Autumn Escapes in the Pacific Northwest

Birds and Buds in La Conner

by Lauren Braden on February 14, 2009

in Trip Reports

Sometimes, us city folks just want to unplug and escape to a really small town.

la-conner-waterfrontLa Conner, Washington is a really small town. As in, there aren’t any stoplights. Or chain restaurants. La Conner is so small, in fact, that its population is around 850 people. And that’s counting the many Northwest artists that call La Conner home.

Why go? Because La Conner is not just any small town. It’s a very cool small town.

It’s setting could hardly be more picturesque. La Conner is nestled between the Cascades and Puget Sound, and near a fertile river delta where swans forage and tulips grow. La Conner’s 21 art galleries, 3 museums, waterfront restaurants and quaint boutiques are more than enough to fill a few days’ worth of browsing and eating. If the charming small town experience isn’t your thing, the nearby Padilla Bay Nature Reserve just might be.

And of course, there are all those tulips. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April is a must-do.

For a few months now, I’ve been on the lookout for a cheap sleep in La Conner to go with my family on a short weekend getaway. Every place I came across, while full of charm, had rates beyond what I consider to be a cheap sleep. And quite frankly, I was about to give up on La Conner for overnight accommodations and head instead to the Tulip Inn in nearby Mt. Vernon.

tulipsUntil, that is, I found the Queen of the Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast, a charming historic farmhouse B&B just outside of town, that is thankfully well aware of the financial crunch we are all feeling about now. It’s running a “Financial Relief Package” through March -take 25% off a one-night stay, 30% off a two-night stay, and 35% off a three-night stay! That means you can stay for one night, on a weekend, for about $112. (Be sure and mention the package when you reserve your room!) Bring your appetite – this includes the “Queen’s Cuisine” breakfast that is reportedly worth writing home about. Not to mention all of those nice B&B things like generous porches and little balconies, hot beverages all day, wireless internet, water views, a hammock under a chestnut tree, and fluffy robes and comforters.

By the way, Mike McQuaide recently wrote in the Seattle Times about the abundance of winter bird life in the Skagit Valley, and the birders who flock here. I’ve spent many frigid winter days on the Skagit flats myself, gazing through binoculars at thousands of Snow Geese between sips from a hot thermos, or peering through a scope at a Short-eared Owl as it hunts for rodents. Be sure and pack a pair of binoculars if you go–you won’t be disappointed!

La Conner waterfront by Rich Murphy. Skagit tulip photo by 1IndieMike.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

richard February 14, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Tulip buds!!! Lauren you are such a tease.

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julie burgmeier February 26, 2009 at 8:09 pm

check out the la conner specials at the la conner chamber website (top right hand corner). a good tip if planning an overnight in la conner.

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Lauren February 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

Thanks for the link and information, Julie!

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