Whidbey Island, Washington

May 7, 2009

Whidbey Island is located at the top of Puget Sound, squeezed between Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and the Everett-Seattle-Anacortes area on the mainland. Its irregular 50 mile long shape is surrounded by Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the west and Skagit Bay and Saratoga Passage to the east. Rimmed by a saltwater coastline, the interior boasts forests and lowlands, lakes and lagoons.

It is home to a national historic reserve, several state parks, quaint small towns and harbors, festivals throughout the year, and a U.S. naval air station. It’s a weekend get-away for those in nearby cities, a tourist vacation destination and a playground for boaters, fishermen, hikers, campers, kayakers, bird watchers, divers, photographers, whale watchers, beach combers, artists and others. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, wineries, art galleries, antique shops and spas are found throughout the island.

Part of the fun of Whidbey Island is getting there. Two Washington State Ferry routes transport vehicles, bicyclists and walk-on passengers from the Everett-Seattle area and from Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. You can also drive to the north end of the island from Anacortes via the impressive Deception Pass Bridge.

There’s a lot of beauty, fun and adventure packed into this small island including several small towns. From the north they include: Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Greenbank, Langley, Freeland, and Clinton. While you may be able to drive from one end to the other in an hour or so, you’ll want to spend a lot more time exploring some of the following island attractions and enjoying the breath-taking views and spectacular sunsets.

Oak Harbor

  • Historic downtown with turn-of-the-century buildings, a U.S. Naval Station, and the Whidbey Island Race Week yacht regatta in July.
  • The Deception Pass Bridge – A beautifully arched bridge spans more than a quarter mile between forested cliffs to cross the turbulent channel known as Deception Pass and connect Whidbey Island with Anacortes. You can park your car and walk to the bridge sidewalk for fabulous views of the cliffs and the pass below. It’s fun to watch pleasure boats pass through on their way to or from the San Juan Islands. Most boater wait for slack tide to avoid eddies and whirlpools that form when millions of gallons of water rush through at tide change. Occasionally you’ll see an impatient boater going through sideways.
  • Deception Pass State Park – 4,134 acres offering saltwater and fresh lake beach combing and boating activities, hiking, biking and horse trails, docks and boat ramps, and campgrounds.


  • Waterfront town located in the narrow central part of Whidbey Island, claims to be the second oldest city in Washington State.
  • Island County Museum, Admiralty Lighthouse, 17,400 acre Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, Fort Eby State Park, Coupeville Arts Center, farms, gardens and Penn Cove mussels.


  • Between Coupeville and Langley with views of Mount Rainer and Mount Baker in the Cascade Range and the peaks of the Olympic Mountains.
  • Historic 522 acre Greenback Farm, once the biggest loganberry farm in the world. Still grows loganberries and features a wine shop and tasting room, the Whidbey Pie Café and Greenbank Cheese and Specialty Shop.
  • Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, 10 acres of gardens, 43 acres of natural preserve and 5 acres of trails.


  • Perched high on a cliff on the southwestern side of Whidbey Island offers fabulous views of the Saratoga Passage and the Olympic Mountains
  • Quaint small downtown area with galleries, antique shops, clothing boutiques, an ice cream shop, several restaurants. Walk or drive down the hill toward the water to visit the boat harbor.
  • Whidbey Island Vineyard and Winery


  • South Whidbey State Park offers 347 acres for camping, walking old growth forests, exploring the tidelands, and hiking the trails.
  • Bush Point Lighthouse
  • Holmes Harbor Golf Course – 18 hole

Happy Travels!



Cutting the High Cost of Vacation Meals

May 7, 2009

The economy may not be doing well, but that is not stopping people from eating out at restaurants when they are on vacation.

It takes thought and planning when it comes to cutting the high cost of dining, however. When I dine out, I find most of the meals are big enough for two people. For example, take my cousin and his wife, with whom we visited, in Phoenix. They were dining out at nice places all the time – two or three times per week. They shared a salad and an entree, had two glasses of Chardonnay and spent ½ of what we spent for essentially the same thing for the two of us. We could not take home our left overs since we were out of town. Consider too, in a lot of places the size of a lunch meal is almost the same size as dinner but for about 60% less.

On our trip to Italy between September and October, we ate very well and for not much money by sharing a meal and getting appetizers. Antipasto, or antipasti means before the meal. Think of it as a first course. But at a lot places we visited, it was often enough for an evening meal substitute. We would often go to a “bar”. In Italy a “bar” is a coffee place where they serve coffee, wine, small sandwiches and pastries.

At many of them, when you arrived in the afternoon, they would have a table set up with small appetizers or an antipasto that they served as finger foods to go along with the wine and coffee. Here is a picture I took of a “bar” located in Firenza (Florence), Italy Monty’s .

It is easy to spend over €60, about €30 each, on a nice dinner in Italy. That would come to about $90 in US funds depending on the exchange rate. Consider that you can have a pretty good dinner in a “bar” for the cost of a few glasses of wine, and you can see what a bargain it is.

Back in the states you can take a tip from this by sharing a meal with someone else. Also look for meals that include a salad or soup with the price of a meal. One more thing – learn the trick of substitution. Rather that getting a steak, consider getting a steak sandwich or maybe a Philly cheese steak sandwich. I would have them hold the cheese and see if I could substitute salad for the cheese instead.

