Saturday, March 27, 2010

Skagit Valley Revisited

Last year in mid-April, my husband and I made our first trip up to Skagit Valley for their annual tulip festival. Alas, our late winter meant that there were few tulips to be seen.

Things are different this year. We didn't really have a winter at all. And though the tulip festival doesn't start for another few days yet, the tulips are already blooming. My friend Lisa and I decided to go up today to try and beat the bulk of the crowds. We could not have had a better day.

On the road towards La Conner, we stopped at Snow Goose Produce. I had seen this place last year, but we didn't stop. Today, we did. And I'm so glad. This place is a paradise for foodies and flower lovers. You can get wine, produce, seafood, jams, pickled veggies, condiments, cheeses...all sorts of gourmet treats from around the area. But perhaps Snow Goose is more famous for their self-proclaimed "immodest" ice cream cones, which are every bit as immodest they claim. Served in a freshly made waffle cone, the ice cream is a delicious treat even at 10:30 in the morning.

After spending a bit of time there, we moved on to La Conner. Lisa had only passed through there before and never took the time to explore. So I insisted that we had to. We got there early enough to find a prime parking spot and started our exploration. I love this town just as much now as I did a year ago, if not more. When Lance and I were there last year, there were a lot of empty businesses. Well, things are starting to pick up, and there were new businesses to explore.

So we poked around in shops, galleries and enchanting courtyards. We bought homemade toffee from a new toffee shop and fresh scratch-made lefse from The Norse Pantry. We watched a glass-blowing demonstration. We soaked up the charm.

Shortly before 1, even though we were still a bit full from the ice cream, we decided to have a bite. So we went to Hellams Vineyard - a wine shop on the riverfront. There, we ordered a plate of salami, olives, bread, cheese and crackers. Lisa got a glass of red wine. I got a glass of a delicious Riesling/Viognier blend. We sat out on a deck overlooking the Skagit River and enjoyed a wonderful lunch. It hit the spot.

After that, it was time for tulips! Instead of heading to Tulip Town or Roozen Gaarde, we went to the other fields. I cannot properly do the colors justice with words. You just have to see my pictures.

Once we spent an hour or so exploring the tulip fields (and what was left of the fading daffodils), we headed back toward Seattle, stopping at Snow Goose Produce once again for a few souvenirs before hitting the highway (the line for the ice cream at this point was ridiculously long).

The weather was really nice, and it was pretty much a perfect day.

See my pictures from today.

Snow Goose Produce
Hellams Vineyard

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