In our first week on Whidbey Island we stayed at the affordable but basic campground at the Island County Fairgrounds, and while there got ourselves inserted into a couple of farmer and craft markets. The plan was to move up to the highly regarded campground at the Naval Air Station in Oak Harbor, but there was not a single day of availability until several days after the July 4th holiday period.
So we stayed at the fairgrounds another six days, or rather, I stayed for another six days. Rosemarie made her third trip back to Florida in as many months, this time to walk in our friends Roseann and Anthony’s wedding. We secured an airport hotel on points the night before her morning flight out of SEA-TAC (and thanks for the snacks and meal, Seattle USO.) We love our RV life-style, but an occasional nice hotel feels like heaven. Rosemarie spent four days in Coral Springs at her dad’s for the wedding event. Congratulations to Roseann and Anthony on their big day!
The day after Rosemarie returned, we made the transition to the navy campground an hour up the road. As it is an extremely popular place, particularly during the peak summer season, originally we had only been able to lock in a handful of days there. Our periodic calls to the well managed office to check for cancellations, however, paid off nicely; by the time we arrived we had extended our reservation out to a full week, which included a free seventh night. We even managed to find a three day opening to sponsor our friends Bruce and Nancy onto the campground, giving them a few days break from the nearby city park.
The Navy’s Cliffside RV Resort is, without doubt, the most beautiful military campground at which we have ever stayed, and is probably in the running for most beautiful site in general; military, private, or public. It has has everything: a fantastic location right on the Puget Sound with nearly every site enjoying a great view; new and extremely well maintained facilities, access to the standard base amenities, a highly professional and helpful staff, and perhaps most astounding of all, some of the best landscaping we have ever seen at any park.
Apparently one of the camp hosts and a former employee, Ken, had a vision to redo the entire grounds and was given the funds to make it happen. The result is an explosion of color in every direction from the extensive and varied flower beds. Other accents include driftwood art scattered throughout the grounds, a collection of personalized signs from several hundred previous and current campers, bike and running trails, and even a community strawberry patch that produced very sweet fruit.
We also continued participating in markets, particularly the Second Street Market in Langley that would turn into our regular Friday afternoon event for the duration of our stay. It had been very good to us our first week, and the second and third Fridays were decent as well, and allowed us to get to know a couple of the other sellers better.
Rosemarie’s research had also turned up a major, once a year selling occasion: The Kiwanis Club Beachcomber Bazaar. Sort of a mixed craft market/giant public yard sale, for $35 anyone could set up in an assigned 10’x10′ area on the main walking path within Windjammer City Park. The only down side was that Rosemarie returned from the wedding having been given some sort of horrific flu-like virus from one of the junior bridesmaids (thanks a lot Antonella!) Even as she arrived back in Washington she was starting to feel the effects, and after a day of slow deterioration she went into full bed rest with a noticeable fever for 48 hours, followed by a lingering weakness and cough for another four days. It was bad enough that she actually stayed in the bed while we moved the RV the one hour drive from Langley up to Oak Harbor.
With an all day event that turned out to occasionally be quite busy, having to manage things alone would have been tough. Fortunately Bruce and Nancy lent a hand, helping man our tent through much of the day. It ended up being one of our top events ever, and put us on track budget-wise for the month.
So that’s two more weeks on Whidbey Island, which means we have stayed here longer than any place since leaving Key West, and I still have more days to write about. That should give you a pretty good idea how much we like this place. In fact, it has entered the top three locations that we would consider as a more permanent late spring to early fall residence (along with Coastal Maine and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.)
Next post: we loosen the purse strings a bit and hit thrift shops, a few restaurants, and a couple of big festivals as tourists, not vendors. But we still did some vending.