During one of our trips to Seattle, Washington we found a beachcombers' delight; a hidden beach right next to historic buildings. We all know that means a high chance of well-worn sea glass!
After taking an early morning ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville, our desperate search for caffeine lead us to Main and Front Street in the heart of picturesque Coupeville.
This waterfront town has been settled for well over 150 years and Front Street itself has changed very little. Once I saw water and old buildings, my mind instantly screamed, "SEA GLASS!"
But first, the coffee...
I suggest walking out onto the wooden wharf for a cup of coffee. While you're there, give yourself some time to take in the beautiful view of Penn Cove.
Then, head down Front street on the board walk and visit the shops. Be sure to stop by Kneed & Feed Bakery and Cafe; I enjoyed the best Pumpkin Latté with slice of apple pie!
A note for movie lovers... this shop was used for some of the scenes in the 1998 movie, Practical Magic, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. All of the buildings on Front Street were painted white for the movie, then repainted to their original colors.
But anyway, this is where you will find a lovely public deck and stairs that lead down to the beach.
What we found on Coupeville beach
On the sand we checked out both sides of the staircase. Towards the right of the stairs we found several pieces of sea pottery and sea glass, some not quite cooked yet.
Heading over to the wharf, we found large, thick pieces of very old crockery. It had been worn smooth over time by the gentle waves in the cove and we were delighted to collect as much as we could!
The large plate pieces had a pretty 'crackle' finish but I don't think they are old. They most likely came from the restaurant above!
The beach itself is fairly narrow, even at low tide. In fact, it's almost impassable without getting your feet wet a couple of times as the establishments are built right at the waters edge. Thankfully, I had my wellies!
The beach is sandy with very small patches of pebbles and large patches of seashells, mostly mussels. There are some large rocks which might be submerged at high tide, so check the tide schedule as there may not even be much of a beach to explore at times.
Much of the sea glass is new-ish and had to be tossed far out into the water like a frisbee, which I consider a skill and have become quite good at it!
However, I did find this gorgeous thick, light lavender and perfect heart shaped piece of sea glass and that was not going anyhere but safely in my pocket.
There are a couple of ladies on Front Street who make and sell sea glass jewelry. I met with the one who owns Whidbey Isle Yarns next to the wharf and she told me that one morning, an entire antique ceramic insert from a crock washed up right at her feet! Wouldn't that be awesome?
She sells local, sustainable and handcrafted items. These include fun and beautiful sea glass jewelry at friendly prices, gorgeous sea glass colored yarn and she even offers knitting classes.
Aqua Gifts is a gorgeous little shop next door to Knead & Feed Espresso Shop. It was used for the inside shots for Practical Magic. It's a darling cottage full of beautiful beachy gifts and seaside mermaid mementos.
Touch of Dutch was loaded with yummy food items and cute gifts.
Getting to Coupeville's historic waterfront
Coupeville is situated on Whidbey Island, Washington. As you will have guessed from the name, Whidbey is an island and so the first thing to do will be to take a ferry! Click here for all the details.
Once you disembark from the ferry, the historic waterfront is just 10 minutes drive away.
It was November, so we found parking pretty easy on Front Street. There is more parking often available on Alexander and Front Street.
More about Coupeville
Coupeville is one of Washington's oldest towns; full of history and romance. It was once the site of three permanent Skagit tribal villages, having been settled by sea captains and farmers in the 1850s. It still reflects the character of a frontier seaport and, if you want to experience a piece of history for yourself, stay in one of the historic bed and breakfasts.
There are approximately 50 structures in Coupeville which are featured on the National Register of Historic Places. The Island County Historical Society Museum is a great place to learn more about the town and go on a walking tour.
If you haven't guessed already, I loved Coupeville! The possibility of finding an historic piece of glass or pottery was really exciting and I thoroughly recommend a visit.