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Small Towns of Skagit Valley, Washington: Your Insider Guide to La Conner and Edison

La Conner and the Rainbow Bridge Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Looking for the perfect Washington state weekend getaway? Then try these two captivating, off-the-beaten-path towns, La Conner and Edison, in the heart of the Skagit Valley. Combine them into a single-day trip or extend them into a leisurely and fun-filled weekend.

Skagit Valley, a place of natural wonder, is located halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. This picturesque valley of rolling farmland is cradled between the waters of the Salish Sea and the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. On a clear day, it unveils a breathtaking view of Mount Baker’s majestic, snow-capped peaks.

There’s a world of adventure and discovery in the valley, with activities and attractions for every season. From the mesmerizing return of the Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans in late October to the world-famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April, there’s always something to look forward to. Don’t miss the local farmer’s markets selling fresh produce throughout the summer and the endless hiking trails waiting to be explored!

Snow Geese Taking Flight in Skagit Valley Photo Credit MaryRose Denton

The fertile farmland in this valley produces many agricultural crops outside of the tulips. Looking up the rows in a field, you might see brussel sprouts, potatoes, barley, and many varieties of wheat—a patchwork of colors from grass green to gold dot the fields. And around March, the rows and rows of daffodils light the landscape with their golden sunshine preceding the tulips’ vibrant reds, purples, and pinks. Springtime in the valley is certainly colorful and makes for a good photo op.

Known as the tiny town with big charm, La Conner is Our First Stop

La Conner, established as one of Washington’s first cities in 1869, is a small artisan town hugging the shoreline of the Salish Sea along the Swinomish Channel and spreading itself across the farmland of this valley. It is one of the places people just love to visit again and again. The scenery is wild, and the culture is rich as you peruse the local shops of La Conner. Here, you will find unique gifts for everyone on your list, including you!

The town of La Conner seen from the Rainbow Bridge Photo credit Richard Schmitz

Meander the length of town along La Conner’s boardwalk. From this angle, you have a fabulous perspective of The Rainbow Bridge, reaching across the channel to connect the town with the Swinomish tribe and reservation on the other side. The bridge has become as iconic as this quaint tourist town.

While you stroll the boardwalk, keep your eyes peeled for resident seals bobbing their heads up to catch a curious glimpse of you and the local Great Blue Heron, for he enjoys stalking the shoreline too.

A Promenade on the Boardwalk in La Conner Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

A Shopping Spree Along First Street

First Street is the downtown shopping center for La Conner, with many retailers offering everything from home decor, jewelry, kitchen goods, clothing, books, and antiques. Looking for something in particular? You just may find it in La Conner.

As you enter town from the North end, one of the first places to stop is Seaport Books, a cozy little bookshop with a very big heart. They specialize in finding just the right read for you, whether it is the latest crime novel or a DIY on home gardening. On their racks are many local authors, including a well-known author calling La Conner home, Tom Robbins.

Seaport Books in downtown La Conner Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Stroll down the block to find kitchen stores catering to the foodie in your life. Inside The Ginger Grater and Olive Shoppe, you will find several varieties of olives, olive oils, vinegars, jams, jellies, and more. Stroll down the aisles to find specialty kitchen gadgets to help you create your own goodies at home.

Looking for a beautiful carafe to hold your newly purchased olive oil? Sempre Italiano is the store to find it in. This store is a visual delight, surrounding you with the deep, warm colors of Italy as soon as you walk in the door. They specialize in ceramics for your entire home.

The Ginger Grater and Olive Shoppe Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Wander further along the street and weave yourself in and out of the many art galleries and boutiques. Amaryllis is an upscale clothing boutique offering beautiful designs from many artists, accented with a line of shoes and jewelry. Pop next door to check out what the creatives are up to at The Wood Merchant, a woodworking gallery of hand-crafted American-made furniture and gifts. It’s a one-of-a-kind find, for sure.

The Wood Merchant in la Conner Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

As you wind your back up through Mainstreet, do not miss stopping in at Nasty Jack’s. It is the large antique store on the corner with the Zoltaire fortune teller waiting out front to tell your future. Inside is an eclectic mix of old LP records, goofy gadgets and games, and a mix of both antique and modern furniture.

Nasty Jack’s Antiques in La Conner Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

A full day of sightseeing and shopping can work up an appetite. Here are some favorite stops to grab a bite.

Want to go where locals hang out and sample the best coffee in the valley? Find both at Stompin’ Grounds Coffee. If you are more in the mood for a burger and brew, there is the La Conner Brewery, with local flavors on tap every day, or try the La Conner Pub & Eatery for a pizza and game of pool. If seafood makes your mouth water, there are several choices in town: La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib House and The Oyster & Thistle 

La Conner Brewing Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Feeling more in the mood for a glass of wine and a leisurely meal while sitting outside overlooking the waterway? Nell Thorn of La Conner and La Conner Sips Wine Bar both offer a sophisticated bistro atmosphere to indulge in after a long afternoon.

