Quaint Coupeville on Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove is easily overlooked by sailors hustling to hit a favorable tide at Deception Pass or ferry tourists zooming past on Highway 20 through rolling rangeland. But Coupeville, the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, is well worth a visit, and the dozens of bed and breakfasts clustered around the historic downtown is the perfect type of endorsement. This is a B&B kind of place, complete with excellent local seafood, ocean-themed activities, and streets that were made for casual strolls with ice cream cones in hand and wine tastings in mind.
Whidbey Island is a refuge for artists yearning for quiet, beautiful scenery in which to perfect their crafts, and their labors are evident in the small shops and galleries. There’s a kind of magic in the air laced with the scent of sea salt and lavender, and one feels undeniably at the gateway to waters north and the cruising Mecca of the San Juans. The summer sun graces paddleboarders and gaff-rigged sailboats that make their rounds on the water during the afternoon. Does with their fawns emerge from the woods as fog banks roll in during the evening. Do yourself a favor if approaching by water and study your charts, winds, and tides.
Skagit Bay to the north and Saratoga Passage to the south are not the kind of approaches you want to undertake against unfavorable conditions. The wind can really howl through Penn Cove, so it is probably worth the extra dollars for one of the mooring buoys or some dock space at the Port of Coupeville.