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Vacation on Whidbey Island and support veteran-owned businesses

Use your vacation dollars for good

Michelle Dalrymple-Hickman, owner, prepares for the opening of Bep. Photo provided by Michelle Dalrymple-Hickman

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Military families often talk about what the future holds after the military, and those talks often include owning your own business, like a bed and breakfast or restaurant. On Whidbey Island, you can find many veteran-owned businesses you can support with your vacation dollars. It also gives you a chance to see first-hand what goes into running a business.

Plan to stay at the Blue Goose Inn Bed and Breakfast. It is in the cute little waterfront town of Coupeville, which is a very walkable town. The Inn is comprised of two historic Victorian homes and has a variety of rooms and suites. There are some great restaurants and shops in town as well as the Island County Historical Museum. The Inn owner David Broberg served in the Air Force and the Air National Guard - he opened the Inn in 2012. (Note: no children or pets). 702 N. Main St., Coupeville, 360.678.4284, bluegooseinn.com

For a unique lunch, head to Bep, which is located at the Mukilteo Coffee Roasters Café in the Woods, nestled in the forests of Whidbey Island next to Porter Airfield. Owner Michelle Dalrymple-Hickman was a military spouse (husband Gregory Dalrymple-Hickman served in 2d Ranger Bn) and her experiences add to her culinary expertise. She offers Vietnamese small plates inspired by the foods and flavors of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. "I love bringing authentic Vietnamese flavors to an area like Whidbey Island," she said. "There are so many military and veteran families that live out here; it is a wonderful opportunity to feed a community that did so much for my family. My parents were refugees and were sponsored to come to the U.S., became citizens, and are living out their American dreams. It is really great when I get to feed a Vietnam-era veteran. There are always great stories that are shared." 5331 S. Crawford Rd., Langley, 206.792.6586

Langley is another little town on Whidbey Island that is a must-see. A small waterfront park has a large bell that you can ring if you see a whale. It is surprisingly loud and draws people from all over town who rush to the park to see if they can catch sight of a whale. Just outside of town is the Comforts of Whidbey, an estate winery and bed and breakfast. This veteran-owned business is making some great wines from the Puget Sound AVA. It makes a nice stop before dinner, and owners Carl and Rita Comfort, both Army veterans, will make you feel right at home. In addition to the tasting room they also have a bed and breakfast. (Insider tip: The Comforts offer a 10 percent military discount in the Tasting Room and they offer seasonal military discounts for the Bed and Breakfast, call for specifics.) 5219 View Rd., Langley, 360.969.2961, comfortsofwhidbey.com

For more information on visiting Whidbey Island, visit whidbeycamanoislands.com. (Insider tip: There are a variety of ways to get to Whidbey Island; my favorite is to take the Washington State ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville. It is a beautiful scenic drive and the ferry ride gives you breathtaking views of the Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve on Whidbey Island. Also, this is one of the few ferries you can make a reservation for. With busy summer traffic, it will give you peace of mind knowing you will make the ferry.)

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