A variety of seasonal events are gearing up to take place around Island County in Washington state. Festivities range from a Northwest-style scavenger hunt for one-of-a-kind hand blown glass balls at Northwest Glass Quest to a foodie’s fete at the Penn Cove Mussel Festival.
The Great Northwest Glass Quest, February 12-21, 2016
This treasure hunt takes place throughout Stanwood and Camano Island and awards scavengers with hand-blown glass balls by world-renowned local artists Mark and Marcus Ellinger. Each morning throughout the 10-day adventure, plastic replicas of these treasures are placed in parks and at local businesses. Participants use the treasure map to track the location and then exchange the plastic balls for the real deal. Each limited edition Great Northwest Glass Quest Treasure is stamped with the 2016 logo, signed by the artist, and marked with a unique number. For details or to download the treasure map visit thegreatnwglassquest.com.
Langley Mystery Weekend, February 27-28, 2016
A murder mystery novel comes to life when locals and visitors alike participate in the longest running Mystery Weekend in the United States. Sleuths of all ages are encouraged to investigate the “heinous crime,” as reported in the special event publication the Langley Gazette, by looking for clues around town and questioning suspicious costumed characters. Those who accurately determine who committed the dastardly deed win prizes. The adventure begins with a Clue Map and Ballot purchased from the visitor Information Center located at 208 Anthes Avenue in Langley. Tickets are $10 for ages 16-64 and $8 for 64+, military or youth. Play along Saturday, February 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, February 28 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then make your way to Langley Middle School Auditorium for the big reveal at 5 p.m. on Sunday. For details call 360-221-6765 or visit visitlangley.com.
Port Susan Snow Goose Festival, February 27-28, 2016
Some of the region’s most interesting visitors are the birds that choose to make the region their winter home. And one of the more amazing birds are the Snow Geese that migrate from as far away as Alaska and even Russia to avoid the bitter cold there and fatten up on our local grasses. The Port Susan Birding and Snow Goose Festival celebrates the geese and all our region’s birds with a weekend of tours, seminars, and children’s activities. For more information and a schedule of events visit snowgoosefest.org.
30th Annual Penn Cove MusselFest, March 12-13, 2016
From its unassuming headquarters in Coupeville, Washington, Penn Cove Mussels are delivered to the finest restaurants from Whidbey to Manhattan. Come celebrate these world famous marine molluscs with two days of festivities, including chowder tasting and mussel eating competitions, waterfront wine and beer garden, and activities for all ages featuring locally-flavored fun. Seattle chefs, including Gavin Stephenson of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Herschell Taghap of Tom Douglas’s Hot Stove Society, Chris Garr of Ivar’s, and others will delight with live demonstrations while local restaurants compete in the Mussel Chowder Competition for the coveted first place title. Mussel enthusiasts can climb aboard the Glacier Spirit to get up close and personal with these “bold, briny and blue” sea creatures. Explore the complexity of Coupeville’s historic waterfront while sampling the blue fruits of the sea. For more information visit thepenncovemusselsfestival.com or call the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce at (360) 678-5434.
Whidbey Island Marathon, April 16, 2016
This scenic race provides an option for everyone and a chance to wine dine and enjoy an island weekend getaway afterward. Providing picturesque ocean views and tranquil farmland, the full marathon and half marathon courses, along with the 10k and 5k, promise to be scenic from country back roads to waterfront coastlines, snow-capped mountains and rolling hills. Post-race enjoy live music while revitalizing with local food and wine purveyors. Marathon and Half Marathon events will Finish on the Oak Harbor waterfront in Windjammer Park. For registration information and travel details visit whidbeyislandmarathon.com.
Mother’s Day Celebrations on Whidbey and Camano Islands, May 7-8, 2016
An island getaway may be just what the doctor ordered for a busy mom. Whidbey and Camano offer a variety of celebrations fit for art lovers and weekend warriors alike.
- Mother’s Day at The Gardens, May 8, 2016. Visit Meerkeek Gardens to find rhododendrons in peak bloom and a Mother’s Day Celebration complete with live music. Bring a quilt and take in the sights, sounds and smells of spring. meerkerkgardens.org
- The Camano Island Studio Tour, May 7-8 and 13-14, 2016. All types of creatives around Camano open their doors for this special weekend celebration. On an island that’s just 40 square miles, the tour’s 40 anticipated featured artists ensure visitors are rarely more than a mile from each other. camanostudiotour.com.
- Mother’s Day Saturday Sail at Cama Beach, May 7, 2016. The Center for Wooden Boats at Cama Beach gets mom on the water with its annual Mother’s Day Saturday Sail. Arrive early to sign up for free boat rides on a variety of boats (sailing, paddling, rowing, or motor), then participate in other fun activities, including Toy Boat Making or Mother’s Day Card making. Ride sign-ups will fill up early and happen throughout the day. Find more information in the event section at cwb.org. Parking requires a Discover Pass.
Whidbey Island Vintner’s Present Savor Spring May 14-15, 2016
Whidbey Island’s wineries, and one distillery celebrate the season with a self-guided weekend of libation and exploration. Participants include Holmes Harbor Cellars in Greenbank, Blooms Winery, Comforts of Whidbey Winery Whidbey Island Distillery, and Spoiled Dog Winery of Langley. Visitors sample new releases along with some old favorites, and pair them with tasty, locally grown or produced treats. For more information visit whidbeyislandvintners.org.
Camp Casey Annual Open House, June 17
Whidbey Island’s Camp Casey was originally known as Fort Casey and opened in 1890 by the U.S. Military. While it is now a private conference center owned by Seattle Pacific University, the integrity and history of Fort Casey remain. For one fun-filled day each year the public is invited for a free open house to explore the historic homes and buildings, swim in the heated outdoor pool and enjoy snacks in the mess hall. Visitors can self-tour with maps provided or take part in organized tours and lectures from Seattle Pacific University history professors and military personnel. The Sea Lab, a marine biology teaching center typically only accessible to school groups, opens for kids and kids at heart to meet sea life including starfish and sunfish, sea pickles, crab and sea urchin. For more information, visit gocampcasey.com.
Camano Whidbey Island Tourism
Two of the most accessible and scenic island destinations in the Pacific Northwest, Camano and Whidbey sit just north of Seattle, a short trip via bridge or ferry. Offering a different experience with each season, the islands provide locally inspired shops and restaurants, dynamic events for a variety of interests, recreation and beach combing. Rich history and a healthy dose of local color in all mediums is provided by the region’s many artists. Lodging options range from nationally renowned hotels with farm to table dining to secret spots ideal for a quiet retreat. For more information on amenities, lodging and a calendar of events visit whidbeycamanoislands.com. Connect on Twitter at @GoWhidbeyCamano or Facebook here.