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Fall in love in Langley, linger over dinner in Oak Harbor

Small inns, gourmet eateries, cozy towns on the island

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According to the calendar, summer is almost officially here and the kids are almost out of school. What better time to take a little break from it all and plan a romantic weekend for just the adults? Though it may not be ideal or budget-friendly for the family's weeklong summer vacation, there are some spots worth a two-day splurge on Whidbey Island.

Get R&R at the B&Bs

Whether you kick back on the wraparound porch and feel the breeze from the water across the street or sip a glass of wine at the late afternoon social hour, the Saratoga Inn strives to makes guests feel at home. All guestrooms have a stone fireplace, spacious bathroom and many have a private deck or porch with a water view (rooms start at $155).

For a better view with a higher price tag, the Inn at Langley features 180-degree waterfront views, jetted-tubs, and an onsite spa. Rooms also feature wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor balconies, plus guests can request seatings at Chef Matt Costello's tiny, downstairs eatery (rooms start at $285).

Saratoga Inn, 201 Cascade Ave., Langley, (360) 221-5801; Inn at Langley, 400 1st St., Langley, (360) 221-3033.

Memorable meals

Though most lodging in the area provides breakfast, a trip to Café Useless Coffee Company should be mandatory. While the smell of freshly roasted coffee permeates the inside, the exterior seating area is full of sun, wrought iron tables, art and the sounds of happy diners.

Fraser's Gourmet Hideway, which has been open for six years, is a unique foodie gem set in Oak Harbor and is worth the drive. Chef Scott Fraser is at the helm of the open kitchen five nights week, ready to discuss the menu with anyone brave enough. Customer favorites include chicken and waffles, the French onion soup served in a cooked onion, the locally farmed goat cheese salad and specials like the venison tenderloin.

Or, to stay closer to your bed in Langley, stroll down the street to Prima Bistro, a French-inspired menu that specializes in small plates and boasts an extensive wine list, including a locally grown and bottled Prima Red. Don't miss out on the duck fried fingerling potatoes; mussels steamed in celery root, white wine, shallots and garlic; or the squash and bacon risotto.

Café Useless Coffee Co., 121 2nd St., Langley, (360) 221-4515; Fraser's Gourmet Hideaway, 1191 SE Dock St., Oak Harbor, (360) 279-1231; Prima Bistro, 201 ½ First St., Langley, (360) 221-4060.

Touring the Langley Loop

The shopping district in downtown Langley is packed with cute stores, art galleries and sun-dappled corners where shoppers can sit and relax.

The large Star Store mercantile presents customers with sensory overload in the form of clothing, humorous gifts, cookware, grocery items and more. Then check out a couple notable art galleries, where the artists are often on hand to talk shop. Finally, conclude the afternoon with a visit to a winery or stop into either the 2nd Street Wine Shop or the Ott & Murphy tasting room for to sample from around the region. Note: Ott & Murphy will also pour by the glass and has live music Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m.

Star Store, 201 First St., Langley; Brackenwood Gallery, 302 First St., (360) 221-2978; 2nd St. Wine Shop, 221-2nd St., (360) 221-3121; Whidbey Island Winery, 5237 South Langley Rd., (360) 221-2040; Ott & Murphy, 204 First St., (360) 221-7131.

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