Oak Harbor, Washington is nestled on Whidbey Island, one of the islands amidst the waterways of western Washington. If you’re driving to British Columbia by way of Seattle, you should absolutely take a detour to Oak Harbor.
The sunlight is always up, it seems. Full sunlight would spill through my hotel’s curtains every morning at 5am, and every morning I’d wake in a panic that I’d overslept. The sun wouldn’t dip beneath the horizon until after 10pm. The best parts of Oak Harbor are right off the highway. It felt like I was in a painting.
To be this far north in the winter must be brutal, but Oak Harbor in the summertime is enchanting. And apparently, the Puget Sound is one of the best places in the country to become a raw oyster fanatic!
While I enjoy oysters Rockefeller, the thought of raw oysters makes me gag (the only time I’d tried one was in Charleston — and it was gross). I wasn’t the kind of person that ate raw oysters before visiting Oak Harbor.
One of the guys on our crew is from Washington, and promised I wouldn’t regret trying an oyster from his homeland. I learned that the Pacific Northwest provides the sweetest oysters in the country, specifically the Baywater Sweet variety — which are farmed in the nearby Thorndyke Bay. I had my first raw oyster from the Pacific Northwest at Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway.
We sat at the chef’s bar and got to talk a little with the owner and head chef, Scott Fraser. We watched him prepare each dish with scrutiny; every plate a masterpiece. As soon as I took a sip of my glass of Maryhill Viognier paired with a raw oyster, I knew I was in for one of the best dining experiences of my life. Each appetizer was better than the last. The crabcakes were delicious, the calamari was perfectly breaded and tender — but the tapas plate was my favorite. Have you ever had a bacon-wrapped date? It is absolutely exquisite.
After an excellent meal, we walked to the nearby shoreline. It was almost ten o’clock at night, and the streets were quiet as somewhere behind the clouds, the sun finally began dipping beneath the horizon. It’s hard not to think about the infinite when staring into an endless canvas of blues and dashes of a fading sun.
There is a LOT of driftwood on the banks of Oak Harbor – I’d never seen so much in my life!
If you’re headed to Victoria from Seattle in the summertime, I highly recommend a night’s stay in Oak Harbor. It’s a hidden gem in the United States, a glimpse into life in the country in the Pacific Northwest. Few have heard of Oak Harbor, and even fewer get the chance to visit. Try the Baywater oysters with a glass of the Maryhill Vignette. It doesn’t get much better than that.
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