By Grace Swanson
Langley, a beautiful, sleepy village by the sea, is full of interesting people, critters, and places. Discover some of the things that make this town truly unique.
1. Bunnies Galore!
Langley is hopping with hundreds of fluffy, cotton-tailed inhabitants. It is commonly believed that many of these domestic rabbits are descendents of the Barnyard Scramble, a four decade long tradition at the Island County Fair where children chased and caught farm animals.
In recent years, these bunnies have been the talk of the town. The rabbits caused quite a ker”fluff”le in 2015, even making national news, when they dug up the Langley Middle School football field after the district had paid for a restoration. Some Langley residents expressed frustration with the furry creature’s affinity for garden produce and wanted to relocate or get rid of the them. However, Langleyites’ appreciation and adoration for the rabbits won in the end. The bunnies are here to stay and the city even created a festival in their honor called “Bunny Daze.” Be sure to check out these cute, furry friends.
2. Feral cats
This sleepy seaside town is home to a group of feral cats. Some residents think of these felines as their pets, feeding them daily. Around five years ago, Oasis, an animal rescue, spayed and neutered the abandoned cats. Oasis is located in Langley and is dedicated to ending overpopulation and helping animals in need. At first, Langley’s feral cats were skittish around humans, but now they are more accustomed to people and are sometimes quite friendly.
3. Free transportation
Monday through Friday, Island Transit offers free bus service in Langley and around Whidbey Island.
If you need to get somewhere in Langley on the weekends, then you can ride in style on the Langley Main Street Association shuttle. Converse with a local about their favorite places in Langley, while zipping around town in an electric golf cart.
4. Artists in every medium
Langley boasts artists from every medium, from painters, to actors, to dancers, to photographers to sculptors. The town has a variety of galleries that offer diverse collections.
Whidbey Island local, Georgia Gerber, most famous for Rachel the Pike Place Piggy Bank, has sculptures throughout town. She sculpted the Boy and Dog, a Langley icon, as well as the otters up by the Langley Library and the duck in front of the Inn at Langley.
In their twentieth season, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts showcases an assortment of plays and concerts. Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, a local pre-professional dance company, performs a beloved rendition of the Nutcracker in the winter and a showcase of choreography in the spring. If you are a Shakespeare fan, then you’re in luck! Each summer, the Island Shakespeare Festival performs a series of Shakespeare plays in an outdoor theatre.
Every spring, the Puget Sound is a pit stop for 15-20 gray visitors. These 45 foot whales journey from Mexico to Alaska, one of the longest migrations of any mammal, and stop along the way to snack on sand shrimp. The whales can be seen from several spots throughout town. Ring the bell in Whale Bell Park after any whale-sighting. For a more up-close look at these remarkable creatures, jump on a whale-watching cruise with Mystic Sea Charters.
6. The whole town becomes a mystery scene
If you enjoy mystery novels or movies, then this event is definitely for you! Every February, someone “commits a murder” that must be solved through finding hidden clues and speaking with witnesses. You will feel like you’ve transported yourself into a game of Clue as you question characters throughout the town. Mystery Weekend is an event that shouldn’t be missed!
7. Beautiful gardens and edible plants
If you are an avid gardener or someone who likes to take time to stop and smell the roses, then you will enjoy spending time in Langley’s gardens. Two years ago, Langley’s Second Street underwent a dramatic transformation. The street was redesigned, paved, and landscaped. More than twenty bumpout gardens were added, including a rain garden.
There are many edible plants in the gardens. Taste fresh, colorful vegetables and fruits or pick some herbs to use in your cooking.
8. Governed by an all-women council (believed to be the nation’s first)
Langley has always been a place for strong, powerful women. Shortly after women gained the right to vote in 1919, Langley elected a female mayor and an all-women council. Visit the South Whidbey Historical Museum to learn more about Langley’s history.
What do you think makes Langley unique? Tell us in the comments!
Photos by Grace Swanson.