Photo Michael Richard
Rarely does geography gather its best features into one day-trip other than in the Skagit Valley. The Cascade Mountains border the valley’s farmlands to the east and the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea form the western horizon. From Mount Vernon you can explore one of the largest and most diverse agricultural communities in the Northwest, hike in a National Park or National Forest, kayak or canoe rivers and bays, fish, bicycle, or hop a ferry and explore the islands of the Skagit Coast.
The diverse and plentiful wildlife is the reason Padilla Bay is one of only 27 National Estuarine Research Reserves in the United States. From Salmon runs to Great Blue Heron Nests, and including swans, snow geese, and dabbling ducks, interest in preservation of this fertile habitat is keenly shared by residents and scientists.
Summer is the time of berry picking and eating – blueberries, strawberries that are red in the middle and plentiful patches of wild blackberries along paths and roadways. The Skagit Valley grows over 80 different crops and shopping at farmers’ markets during the Grain Gathering is an opportunity to enjoy the best of the harvest. If you stay to explore the valley, mountains and islands, consider an evening at The La Conner Institute of Performing Arts and McIntrye Hall, Mount Vernon.
For more information about the Skagit Valley’s variety of adventures and opportunities visit:Skagit Valley Tourism, www.visitskagitvalley.com