Monday, September 22, 2008

Ebey's Forever Conference - Nov 7 & 8 - REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

You can register today for the Ebey's Forever Conference. Click here for the schedule and the registration form. There is limited space and this is sure to become one of Whidbey Island's signature events. The amazing array of partners who are participating in the conference will make this a fascinating and inspirational event.

Field trips, national keynote speakers, community potluck, panel discussions, and barn dance.

Go to the EbeysForever.Com for more information.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Memories of the Bluff

Ebey’s Landing holds so many memories for our family that I will only mention a few or it would take up too much space! It all started for us 28 years ago with one of our first dates. It consisted of a romantic gourmet dinner prepared in secret and carried up the bluff to be set up with wine and music. That summer dinner date was followed by watching many sunsets from Hill Road, walking the beach and building a relationship that would grow into a family of five children. The bluff and reserve have become an integral part of our family’s lives and memories.

Now fast forward a few years to hikes on Mother’s Day and the obligatory family photo op by the “tree” every year, to videotaping school projects, parking a car at one beach (Fort Casey) and hiking to the beach at the bottom of Ebey’s bluff and exploring every inch along the way, spending wintry stormy days watching in awe as the wind rolled the storms in, searching the beach for debris after a storm, finding with delight all those “nose cones” as we call them from left over fireworks to bringing guests and visitors to share the beauty and watch their faces as they take in the beauty.

Every January on my father’s birthday I come to the beach to toss flowers in the water in his memories. We watched an amazing lunar eclipse from the cemetery a few years ago and I thought I felt the presence of a recently departed friend in the crowd. It seems like yesterday when we hid goodies from the Bayleaf on the bluff to be discovered by our daughter and her prom date.

The Reserve is and continues to be a huge part of lives. My spirit soars as I run the bluff trail and my eyes take in the beauty of the mountains, water, eagles and the friends you run into along the way. Happy 30th Anniversary!

Lisa Bernhardt

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Prairie Rambings

Today I drove down Engle Rd. through the prairie 3 times. I have driven out there the last 10 years. I don't ever get tired of it. Right now there are 4 inch tall corn plants growing, next to that is a huge field of alfalfa. There are cows lounging around the Jenne Farm and the Engle Farm off Hill Rd. I'm slowly getting the understanding about growing food - keeping it local - organic or nearly organic - supporting our farming neighbors. The Coupeville Farmers market is now full of lots of fresh, locally grown greens for an incredibly tasty and fresh salad. Greens, garlic, onions, potatoes end up in our kitchen and are regularly showing up in local restaurants. At the end of the Coupeville Wharf is the store Local Grown - it shows the variety and abundance of small farms and businesses on Whidbey. Now I'm hungry - time for a handful of miners lettuce. Yum!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Restore your Old Windows - With Help! Free Window Restoration Workshop

Looking around my home, circa 1886, I can count 3 cracked window panes without getting out of my chair. Sashes hanging down, little cracks, big cracks - I need help!

Windows are one of the most distinctive part of a house. It's great to have windows that fit the look of your house. Original windows in a historic house impart the house's distinctive character.

Before you buy the vinyl clad windows at the box store, why not consider giving new life to your old windows through repair and restoration. And . . . theres help!

Ebey's Reserve is offering a FREE, hand-on workshop for historic home owners all about restoring old windows. The Window Restoration Workshop will be led by National Park Service craftsmen and restoration specialists. It takes place in a barn/workshop - it's not a passive, sit and listen to a speaker workshop. Bring in an old window and get professional assistance and advice on how to make the needed repairs.

Plan to attend the Window Restoration Workshop on JUNE 21 FROM 10 AM - 3 PM in Coupeville. The location is the Reuble Barn at the corner of Fort Casey Rd. and Patmore Rd. Call 678-6084 for more information. See you there!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Penn Cove Water Festival - Canoes, Sun and Stories

I'm sitting here at the keyboard, falling asleep after a day of too much fun in the sun. Unseasonably and gloriously warm weather blessed the Penn Cove Water Festival today. Native American competitors from around Washington and BC come to race long, beautiful and suprisingly agile canoes around the waters of Penn Cove.

The weather made this an exceptional festival - a lot of people came to Coupeville. Good food - (we had the bbq brisket and I missed out on the Indian fry bread - dang), amazing entertainmen

t - captivating storytellers, fiddle/violin, Native American dancing, arts and crafts booths, educational and informational booths and the kids activities - my kids made boats from scrap wood, native whale hats and had their face painted.

All of these things are a glimpses of Ebey's Reserve. Old and new, good food, culture(s), natural beauty, fun, art, sport. The Native American stories and dances are about honoring and embracing the natural world, being stewards, looking back as we move forward. What a day!

(time to rub aloe vera onto by sunburned neck).

