Edison: A short 20 minute drive from La Conner will take you to Edison, a quaint village of art galleries, restaurants, delis, bakeries and two taverns located on Edison Slough. Be sure to check out Slough Foods (and food service on the picnic tables out back next to the slough) and the beautiful Smith & Valley Art Gallery
Anacortes: Another 20 minute drive will take you to Anacortes, a larger town with grocery stores, shops, several wonderful restaurants and its own vibrant historic district. Check out our favorite restaurants: the A-Town Bistro (upscale bistro and bar), Cafe Adrift (great food in a casual atmosphere) and Dad’s Diner (original, eclectic breakfast and lunch spot with meats roasted to perfection – like brisket and pulled pork).
Conway: A little shorter 15 minute drive will take you to historic Conway, a small old world pioneer town on the South Fork of the Skagit River with antique shops and the well know and much loved Conway Tavern. It’s also home to the Conway Muse – a unique and artsy music venue that has something fun going on almost every weekend of the year.
Old Mount Vernon: One of Skagit Counties two main cities is only a 15 minute drive. Like Anacortes, it has a scenic historic district with a new riverfront boardwalk and all of the stores and services that a big town will have. Not to be confused with New Mount Vernon which has shopping malls and is several miles to the north.
A Little Farther – And Worth Every Mile
Port Townsend: A bucolic 60 minute drive across the famous (and breath taking) Deception Pass Bridge and past the historic town Coupeville (more like a village) on Whidbey Island will take you to the Keystone Ferry. Park near the terminal and “walk on” for a fraction of the cost of driving and then walk off into the historic town of Port Townsend. Built in the late 1800’s in an effort to attract the first cross country railroad, today it’s a big La Conner with taller 4 story brick buildings, lots of shops and plenty of great restaurants. One of our favorites is Siren’s, a locals pub on the second floor of one of those tall brick buildings on the main (Water) street with good pub food and a deck hanging out over a sandy beach and Puget Sound – you can see the ferry coming from here.
San Juan Islands: About 10 minutes past Anacortes (30 minute drive total), you can catch the ferry to one of the several San Juan Islands. Walk on in the morning and return later the same day to to visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, another quaint turn of the century pioneer town – catch a local shuttle to Roche Harbor to go a little farther back in time to limestone quarries, the Moran Estate and the historic Hotel de Haro. Or if you want to take a bike or car, get off on Orcas Island – check out Moran State Park but plan to spend some time in East Sound where you will find wonderful shops and restaurants and experience the slower pace of the San Juan Islands from 30 years ago – and check out the Outlook Inn – both historic and affordable – if you run out of time and want to spend the night.
Chuckanut Drive to Fairhaven and Bellingham: One of the most beautiful two lane country roads in the State – old highway 1 – curves around the Chuckanut Mountains about 100 feet above Samish and Bellingham Bays. Stop at Taylor Seafood to get fresh shell fish to bring home and then stop at one of the roadside stops for a birds eye view of the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island in the distance. Then drive to Fairhaven, Bellingham’s historic district south of town (a 45 minute drive), or go anther 10 minutes to Bellingham, a “big little town” with a college town (Western Washington University) atmosphere.
North Cascades Highway: Travel East on Highway 20 (1 – 1.5 hours) to Rockport, Marblemont, Baker Lake, Ross Lake and scenic North Cascades National Park. A little farther (3 hours) and you are in the Methow Valley east of the Cascade Mountains. Winthrop, Twisp and Mazama are in their own high valley micro climate – 15 degrees warmer than the west side but still cooler than the towns farther east in Central Washington.
Seattle: Only an hour away – spend the day exploring the city – taking in Pioneer Square and the Pike Place Market. We go there regularly and will gladly share our favorite restaurants, shops and attractions.
Vancouver BC: The US-Canada Border is an hour and a half away – drive another 30 minutes to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver is truly a world class city worth visiting.
Victoria BC: Just over the border you can take a Canadian Ferry from Tsawwassan to Schwartz Bay (about an hour ride), then drive to Victoria (about a half hour) and spend an afternoon in a very quaint British Seaport Town, visit the famous Butchart Gardens or drive out to Sooke Harbor and eat at our favorite restaurant – the Sooke Harbor House – once rated the top restaurant in Canada and still one of the best the region has to offer.