Most of us have read Jackson’s famous short story, The Lottery. But, since it’s October and the perfect season for spooky reading, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, easily one of the greatest ghost stories ever written.
In celebration of our fifteen-year anniversary, Kari-Lise and I skipped town for a few days and did a bit of exploring in our backyard. Our destination was Whidbey Island, located centrally in the Puget Sound, a short drive north of Seattle.
We have been to Whidbey before, usually to hike the always exceptional Ebey’s Landing, but we’ve never spent much time on the island. We wanted to change that and ended up finding a weird 111-year-old inn (yeah, same age as Bilbo Baggins) on Penn Cove called The Captain Whidbey that became our home for a few days.
We came onto the island via the highway that crosses Deception Pass and connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island and the mainland. We hung out there for a few hours and took a quiet walk along the beach before we made our way to the hotel. After settling in, we found ourselves a short drive from Coupeville, a teeny fishing village that has been around since the 1850s. It also resides alongside Penn Cove, and its little waterfront is a great spot to grab a bite, especially if you like mussels and shellfish.
The second day, we walked on the ferry that runs from Keystone Landing to Port Townsend and spent most of the day there. Taking the ferry is a great way to visit the town, which is easily one of my favorite places in Western Washington. A lot of history there, it’s nearly as old as Coupeville and full of ornate Victorian architecture.
At one time there was a hope it’d become the largest seaport in Washington, but today it’s mostly focused on tourism. That said, it’s picturesque, quite chill, and full of places to explore and eat. While there I met an old woman who was sitting outside her apartment listening to a folk band, and she told me how every building in town was haunted and how you can see all the ghosts during thunderstorms because of the static electricity in the air. GHOST SCIENCE.
We returned to Whidbey that afternoon. Right next to the Keystone Landing is Fort Casey, a decommissioned U. S. Army emplacement designed and built to protect the Puget Sound and the Bremerton Navy Yard around the 1890s. The Pacific Northwest is dotted with these little emplacements and they come in all shapes and sizes and in various states of dilapidation. I haven’t seen one as intact and explorable as Fort Casey. Poking around was fun. We climbed ladders, checked out the disappearing guns, and dared ourselves to delve into the deep spaces within the fort that our tiny cell-phone lights couldn’t penetrate.
Our last day consisted of exploring a rhododendron forest garden, a little art farm that also sold cheese, and a quiet drive south where we caught the ferry to the mainland. It was a good trip. I read a book, we both relaxed, and we came away knowing Whidbey a bit better. All in all, it was a lovely little flash-vacation, and I’m glad I got to spend it with my favorite person. You can check out a few photos from the trip below.
Rock watchmen on the beach.
The view from The Captain Whidbey was quite lovely
This is what an author and a painter look like after 15 years of being married.
Kari-Lise was insistent that I include this picture. She loves cabbages. (Photo by Kari-Lise.)
Arrival in Port Townsend
Of course I’m going to explore a bookstore while I’m in town, did you expect otherwise?
One of the Buildings in town, this is where I met the old woman who told me the whole town was haunted. (Photo by Kari-Lise.)
Strawberry-rhubarb pie and coffee at Hillbottom Pie—it was phenomenal. (Photo by Kari-Lise.)
Leaving Port Townsend
Looking up at one of Fort Casey’s disappearing guns.
Kari-Lise climbing ladders.
Exploring the hall and passageways. (Photo by Kari-Lise.)
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It’s Halloween and it’s Friday! That means it’s time to share a few spooooky links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know! All right, let’s get to it.
How To Write A Modern Ghost Story
The Guardian asks, how does one write for an audience that is cynical, yet still wishes to be terrified? It’s a good question and one of the biggest challenges for the modern horror writer.
The Art Of Bruce Pennington
I’m a big fan of 70s cover art. There’s something earnest about it. If you want to see some of the best check out the work of Bruce Pennington. He’s created a wide range of covers from macabre to the futuristic visions of science fiction.
The Bus by Paul Kirchner
I absolutely love this series of comics about a man and a bus. They’re more surreal than scary but they have that sort of Twilight Zone weirdness that makes them perfect for this time of year.
Mayokero Music Video
This music video by Israeli artist Roy Kafri takes classic album covers and brings them to life. It’s not really spooky, but it’s downright cool.