La Conner, WA (see April 2010 posting as well) – did not fail to impress once again. Did you know that La Conner has great viewing for fireworks? It does! Every 4th of July, it has a small local parade…over in about five minutes mind you 🙂 and starting at 10 pm (officially), fireworks can be seen along the waterfront in La Conner which is across the channel from the tribal land where the fireworks display originates. We were entertained for a couple hours with a variety of differing “unofficial” displays of fireworks from a number of different spots across the channel. We purchased wine and a cheese tray from Hellams Vineyard (which has an extensive selection of great Washington wines) and brought our own picnic which we shared with friends at a waterfront location…even better if you have a friend who can dock their boat along the pier.
Snow Goose Produce – Whether it be on your way into town, out of town, or a detour off of I-5…this is a destination spot! Wow! This is the place to go for good quality…specialty cheese, landjaegers and specialty meats, salmon, produce, plants, “immodest” ice cream cones, fresh berries, cherries, bread, crackers, jewelry (at certain times during the year), woven baskets, fresh fish market, worldly goods and a wine section (mostly less expensive). We enjoyed the specialty marionberry lemon and berry drinks. Suggestion: Stop!
Dining: La Conner Brewing Company – locally owned brewpub. Enjoy the open air feel, cozy fireplace or outside terrace. Colorful acrylic art adornes the walls from artist, Ben Mann, so it really brings the decor and atmosphere together. Oh – and the art is for sale too! The menu consists of wood-fired pizza and other local pub fare. As an example: salads, quesadillas, panini sandwiches, etc… along with their homemade brews (seasonal as well). I watched the World Cup game while there. What was had today? Chicken Gorgonzola Pizza – to die for! Chicken, crisp bacon, gorgonzola, green onions – fabulous! The base and crust is made of a nice blend of various cheeses. The seasonal brew had was Dopplebock (an amber lager style). Other items in the past have also been enjoyed…whether it be a quesadilla or Thai Chicken Wood-Fired Pizza. Check out the site for photos: http://www.insidelaconner.com/LaBrew.html
Nell Thorn Restaurant & Pub – definitely a meeting place…whether it be a romantic dinner, family reunions, or maybe a gathering of old friends. A nice menu selection – the dining room and pub offer separate menus. The burger in the pub is worth a try. This trip…dinner was had in the dining room – entrees recommended are: 1) Grilled Steak Salad – Crisp Organic Romaine and Grilled Coullate Beef Steak served with a Creamy Gorgonzola dressing. This was the favorite as the salads at Nell Thorn are nicely presented (as is the side salad served with Nell’s Burger). The steak is presented separately on the plate so it is a dish that you can almost create yourself. 2) Clam Toscano Pasta – clams, olive oil, cheese, pepper (too much pepper but was still satisfying) 3) Braised Lamb Shank – a New Zealand Lamb Shank braised in red wine until tender, served with glazed Veggies, Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes & Lamb Jus. The staff starts you off with crackers with herb butter and then a bread basket. The bread is served with a plate of oil and vinegar and coarse salt on the side which is always appreciated. The Washington Apple cocktail and bottle of Five Star Cellars Merlot rounded out the meal – and definitely recommended. http://www.nellthorn.com/
Calico Cupboard Cafe – Hefty portions, homestyle food. Boasts bakery items all day. Breakfast included the Fisherman’s Breakfast and Breakfast Sampler. http://www.calicocupboardcafe.com/laconner.cfm A breakfast sandwich (sourdough bread, canadian bacon, one egg, and cheese…definitely satisfying) was had at La Conner Fruit and Produce Market – located on First Street as well.
Lodging: Hotel Planter – Hotel Planter is located right on First Street in downtown La Conner. The original building was built in 1907, used for a variety of purposes throughout the years, remodeled and then re-opened in 1989. The decor is a victorian style 12 room inn. A sculpture garden is in back (as part of Earthenworks Gallery) and after hours, a hot tub is available for use from 6 pm – 10 pm. I was originally concerned with the thin walls/doors, but the guests were considerate, so I found that it was a relaxing experience. Good service, enjoyed the ceiling fan and it was nice that extra pillows and towels were available. http://hotelplanter.com/
Pictures were taken of hay bales and other while on a road trip to Deception Pass (see post). On the way back, we stopped by the Berry Barn and purchased the best Marionberry pie EVER! and gift for a friend. The Berry Barn has a nice mixture of snacks, antiques, and country-inspired crafts. Berry Barn offers whole pies and petite/half pies – strawberry-rhubarb, bumbleberry, apple, marionberry, and others. All I can say is DELICIOUS! It is certainly worth the trip no matter where you are coming from. http://www.lingonberry.com/ We also stopped by the Prime Outlets in Burlington and Skagit Valley Produce.
Shopping around La Conner is also fun as a sampling is available. I usually like to make a stop in the slightly upscale Go Outside. Culture and local art can be found here…many galleries and specialty shops. The Northwest Museum of Art is really a must-see – the museum is recommended, but just stopping my the Museum Store is well worth it. http://www.museumofnwart.org/ It is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). You will most certainly find a gift here! I know I did.
Located at Smokey Point in Marysville, just off of I-5, exit 206, visit The Plant Farm. It has a wide range of plants, herbs, shrubs, trees, and a variety of garden supplies to make your yard, deck, or property look just right whatever the season. http://www.theplantfarm.com/ Join their Garden Club and be rewarded. Oh…and their hanging baskets – love ’em!!!