Mitch Richards

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ebey's forever

I. It's easy to talk about the beauty of this place.
The iconic barns and working farms elevate us.
The deep dark chocolate dirt enriches us.
But some days we have challenges that threaten the integrity of the Reserve
That undermine our community's working rural heritage.
II. In some fields, on top of soils of national significance
Some folks want to grow big, big houses.
Houses of 5,000 square feet to replace
Historic homes of 1,200 or so.
Well, we all want our view, a dream house.
III. What has always been required for the Reserve to succeed is people participating.
This is still the case.
People have to come to the table to participate,
To momentarily set aside individual pursuits for the greater good.
In this manner extraordinary things can happen.
Democracy has always been about optimism.
Sure it's a bit corny,
IV. But the beauty and heritage that surround us today in the Reserve
Is no accident.
And those million dollar views are here because local farmers sold
Their own development rights to protect these farmlands for future generations.
This gives us quite a responsibility.
What's our legacy going to be?
Mark Preiss
Reserve Manager
Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wow, that's some Barn!

Twice in one week I was in a huge old barn in the middle of Ebey’s Reserve. One night I was dancing at a party with a rock band and a great group of people, average age 60, dancing their hearts out.

The other time was an auction put on by the local Lions Club to raise money for scholarships for local Coupeville kids. We were served soup and bread – in a barn. A farmer was the auctioneer. We won 5 hours of labor from a Boy Scout Troop. $20K was raised.

I’ve heard the Crockett Barn called a “century” barn. I don’t know if it’s because it’s more than 100 years old, or because it’s gigantic, I just know it has become a great place for events. There’s no livestock in the barn, no hay or feed (accept maybe for d├ęcor), but this beautiful, solidly built barn has a new life and is fast becoming the best place in Central Whidbey to hold an event.

We have an old barn behind our house. It leans in 4 different directions and sits on dirt – lots of character – just not too sturdy anymore. I hope we can keep it standing – not for dances and auctions, but because it says as much about the history around here as anything.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


My first house on Whidbey was on a Cul-de-Sac by the beautiful Compass Rose. Walking down to Ebey's Landing became a nightly ritual for me. Some days when I didn't have the energy to walk the distance, I did anyway. I always knew the prize at the end would be worth it. I sometimes walked twice a day on the weekends.
It is such a comfortable place for me. It knows all my secrets; all my hopes and dreams. It's a spiritual place for me. The beauty of Ebey's Landing brought me through some hard times I thought I would never recover from. It is a place I walked to with my children as they grew up. We had SOME conversations on the way to Ebey's Landing and back.
My first "date" after 3 years of being single, was a walk to Ebey's Landing; as was the first kiss. There were also many picnics at Fort Ebey, our second favorite location. After a time, it was a natural conclusion that the proposal came on a beautiful and sunny Christmas Day - at Ebey's Landing! Followed months later by a beautiful, outdoor wedding at Fort Ebey State Park. How could I not love this place?
We've grown up here, as much as our children have. Once you have experienced this beauty, it's hard to remember anything or anywhere else. And it doesn't let go. My fondest memories are always somewhere within the confines of Ebey's National Historic Reserve. Thank you to those with the foresight to preserve this land.
~Anne Hallam

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Night Comes In

Night comes in
Like a fog on a city bay
A dream that’s still far away
Like ocean rain

Sleep comes in
Like a song in a minor key
The ghosts that are surrounding me
Never going back again

One day
One afternoon
One night
Just to feel this way again

Graveyard on the hill
And it’s filled with the family names
Morning still looks the same
I’m lifted like a veil

Day comes in
Everyone’s got somewhere to go
Trucks rooster-tail this gravel road
Everything leaves a trail

Everything leaves a trail
Around here, everything leaves a trail

Eric Christensen

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I wonder if the cabbage knows
He is less lovely than the Rose;
Or does he squat in smug content,
A source of noble nourishment;
Or if he pities for her sins
The Rose who has no vitamins;
Or if the one thing his green heart knows --
That self-same fire that warms the Rose?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Prairie Winter

Corduroy stripes of green on black
Tractor roaring forth and back
Gulls' procession in its track

Hills of over-wintering beets
Sown inside their black earth pleats
Plants for seed in August's heat

Winds can howl up on the hill
Or whisper, Isaac lives here still
Or shout, you're here against my will

Gold fields crusted white today
Hedgerows dressed in ice array
Smith farm ponies get some hay

Solitary walker on his way.

Kathy Stella

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow on the Prairie

Yesterday I woke up to look out my bedroom window and see huge snowflakes floating to the ground. A beautiful and rare site on Ebey's Prairie. I was reminded of the first winter I spent here, as a young woman. I had been a "city" girl for years before coming here with my husband, Bill Smith. We spent our first 3 years in California in the Coast Guard, then came "home". Bill was born in Coupeville at Polly Harpole's Maternity Home, left here to attend college and be in the Coast Guard (Viet Nam draft time) and this was his one and only choice to spend the rest of his life.

Almost as soon as we got here it started snowing. And it snowed and snowed and snowed! I haven't seen half as much snow as that first winter 40 years ago. It was 3 to 4 feet, with huge drifts along the road up to Bill's parents place on the ridge above Ebey's Prairie. His dad, Knight Smith, got out the old sleds, sleighs, and some of his magnificent horses. We had exciting sled rides behind the horses and beautiful sleigh rides day and night. Knight Smith was a true character and rugged individual and he loved the prairie and his prairie home. I was privileged to get to know him before he died suddenly in 1970. I believe he would be happy to see our prairie preserved much as it was when he died and to know that his granddaughter grew up riding horses and now is a farmer (albeit an organic farmer!). He'd also be thrilled to know his little great-granddaughers, Knight Renee and her sister Wynter Annette, who are riding their first ponies on the prairie this year at ages 4 and 2.