Olive Garden, Macroni Grill, Outback Steakhouse and others will bring out a loaf of bread with butter or oil. Ask if you can substitute a small dinner salad for that and share it.

Don’t forget to check out the coupon web sites like Restaurant.com . Type in a zip code or a state, if you are travelling, and it will shoow you what coupons are available where you are or where you are going.

Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?

Hello My Name Is Tara

May 7, 2009

Hello my name is Tara.  I have been asked to handle the blogging duties for

All Ways To Travel.   I can tell you they are a established, reputable full service travel agency.  I have been a client of theirs since my wedding in 1983, when they put together a Destination wedding for my husband and I.  That was way back when other than  Vegas Destination weddings were hardly heard of.

We have since traveled to England, Italy,  Paris,  Cancun, Hawaii , and through out the United States.   To say we like to travel would be a under statement.

Please feel free to leave comments, or ask questions or give them a call.


Covered Bridges of Parke County, Indiana

May 7, 2009

While Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep famously found love under a bridge in Madison County, Iowa, there is only one place that can claim to be the covered bridge capital of the world – Parke County, Indiana. With over 30 bridges total in a rural setting, Parke County is the perfect vacation for those who want a slower-paced, picturesque getaway.

The history of the county dates back to the 1820s. While much of Indiana has become more urbanized, Parke County has kept its pastoral charm. The area was rich in the natural resources of timber and stone used to build the earlier bridges. Those built in the 20th century generally used concrete for parts of the structure such as the abutments.

The bridges were needed in the area due to the growing villages and numerous small waterways. Covering the bridges helped lessen the anxiety of horses that would sometimes be distracted by running water on both sides. It also helped cut down on deterioration. Modernization has caught up with the area though. Some of the bridges have been bypassed to make way for more traffic especially that of modern farm equipment. Agriculture is still a main source of revenue for Parke County.

On entrance to some of the bridges, you will see the inscription CROSS THIS BRIDGE AT A WALK. This was a warning to slow down trotting horses to a walk to prevent wear and tear on the bridge. Even marching civil war soldiers were expected to do this as it was believed they might cause the same damage. No worries though. Modern visitors aren’t expected to slow to a walk.

One of the most popular area events is the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival which always starts the second Friday in October. Through the nine-day festival, visitors can take guided tours of the bridges. At some of the locations, period-style buildings have been erected and serve as a reminder of the county’s history. There are also food vendors, arts and crafts, and live entertainment.

For more information visit the Parke County website. Learn about the different routes designated for touring the bridges as well as area lodgings and events.

Movie characters aren’t the only ones to find romance in covered bridges. At one time, they were popular courting places and called the kissing bridges. Whether you visit as part of a family or sweethearts young or old, Parke County is a step back in time to America’s more rustic past.

Swine Flu Update

May 7, 2009

Swine Flu and Mexico Cruise Resources Swine Flu Photos The so-called swine flu, a new strain of the type A H1N1 influenza virus that began in Mexico and has since spread across the world, has had a major affect on cruising.

How will this near-pandemic outbreak impact cruise travelers next? What are the options for cruisers originally booked on Mexican Riviera voyages who now find themselves scheduled to sail the Pacific Northwest?

If you are scheduled to cruise give us a call to see if there are any changes to your scheduled trip.


Well We Are Back.

May 7, 2009

We had to take a brief hiatus from our blogging site and we are back!! We now have some one who handles the blog site exclusively. We hope you enjoy. You can always call us at 608-721-3977

Free Dining Offer – (MYW + FREE DINE

May 7, 2009

Buy this Walt Disney World Resort vacation package with hotel and Theme Park tickets and get the Disney Dining Plan FREE! Are your Clients hungry for some fun?

At this affordable price, they can celebrate any magical milestone – with meals and a snack included for every night of their visit! What a delicious way to enjoy their Walt Disney World® Resort vacation! Offer Details: When Clients purchase this 5-night, 6-day Walt Disney Travel Company package for the Walt Disney World Resort, with accommodations for five nights at a select Disney Value Resort and a 6-day Magic Your Way Base Ticket, they’ll get the Disney Dining Plan FREE! Booking and Travel Window: * Booking Window: Now – June 21, 2009 * Travel Window: Offer available for stays most nights Aug. 16 – Oct. 3, 2009 Pricing: $1,390* for a family of four, staying in a standard room at a select Disney Value Resort.

That’s like paying $58 per person, per day! Ask about packages for other lengths of stay and accommodations at other select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.

Lucky Ducks… Kids Sail For 50% Off

May 7, 2009

It’s a ducky time for your kids to sail on Disney Cruise Line®! Kids 12 and under get 50% off prevailing cruise fares at time of booking.

Offer Details:

  • 50% off kids 12 and under
  • 3-, 4- and 7-night sailings
  • Most sail dates from May 23 through July 4, 2009
  • Two full-fare Guests in the same stateroom
  • Government Taxes and Fees not included

Onboard, you  will discover something magical for every member of their crew with separate areas for kids, teens, adults and families. There’s even a day at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise.