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San Juan Island
I-5, Exits 225/230 to Hwy 20
This town moves to the rhythm
of the tides.
Perched on the banks of the Swinomish Channel, this inland waterfront community lives and breathes by the rise and fall of the tides.
First settled in the 1860s, La Conner is the oldest town in Skagit County, and has been home to farmers and fishers since its inception. From modest beginnings as a trading post and post office, the village was rechristened by John Conner in honor of his wife, Louise A. Conner. A listing on the National Registry of Historic places, a thriving artist community and scenic vistas have broadened the appeal of this riverside community.
Since the 1970s, La Conner has been routinely recognized as a “must-visit” destination community and the picturesque location has earned the quaint
former fishing village a spot as one of the most romantic getaways in Washington state.
Fertile farmlands and beautiful sunsets have captured the hearts of artists and writers alike, drawing creatives from far and wide to the banks of the Swinomish. The Northwest style of art was born here, when artists such as Morris Graves, Charles Krafft, Kenneth Callahan, Mark Tobey and Guy Anderson formed a colony of artists on the banks of the slough during the 1940s and ’50s. The area, which they called Fishtown, became a haven for artists, writers and poets who wanted to get back to a simple way of living.
This way of life has manifested itself in the town’s commercial trade, and historic 1st Street boasts a number of unique artisan and art shops, including a thriving artist co-op, with plenty of fine eateries intermixed. The restaurants on the waterfront side of 1st Street have patios overlooking the channel and feature a wide range of cuisines suitable to any palate.
If you need a convenient place to stay, La Conner Channel Lodge will give you a warm welcome and a room with a view of the slough.
When summer hits and the days get long, the community bustles with the influx of visitors. Art gallery tours, held the last Friday of each month, draw vacationers into the heart of the community, and quilt shows and exhibits abound.
In June, the town comes alive with the Festival of Music and Art, the 21st Annual Cascade Classic Rally and Tour, the annual Father’s Day Boat Show and a swap meet. Fireworks over the channel for the Fourth of July offer watchers a unique experience, while August features the 13th Annual Classic Boat & Auto Show and the 109th Pioneer Picnic to round out the summer activities.
If you’re coming by boat, you should know that boaters headed to Whidbey Island from Samish Bay often overnight at the La Conner Marina, about two blocks north of the center of town. Depending upon the draft and type of vessel, captains will want to check the tide tables to find out when the slack tide occurs – nothing fouls up a boater’s day more than running aground in the muck.
For more info, visit laconnerchamber.com.
What the locals know:
GRAB SOME GRUB: For local organic fare, head over to Seeds Bistro and Bar located at 623 Morris Street. Serving up seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers, as well as free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and fresh seafood, the pub specializes in locally-sourced ingredients. Our take? Try the hand-cut bistro fries with garlic and gorgonzola and the mushroom provolone burger. You won’t be disappointed.
NEED A FRIEND? Head over to Bears ‘n Friends at 509 South 1st Street for an eclectic collection of stuffed animals and toys. They are the only retailer in Washington state that carries Steiff teddy bears. These hand-made, jointed, collectible bears are made by the company that invented the teddy bear to begin with.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Why stay at a hotel when you can stay at home? Estep Residences offer all the comforts of home for an in-town night’s stay in La Conner. These romantic hideaways keep the heart of the action at your doorstep while also providing a sweet escape from the summer bustle.