Over the years, La Conner Washington has become one of our favorite Washington towns. Located in the 'Up & Over' and in the Skagit Valley, it's just over an hour northwest of Seattle. It's got good beer, cute shops, comfy B&Bs, galleries and museums, great restaurants, and you can even park a sailboat here - the town sits along the salty Swinomish Channel.
We're gonna point out a few of our favorite La Conner hotspots - some new, some more established, all great and ETC approved. Most of them we visited last summer & Fall, although, we drove through a few weeks ago to see what's new (and 'cause we love the place!).
Sample some of Washington's best wines at Hellam's Vineyard, located on the main drag in the Lime Dock building. Sample, buy, & enjoy a drink outside on the waterfront patio. Great selection!
Craft Ale Syndicate
We were so impressed when we found the Craft Ale Syndicate in La Conner last summer. A small and friendly place, it offers local and interesting beers on tap, Bob Marley vinyl spinning in the corner, and and TV above the bar to yell at while watching some soccer. Hip is not exactly what you'd expect in La Conner, but that's what makes this place perfect. We hope it sticks around!
Seeds Bistro serves great local food at all meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We stopped by for a quick burger and loved it. Not to mention they built their entranceway around the oldest beech tree in Washington. They care about food and serving good food to you - it shows!
What tiny town has 3 museums? Make sure to check out at least one while you're there - The Quilt & Textile Museum, the Skagit County Historical Museum, or the Museum of Northwest Art.
That's just the start of things to do in and around La Conner. There's the book store, the antique store, the newly located Nell Thorn restaurant…and more! Definitely worth a visit and easy to spend the day exploring rain or shine.
~Paul & Amber ETC
*More info about La Conner here
*When we paddled the Skagit River to La Conner…without much planning;)
*Paddling the Swinomish to Hole in the Wall
*B&B Review in La Conner
*South Fork Skagit River kayaking near La Conner
Anacortes Lady of the Sea Sculpture (& a great kayak launch at the Cap Sante Marina - Seafarers Memorial Park)
We recently spent some time in Anacortes reviewing an Inn for an upcoming 'Inns you can paddle and sail to' post and got a few good looks at the gorgeous Lady of the Sea sculpture. Located in Seafarers' Memorial Park (map), the lady and child await the safe return of their seafaring loved ones. Deborah Copenhaver sculpted the statue in 1994.
The sculpture also happens to sit adjacent to a great small boat launch - perfect for kayaks. With lots of parking close by this is a great place admire the sculpture, pay your respects to the sea and those who have lost their lives to it, and get out [safely] on the water yourself!
~Paul & Amber ETC
We had to do it. Every Northwesterner feels the urge…the urge to drive out to the most northwest point in the contiguous US - Cape Flattery.
Located in Washington state, Cape Flattery is part of the Makah Indian Reservation and although it's in Western Washington like Seattle, it's still a whopping 4 hours and 24 minutes away. If you live in the state, the drive and experience is a ritual you must participate in...eventually. It took us 10 years of living in the state before we made the trip!
As you get close you'll enter the Makah Indian Reservation. This was one of the big reasons we wanted to make the trip out here - to check out the Makah Museum - we heard it was great (it is). It's probably a good idea to read the giant "Recreational Use Permit" sign on the side of the road as you enter the Res. The permit is kind of a toll for visiting. A few local businesses sell it for anyone who wants to park a car on the reservation (which is you if you're visiting). If you plan to check out Cape Flattery, you'll need one (I carelessly drove past the giant sign, parked at the Cape, hiked, and returned without getting a ticket…but I think I just got lucky).
The hike out to the Cape viewpoint is mostly boardwalk and pretty easy. There's lots of smaller side-lookouts to enjoy as you make your way to the point.
The view from the final viewing platform (picture below) is of Tatoosh Island and the Cape Flattery Light - the northernmost lighthouse on the West Coast of the US.
As far a views go, well, that's about it. Far more stunning were the views to Canada and the north on the drive out. Other than that, Cape Flattery, to be honest, isn't that grand…but we had to do it, we had to!
Way cooler is the Makah Museum - so far the best Native American Museum we've ever been to, and worth the adventure out here in the first place. Sadly they don't allow photography inside the museum so I don't have any pics from the inside:(
The museum is large and has lots of exhibit space, a cool gift shop, and great interactive stuff for the kiddos. They've done a great job and I can't wait to go back. Because of the 4 1/2 hours it takes to get here from Seattle, you might want to venture out as part of a bigger trip. Whether staying a night in a nearby cabin, camping on the coast, or hitting up a nearby Northwest Inn, it's a nice addition to the agenda. We finally made it and you will too…eventually!
~Paul & Amber ETC
(P.S. Don't let this museum website scare you - it's old - the museum is 10 times more modern than this site…seriously!)
On a recent trip to the Up & Over we hit the jackpot. A quaint little town with art galleries, a great bar with live music on the weekends (the Edison), a nice little bakery (Breadfarm), an awesome breakfast spot (Tweets), a treasure-filled antique/vintage/salvage shop (The Lucky Dumpster), an Italian-like wine & cheese place (Slough Food), and a farm-fresh sandwich/espresso shop (Farm to Market Bakery).
Water access in town via the Edison Slough to nearby Samish Bay sealed a future deal for us - we'll be back soon to kayak to and from this undiscovered Northwest adventure town.
A 1.5 hour drive north from Seattle brings you up & over to Edison. It sits just off the scenic Chuckanut Drive (dear non-Northwest folk - yep, it's called Chuckanut) and is set up near the Puget Sound in the sunny, farm-filled Skagit Valley. Follow the Edison Slough, a shallow waterway right in town behind all of these businesses, and you'll shoot out into Samish Bay.
When we arrived in town on a weekday in the summer the streets were quiet. Coming from the city, this was a change we welcomed. We were looking for a bite so we stopped by the Farm to Market Bakery. We got there just in time - after we showed up a group of cyclists pulled in for lunch. With the less-traveled, flat, scenic roads out here it's no wonder cyclists are all over it. Keep heading north from here on Chuckanut and you've got views of the San Juans, forest trails, oyster farms, historic inns, and even some state park land, all the way to Bellingham.
As we walked around the place after lunch we found a cool little wood shop to explore, several galleries, and the Lucky Dumpster vintage store.
Pictured below is your ticket to and from town to the sea…the Edison Slough. Just make sure you wait for high tide. Our plan for next time? Stay at a rental on nearby Samish Island and paddle over to Edison for the day. We'll sweet talk the friendly folks at Slough Food to leave our kayaks near their quaint little outdoor slough dining area, then hit the town. We'll do it soon since this undiscovered adventure town won't be undiscovered for long…the word is officially out…first one to open a B&B in Edison wins!!!
~Paul & Amber ETC
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