firmed up our lodging plans as yet, but we’ve talked to some interesting folks that would be happy to see us. Gary and Virginia Elliott live close by, and they have made a visit to check out a couple of options. All of the Inn-keepers I’ve talked to promise a home-town-glad-to-meet-you attitude that will help make our event unforgettable.

I’m anxious to get back to visit my old haunt at the Oak Harbor Tavern. They used to serve the coldest “Oli” (Olympic beer) in town with a side of pickled pig’s knuckle or pickled eggs. Yum!!! I hope it hasn’t changed much. If you’re a seafood lover, they say that Seabolt’s Smokehouse is the place to go. Voted “best of Whidbey” and in “Washington’s Top 50 Restaurants”, it claims “the best of everything from the sea”. Then there is Zorba’s Restaurant with Greek and Italian dishes that will melt in your mouth. Frasers, located on Dock Street, has fabulous “starters” and “entrees” but tends to be a little pricey (you only go ‘round once). The Pizza Factory, run by the Hill family, boasts that they have the best pizza in the Pacific Northwest. The Oak Harbor Marina has an eatery for casual waterfront dining, but I don’t have rating or price list for them.

Tim and Sona Ryan handle “casual catering” from the BBQ Joint, which touts the best BBQ ever to cross your lips – so I’m going to explore that avenue for our picnic event and auction. I want to check out the NAS catering service as well, as they offer a picnic package at their Rocky Point picnic area, complete with keg beer. We’ll see? Everything is very long range planning at this stage and we’ll have to see what this year will bring to our planning table. Stay tuned! I’ll clue you on some of the fabulous things to do at Whidbey in the next installment – and while you’re at it, why not plan to come early and leave later so you can “do it all!” You’re not getting any younger, ya know! Save the date!

By Toby Horn

SAVE THE DATE 4-6 October 2013 – Chapter III

 As promised last issue, I want to let you in on some of the great things to do at Whidbey Island during our early October reunion.  Jani and I plan to go early (I’m thinking Tuesday – 1st) not only to check on all our plans, but also to explore some of the events going on.  By the way, if there’s enough interest, I’ll negotiate for extended room rates a few days before and after our reunion dates. 

 Update: We will be staying at the Coachman Inn on the outskirts of Oak Harbor.  There is a website you can visit [] for an overview of the different accommodations offered.  Dana Beckman is the general manager there and has provided us great rates.  The most popular will be the standard queen bed setup, I think, at $75.65 per day.  A standard double will be $84.15 per day.  The rooms are equipped with coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, iron/board, DVD player, and a minimum 32” flat screen TV.  There is a continental breakfast each morning from 6-10AM.  Dana says the rates will apply for a few days forward for you early birds, and a few days after for those wishing to stay longer to enjoy the area events.  The phone number there is 360-675-0727 for reservations.  Please identify yourself as an AOM member for the rates quoted.)

 It’s great just to have your morning coffee on a nice Northwest morning as you view Mt. Baker in the distance.  You can have your coffee in the hotel, or walk downtown to Angelo’s Café, Arties, Honeymoon Bay Coffee Roasters, or the Whidbey Coffee Company

 Many things will be available within walking distance from our lodging, and other island adventures involve no more than a 15-30 minute drive time.  One of the big draws to the area is the Swinomish Casino located in Anacortes, just a 20-25 minute drive away.  As you drive there, you’ll pass over Deception Pass Bridge, which is now a state park with a majestic overlook.  As you view this awesome sight, please ignore the fact that Spider Dennison and I went hand-over-hand across this span on the trestles underneath (on a rope-yarn Wednesday after giving blood for a Red Cross drive).  It was one of those double-dog-dare types of thing.  There is a Deception Pass boat tour that you can take, embarking in Anacortes.  It is about an hour long, costs $20 for seniors, and is one of the most-visited attractions in Washington State. 

The first part of October features a lot of local festivals.  NAS has an Oktoberfest event as does the town of Oak Harbor.  As I get data and features, I’ll let you know.  You can make a day-trip to Greenbank, Coupeville, San DeFuca, or Keystone.  Greenbank is located on the narrowest part of Whidbey Island with views of the Sound on both sides.  You can visit the Greenbank Farm and experience a 1900’s era working farm.  There are also a winery, specialty shops, cozy cafes, antique stores, a turn of the century general store, and a farmer’s market.  The Whidbey Highland Games are held here, but I’m not sure of the dates. 

Coupeville is one of the oldest communities in the state of Washington.  They have an Arts and Crafts Festival, Penn Cove Water Festival, and the Mussel Festival.  It also has Puget Sound’s oldest wharf, with an area water interpretive center as well as unique shopping and dining experiences.  You can wander over to San De Fuca, located at the end of Penn Cove for a look at the famous mussel rafts where these succulent morsels are grown for shipment all over the world.  Visit the nearby 1900-era Captain Whidbey Inn or go over to Fort Ebey and watch the hang-gliders do their stuff on a nice breezy day.

Keystone is an old haunt of mine way back when.  There is a ferry landing there for departure to Port Townsend.  Fort Casey is right there and is the place where Spider and I used to dive amongst the kelp beds.  It is now an underwater park.  There are spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains, and you can walk to the Admiralty Head Lighthouse and Fort Casey to learn about the regions military history.  This is the sight for the Whidbey Kite Festival, so you may be able to see some of the most inventive kites flying that you will ever see flying in a good breeze. 

There is also the Naval Air Station itself.  The Chief’s and Officer’s clubs both offer great chow.  They have their own golf course which is open to the public.  Our old mineshop is gone now, as well as the FASRON (Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron) to which it was attached.  I’m going to try to arrange for a base tour and will have our President offer invitations to the base CO to attend our dinner meeting and picnic as reunion time draws near.  I don’t know if they can spell “mines”, but maybe that’s a good thing?

 By Toby Horn

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