Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Skagit Valley: Things to do besides the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Red tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 

I got inspired to write this blog post from this article I found online.

Cody and I had planned a trip to visit Bellingham, WA in April and I figured, on our way home from Bellingham we could swing by the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Even though this was my 4th year going, I always like to read up about the tulips before visiting. This year, I stumbled upon an article titled "Five (other) ways to do the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival". Which inspired me to swing by Bow and Edison, WA and it was definitely worth it!

So here is a rundown of the things we did on our way to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Chuckanut Drive

If you are ever driving from Seattle to Bellingham, or Bellingham to Seattle, this drive is a must! It is only slightly out of the way, but the views are worth it. Chuckanut Drive hugs the coast and has a view of Samish Bay and the islands, it is such a beautiful drive! I have been on this road here and there, Oyster Dome is off of it, but had never done the full drive till this past weekend. Even with gloomy/rainy weather, the drive was still gorgeous! Did you know there's a Taylor's Shellfish off of this road to? Definitely need to stop there next time. Just Google "Chuckanut Drive" and you will find more info on this road.
One of the many pull out viewpoints on Chuckanut Drive

Edison, WA

The only place we went to in this town was Breadfarm, a local bakery I read about in the article I linked above. But this lil town was so cute! I will have to go back next time to the other shops around Breadfarm. It looks like there's literally 6-8 shops, but they are all so rustic looking, I would love to take a peak in all of them when I have more time.

I wanted to buy all the breads and pastries in Breadfarm! We walked out of the shop with a French baguette, some dog treats for the pup, and 2 coconut macaroons. They even gave us a discount on the baguette because the baker noticed it was softer than usual. If you love bakeries, I'd highly recommend stopping by here!

Here's another interesting article I found on Edison.
 Baked goods from Breadfarm
Store front

Bow, WA

Right next to the city of Edison is Bow. We ate brunch at Rhododendron Cafe, which was delicious. I enjoyed a salmon benedict while Cody had the white truffle asparagus omelette. Right next door to the cafe (same owners) is another cute lil bakery, Farm to Market Bakery. I wanted to stop in, but was so full, we decided to surpass it and head to the next attraction off the beaten road...
Salmon Benedict from Rhody Cafe in Bow, WA

Samish Bay Cheese

Next stop was the Samish Bay Cheese Factory/Store/Farm! This was the stop Cody was looking forward to the most, probably because he is a huge cheese fan. The shop's sign is painted on a pallet and, not gonna lie, we almost drove past it! But Cody saw it and pointed me towards their gravel parking lot. First you have to drive by the cows, then once parked, Cody noticed a sign saying, pigs, go right. I was not expecting an actual farm! How awesome! We walked into the shop and were greeted by a welcoming/homey feel. They had 3 different kinds of cheese you could try,. along with anything you want to sample in the case. We even got to sample some cheesecake! Everything was delicious, and we walked out of the shop with a wedge of medium Gouda, some locally made Girl Meets Dirt Tomato Jam, a dog bone, and some bleu cheese. On our way to the car, I had to stop by and say hi to the cows of course.

(The following Sunday, we were at the Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle and noticed Samish Bay Cheese had a stand there! So you don't have to go to Bow, WA for their cheese)
One of Samish Bay Cheese signs
Cheese tasting!
Moooove over mister

My Favorite Nursery

After Bow, WA we finally made it into the city of Mt Vernon, where the tulips are. But I made us go by my favorite nursery first before we swung by the tulips, Christianson's Nursery! This nursery has it all, from vegetable seedlings, to magnolia trees, to air plants, and indoor houseplants! I always make it a point to stop in here. I only walked out with a Bird's Nest Fern this time.
Christianson's Nursery

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

So last stop on my list, the Skagit Valley tulips. Of course it was raining though, so Cody had no interest in stomping around in the mud while I ogled at the tulips. So we did the drive by-park on the side of the road-I get out of the car and take a photo- and I hop back in the car thing... not the most ideal, but it was really muddy and this was my 4th year in row visiting them, so this would do for this year.

In my books there's 4 ways of going about and seeing the tulip fields:

  1. Most Expensive Way: Park in the main RoozenGaarde parking lot (free parking), and join the hoards of people walking to the pay booth, where they charge you $8/person weekdays or $10/person on the weekends, and you get to enjoy the tulip fields fully. They also have flower booths and other shops that sell things. If you have never been, I highly recommend experiencing this way at least for your first time
  2. The Expensive Parking Way: There's actually a bunch of flower fields spread through out Mt Vernon. RoozenGaarde runs majority of them as well I feel, but if you go to one of the fields that's not part of the main fields, they charge you $10/car to park, and then your whole car load of people can walk around the one field. They also usually have one booth selling fresh cut tulips. 
  3. Drive By Way: This is the route I went this year, where you follow the road signs that say "Tulip Route", and you ogle from your car. Then when you have an inkling to get out, you pull off the side of the road (hopefully there's no sign that says "no parking"), you take a few quick photos, then you go along your way to the next fields
  4. Biking Way: I have yet to go this way, but I think next year I want to bike the tulip route. My friend Katherine suggested parking in downtown Mt Vernon, then biking over to the flower beds! Love this idea!
Always check the bloom map before you go! Oh and another tip is wear rubber boots, the fields are usually pretty muddy.

After all these stops we were pretty tired but my heart was full and was happy to head on home after all these stops. 

Until next time Skagit Valley!

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