Wandering on Front Street and around Coupeville's Historic Waterfront District, there are delightful surprises every few feet!
Today there was lots going on "downtown", but one of the highlights of the day was the Student Art Show sponsored by the local chapter of the Association of University Women (AAUW). Held at the Rec Hall at Coveland & Alexander, just a block up from the Wharf, it featured wonderful art by High School students from all three Whidbey Island High Schools. Ceramics, jewelry, drawings, painting, statuettes and photographs proved that the next generation of local artists is very talented and coming on strong! I was greatful that one of the AAUW organizers of the event, Babette, popped into my office on the waterfront to make sure I had seen it. I wandered over and had a great time seeing art teachers, young artists and art lovers mixing it up. I couldn't resist a photo by a South Whidbey junior, Anna Lennon, B&W close up of a young girl's face. Amazing!
Popping down the street a bit, it looks like the venerable Knead and Feed bakery/cafe is getting ready to take over the street level space soon. As always, the little jewel-like shop Aqua lights up the end of Front & Main with the loveliest of girly gifts, decor items, card and accessories. Aqua's gift wrapping makes even the most modest splurge look lavish.
Back by my office, the Windjammer Gallery is floor to ceiling fine art, with fascinating gift items, cards, jewelry and porcelain pieces. They are my neighbors, and yet every time I enter through their veil of corks-as-streamers at the front door, I see something new they swear has been there. Today I met some local folks who had just purchased a lovely painting of the Deception Pass bridge that was beautifully framed at the adjacent custom framing shop. My office was a former gallery, so I have local artists show their work, and currently (as of this afternoon) am so lucky to have the vibrant and gorgeous large watercolors of Goss Lake area artist Gary Shallock. I don't think anyone walked around the boardwalk at Gillespie's Pier without taking a good long look at his paintings.
Deb Crocker, owner of 3 Front Street Shops, including One More Thing and By the Sea, is the reigning national queen of sales of a hilarious little flying "screaming monkey" toy. She has sold 3000 or so, and is busily organizing a drill team to run riotously about flying monkeys about in the annual Coupeville Memorial Day Parade. Should be worth busting out a folding chair for!
Noticed that Mariti Chocolate is opening up more, with Angela's elegant sweets beckoning temptingly anyone who had the willpower to walk past both the extensive candy counters at the Honeybear or Kapaw's ice cream. For those looking toward the water, the stairs leading down to Mosquito Fleet Galley are heading toward some very tasty chow. Chris & Rita (yes, she is lovely, although we have no meters in Coupeville) opened just a bit ago, and have big windows looking out onto the Cove, a huge deck, and the best chili I've sampled in a long while. They bake pies, make specials like pulled pork sandwiches and salmon-asparagus quiche, and are so heart-meltingly sweet you will want to skip the to-go option and settle into their comfy booths.
I think George at Elkhorn Trading needs his own entry, but suffice it to say that he is the treasure hunter's shop, favored by anyone loving antiques, collectibles, kitschy-cool stuff, memorabilia, and Island estate gleanings. My daughter loves chatting up George and learning tons. I overheard a fellow chatting with a fellow that it is the shop guys gravitate to on Front Street, especially if their wives have fallen into Collections, mesmerized by the great fashion finds there.
The real estate market is definitely picking up, too. My little Front Street Realty office has seen lots more folks dropping in to talk about what's new and a great buy at present. There have been a great crop of May Day listings, as folks bring on some well-priced surprises just before the main "selling season" for Island properties. A few have been priced assertively low enough to actually get multiple offers.
Even though we've had a bit of cooler weather today, and a sprinkle of rain, it's been a great day to take in Front Street.
See you soon!