After my solo cabin camping trip with the kids to Deception Pass State Park went well, I immediately wanted to book another relatively easy stay with them before the weather turns cold and it’s harder to spend time outdoors. Our city-centric lives don’t include many opportunities to see animals, so I decided to focus on looking for a farm stay within a 2-hour driving radius of Seattle.
Where We Stayed
I normally prefer getting apartments or hotel rooms through Booking.com because of the easier filters and more flexible cancellation policies. However, for a stay at a more specialized place that I was booking a week in advance, I checked AirBnB and found the Christopher Robin Writer’s Cabin (sign up here for $35 off your first stay). There are two small cabins on this property that the owners have built using a lot of salvaged and vintage materials. Our cabin had a hot plate, microwave, small fridge and some breakfast supplies (coffee, creamer, butter, etc) as well as a homemade loaf of apple-banana-carrot bread that was delivered to our porch the first afternoon.
There are several different varieties of chickens (including roosters) and a flock of Sebastopol geese on the property, so the kids loved watching them roam around and even feeding them apple scraps and chicken feed. Beware of the roosters though – they started the day at 4 a.m., and some of the younger roosters with a less attuned sense of time tried to start it at 1:45 a.m. one night. There are earplugs provided, and the kids mostly slept through the noise on the second night, but it’s something to keep in mind.
A trail leads out into the woods, although we didn’t end up using it because we didn’t want to disturb some guest workers camping there. The host’s children were just a bit older than Julia, so there were lots of backyard toys to play with and the kids were welcoming. I appreciated the adirondack chairs around a fire pit and the rocking chair on our little porch for reading after bedtime.
COVID-19 safety: there is a shared bathroom on property, but there was only one other cabin on property and it was only occupied our first night. It so happened that the host had just installed a toilet in a building closer to our cabin for a future guest who has cancer and can’t walk far, so we were were able to use that and wash in our cabin for the most part. Our cabin was cleaned right before our arrival and there were lots of cleaning supplies (sanitizer in wipe/spray form, etc) available for me to touch up during our stay. The hosts have some different ideological views than me about the virus and other issues, but were good about social distancing and never made us feel uncomfortable about wearing masks. There have been very few cases of COVID on Whidbey Island as well, so I felt safe as far as minimizing exposure.
What We Did
With all the space to run around, animals to watch and toys to play with, the kids were pretty happy exploring the property for large chunks of time. However, we still managed to visit a couple of parks.
On the first day, we drove to Possession Beach Waterfront Park. I had meant to go to the Possession Point State Park up the road, but made the wrong turn. This park had ample parking (we were the only people there) and we only saw one other person walking their dog in the two hours we stayed. The beach has a lot of driftwood so we built forts, played drums, hammered “nails” and dumped sand everywhere you wouldn’t want sand dumped. A bald eagle flew right over our heads twice and a pair of herons roamed around catching fish that would occasionally flip out of the water. It was so peaceful and everyone enjoyed it. I ended up driving up to the State Park just to see it and was so glad we ended up where we did – we would have had to hike down a steeper trail from a tiny parking area to get to a beach versus a relatively easy walk down a paved path.
James’ nap was too short that day, so I took a scenic route to Fort Casey State Park in an effort to get him to sleep. It backfired because Julia fell asleep and he didn’t. However, the parking lot wasn’t full so I was able to park where James and I could kick a ball back and forth while Julia finished her nap. Fort Casey is one of our favorite all-weather spots on Whidbey Island – there are often kites flying around, a lighthouse to explore (currently undergoing renovation) and you can climb many of the old fort structures and go inside, making it a nice spot to go when it’s rainy. James rode in our toddler carrier on my back while we went to the top level of the fort, and then he and Julia ran around together playing with their echos in the open rooms.
Where We Ate
One of the best features of the AirBnB was that we could gather fresh eggs for breakfast. We ate them fried in butter with sides of homemade bread and blueberries on the porch while I sipped coffee. It saved money on eating out and was a peaceful way to start the day. The kids could also play on the porch area while I cleaned up the dishes.
Whidbey Island Bagel Factory – We picked up bagel sandwiches and a peanut butter cookie from this spot in Clinton for lunch. The turkey club was delicious! I can never turn down a kosher dill, so we also popped into Pickles Deli next door for a couple of pickles straight from the barrel.
The Braeburn – in non-pandemic times, we love eating at this Langley restaurant and then watching the glass blowers at the former firehouse next door. I was planning on just doing take-out and picnicking down by the beach, but was really impressed with the Braeburn’s COVID-19 set-up and decided that eating there would actually be safer and more comfortable. A couple of other places in town had outdoor seating, but the tables were awkwardly spaced and hard to get around other diners. The Braeburn’s space allows for multiple patio areas and we ate early so it never felt busy. The food was so good the first night that Julia requested that we come back on our second night and I didn’t mind at all! We had the fried chicken plate with local sauteed greens and mac ‘n’ cheese both nights, sharing a burger the first night and a reuben the second night. They have a kids’ menu, but with plenty of nutritious sides and two kids to feed, it was easier to get a couple of entrees to share.
Sprinklz – on our second night, we picked up ice cream from this little shop in Langley. It’s quite small, so plan on taking your treat to go. The huckleberry ice cream was delicious and creamy, and Julia loved her mint chip.
The property where we stayed is truly beautiful and peaceful, with a nice set-up. The cabins are very cozy, so I wouldn’t recommend them for more than 2 adults or 1 adult and 2 small kids, but the kids and I were fine together. Getting the kids outside during this last lovely bout of Seattle summer weather has really brought me joy and I loved seeing the excitement in their faces doing simple things like watching the chickens or imitating the geese (James’ “honk” sound is hysterical). I definitely plan to look into farm stays, which are more common in Europe for some reason, on a future trip.