10 Things to Do On Whidbey Island: The Teenage Years


I recently came across this list of Things To Do On Whidbey Island.

It’s a nice enough list. Plenty of options there; hiking, wine-tasting, whale watching. But I haven’t been back for a visit in years. So I decided to make an alternate list, for anyone who lived through their pre-cell phone, pre-internet teen years in Langley, Village By The Sea…

1. Sitting in the middle of the woods, listening to Led Zeppelin on a boom box, drinking cheap beer that someone’s older brother bought, hoping the cops don’t show up.

2. Trying to impress people with your guitar skills by playing the first four chords of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” repeatedly, standing next to the totem pole near the back entrance of the Dog House Tavern.


3. Waiting in Casey’s supermarket parking lot for someone to show up who knew the directions to the area of the woods where you’d listen to Led Zeppelin on a boom box, drink cheap beer that someone’s older brother bought, and hope the cops don’t show up.

4. Skinny dipping in Deer Lake and Goss Lake.


5. Making deep conversation around a campfire. Like, how preppy girls were so stupid. And how nobody understood that Morrissey’s lyrics were funny, not depressing. Oh and lame people thinking they were so alternative just because they wore all black but they were really just phonies.

6. Hiding out in the upstairs area of Moonraker Books, reading trashy paperbacks.


7. Unearthing a pair of ’70s gold platform boots at the Good Cheer thrift shop and wearing them while representing your school in a state-wide speech and debate competition. And losing.

8. Running out of weed and smoking oregano in your friend’s kitchen, hoping to get high. And failing.

9. Going “flying” on Double Bluff Beach by holding the back of an over-sized windbreaker over your head, running towards the wind and achieving a few seconds of lift-off.


10. Dreaming about getting “off the rock” and moving to someplace more exciting…and realizing years later how incredibly cool it was to grow up there.


18 thoughts on “10 Things to Do On Whidbey Island: The Teenage Years

  1. And spending saturday nites watching Cheech and Chong with Mark after the plan of getting dates falls through like usual!!

  2. Or sneaking out of the movie at the Clyde to smoke a cig under the Dog House, turning green, puking your guts out and telling your mom you must have the flu when she picks you up. Only to find out later, she knew the whole time.

    1. You have no idea how much The Clyde meant to us! We performed on your stage in Fools and Island Theater Productions, held hands with our first loves, and were whisked away to Hollywood dreamlands by the glorious, flickering images on your screen. Long Live The Clyde–Keeper of the Community Flame!

  3. Loved reading this perspective. You are an engaging writer. Funny. Well done. Sharen, I LOVE LANGLEY on FB

    1. Thank you Sharen! I’ve been a follower of “I Love Langley” on FB for a long time, and I love how your posts always make me both homesick and proud to be a Whidbey girl.

  4. My husband grew up on The Rock. His family moved to Sultan when he was 16. He disagrees with #10. Says he already knew how cool it was to grow up there. Fortunately, his Mom and Step-Dad are back and we got married there. I love going over to visit.

  5. Back in my day it was hanging out in the parking lot of the “BA” (bowling alley) in Freeland waiting to find out where the Kegger was gonna be that night…and of course, listening to Led Zeppelin! My parents memories are just a little different of their teenage years on the Island but we all feel so lucky to have lived our lives here!

    1. I remember that bowling alley! We shot a scene for a high school production there. I fell on my ass while trying to bowl a strike. Not sure at this point if that bit made it into the movie–but I do remember we used Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain” as our soundtrack!

  6. OMG!!! I am soooo grateful that my parents had family ties on Whidbey which connected us to her permanently in 1962. What an amazing place to grow up and to live. Now my kids and grandkids are experiencing the same life. Incr edible!!!

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