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San Juan Island
I-5, Exits 225/226/227
A vibrant downtown with easy access from the freeway.
While tulips might be Skagit Valley’s original claim to fame (there are more than 100,000 tulips planted here), there’s a lot more to offer than just colorful blooms.
Located in the fertile delta of the Skagit River, the surrounding farmland produces a spectacularly varied bounty, encompassing more than 100 different crops including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, potatoes, peas and yes, tulips and daffodils. Most of the restaurants in the area source their produce from these verdant fields, meaning that your food is about as fresh and local as it gets.
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 and is part of the National Trust Main Street Program. Take a walk down 1st Street and poke your head into 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 finely crafted beers, 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 boast menus that will satisfy every appetite. But if laid-back is what you’re looking for, go to the Skagit Valley Food Co-op. A local favorite, it has everything from a lunch buffet (sold by the pound) to coffee, ice cream, groceries and art.
For more information, visit mountvernonchamber.com/visitors
In the know:
THAI, PLEASE: The Rachawadee Thai Cafe may not look like much (it’s a tiny cafe with limited seating on a side street in Mount Vernon), but trust us, it’s worth the wait. Pull up a chair and watch magic happen as the owners use the freshest ingredients to create fragrant, flavorful authentic Thai meals. Make sure you order the Thai coffee.
GOT A SWEET TOOTH? You won’t want to miss the Big Scoop Ice Cream Palace. Locally-owned and operated for the past 30 years, they serve up 39 flavors of ice cream. Grab a group of friends and order the Gourmet’s Extravaganza – four sliced bananas, 16 scoops of ice cream and your choice of toppings will hit the spot.
LOOKING FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN? The 1st Street Cabaret and Speakeasy is a 1920s-themed dinner theater, restaurant and bar. Open to 21 and up. For more info, visit river