My buddy, Trudi, moved to Washington last year. Whidbey Island, 30 miles north of Seattle, has long been on our bucket list. So, I flew up from Denver to spend a 3-day weekend with her on Whidbey Island, right before Halloween. As usual, we succeeded in cramming in as much in as possible and having a blast! We’d forgotten that it was Halloween weekend, and still ended up having the best Halloween ever.
On day 1 of our Whidbey Island weekend, we explored the dark corridors of a spooky old fort, the perfect Halloween haunted house. Then we stumbled upon a local brewery with great food, brews, and ambiance where a surreal Halloween party was underway. We attempted to communicate with an inebriated forest wizard over beer and watched a parade of elaborately costumed local folks dance to rockabilly.
Getting to Whidbey Island
I flew into Seattle late Friday night. Trudi and I were both tired, and I believe dinner was wine and Clif bars. After a quick breakfast Saturday morning, we hit the road for Whidbey Island. Opting for a longer, scenic route to the island, we drove north on I-5 and crossed over to Fidalgo Island on WA-20. Checking out the view of Deception Pass Bridge gave us our first vacation feeling of the weekend.
It’d been hours since breakfast and we needed grub and drinks. We were already in the red zone and not willing to work to hard to find a cool place to eat. And yet, we both really wanted our first official restaurant outing of the vacation to be something on the water. Luckily, we found Alfy’s Pizza at Water’s Edge in Oak Harbor. Right on the bay, the pizza hit the spot and they had a variety of local microbrews.
Exploring the Best Haunted House Ever – Fort Casey
Trudi and I had forgotten it was Halloween weekend. But Halloween hadn’t forgotten about us, as we soon found out. It was still daylight, around 4 p.m., when we arrived at Fort Casey Historical State Park. Originally constructed in the late 1800s to defend Puget Sound, Fort Casey was used as a training facility until the 1940s. Every part of the fort is open to the public and you can explore to your heart’s content. The best and spookiest part is, even in daylight, much of the interior is pitch dark.
But First, A Short Walkabout
Before venturing into the fort, we took a stroll on the Pacific Northwest trail, around the perimeter of the park. It was chilly but clear. Trudi and I always love getting an ocean fix, even if it’s too cold to get in the water.
Admiralty Head Lighthouse
Next we checked out Admiralty Head Lighthouse, the ruins of the original lighthouse, and the forest nearby.
Is This a Fort or an Insane Asylum?
As the sun began to set, we began our exploration of the fort. I love exploring old buildings, imagining all of the people who walked the same halls long ago. Usually, though, I get frustrated because much of the building is shut off to the public. I see closed doors and want to knock them down.
Not Fort Casey. Every dark, unlit passageway and room was open, inviting you to come in. And so, we did.
It’s Dark in Here!
Electricity did not light the interior of Fort Casey. Only faint natural light partially illuminated the hallways. The rooms off the hallways were utterly dark. Trudi and I agree that if either of us had gone to Fort Casey alone, we would not have wandered around as we had. We stayed in shouting distance of each other. I used the flashlight on my cell phone to find my way. The maze of rooms and hallways seemed endless. For pictures of rooms, I turned off my flashlight, turned on the flash on my phone, and snapped the picture. Those few seconds when I stood in complete pitch black, about to take the picture, were unnerving.
With dark hallways and darker rooms, rusted electrical panels and hooks in the walls, and discolored, mottled walls, it was easy to imagine we were in an abandoned insane asylum or prison, not an old fort. Strangely, though, I didn’t feel scared. I didn’t get the heebie jeebies or imagine I heard any weird noises. Maybe it was because Trudi was there and we were having fun. It was also because I knew we’d be hitting a brewery next, and that always puts a smile on my face.
We Made It Out!
Reaching the end of the fort, we came out in time to catch the fall sunset.
We weren’t ready to stop exploring Fort Casey. There were still the old barracks to check out. But as the sunlight retreated, we were feeling less adventurous about investigating dark places. Plus, we were ready to find grub and a pub.
A Surreal Costume Party at a Local Brewery
Leaving Fort Casey, we called upon our beer beacon super powers to make a really great brewery with lots of character magically appear. And wow, did we hit the jackpot. Driving 30 minutes south to Langley, we found The Taproom @ Bayview Corner. Out in the middle of nowhere, hardwood floors, and a locals gathering spot, this small brewery had all the ambiance you could ask for. Plus it had great food, great beer, and live music!
As the evening grew later, more and more people arrived dressed in Halloween costumes. And I swear, I saw the most outlandish and elaborate costumes I’ve ever seen. Besides the usual vampires, superheroes, and bearded men in pink T-shirts that say “I’m a Princess!” riding plastic white unicorns, there were twin alien go-go girls dressed head to toe in white sparkles; Pan, the Greek god, with horns, hooves, and hairy legs; and giant jelly fish.
Getting Deep With A Local Wizard
Most elaborate and fantastic of all, there was a dude who looked exactly like a forest wizard from “Lord of the Rings.” His entire outfit was made out of what looked like paper mache, with a long beard, wizard’s cloak, striped pants, and a full wig of long dreadlocks. I know, it sounds weird but it was Hollywood-quality. He was in full makeup, so complete that you couldn’t tell what he really looked like. And The Wizard was really tipsy and talkative. He stood talking to me and Trudi for about 10 full minutes. And we couldn’t understand a word he was saying because his beard covered up his mouth. I have a feeling it was pretty deep stuff.
Trudi and I were glad we’d forgotten it was was Halloween. Our civilian attire allowed us to sit back and people watch while the brewery got ever livelier. The band, Western Heroes, put on a good show.
When things started getting a bit rowdy at the Halloween shindig, Trudi and I headed to our AirBnB cottage right on Puget Sound to crash for the night.
Stay tuned for my next post about our Halloween weekend on Whidbey Island!