Matt Costello, the longtime genius chef behind the food at The Inn at Langley (Langley, 400 First St.; 360.221.3033; innatlangley.com) is known for his disarming combinations made with ingredients primarily from Whidbey Island. As an experience, the single-seating, multicourse meal ($155 per person) is as much entertainment as dinner.
A dish called “rhubarb” might come in the form of an ice-cold magenta consommé with house-made ricotta floating in the center. Sunflower heads might be braised and sliced like artichoke hearts. The lacy white flowers garnishing the plate might come from bolted carrots. Expect anything except the expected—and no matter what that is, you’ll probably be wrong. But when it comes to the inn itself, Costello—who is also the innkeeper—chooses predictability, with luxuriously appointed rooms ($325–$600) overlooking Saratoga Passage.
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Keep your eyes open; in August, when the San Juan Islands’ orca whale population typically migrates past Whidbey, the animals often feed on tiny, translucent ghost shrimp a stone’s throw from the shore.
Autumn colors, mountain vistas, idyllic island treks and the back roads of wine country