In closing out last post I alluded to loosening up the purse strings in the latter half of our stay on Whidbey Island. We had kept things pretty tight during late June and early July, and this combined with some success at various markets allowed us to splurge a touch during the second half of last month. We started things off with a day outing up to Anacortes for the annual Shipwreck Festival.
This is a giant yard and craft sale that the city of Anacortes puts on each year. Upon learning of the event and calling the city Chamber of Commerce, we had been disappointed to learn that we were to late to participate as sellers. In light of our rousing success at the seemingly similar Beachcomber Bazaar we thought this would be a great event for us, but c’est la vie. It was a fun outing that we did with Nancy and her granddaughter Kyla. We enjoyed being tourists for the day rather than vendors, and managed to find a few affordable items and a couple of great craft beers. We were also happy to learn that it was not exactly our sort of selling event, closer to a flea market than farmer or craft one, so perhaps we had not missed out on a prime selling event after all.
We enjoy thrift stores of all kinds, and Whidbey did not disappoint. We hit the base option, four in Oak Harbor, another in Freeland, and one or two while in Anacortes for Shipwreck Fest. We found some affordable jewelry to disassemble and re-purpose into Rosemarie’s items, a few nice shirts and pants, and this astounding set of pillow cushions:
Another day outing had us down in Greenbank to acquire a couple of LuLaRoe leggings (Rosemarie’s go to to active/leisure/formal wear) from a discounted private seller, and on our way back we stopped at Greenbank Farm, a historic location now hosting a set of shops, galleries, park, and restaurant where we acquired some local aged sharp cheddar cheese. As we worked our way back to Oak Harbor we swung into the very quaint downtown area of Coupeville, purchased an excellent rosé and a loaf of fresh bread at a great price, and made a meal of it along with our recently purchased cheese. The end to a great day!
We enjoyed two affordable restaurants during our stay in Oak Harbor: Jumbo Burrito and Noe Jose Cafe. I liked the Yelp/Trip Advisor reviews for the former: a family owned little restaurant offering a stripped down menu of California and Mexican style burritos and the like, with ludicrously large serving sizes. We split the jumbo burrito and still had leftovers for another meal. The taste? Delicious and flavorful. Even though we keep our restaurant outing few and far between, we hit this place twice in one week.
Noe Jose (pronounced, apparently, “No Way Jose”) came recommended by some locals as well as semi-locals Bruce and Nancy. They offer very warm service and fresh made breakfast and diner-like options in large portion sizes. We all enjoyed a group outing there, and would happily return should we get back to Whidbey in the future.
Finally, Nancy took us to the annual Lavender Festival in Sequim, WA. This involves a couple of hours in the car along with a ferry ride across to the Olympic Peninsula region. We had visions of tents and parades through blooming lavender fields, or perhaps on the closed streets in a quaint historic downtown area, with vendor after vendor selling lavender oriented items. Instead it was a very crowded row of 150 vendors selling mainly non-lavender art, crafts, and food in a school parking lot.
Don’t get me wrong; we are quite content to visit such events, it was just that our expectations were so much higher, and given the time and cost of getting there and back, it was a disappointment. We made the best of it, and even purchased a beautiful Abalone shell necklace for Rosemarie that will hopefully inspire her own ongoing work with abalone, and visited a working Lavender farm on the outskirts of town on our return trip. I learned from a vendor (and have since confirmed) that the minimum booth fee for sellers was $395 for the three day event, which would pretty much be a non-starter for us, just too much of a risk despite the claimed 30,000 person attendance.
As for our own markets, we attended two more Fridays afternoon events at the Second Street Market in Langley, and man were they great. After our successful attendance at that first Friday, things had dropped off for the second and third weeks. Our fourth and fifth Fridays, however, were excellent with each one vastly exceeding expectations. It was probably time for us to move on; we were sensing a bit of coldness from a couple of other jewelry vendors there. Usually everyone understands that we are all trying to make a buck, but sometimes the local, longer term vendors can get a little pissy about drop ins like ourselves, particularly if we are under their prices. Oh well, at least our vending neighbor Andrea, selling incredibly delicious and imaginative chocolate, enjoyed our company, as we did hers.
I mentioned in our previous post that we had managed to stretch a few days at Cliffside RV into a full week based on cancellations. We continued to stretch it, asking every day or so, and for two weeks it worked! Seven days turned into ten, then 14, 18, 21, and 23 days. But we could stretch no further. Too close to peak season at a too popular park, and with excellent weather we finally hit a day with no cancellations.
The day after our final Second Street Market, we had to pull out and head over to the city park, Staysail RV where Bruce and Nancy had been ever since leaving the Naval Air Station. It is full hook up for $25 next to a very nice park, but you do have to deal with close neighbors, some loosely enforced rules, and a thriving homeless population that calls the park a part time home. Not really our preferred place, we made the best of it for two days, enjoyed hoisting a few more glasses of Nancy’s homemade Irish Cream, but finally had to bid goodbye to Whidbey Island on the first day of August.