The Lashleys have just returned from our very first trip out west, and it was quite the adventure. It was our last hoorah before...

The Lashleys have just returned from our very first trip out west, and it was quite the adventure. It was our last hoorah before school started, and a grand adventure for the children to talk about for years to come. My brother lives in Washington on the lovely and magical piece of paradise known as Whidbey Island. My mother had been planning a trip to see him and impulsively invited our little family along. Unfortunately, it was spur of the moment and my darling husband could not come with us, so I traveled with my mother and the children.

I was very nervous before leaving; I am not much of a traveler and have never been to the west coast. I was confident the children would be fine, they are well-behaved and I knew they could make the trip without incident (which they did). I just wasn’t sure about being so very far away from home, especially without my husband. Of course, being the wonderful man he is, he encouraged all of us to have the most wonderful time and to send him daily pictures of our adventures.

We arrived in Seattle and my brother was there to greet us. I was so happy to see him. He doesn’t come home that often, and seeing my little brother so efficient in an environment so different from my own it was very interesting and heartwarming. We made our way to his home on Whidbey Island, the children, very excited to get to ride on a very large ferry, that served snacks on the upper deck, was the highlight according to them.

Whidbey Island, I have a hard time finding the words to describe this beautiful place. It is very different from here and I can see why my brother chooses to live there and why he says he will probably never leave. It has evergreens that are so very tall, lush ferns, and it smells of Christmas all year. The mountains in the distance are a sight to behold, and the Puget Sound sparkles below, twinkling in the sunlight that peeks out every now and then. The weather is tumultuous; at least it was while we were there. It was chilly, never getting above 60 degrees with spotty showers daily. We did have two days with brilliant sunshine, but I will say, when the sun is shining the beauty of the island is almost too much to bear.

The mentality of the island is different as well. People are more mellow, time moves slower, and people hold different things to a higher level of importance than back east. In South Whidbey, where my brother lives, no “big box” stores are allowed. You will not see a Wal-Mart, Target, Food Lion, Kroger, Barnes and Noble etc. It was absolutely wonderful. Each little town, Langley, Clinton, Freeland were quaint and I suggest you Google them to see how wonderful they are, they all have their own grocers, book shops, café’s, restaurants, clothing stores, and anything else you can imagine. They are all small businesses that are thriving. It was a heartwarming sight. Sustainable living is very important there, the local food bank, (The Good Cheer Food Bank), has a very large garden that volunteers work right in front of their building. The food bank also works on a “point system,” and everyone that lives on the south end of the island automatically receives 40 “points” at the food bank whether you need it or not “just in case.”

Every few feet you will see a “fresh eggs $4” sign, or a fresh bread, organic cucumbers, squash, corn etc. sign. People sell their goods at the end of their driveways. There is fresh bread, fresh goat’s milk and cheese, soaps, lotions, fibers from alpaca’s (there are quite a few alpaca farms), and many lavender farms. People wear their hair long, don’t care so much about clothes, and always have a smile on their face. I love it there.

Whidbey also has wonderful fishing spots; my brother is an avid salmon fisherman and took us too many of his favorite spots. The beaches are filled with beautiful stones; the children enjoyed picking up their “free” souvenirs to bring home. The only unfortunate thing is that the boy picked up a clam and stuck it in his book bag and we didn’t notice it until we were in the airport on the way home, the stench, you don’t want to know.

It was hard leaving Whidbey, we enjoyed a day trip to Seattle where we did all of the wonderful “touristy” things like going up in the Space Needle and visiting the Chihuly Gardens – my favorite. The children especially loved riding the monorail. We hated leaving Washington and their Uncle Clint, but we sure were happy to get back to Daddy and good ol’ Chester, just in time for school to start!