Monday, May 5, 2014

Alleys of Langley



~ My Whidbey Island Adventure ~

Part III:   A Walk  Along  The  Alleyways




Autumn's elegant style 


          

           
                       softens the day 
      
            

paints late afternoon 







with moody light













           as alleyways show us 



                                                            










the heart of

a place



         



   

       
         where paths cross
  
                     as

          you stop and chat 


            
 




  



     feeling more alive
  



 





             


                    just knowing 
            










                                                                             
                 




                 that everyone



                        

             

 simply belongs 







           A town

           where 
           
    a boy and his dog






         
stare into deep blue waters, amazed by LIFE

~ ~ ~ 

Langley's alleyways are intimate places where neighbors wander amidst shops, pubs, cafes and galleries. 

This tiny storybook village is populated by folks living in a mish-mash of cabins, old farm houses, and modern homes. Here, folks recognize each other and an easy familiarity makes one feel 'at home'. I found that a trip to town became much more than merely picking up provisions. Langley's layout invites you to explore! It's charm beguiles.
  
Inside Langley there are but a handful of streets, each offering treasure and fascination, like a big playground. The actual dwellings where people live, are spread out, mostly found along dead-end roads off the highways that lead in and out of town. Exploring such avenues, might reveal a moody shoreline vista, a wild stretch of open land, or a home tucked among magnificent old trees.

Langley reminds me of the early San Fernando Valley, where the 'Eucalyptus Days' of my childhood meant driving to the dairy for milk, or taking trips to the dump with any trash we could not burn in our incinerator (when my brother and I, would have a blast riding back home in the empty 'open trailer' after we'd emptied out all the trash)! 

Being here took me back, to an era before subdivisions, shopping malls, zoning laws, and safety restrictions. When you chatted with the clerks at the hardware store, bank, or gas pump. When school bus drivers still knew everyone's name. 

Discovering Langley you step into a vibrant small town world, that pulsates with love, made visible. Life and work are not separated, here. Artists, business folk, professionals, and craftsmen contribute in obvious and visible ways, as integral members of a thriving community. They raise families, earn a livelihood, and yes, tourism is essential to the town, but it seems that Langley is an endangered species on an idyllic island! If you have a chance to visit this adorable place, I encourage you to take the Ferry Boat across the water and make yourself at home in a place that time forgot. You won't regret it!


Discovering Langley


~ My Whidbey Island Adventure ~

Part II:   Langley's Downtown Spirit

“Langley Summer Color”  
© Judi Nyerges, http://fineartamerica.com 



To enter Langley is to step inside the pages of a First Grade Reader again! My stroll around town was reminiscent of Norman Rockwell paintings, where neighborhoods, shops, galleries, and cafes create village intimacy. Homes mingle with local businesses like old friends!


A stunning corridor of Autumn splendor, first welcomed me into this crown-jewel of small towns. Waking up on misty Cultus Bay, I was greeted by a romantic, moody morning. My rental car made its way past Bailey's town store, bar, and local hangout. Silence ushered me through the corridor of fog-shrouded pines, into a town that time had left untouched.

Langley's vital, artistic atmosphere created a miniature magical world, perched above the bay! Unique in character, it's intimate nature stole my heart.  


I took my laptop into one of the trendy Coffee houses, populated by local artists and poets, where creativity was palpable! This sweet village has a full range of cultural attractions: a 'lived-in' library populated with local townsfolk, art galleries with crafts in the making, and charm galore. Dreams of living here won't leave me alone! It felt like a tiny encapsulated version of my own home town (minus all the shopping malls and suburbs!). 

I checked out Callahan's Studio,
where I had an appointment to make a piece of hand blown glass during my stay

The barn-like double doors of this converted Firehouse, remain open all day long. Lovely glassware items are on display, perched on stands and lining shelves.


Passing by, you tend to pause, and stare: A gloved instructor holds a long black steel rod, with red hot molten glass, bulging like a liquid balloon, at its distant tip. He pokes these viscous glass blobs into hot fiery ovens, after first dipping the large unruly bubble-mass, into a bowl of colored chips. The swirls and hues of finished pieces need time to cool off, so they will be ready for pick-up, the next day.

The Star Store
This old fashion 'General Store' is a wonderland of enchantment. This country mercantile has groceries and supplies of all sorts. I wandered through the artful, eclectic, boutique area, checked out the trendy clothing, quality hiking boots, and canning goods. I filled my cart with grocery items that I still needed, while checking out the gifts and Kitchenware items, all in one magical emporium.
 

Inside the 'Useless Bay Coffee House' I found my writing nook. I sat down and drank a cup of tea, tried one of the tempting pastries. And did a little writing on my laptop. I would have spent endless hours here, each day, if I'd had more time.


 This 'Disneyland' of a downtown, made me feel like a kid, from another era, on old fashion "Main Street'! Tourists can peer into shop windows with lively displays, and meander along the alleys to explore the secret alcoves, and enjoy the cherished art of lazy sight-seeing.

An old fashion movie theater, (that's been overlooked by time) sells popcorn, that still tastes fresh and natural. I went there to see GRAVITY when my new host-friends, James and Janet, who invited me to join them. 

Just knowing that their downstairs vacation rental (in my 'heaven on earth' quarters) were waiting for me to return, I felt cozy and secure. In Langley, I became a kid again. The close-knit sense of belonging, with the funky array of shops and alleyways, felt like home away from home! 

On our way back from the movie, we stopped at the home of a colleague, whose spacious environment was all-natural 'beam & board', inside and out. Seated around a big rectangular wooden table, in their country kitchen, they all 'talked shop', while I joined their awesome dog,
on the 'area-carpet' of the hardwood floor, nearby. It was a delicious taste of community life, surrounding Langley.


~ ~ ~