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San Juan Island
The wide Skagit River divides these two towns, each with their own unique charm.
The Skagit Valley is home to more than a hundred thousand tulip bulbs, which are rightly its claim to fame. But the county’s biggest cities, Mount Vernon and Burlington, offer much more than colorful springtime blooms.
The surrounding farmland produces a spectacularly varied bounty, encompassing more than 90 different crops including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, potatoes, peas, and yes, tulips and daffodils. Running through the heart of the county, the wide Skagit River offers irrigation, electricity, transportation, fishing and summer fun for locals and visitors alike.
Part of the National Trust Main Street Program, downtown Mount Vernon is filled with beautiful old buildings that house a variety of shops, restaurants, galleries and entertainment venues like the historic Lincoln Theatre. Walk down 1st Street and poke your head into the Heritage Gallery to view original fine art and prints, and stop by Ristretto Coffee Lounge and Wine Bar for a superb cappuccino or a glass of wine.
For those who love a finely crafted beer, Mount Vernon is something of an unexpected mecca. Three alehouses and one brewery are located within easy walking distance, and each offers a wide selection of craft, local, micro and imported beers on tap. The Trumpeter, Empire, Porterhouse and Skagit River Brewery all also boast excellent food menus to satisfy every appetite.
Tiny Rachawadee Thai Cafe is another hidden gem. Look for the red awning.Across the Skagit River in bustling Burlington, get ready to shop ‘til you drop. The crossroads of northwest Washington, Burlington is the gateway to the breathtaking North Cascades National Park, but that’s no reason to leave town quite yet.
Browse the Outlet Shoppes at Burlington to find deals at stores including Gap, Lululemon Athletica, Nike, Eddie Bauer, Coach, Nine West and more.
Just down the road, the Cascade Mall offers more shopping, great dining options or first-run movies at the Loews Cineplex. While you’re there, check out the Children’s Museum of Skagit County, located inside the mall. Kids can explore the seas on the museum’s 21-foot tug boat, or operate a fully interactive 10-foot crane. The museum also offers an art studio and reading area for the more introspective child, along with a wide variety of kids’ camps and special events.
Once you’re all shopped out, head toward downtown Burlington to get a taste of the city’s past as the region’s railway hub. Historic Fairhaven Avenue is lined with locally owned shops, restaurants and service businesses. Stop by the Train Wreck Bar for a pint and some yam fries, and cheer with the rest of the patrons when a freight train rumbles by.
For more info, visit mountvernonchamber.com/visitors or burlington-chamber.com.
Things to do in Mt. Vernon and Burlington:
Taste Some Microbrews: Try a selection of micro, craft and local brews at one of four
brewpubs – The Trumpeter, Empire, and Porterhouse and Skagit River Brewery – all located within easy walking distance.
Create a Picnic: Grab some organic fare and wine at the Skagit Valley Co-op and picnic at Little Mountain Park or at one of the many parks that line the banks of the Skagit River.
Watch a Show: Enjoy a play, concert or movie at the historic Lincoln Theatre.
Shop the Sales: Snag some serious deals at the Cascade Mall and the Outlet Shoppes at Burlington.
Get Your Bard On: Experience a performance at the Skagit River Shakespeare Festival, running from July 6 to August 10.