Its hard to believe I've been here 40 years, and still love this enchanted place. I feel truly blessed.

Renee Smith

A Photo of the Smith Farm taken during the snow of 2007 (L. Richards)

Prairie Snow

Snowy day on the Prairie
The children are scary…
Yelling to go
Play in the snow
Quick! Out the door
Number two and number four
Before it starts getting hairy!”

David’s haiku inspired me. Although this is perhaps a bit more “Dr. Seuss.”

Georgie at Willowood Farm
P.S. Nootka rose are one of the native shrub species that once covered much of the Ebey’s Prairie (except the parts the Indians burned to keep their camas fields going) and can still be seen in the existing hedgerows. They have lovely delicate pink flowers in late spring and then these great hips that the birds love (and my children also seem to think are quite tasty, they are certainly a good source of vitamin C…). If you would like to re-establish some of your own, check out the local conservation district plant sale. This particular plant was from a little twig planted about 3 years ago.

Friday, January 25, 2008


walking on the bluff
Olympics covered in snow...
morning at Ebey's
David Day

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Is that a ghost?

Living in a place where history is embraced is pretty cool. Old buildings, prairies carved from ancient glacial activity, the long green Packard driving the streets when the sun is out.
Sunnyside Cemetery (the name makes you almost look forward to going there) in the middle of the reserve, is chock full of history and the early settlers of the reserve. Last May, a dozen residents of Sunnyside came back to life for a living history lesson of the people who lived, died and left their mark on Whidbey Island. One was Isaac Ebey, portrayed by Coupeville Middle School teacher Wilbur Purdue (nice period style
beard). Isaac/Wilbur shared about traveling to Whidbey in the mid 1800’s, the first land claims, life with Native Americans and about the dramatic end of Isaac’s life. As parents and as Coupevillians we love this stuff. We haven’t bought our plots yet, but I think Sunnyside is in our (hopefully far-off) future. Mitch R.

January Sunrise

Ebey's Landing and the bluff are spectacular anytime, but at dawn on a cold morning (25 degrees), as the sun rises and the moon still shines, it is fantastic.

We’d like to keep it a secret, but sharing is nice. Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and the Olympics plus the Cascades and the frozen prairie, you shoulda been here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January Daze on Ebey’s

What a day. I’ll take one day like this on the reserve for a week of hot and dry in August. (Born and raised in the Pac NW, anything over 70 degrees is too freaking hot). I know lots of folks retire to their Florida and California winter homes this time of year. The dread of a windy, wet winter. Whatever (you wimps!). I’ve never understand the allure of a forever sunny climate. Isn’t it boring? If it wasn’t for those wild and wet windy days, and the many heavy grey days in between, a day like the one in this photo would be nothing more than just another day, mark it off the calendar. Instead, it’s a DAY. Blue, blue sky. Even bluer ocean. A circle of mountains etched in snow. Dark fields, steaming grey mist in the warmth of the sun, blades of winter barley greening as you watch. Bald eagles swooping, spinning, diving, weird high-pitched screams as they get it on in the sky, their yearly springtime rites. So sign me up. I’ll take all the nasty days we’ve had, and all the ones yet to come, just for a day like today.
Signing off from Willowood Farm,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kelp Forest

Ebey's Landing beach is the best spot on the entire island to go for a walk. It's constantly changing! There is always something new! This photo was from one early morning walk in late winter, I had never seen kelp look so pretty. On a different walk I met a young boy walking with his dad and he made me aware of the entire kelp forest at Ebey's Beach. I had never noticed nor thought of the massive kelp bed south of the parking lot to be apart of the beach until seeing it out of the water. The young boy made me realize it's a different forest which is always there!
Beth Graves
101 NW Coveland
Coupeville WA 98239

Monday, January 14, 2008

Misty Memory

I love this barn over on Hill Rd. - the faded green paint, the field it's in. I used to give directions to Ebey's Landing Trail by saying "turn left when you see the green barn on your left and the red barn on your right." I took this picture on a foggy morning in January '07. I'm glad I did, the barn burned down 4 months later. The rubble has been cleared away, but after driving by this barn everyday for 9 years - my memory fills in the void when I look over that field.
Mitch Richards

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Inaugural Blog, Happy 30th Ebey's

November 10, 2008 marks the 30th Anniversary of the creation of America's first National Historical Reserve. I've been hired by the Trust Board to initiate a series of programs during the year and plan a celebration event for November 7 & 8, 2008. My hope for this blog is a site that tells the many stories that make up the Reserve. My goal is 300 posts by November! I'll be soliciting posts from residents about life today and their memories of this place --scanning the cultural landscape of the the people and places that make this place worthy of a National Parks Service designation. More to come!
Lynda Richards