The Skagit Valley is a magical place that I can’t seem to stay away from. No matter the time of year, it always feels special here. Farms abound, as do many delicious, under-the-radar, local restaurants. My ideal Sunday is spent farm hopping and eating my way through this enchanting valley (which has so much more to offer than just the Tulip Festival). Come with me on my perfect Sunday in Skagit, and don’t forget your cooler for delicate veggies and other farm and local goodies!
Start with breakfast at Calico Cupboard in downtown La Conner (just an hour and fifteen minutes north of Seattle). Make sure not to miss the PNW Sandwich. I am not exaggerating when I say this was one of the very best breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had. Stacked with a farm fresh egg, sharp white cheddar, bacon, avocado, tomato, and garlic aioli on rosemary roasted red-pepper focaccia bread; this sammie is sure to delight. Though I went the savory route, I can tell you from a glance in the pastry cake that the sweets here are equally delicious.
The Skagit Valley Farmers Market is a lovely way to spend the rest of your morning. Located directly beside Christianson’s Nursery, plant shopping before or after is an absolute must. The Farmers Market has a plethora of vendors with a beautiful selection of local fruits, veggies, flowers, freshly baked breads, and locally made arts and crafts. It happens through the end of October, every Sunday from 10am to 2pm, and it’s great for couples, an outing with your mom, or the whole family.
Enjoy brunch at The Fairhaven, a quick fifteen-minute drive from The Farmers Market. This gem opened during the pandemic and has managed to become a local favorite, even in these trying times. The Classic Fried Chicken Sandwich came highly recommended, and she did not disappoint. They keep it simple (and scrumptious) with crispy fried chicken, chili aioli, shredded lettuce, and a dill pickle on their house roll. I paired mine with the Cappelletti Spritz, which I’ll say was quite the winning combo.
Scoot down the road a couple of minutes to Skagit’s Own Seafood Market and do some seafood shopping (this is where that cooler will really come in handy.) You’ll find various types of fresh salmon, local shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams, and an array of local food products. Family-owned, this market was opened over twenty years ago by husband and wife team, Eric and Tana Skaugrud. I left here with some absolutely gorgeous king salmon and it made for a fabulous dinner a couple of nights later.
Grab a scoop (or two) at Lopez Island Creamery in nearby Anacortes! Handmade (and incredibly yummy), I’ve had their ice cream many times, but this was my first pilgrimage to the actual production facility and scoop shop. They often have local flavors, like the Skagit Strawberry and Bow Hill Blueberry, pictured below. Lopez Island Creamery is open seven days a week from noon to 7pm.
If you’re able to stay the night, make reservations at the picturesque La Conner Channel Lodge. Nestled on the La Conner waterfront, and offering stunning views of the water and marina, this beautiful hotel is sure to impress with its Pacific Northwest vibe and cozy atmosphere. Perfectly located in the heart of La Conner, it’s just steps away from shops, wine bars, and restaurants.
After settling in, walk down the waterfront to Hellman’s Vineyard for a glass of wine or a tasting (guests of the hotel get a complimentary tasting here, so take advantage). This wine bar and bottle shop offers a great selection of wine, as well as purchases by the glass or bottle, which can be enjoyed on their lovely waterfront deck.
After enjoying the glass of wine and water views, keep walking to Nell Thorn for dinner. This hyper-local, beloved bistro is one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and if you’ve followed my blog or Instagram for very long, you’ve seen it before. I’ve never had anything here I didn’t love, but this last visit I found something extra special – Dungeness Crab Pasta with a harissa cream sauce (swoon). I can also highly recommend their Cripsy Polenta with shiitake gorgonzola cream sauce, as well as their Fried Chicken Sandwich with pickled jalapenos. Nell Thorn is open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended and can be made here.
Enjoy the continental breakfast and coffee at the La Conner Channel Lodge the next morning, and then hit Snow Goose Produce on your way home from the Skagit Valley. This family-owned and run business opened in 1984 and has been loved by locals and visitors ever since. Snow Goose is open seven days a week and has everything from fresh produce and flowers to live Dungeness crab and oysters! If it’s fresh and local, you can probably get it here. It’s the perfect last stop for the last-minute goodies you want to take home from this rich agricultural area!
Happy eat and happy exploring! ~Steph Forrer