To start with, the occasional heat waves that bake the mainland don’t send Whidbey Islanders running out to shop for air conditioners.
On July 3 it hit 93 in Seattle. In Langley that day it was 86. We’re typically 4 to 6 degrees cooler than Seattle on sunny summer days because we’re surrounded by air conditioning.
Like people everywhere in the region, we love doing things outdoors in the summer. But on our uncrowded island, the pleasures aren’t compromised by heavy traffic and jostling crowds.
The whole island is laced with little-traveled back roads that are ideal for cycling. Public beaches—and there are seven on South Whidbey Island, within a few minutes’ drive of Langley—are quiet and unspoiled, inviting spots for picnicking or launching kayaks. The island’s forest hiking trails are untroubled by crowds, bears or cougars.
Arts festivals practically erupt in the summer sun. There’s the blowout Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival Aug. 1 and 2, now more than half a century old. The Island Shakespeare Festival presents weekly drama Thursdays through Sundays in August and the first two weeks of September. (It’s semi-outdoors, in a tent.) The Whidbey Island Music Festival on August weekends focuses on baroque music on period instruments. And there’s a lot more for all kinds of tastes.
We enjoy sophisticated entertainment, but without a hint of snobbery. Which leads us to the best thing of all about summer on Whidbey: It brings our sense of community out into the open.
This isn’t an uptight, exclusive island. People are relaxed and welcoming and informal. You pick up fried catfish or satay at the Saturday Bayview Farmer’s Market and sit down at a picnic table with strangers, and ten minutes later you’re friends.
The Highlands at Langley, our likewise relaxed and welcoming neighborhood, is ideally situated for enjoying all these activities. It’s a half-mile walk to the beach park or outdoor restaurant dining in Langley. It’s a six- or seven-minute drive to the Bayview market or Shakespeare.
And if you’re bound for a summer event on the mainland, it’s ten minutes to the ferry. Though if you live here, it doesn’t seem like there are many reasons to leave.