Small-Town Sophistication

Plan a romantic trip to Coupeville

Photos by Jon Anderson

Coupeville sits on Whidbey Island’s northern side, hugging the romantic stillness of Penn Cove and its world-famous mussels. As small-town picturesque as it is here, there’s a refinement and sophistication to the local scene that makes Coupeville the kind of place where you plan to return even before you leave.

Book ahead at one of Coupeville’s sumptuous small inns and B&Bs, and get ready to enjoy truly world-class dining. Bring your hiking shoes to get outside and enjoy some of the rugged, achingly-scenic beaches and trails nearby.

Pack lightly and be prepared to let your shoulders down. Coupeville is that kind of place.

In Coupeville, you can choose from a number of picturesque and historic inns and B&Bs. The granddaddy of romantic escapes in Coupeville is The Captain Whidbey Inn (2072 W. Capt. Whidbey Inn Road). Hidden in the trees overlooking Penn Cove, The Captain Whidbey Inn’s intimate meandering grounds and beckoning lonely dock evoke a Gatsby-era vision of romantic escapes.

Innkeeper Loyd Moore enjoys greeting visitors from the Eastside. “It’s such an easy getaway,” he said. “It’s accessible and the people here are so welcoming.” The Inn can arrange activities such as biking, kayaking, fishing and charter boat tours. Chef Tyler Hansen will prepare your catch with seasonal ingredients from the Inn’s own garden. Plan to unwind and enjoy a drink from Judge Still’s Tavern while easing into the slate-blue stillness of a Penn Cove evening view.

Another favorite stay in town is the historic Blue Goose Inn (702 N. Main St.). Two houses make up this popular seven-room B&B, dating from 1887 and 1891. Innkeepers Becky and David Broberg share fascinating details of the Inn’s past, but let go of your assumptions about cramped antiques parlors and creaky floors. The rooms are large, with well-appointed private baths and wi-fi. The Blue Goose Inn welcomes guests 14 and older — perfect for parents seeking a getaway from life with kids.

The Anchorage Inn B&B (807 N. Main St.) sits proudly on its perch overlooking the town. The Victorian-style inn was built in 1989 to take advantage of the views. A deep porch and grand staircase welcome visitors. Experienced innkeepers Dianne and Dave Binder are active in the Coupeville community and enjoy sending guests to the best spots in town.


Dining in Coupeville is a true foodies’ experience. Great food has a pride of place in town and the commitment to local, fresh ingredients will make dining out in Coupeville the highlight of your romantic getaway. World-class chefs and friendly, gracious staff will help you decide what suits you and local wines will pair perfectly with the flavors of the island.

Austrian-born chef/owner Andreas Wurzrainer of Christopher’s on Whidbey (103 NW Coveland St.) relocated from Seattle to share his love of fresh Northwest cuisine in the restaurant’s breezy, relaxed space. Great service from caring staff draws repeat visitors for favorites like Penn Cove Seafood Stew and Christopher’s Salmon, slow baked in a raspberry barbecue sauce.


At Front Street Grill (20 Front St. NW), a classic American grill menu influenced by local seasonal ingredients makes this a popular spot for happy hour. The wine selection pairs with a variety of flavors, including creative and classic ways to enjoy Penn Cove mussels. Try the Front Street Grill’s take on a Kobe burger and fries and you’ll know why this local favorite is so highly recommended.

At Vail Wine Shop & Tasting Room (23 Front St. NW) owners Larry and Patsy Vail offer a wide selection of Washington wines and a relaxed, easy tasting room to linger in. “People who love wine find us here,” Patsy said. “We enjoy supporting Washington winemakers who have a passion for their products.” Or head to Bayleaf (101 NW Coveland St.) to pick up a bottle of wine, cheese and other provisions for your romantic hike and picnic.

If it’s early, get your Coupeville outing started at Knead & Feed (4 Front St. NW), where visitors enjoy the view sitting family-style for the pancake stack breakfast or soups, salads and hearty sandwiches for lunch. Get a to-go bag of huge cinnamon rolls or try another favorite — the orange rolls.

If you’re really in the mood for something sweet, head to Kapaws Iskreme (21 Front St. NE) for a “single” ice cream — three scoops piled high and served by friendly staff. There’s usually a line out the door but it moves fast, and the smell of fresh handmade waffle cones will keep you patient until it’s your turn.

If a getaway means shopping together, Coupeville offers a number of elegant small storefronts offering local art, antiques and handmade gifts, and relaxed island getaway fashions.

At Elkhorn Trading Co. (15 Front St. NW) outdoor enthusiasts can get nostalgic over antique duck decoys and vintage bamboo fishing poles. The Penn Cove Gallery (9 Front St. NW) is a cooperative effort by 27 local artists who show their work together and take turns welcoming visitors to the gallery. Pick up a gift for the kids at Honey Bear (23 Front St. NW), a large space packed with old-fashioned candy and hard-to-find toys.

If you love a good book when you’re on vacation head to The Kingfisher Bookstore (14 Front St. NE) where a lovely view of the water will distract you as you peruse a wide selection of books by local writers who’ve been inspired on the Island.

Or find your own inspiration by heading outside. Coupeville’s natural beauty will bring you closer to each other as you enjoy the water views and breezes. “Our beaches here welcome solitude,” local Merrie Burley said. She and husband Mark Burley enjoy getting outside. “We take our coffee to walk along the beach and be alone,” she said.

Head to Fort Ebey State Park (400 Hill Valley Dr.) to hike the popular Bluff Trail and picnic in the grass as you gaze out over the beach. Explore Coupeville’s military past at Fort Casey State Park, where you can climb around historic military structures and visit Admiralty Head Lighthouse, a romantic treasure with a past all its own.


Get here
Washington State Ferries travel frequently from Mukilteo to Clinton on Whidbey Island’s south side. From the Clinton Terminal head north on WA-525 for 27 miles to reach Coupeville. Or try a scenic drive from the Eastside, heading north on I-5 and west on WA-20. Be sure to leave some time to stop at the breathtaking Deception Pass Bridge on your way. Boaters can dock at Coupeville Wharf. For general information to plan your Coupeville getaway contact the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce.

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