There truly is something for every taste including authentic southwest and Mexican food at Santo Coyote Kitchen or at COA Mexican Eatery.

Feeling satiated after a great meal?

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Why not hang out in La Conner a little longer? Take in the sunset and the valley views, or stroll along the waterfront and steal a moonlight kiss. La Conner is known to be the most romantic place in Washington. Then, leisurely return to your night’s accommodations to dream sweet dreams.

La Conner Channel Lodge overlooks the Swinomish Channel and is the only waterfront hotel in town. Remember trying to spot those seals? It will prove easier from your very own balcony.

The Channel Lodge in La Conner, WA Photo credit Richard Schmitz

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If a smaller venue is more your style, try Katy’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, up the hill from all the downtown shops. Plus, Katy’s offers a two-course breakfast each morning with plenty of coffee flowing. The Wild Iris Inn is centrally located and offers private jetted tubs to soak away the day, while the Heron Inn & Day Spa charms its visitors with its French Country decor and feel.

But before leaving La Conner, there are three marvelous museums to check out. These are especially great to put on your itinerary if the day proves a bit rainy, as the weather can change quickly here in the Pacific Northwest.

The Museum of Northwest Art, The Skagit County Historical Museum, and the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Art Museum—everything from modern art collections to history buffs to quilting hobbyists is here in the small town of La Conner.

The Quilt and Fiber Museum in La Conner Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

On to Edison, WA

North of La Conner, by roughly 13 miles, is the tiny town of Edison, WA. It is the quintessential tiny town with a population of around 133 residents and one street running through its heart. First settled in 1869, the town is named after another eccentric thinker, Thomas Edison, the inventor. Albeit small, this town is packed with creatives and innovators from all walks of life. The main street is lined with art galleries, cool shops, and a variety of eateries.

Town of Edison Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Come for the day. Eat, Shop, and Play.

The interesting-looking building on the corner of town is The Lucky Dumpster, an eclectic shop of local artisans, kitschy antiques, and unusual crafts. This is where you get your fun on!

Up the block is Hedgerow, the upscale boutique featuring beautiful textiles, jewelry, and perfume. Indulge your senses of smell, sight, and touch in this store!

On the other side of the road, an older white church-like building houses the Smith & Vallee Art Gallery. It is well worth a gander inside, for it features local and national artists and rotates its display monthly. 

The Lucky Dumpster Antiques in Edison WA Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Food and Libations A Plenty

Tucked away at the end of the road in Edison is the best-kept secret of Skagit Valley, Terramar Brewstillery and Pizza. Terramar is where earth and water meet in this town along the waterway of the Edison slough. Specializing in home brew libations of every kind, they roll a brew pub, winery, and distillery all into one. And, oh yeah, throw in some fantastic gourmet pizza along with an assortment of homemade appetizers and goodies. Terramar is a one-stop shop for your taste buds.

Terramar Brewstillery in Edison Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

Even though Edison is small, it is home to many world-class eateries, such as the BreadFarm Bakery and Slough Food Cafe, which are side by side on the same block. The perfect combination to purchase a baguette of fresh bread, a wedge of cheese, and a bottle of wine is to meander down to the edge of the slough to watch the sunset over the farmlands.

Looking for a homey stay in Edison? You can find beautiful lodgings

The Breadfarm in Edison WA Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

For the motorcycle mama and papa or just to watch the football game, there is the Old Edison Tavern, just steps away from the shops in town. Just on the outer edge of town is the Rhododendron Cafe, known to the locals as the Rhody. It is a cozy old farmhouse-style cafe offering a mix of Northwest and ethnic dishes to suit any palette.

Edison is the best-kept secret, offering rich culture, gorgeous scenery, and friendly folks. Come for the day or extend your stay into a long weekend, exploring the area’s hikes and trails. Take in one of the local festivals, such as the Edison Bird Festival, marked with its annual Chicken parade. Visit the town center during the holidays to view their dressed-up and festive lights. It is always creative and always a show!

Art Galleries line Edison’s downtown Photo Credit Richard Schmitz

La Conner and Edison Make the Perfect Weekend Escape, Tailored to You

Whether you seek a romantic getaway filled with waterfront dining and cozy evenings, a shopping spree to discover unique treasures, or an exploration of nature’s beauty with a touch of quirky charm, La Conner and Edison offer this captivating escape. So, pack your bags, embrace the warmth of the local hospitality, and discover the hidden treasures that await you in the Magic Skagit.

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