Chuckanut Drive and Larrabee State Park

On a beautiful day in April, Spring outings are a must. I was fortunate to take the day off and drive north to see the tulip fields and then on to Bellingham via Chuckanut Drive. The #pnw did not disappoint. As I meandered and stopped at a number of viewpoints, and due to timing missed a stop at Taylor Shellfish, I kept to my schedule and was able to visit Larrabee State Park. The experience showcased a trail in the woods, colorful artwork, walking through a tunnel as a train was traveling above, and experiencing the beauty of the coast, a rocky beach that exhibits sea creatures under the rocks and beautiful views of the Samish Bay. I purchased a Discover Pass this year and recommend it. It supports both the parks and in exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Larrabee State Park sits on Chuckanut Mountain near Bellingham and is known for its postcard views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. It is also Washington’s first state park. So interesting, eh? This park has a small number of camping sites available for booking. https://www.parks.wa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Larrabee-State-Park-124 or https://stateparks.com/larrabee_state_park_in_washington.html

So much beauty to share…

The Lodge… Cedar + Elm and more

As the name suggests, I have to love this restaurant as I love the natural elements. I’ve been The Lodge at St. Edward Start Park twice in the last week. Thanks to a friend for introducing me. I’ve always liked to try new restaurants and explore the Pacific Northwest. I used to say I wanted to go to try a different restaurant or experience each month. That has not been the case but it’s never to late to renew this goal. It’s the beginning of 2022 so maybe I’ll make it a habit. Speaking of habits, ‘Habit’ is my word of 2022. I need to change some of mine and create new ones.

So, Cedar and Elm. The ambiance is European to me. There is a piano on Friday and Saturday evenings which really adds to it. If you check out their website, you’ll see the menu exudes holistic and sustainable, seasonal, local offerings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and more. The St. Edward High Tea on Thursdays speaks to me for a special afternoon out with a special family member or friend.

Cedar + Elm is located in The Lodge at St. Edward State Park. Check out the history of at https://www.thelodgeatstedward.com/. The Lodge at St Edward State Park is part of Columbia Hospitality which showcases their fine portfolio including the Salish Lodge and Spa, another of my favorites. https://www.columbiahospitality.com/portfolio.php Be prepared to use the valet parking service after 5 pm as the parking lots around the site are Discover Pass related and close for the evening. https://www.thelodgeatstedward.com/dining At some point I would like to explore the trails at the park.

The menu is seasonal. As this is Winter, the first time around was the Hearth Roasted Mero Sea Bass with glazed shitake mushrooms and a bite of the apple tatin and pecan torte for dessert. I’m not a big dessert person but it was a nice ending to a good experience. I would skip the chips and dip as it’s just an unnecessary calorie filler. My friend had the Roasted Parsnip & Cauliflower soup (a big hit!) and the Crispy Shaved Celery Salad. There were plenty of people, larger groups, romantic couples that took space amongst the tables.

The second visit was for happy hour in The Tonsorium Bar located downstairs. The bar used to be a barbershop back in the day when the building was a seminary. Prior to the visit we were able to walk the grounds on the sunny winter day. Trees are my thing so I was in a happy place. As it was my husband’s birthday, we did it up well. We ordered the following and all was tasty: Pork Sandwich with fries, Local Oysters on the Half Shell, Artisan American Cheeses, Pate de Campagne, and Crisp Arancini Di Pulpi along with a sparkling wine and more. The description noted of the pecan torte was ‘off the hook’ – pure pecan bliss without the sugary mess. Katie is fabulous!!! Also, enjoyed the chat and neo-flamenco guitar performance of Andre Feriante. https://www.andreferiante.com/

Another visit might include a stay here. The Lodge has 84 rooms and also hosts space for meetings, special events like a wedding, and has spa services. The local art shown among lodge/park is impressive. My personal favorite was the ‘Rivan Stump’ piece by Robert Williamson; made of salvaged wood with brass nails. One day. You can see these beauties behind the front desk too.

The following pics are a sampling of the lodge, park grounds, and items enjoyed.

Washington State Park free days, 2022

If you’re looking for a free day to explore Washington State Parks (no Discover Pass required). Where would you like to go?

Saturday, Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
Monday, Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Day
Wednesday, March 9 – Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday
Saturday, March 19 – Washington State Parks’ birthday
Friday, April 22 – Earth Day
Saturday, June 11 – National Get Outdoors Day
Sunday, June 12 – Free Fishing Weekend
Sunday, June 19 – Juneteenth
Saturday, Sept. 24 – National Public Lands Day
Monday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day
Friday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
Friday, Nov. 25 – Native American Heritage Day

List provided by Deception Pass Park Foundation. https://deceptionpassfoundation.org/

Another free option is to check out your local library and borrow a Discover Pass. https://www.sno-isle.org/news/want-to-see-nature-borrow-a-discover-pass-from-us/

Or purchase a Discover Pass and help support the beauty that us Washingtonians are so fortunate to enjoy. https://store.discoverpass.wa.gov/

Salish Sea Native American Culture Celebration – June 7th

Help celebrate the maritime heritage of the Swinomish and Samish tribes this Saturday, June 7, at the 9th Annual Salish Sea Native American Culture Celebration at Deception Pass State Park.

The event is from noon to 4 p.m. at the Bowman Bay picnic site on the Fidalgo Island portion of the park.

Take a ride in a traditional native canoe. Listen to singers, dancers and storytellers from the two tribes. Watch demonstrations of traditional weaving, cedar work and woodcarving. And enjoy a salmon and fry bread lunch.

Proceeds from food sales help support the tribes’ canoe families’ participation in the annual intertribal canoe journey. (This year’s canoe journey will bring Northwest Tribes and First Nations to Bella Bella, British Columbia.)

Saturday is a state parks ‘free day’—a Discover Pass is not required for day use at Discover Pass State Park.

For more details and directions to this event, visit: http://www.parks.wa.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=38

Find out what other days during the year are free days at WA state parks: http://adventureawaits.com/2014/01/2014-state-park-free-days/

-credit for this info given to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission