Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas in Coupeville! Coupeville Greening Parade and Tree lighting!

We live in a very charming small town. Last Saturday was our Christmas Parade – fire trucks, tractors, vintage cars, our little high school marching band, scouts, church groups the Lions club – perfect to start the season. All the historic waterfront merchants stayed open – all decorated with evergreens and lights. The Lovejoy Inn is 60 yards from the parade route. Location, location, location.

Highlight of the parade – councilman Bob Clay on his riding mower lit with Christmas lights. His wife Marilyn, an excellent local realtor, is so proud!

After the parade, the crowds gather in front of the park on Main St., drink hot cider, sing carols and then the countdown to lighting the tree. Our guests from Yachats, OR expected just the tallest evergreen to be lit – they were wowed when the entire park lit up. It is beautiful and fun to have lit each evening during December.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Blogging takes persistence - and not being distracted

whoa - it's foggy this morning....what was I saying...

Hi - I've been bad. Months since my last blog. I make a resolution every few months to really get in there and blog. Here I go again - there will be more posts - fun, interesting, special offers, local finds, local Whidbey Island recommendations, and observations - plus the goings on at the Lovejoy Inn.

School started so we got a little distracted. 3 girls, 2 schools, 3 music lessons, 1 sport, 2 clubs, homework, reading, etc. I know we are in the minority of innkeepers - having children who are still in school. What's great about it is that our girls get to see us at work. And, they are learning about work and will be starting to help around the inn.

We live on "our side." The Lovejoy Inn is the "guest side" of the house. It works out nice - our guests get privacy and don't feel like the middle of our home, and our kids can be kids and not have to tiptoe when they walk through the house. And, we are right in the middle of this super charming town and can walk to the beach.

Another blog tomorrow! I promise.

(top pic - 1st day of school Fall 2009; bottom pic - our girls and friends walking back after digging at the beach)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

“24” – Town of Coupeville Style

The following events take place between 3:22 and 4:45pm

3:22pm – Lynda and Mitch notice the asphalt breaking up and water starting to trickle down Grace St. in front of the Lovejoy Inn

3:24pm – Lynda walks to Town Hall and reports what she witnessed to Public Works Director Malcolm Bishop.
3:29pm – A white Ford Ranger pickup drives up and parks in front of the suspect damage to the street. Director Bishop exits the truck and secures the area.
3:33pm – Director Bishop calls for backup from CTU (Coupeville Town Utilities).
3:40pm – Just leaving their previous assignment, the backup arrives and within minutes. Five members of the CTU response team assess the situation.
3:45pm – Agent Walker, oops, I mean Kelly, departs the scene and returns with a large backhoe perfect for the situation.
3:58pm – Excavation team begins. With precision, Kelly controls the backhoe and digs to within inches of the water break. The rest of the team clears the debris.
4:10pm – Suspect leak is located and contained and re-covered.
4:25pm – The mission complete, the CTU team departs for headquarters, ready for what the next 24 hours will hold.
4:35pm – Director Bishop clears the road block, calls all clear, and drives by for one last inspection of another job well done.

Many thanks to the CTU/Town of Coupeville Public Works for their incredible service and expertise – the best on Whidbey Island!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Coupeville Farmer's Market and Cookies!

The Lovejoy Inn is in the perfect location (I know I say that alot). This time the reason is that our weekly farmer's market happens every Saturday about a 1 minute walk away (I can see it from my window as I write this). The Coupeville Farmer's Market has gotten bigger over the years and has now quite a few farmers. Maybe five years ago, not many farmers and more crafts. Now there is an abundance of fresh produce from Whidbey Island organic farms, backyard farms, dairy farms and animal farms.

We get produce from Georgie Smith's Willowood Farm and Rose Hip Farm both here in Coupeville. Bell's Farm has the best strawberries. Mile Post 19 farm has incredible raspberries. Grass fed local beef from 3 Sisters Cattle Co. and fresh butter, cheese and milk from Golden Glen Creamery. There's amazing fresh alaskan salmon-smoked, lox and fresh- pedaled over from Port Townsend, fresh and aromatic kettle corn (our girls favorite), and plants, flowers, more berries, Mr. Mobley's sauces (the tahini is abundantly useful), crafts, artists, and bakers.

Speaking of bakers - today Lynda came back from the market with two cookies-for me. From a baker, new to our market. I had the best cookies I've had in a long time - caramel cream shortbread. Two shortbread with a thick layer of buttery caramel cream filling. Yow! I think I told 6 strangers that they had to get a cookie from the "cookie lady." At the end of the market today, we came home with local onions, greens, potatoes . . . and half a dozen cookies. I love to eat local.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

History Invasion

Yesterday at 1:30pm, 5 vehicles and 25 people pulled in front of the Lovejoy Inn. They were not expected.

They knocked on the door and started to come in before we answered. They walked up to the house, looking at every detail, taking pictures, pointing. If I had been alone, I would probably have hid, but since Lynda was here we greeted them.

We soon found out that this was the Vradenburg clan and that their great grandparents were the second owners of our house. Elias and Isabelle Vradenburg came out west to Whidbey Island around 1904 and purchased the house here at 5 NW 8th St. It remained in the family until 1948.

One of Elias and Belle’s grandchildren, now in her 80’s was part of the crowd that visited. Before we knew it there was a swarm of people examining every nook and cranny of the house. Little children we’d never seen before came running down the stairs and out from the back porch. Memories of the dining room, the blackberries, the cistern, and the barn were shared as well as all the collected memories passed down to the great and great great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. They were a lovely bunch of people and so appreciative of the chance to look around the house and the barn. It was obviously very meaningful.

We’re hoping to receive some of the old family photos that show when the Vradenburgs lived here. Here’s the picture from yesterday with all the direct relations sitting on the old porch.

There was another large crowd that never came in – these are the spouses of the Vradenburgs. They tried to remain patient while their loved ones took the tour. We recognized their type right away.
In our family (ie: Lynda’s family – The Austins) the spouses are called “the married into’s” meaning we married into the Austin family. We have developed our own support group and quietly smile as we hear once again the story of Grandpa Roy using his 80 year old wife, Edel, as ballast in the old Ford truck so he could get traction going up the driveway. She fell out at some point, much to Roy’s surprise, but she survived.

Lynda kept saying that what happened today would not be unusual in her family…in fact she remembers traipsing through family homes in Oregon and Minnesota without an invitation or without batting an eye. “It’s just what we do”. I guess the Vradenburgs have some of the same genes and I’m glad they felt as free as the Austin’s to “just drop by”.

Roy & Edel Austin with son Chuck and grandson David

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wine on Whidbey WoW

Whidbey is fast becoming a wine destination in the Puget Sound. That suits us just perfectly here at the Lovejoy Inn. We enjoy wine. We can use a few descriptive words like “jammy”, “oaky” “spicy”, “earthy” and “mmmm.” Our Coupeville neighborhood wine merchant, Beth at the Bayleaf, says in a friendly way that we are more “quantity than quality” – I can’t exactly argue with her. She has introduced us to some wonderful red wines from Spain (Tempranillo and Garnacha), affordable dry and citrusy Italian bubbly (Prosecco). We also pick up local wines from the Bayleaf, usually Whidbey Island Winery and Greenbank Cellars.

But that’s not all . . . there are now 6 wineries on Whidbey Island (two more opening next year) and 3 with vineyards.
Last week I tasted a Pinot Noir with grapes grown on Whidbey and it was excellent. There’s also some nice white varietals grown here - Sieggerabbe, Madeleine Angevine, and Pinot Gris. There are at least 4 great wineshops around the island.

Link: Seattle Times story:
Whidbey Island's got grape expectations

I started writing about this because one of our guests yesterday was here for a digital photography class that featured Whidbey wines, vineyards, wineries and local food. She had field trips to a local farm, a restaurant that features food from that farm, a lavender farm, two wineries, two vineyards, two wine shops, 1 cheese shop – the entire time taking photographs, drinking and eating. The class was taught by professional photographer Jan Goff-LaFontaine through Coupeville’s own
Pacific Northwest Art School. I think I would sign up for any class that paired food and wine – (Intro to Statistics with . . .)


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Full Weekends, Quiet Week (alternate title - City Mouse and the Country Mouse)

This has been the best summer weatherwise for many years – beautiful days – day after day. So where are the people Monday through Friday? Weekends are full here at the Lovejoy Inn with the occasional opening. Mid-week we have plenty of room. Just had a cancellation for the weekend of July 24 which has got me thinking about availability/vacancy.

If you want to have a break from your urban/city life – try a couple nights in Coupeville on Whidbey Island.

I’m not saying the city is bad, usually when the Richards getaway for a couple days, it’s to a city – Seattle, Portland, Vancouver BC. (picture is view from our room in Vancouver last month).

We have all the natural beauty, peace and quiet, wildlife, pastoral vistas and overly friendly people for a lifetime. We love the action, energy and population of the city. And, cultural diversity, dining diversity, fashion – we love it. We feel a little like the Beverly Hillbillies when we head to a big city – we don’t know how to dress anymore and we gawk at everything (I think I’m a cross between Jed and Jethro, Lynda is equal parts Daisy Mae and Miss Hathaway).

Ya’ll come back now, ya here!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Published in USA Today!

I've gone big time! Well, I wish there was a write up about the Lovejoy Inn in the newspaper - we've had a couple local mentions, but I just found out a photo I took last summer was used in a USA Today story about places to camp.

USA Today - Travel - Destinations - City Guides - 10 Great Deals - July 16

"10 Great Places to Pitch in a State Park"

USA Today featured Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve (a National Park that encompasses all of Coupeville) as a place to camp - we have two State Parks within the National Park). I helped promote Ebey's last summer for their 30th anniversary celebration and 1st ever Ebey's Forever Conference so anywhere I went around here, I snapped pictures.

Well, my "Cabbage" picture has now received national recognition. It's okay as photo's go, but MY PICTURE AND NAME ARE IN USA TODAY!

Now I'll go back to cleaning the Carriage House and Penn Cove Rooms.

Whidbey is the Greatest this Summer!

We can't believe we live on Whidbey Island this summer. Probably 4 nights a week, our family has dinner on the front porch overlooking Penn Cove, or on our back patio. That's because it's warm, sunny, dry. It's crazy, but what a treat.

Our Lovejoy Inn guests are loving it too. Our inn is already a happy-relaxing place, but to have all this sun! Joy joy joy! The guests just leaving today came down from Vancouver BC with their 5 month old daughter. Loved the Carriage House, the balcony, dining at the Oystercatcher and walking through town. Once they parked in our driveway, they haven't needed to drive till they left.

3 nights this week we had a family from Atlanta that lived in Coupeville 12 years ago. To them, Coupeville hasn't changed - picnics, walks on the beach, Toby's tavern - they lived it up.

And ... this week is Whidbey Island Race Week - a sailboat regatta where most of the time the boats are racing around Penn Cove. I get distracted everytime I look out the window. The best place to watch is downtown Coupeville and the Coupeville Wharf.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Last night we watched an amazing fireworks display down in Freeland – about 20 minutes south of Coupeville. Sitting on blankets with our kids running wild in the dark on the golf course, it was loads of fun! This is the first fireworks our family has seen together, usually our kids are in bed, but we let them stay up to watch the show that started at 10:20pm.

There are more festivities today in Freeland, Langley, and a parade and fireworks in Oak Harbor. Coupeville doesn’t have any official 4th of July offering, other than Main Street being lined with American Flags. Unofficially, some Coupeville waterfront areas become a war zone with fireworks purchased from the Indian reservation (these are not the “safe and sane” variety.) So tonight, there will be multiple mini-fireworks shows and we’ll stay up past our bedtime.

Lovejoy Inn has guests form Napa, Everett and Chicago today!

From the “home of the free and the brave” – Happy 4th of July.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Coupeville Memorial Day Parade Tomorrow!

One of our favorite things about living in Coupeville is the Memorial Day parade held on the Saturday morning at 11:am of Memorial Day weekend. The parade route goes down Main Street, turns left on Front Street, and the up Alexander, and right on Coveland to the park where free hot dogs and sodas are waiting for the weary parade participants and viewers.

The parade often begins with a flyover down Main Street of a Navy Jet from the Naval Air Station that is located at the north end of the island. It's quite an impressive kick off to one of the sweetest parades in the Northwest. Here a just a couple photos from parades in years past:

Hooray for Coupeville Arts Center!

Hooray for Spectators!

Hooray for Central Whidbey Little League!
Come and witness some true community pride tomorrow! We will be scouting out the oboe player in the Coupeville High School Marching Band....and the new Lion in his shiny vest....and the Central Whidbey Softball player...
See you there!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Speed Blogger - Signs- Sunshine

Friday 4/23 8:46am.

I’m going to write and publish this post by 9:00am – speed blogger!

Sunny, high of 60 degrees, blooms on the fruit trees and tulips opening up around the yard.

We’ve had a number of Coupeville Arts Center students stay with us here at the Lovejoy Inn this past month and it has been wonderful. Nice creative folks, diving deeper into watercolor, art quilts, photography, you name it. We are a 10 minute walk to the art center so it’s the perfect place to stay – relaxed, peaceful, and easily accessible. The students and instructors we’ve had stay with us appreciate the high caliber of teaching and organization at the Art Center - and its run by incredible people.

8:54am. I’m running behind. Big news . . . We have our sign! The first one is on the front of the guest side of the Lovejoy Inn. The one in front will be hung today. I got the post in a couple days ago, painting the finial cap for the post and this afternoon – we will no longer be Coupeville’s best kept secret bed and breakfast.

This week we watched locals and a couple realtors slam on their brakes in front of the house since we have this sign post out front that looks like a For Sale sign is about to be hung. In a few hours, they can relax and we’ll be official.

9:00am – dang, it will be 5 more minutes. Seize the day!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whidbey Island Marathon 2009

This past weekend, a couple thousand people showed up to Whidbey to run/walk in the Whidbey Island Marathon. It’s a stimulus package for Whidbey to have that many folks, most staying overnight, to come to the island. Here at the Lovejoy Inn, 3 of our 4 guests were here because of the Marathon – “Yay – Way to Go! Lookin’good!” When we get all these fit people around us, it gets us to start talking about training for next year’s marathon. Lynda walked it few years ago, I’ve watched it a couple times. Our 12 year old now wants to run the half-marathon (13 miles) next year. I’ll cheer her on.
Here’s a 2006 picture of Lynda, Andreas and Lisa of Christopher’s Restaurant, and Aimee (she did all 26 miles) at the end of the race in Coupeville (where the race used to end).

The other picture is of a young and in love dating couple who were about to run the Bloomsday Race in Spokane in 1991. I was still trying to impress Lynda. I could barely walk for the next 4 days. Ah, love.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What happened to February?

We were going to blog faithfully. I just posted about spring and found February was missing. Well, here’s what you missed – it was kind of quiet at the Lovejoy Inn. . . .

Oh yeah, Lynda went to Washington DC to visit her brother and – she got to see President Obama (along with 3,500 folks) while volunteering at the National Prayer Breakfast
Best parts were getting to know the other behind the scene volunteers and to listen and meet Paul Young, author of The Shack.
We applied for our SIGN with the Town of Coupeville and it was reviewed and approved by the Design Review Board (more on the sign in another post). Lynda finished the trim painting in the Garden Room.

We won two Whidbey driftwood vases at the Coupeville Lions Club Scholarship Auction and have them on the breakfast tables at the Lovejoy Inn - pictured in the breakfast room and with the wharf and Penn Cove out the window.
After writing this I realize, maybe there was a reason we didn’t post in February.

Spring! . . . almost

Greetings! We’ve missed you and are ready to be the bloggers we dreamed we’d be.

Spring is just starting to look like it may arrive in Coupeville. We cleared out a bunch of flower beds and found all kinds of purple crocuses popping out. Tulips too. Tiny buds are on the cherry, plum, apricot, pear and apple trees. I’ve been doing my favorite spring project – pruning. I think I sort of know what I’m doing. Lynda, however, gets a little nervous when I pull out the pruning saw and lopping shears. There’s a lot less bushiness to all the shrubs and trees and the Carriage House has greater view of Penn Cove. I can’t wait for the leaves to grow to cover up some of my uglier cuts. I have a gigantic pile of branches behind the barn – Lynda wants to get a chipper.
Hopefully we’ll have plenty of fruit on our trees this year. We serve the pears and apples with breakfast. The cherries, blackberries and apricots get turned into jam. This last picture is of the amazon looking flower bud on our tree peony.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Whidbey Outdoor Weddings (WOW) - in January?!

Whidbey Island has become a premier spot for destination weddings. Natural beauty, less rain, dramatic locations, catering, photography, all the stuff a couple needs.

Last summer, we hosted three dozen guests for weddings around Coupeville. We opened June 21 with the bride’s family staying in our newly renovated Lovejoy Inn. The groom’s family stayed at our vacation rental, The House Next Door. The wedding was at the Jenne Farm in the middle of Ebey’s Prairie. Cows in the front yard, barn and granary for reception, open field for the wedding. We had guests for 4 different weddings at the Jenne Farm, also two weddings at Captain Whidbey Inn and the Greenbank Farm.

Last fall, Joy and Brian from Centralia (pic at left)came to Whidbey to find a place to get married. (insert Joy-Brian pic). They chose the Greenbank Farm. They searched out lodging in Coupeville and fell in love with the Lovejoy Inn and The House Next Door. Wedding date: January 17 at 3pm. Here’s a quote from the brides website: “ Rain, sleet, sun, or snow … as of today, will be OUTSIDE so bring warm clothing and an umbrella.”

The weeks before the wedding were filled with snow and rain, little sun, sleet?(I don’t know what that looks like). Then, on Friday when the guests arrive – from Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, the temperature starts rise. Friday 4pm: sun breaks. Saturday 9:00am: a little fog. Saturday 3pm: bright sunshine, no wind, 50 degrees, sunglasses. Everyone said it was beautiful!

We are grateful to Joy and Brian for choosing the Lovejoy Inn and enjoyed seeing how well they get along the loving families they bring together. Blessings!

Mitch and Lynda, Seattle, WA, Aug. 25, 1991 (my hair is longer than Lynda’s – no it’s not a mullet!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Did! Inaugural Blog

Congratulations and honor to President Obama today! We kept our kids home from school this morning to watch the inauguration live. We don’t have cable, but the Lovejoy Inn has WiFi, so we plugged the laptop into the TV and watched it live over the internet. It was lattes, hot chocolate, and pajamas to witness this historic event.

For anyone who has found our blog – make a reservation during the rest of the month and get an Inaugural special of 50% or your second night during the month of January.
Time for a CHANGE of scenery. Yes YOU CAN getaway for a night or two. Call us or send an email.