La Conner, WA
Time from Seattle: 1 hr 15 min
Every once in a while, I feel kind of stuck. Like the city has sort of swallowed me up and I sometimes forget what life away from shopping malls and Dick's Burgers is like. Not to mention, many of the places that I love to visit in the PNW can be a commitment - a lengthy drive and/or ferry ride away (which can also get pretty expensive). This is where La Conner comes in. Just an hour north on I5 lies this adorable little town on the water. So I wanted to share it with you all as a quick, cheap little getaway for those simply looking to put life on hold for just a day.
Packing List for December:
Warm coat/rain jacket
If you know me at all, you know I LOVE my bed, and with a short trip like this, I was able to sleep in, make coffee, watch some Friends and leisurely get ready for the day before heading out at noon.
Road trip playlist: ✓
Empty SD card: ✓
The I5 exit drops you in this charming, vintage-looking farm town. We refrained from checking out the local antique stores and continued on our way down the highway through the roads that border the farms. It was such a beautiful drive and something you don't see that often in the greater Seattle area! The wind was roaring, the sun hidden behind the clouds, and though the rain hadn't started yet, it was definitely coming for us. If you're looking for old-school barns and farmhouses, this place doesn't disappoint.
At the end of the long, flat road lies La Conner: population 936. Tucked away on the Skagit River delta between the Cascades and the San Juan Islands, this quaint yet vibrant PNW escape is an artist's and boater's paradise. They pride themselves on finding that balance between a warm and welcoming community and their respect for their surrounding natural elements. It's comparable to the small towns of the San Juans, but way more accessible.
One perk of visiting in the winter: free parking and lots of it! The crowds are gone, and the restaurants tend to house mainly locals. Did I mention everyone is SUPER kind? Take in the historical town's restored buildings from its early settlers and visit a few of the charming shops that line the small main street. Handmade La Conner is definitely top. Everything really is handmade; in fact, simply walk to the back of the shop to see all of the skincare, cleaning, and body products come to fruition right in front of your eyes. It truly is a sight to see! Not only is everything handmade, they also use only organic and natural ingredients, replicating every scent you can possibly imagine. We couldn't leave without purchasing the lavender lemon body lotion and the spruce and cinnamon body lotion. Also available: shampoo, conditioner, cuticle cream, charcoal products, shaving cream, bath salts, lip balm, and pretty much anything else you can imagine, PLUS cute Washington printed t-shirts, keychains, wall decor, and other cute gifts! I can't rave enough about this place. Just visit it.
Also worth a stop: Ginger Grater/Olive Shop. What's a party without olives am I right? But seriously, this place doesn't take it lightly with over 140 different varieties of olives and over 70 imported from Europe. They're no joke. Owned by a chef, once an Executive Chef in Alaska, the Olive Shop has the ingredients, the tools, and the charm - you'll love it - cook or not. The best-selling items are the Martini olives and the garlic-stuffed olives... yummmmmm.
Lavender lovers!! Visit Pelindaba Lavender to browse over 250 lavender products straight from the farm on San Juan Island. Culinary, therapeutic, household cleaning and pet care items are available along with the usual candles, wreaths, dried and fresh options. Try their DELISH lavender ice cream before heading out!
Wander the streets for a variety of art galleries, clothing shops, antique stores, and waterfront cafes and restaurants each with a different vibe. Odds are you'll find one you'll love!
The storm had hit full force at this point so we decided to hunker down in La Conner Brewing. The natural wood interior, string lights, wood-fired pizza, and cozy fireplace were all too welcoming to surpass. We ordered a beer and their clam chowder with a side salad. So.freaking.good.
The boardwalk looked like it would be nice waterfront stroll sans the wind and rain storm passing through. Maybe we'll return in the summer for round two. I'd definitely go back! It was the perfect afternoon escape. We ended the trip with a stop at Seattle Premium Outlets - we couldn't resist. Check out their tourism site for more details and to plan your trip!