Rich and I recently spent a month in Europe, most of our time in Prague, Slovenia, Venice and short excurions to some of the countries that were part of the former Yugoslavia. It was a fabulous trip, and I'll be glad to share some of our experiences if anyone wants to find out more.
What especially impressed me was how often we saw things to buy on our trip that were made in the country we were in. This was especially wonderful in Prague and the cities in Slovenia where there were so many unique items.....all made by local artisans and craftsmen. Purchasing gifts to bring home (for others or oursevles) was a delight.
On Whidbey, we have a great number of talented artists and crafts people living here. A major benefit to buying local is, of course, is to help people earn a living selling their products. An additional benefit is the knowledge that these items are made on Whidbey and represent an authentic memory for visitors to the island (and a feeling of purchasing an authentic item for ourselves as well).
Here on Whidbey, and wherever you travel, watch for items actually made in the place you are visiting and not simply items that bear the name of the place, but are made elsewhere.