Whidbey Island is just the ticket: a 30 minute drive north of Seattle and a 20 minute ferry ride, and you are removed from reliable mobile service as well as all the hustle and bustle of the city. My husband grew up on the island, and his parents still live there on a beautiful three acres, complete with a barn, vegetable garden, and chickens. It is island living at its country best. The below shot is my in-laws' back yard. All that's missing is a cheese plate and bottle of rose.
Photo: Sue Frause
While we stay with family, the Inn at Langley is a pretty posh spot. Perched at the end of the downtown drag (for easy window shopping and wine tasting), this hotel was honored by Travel & Leisure as one of the top 500 hotels in the world.
Photo: Inn at Langley
While Langley is closer to the ferry, home to my in-laws, and insanely picturesque, drive north for dinner at the Oystercatcher. This is where my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. The food is very northwest, working with fresh, local ingredients (as is so en vogue these days). However, you can almost always get some variation of perfectly prepared Penn Cove mussels, farmed fresh from Penn Cove just two blocks away.
Photo: Madrona Way Man
There are loads of cute shops dotting Langley's downtown corridor (1st & 2nd streets). My personal favorite is Sandy Wainwright's The Wayward Son, where Sandy sells her own exquisite designs (semi-precious and precious gemstones) as well as an array of vintage pieces. Down the street, poke your head into the Star Store, which is part mercantile (tourist gear, gift-ables, and clothes you will actually wear) part super market with a surprisingly amazing wine selection.
Whidbey Island is reliably 6-8 degrees cooler than Seattle. So keep it casual (island style is never overly flashy or fussy) and comfy with a long cotton tank dress that can take you from sightseeing to dinner out, with a denim jacket to guard against the windy ferry ride or the cool evenings. Flat sandals, easy accessories, and a simple overnight bag are all you'll need.