Just back from Mt. Vernon, Washington

We just returned from a one-week vacation in the Skagit Valley in Washington. We rented an old farmhouse and used it as a base of operations to explore the Skagit Valley, the Cascades, and other points of interest.

Here are some random impressions:

Damn, it’s beautiful there. You can visit mountains, ocean, and rich farmland all in one day.

Organic produce, eggs and cheese are for sale everywhere in the countryside, and nowhere does it feel overly precious or expensive, Napa Valley-style. Among the goodies we bought and ate: fingerling potatoes, local gouda cheese, fresh-baked potato sourdough bread, and local smoked salmon.

As far as dining out, we drove onto Whidbey Island and had local Penn Cove mussels, and on another day, had oysters from Taylor Shellfish of Samish Bay.

We also drove up to Artist’s Point, a nosebleed-high lookout located between Mounts Baker and Shuksan. It was a beautiful clear day and I took many photos and videos.

On another day, we took a different drive into the Cascades and saw the Skagit River, bald eagles, and that huge landslide scar near Oso.

I just learned that Graham Kerr, the TV chef, now lives in Mt. Vernon. He’s an advocate of healthy cooking nowadays and I’m sure he appreciates access to all the good organic produce, too.

Can’t wait until we go back.

ETA: Oh, yeah, the SeaTac airport was socked in with fog yesterday morning, and after several reschedulings, our flight was canceled and we were rebooked onto a different airline. We finally made it out, though.

Where did you eat out? I had no idea Graham Kerr lived up here. It was foggy in Birch Bay yesterday morning.

Mrs. L.A. was saying the other night how much she likes living here, specifically in this house. I do miss the amenities of L.A., but I have to agree that this is a nice place to live.

Mrs. L.A. and I are thinking of driving up to Vancouver, BC (about 35 miles from the house) today. I’m hoping we can visit the aquarium. :slight_smile:

Oh – I like Mount Vernon on my commuting days. It means I’m just 50 miles from home.

We had:

Lunch at Christopher’s on Whidbey, in Coupeville - Penn Cove mussels.

Lunch at The Oyster Bar, on Samish Bay, just south of the Chuckanut area - Halibut & chips and fried oysters.

Breakfast at Avenue Bread in Bellingham.

Lunch at Slough Food in Edison - Charcuterie.

Dinner at C Square & Third Street Cafe in Mt. Vernon - Topnotch pizza.

And we drank far too much superb espresso at the Ristretto coffee joint in downtown Mt. Vernon. You Washingtonians kick butt when it comes to espresso.

That area is a favorite haunt for me and my wife. A few things you missed were a trip to LaConner and some really unique shops. The Store in Anacortes should have been another stop, they have muffins to die for, at least 30 varieties are available each day. Also a visit to Valley Shine Distillery in downtown is worth the stop. One of the best micro-distilleries in the state and we have a lot of them.

I have so many relations in Mt. Vernon, Sedro Woolley, Burlington and the like the valley is like a second home to us. Beautiful country.

Thank you for sharing, teela brown. While I’ve been to and through the Skagit Valley area, I hadn’t stayed to visit and explore it, and I hadn’t heard of Artist Point. It sounds and looks beautiful.

gImages — https://goo.gl/PwSvXM
gMap — https://goo.gl/NXfu5z

Links are safe, I just created them. I’m always looking for new places to go, and I’ll be adding these to my list. Thanks again.

We returned home to a hot, dry, smoggy San Jose. Bleh. I miss the moist, frigid, fresh air of northern Washington.

I’m prone to headaches, but I didn’t have a hint of a headache all last week. My first night back I woke up with a headache at 3 a.m.

When I was still living in L.A., I visited my friend in Bellingham. The morning I returned was cool and misty. I flew on the Q400 to from BLI to SEA, then got on the 737 for the flight to LAX, enjoying all of the green below, and then went to sleep. I woke up around Malibu. I looked out the window to see a landscape of brown and grey. It just looked hot. I immediately wished I was back in Bellingham.

On another note, yesterday we went to the Vancouver Aquarium. :slight_smile:

How was the Aquarium? Next time we visit up there we may make a visit across the border and the only thing I can remember from a childhood trip is Butchart Gardens.

We liked it better than the one in Seattle. It was better laid out, I liked the exhibits better (though it’s been several years since we went to the Seattle Aquarium and I don’t remember it well), and it was much less crowded. Also, it’s in Stanley Park. This means that parking is easier, and you can also enjoy the park if you want to.

It’s CDN$38 to get in. I paid CDN$7 for parking that was good until 23:00 (we left at 14:30). Food was expensive, as is typical in such venues. Mrs. L.A. bought us a couple of quarter-pound grilled hot dogs on toasted buns, and they were CDN$6.50 each.