Located just 60 miles north of Seattle, the town of Mount Vernon celebrates the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival during the month of April each year. In this fertile valley you can experience row upon row of tulips bursting with color for as far as you can see. Mother Nature can play tricks on the blooming, but you can easily check the Bloom Map and plan your trip accordingly. Our favorite display gardens to tour is at RoozenGaarde, it’s like a work of art, which makes for great memories to take back home. You can even order bulbs for your garden for years of enjoyment. They have a very nice gift shop with something for everyone and a grab and go type lunch available to purchase, if you wish. Oh and don’t forget to purchase your tickets online to visit RoozenGaarde.
The Skagit Valley rich and fertile, has much more to see and do as you explore the little towns that makeup the Skagit Valley. As you head north to the town of Bow, you will see many fields of hay, grains, blueberries, vegetables and livestock. Just outside of the town of Bow is the family run Bow Hill Blueberry Farm. It will be too early for fresh blueberries (ready late July and all of August and maybe even September) but you can purchase frozen berries, blueberry jam, blueberry sauce, blueberry ice cream and just about anything blueberry.
Just down the road is Samish Bay Cheese. This family run farm of 200 acres have a mixed herd, mostly Milking Shorthorns. Samish Bay Cheese has a nice variety of handmade cheese and yogurt to sell and samples too. On Thursdays, during the summer months stop in at the small farmers market next-door.
In the Bow – Edison area make a stop at the Breadfarm and/or the Farm to Market Bakery which is famous for it’s sticky buns. Everything is made in-house , and most with local ingredients. At the Breadfarm, sample a few sweets like their house-made graham crackers or their best seller is the Samish River Potato Bread, but you might want to pickup a baguette that you very well may need at your next stop.
As you leave Bow – Edison head north on Chuckanut Drive, and not far away, is Taylor Shellfish Farms. Located along the shores of the Samish Bay, they farm oysters, mussels, clams and seasonal Dungeness Crab. You can enjoy these delicate morsels served in their open air waterfront dining area or you can shuck your own oysters and enjoy that baguette you purchased while having a picnic along the shoreline. Many restaurants in Seattle and surrounding cities purchase their shellfish from Taylor Shellfish Farms.
As you leave Taylor Shellfish Farms continue north on Chuckanut Drive, a 24 mile drive that winds its way along the shoreline of Samish Bay. This is the only place the Cascade Mountains meets the sea. If you’re into hiking stop along the way and take in the salt air as you explore the trail to Oyster Dome. A stop at Larrabee State Park, take a walk along the beach and get a fabulous view of the San Juan Islands across the way and another chance to take a short 3/4 mile hike to see sandstone cliffs and tide pools of Clayton Beach.
Back in the car once again, continue north on Chuckanut Drive and you will arrive at Fairhaven and if there’s time, do some window shopping in this quaint historic district of Bellingham, home of Western Washington University. You can easily catch the freeway at Fairhaven and make your way south on I-5, back to Seattle.