The Captain Whidbey Inn might be under relatively new ownership, but this time of year is all about bringing back longtime traditions.
Operations Manager Carey Burbank had been sorting through the more than 100-year-old inn’s archives when she stumbled upon troves of old scanned photos and newspaper clippings.
An article from 1970s described what seemed to be a yearly gathering of community members in the Captain Whidbey’s lobby to help decorate its Christmas tree.
“I got chills,” Burbank said.
Even though this discovery only happened a few weeks ago, she decided it needed to be done for the upcoming holiday season.
At 4 p.m. Sunday there will be eggnog, cookies and cocoa available to locals who want to come in and help re-instate the tradition.
Just as Burbank saw in the photos, there’ll be popcorn and cranberries to string across the branches and people may bring an ornament to contribute as well.
According to the 1970s piece, the event was a “Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas party.”
That simplicity of old-fashioned, “person-to-person” connection is what Burbank said the Captain Whidbey has always been about. She said she hopes people who participated in the tradition in the past will stop by and swap stories.
Sunday’s coniferous center piece will be cut down at a local farm, General Manager Doug Mills said.
The lobby’s ceiling won’t allow for too tall a tree, but Burbank said she’s hoping for a wide one like she saw in the old photos.
Some of those pictures can be seen hanging in the over-the-top festive bar area, where the restaurant is hosting a Christmas pop-up. The company Miracle brings in festive drink ware, specialty cocktails and “kitschy holiday” decor to its locations around the world, according to its website.
Many of drinks’ ingredients were made in-house or specially ordered because they aren’t necessarily things an average bar would just have on-hand.
In and out of the bar, yuletide spirit will be high and on display at the Captain Whidbey, as it has in years past and will continue to be in years to come.