Gain a behind-the-scenes look at the best Skagit Valley has to offer while exploring one of the most scenic bicycle routes in the Pacific Northwest with Experience International. Visit tulip fields at peak bloom, meet inspiring local artisans, and follow grains of barley from the fields all the way to your pint glass! Between adventures, enjoy gourmet local food and award-winning ales along the Skagit Farm to Pint Ale Trail. With so much to offer, this is a once-a-year tour you will not want to miss!
Experience International is a non-profit that believes the best excursions include more than just recreation and beautiful vistas, but actually, change us for the better. The getaways that leave us changed are also the ones we never forget. We’ve been facilitating transformative experiences for over 30 years, and in response to the pandemic, we’re drawing from our shared passions for sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, and outdoor recreation to share what makes this bioregion such a special place to call home. Whether you were born and raised in the Pacific Northwest or this is your first time visiting the region, our immersive ecological adventures will leave you more deeply connected to the land and sea of this region and provide you with the experience of a lifetime!
This two-day Best of Skagit journey allows participants to explore what makes this such a spectacular place to call home. From visiting the tulip fields at peak bloom, being introduced to incredible local artisans and their works, to exploring nearly every aspect of the brewing, from growing and malting barley to brewing, fermenting, and bottling the final product. Remarkably, this can all be accomplished over just a 40 mile round trip journey on flat terrain. This special, once-a-year opportunity is arranged to maximize your fun and enjoyment while deepening your appreciation for the connections and collaborative partnerships that are working to preserve the future of the Skagit Valley.
Day One: Saturday
Day one begins at 9:00 am at Samish Bay Cheese in Edison, WA. Participants will meet here and leave vehicles on off-street parking. After taking a guided tour of the working farm and dairy, the ride starts with a gentle 45-minute ride through the quaint town of Edison heading south along the Farm to Market road to the Port of Skagit, a one of a kind industrial district home to the Washington State University Bread Lab, Skagit Valley Malting, Chuckanut Brewery, and Garden Path Fermentation!
Skagit Valley Malting (SVM) is the region’s only small-batch custom malting operation. The malts produced here provide the basis of award-winning ales for iconic PNW breweries such as Garden Path Fermentation, Fremont Brewery, and Pike Brewing in Seattle. After taking a behind-the-scenes tour at SVM and Chuckanut brewery, we will visit Garden Path Fermentation, a hyper-local brewery that specializes in regional ingredients, native yeast, and barrel-aged ales. Here we will enjoy a locally prepared picnic-style lunch and learn what makes brewing with native yeast and local ingredients so special.
After exploring this unique industrial park and filling our minds with a deeper appreciation for both the art of craft brewing and the many partnerships needed to make this iconic industry possible, we will hop back on our bikes for a relaxed thirty-minute ride to Tulip Town, one of the region’s premier commercial tulip farms. There we will have a two-hour pass to explore this spectacular farm during what is expected to be the peak bloom of the season.
We will finish the day with an easy half-hour ride to your hotel at La Conner Channel Lodge, right on the waterfront. The evening is free to enjoy on your own. For Dinner, there are several exquisite options just a few minutes walk in either direction from the hotel.
Day Two: Sunday
Begin the day by soaking in the view of the Swinomish Channel right from your balcony and enjoy a continental breakfast featuring fresh local ingredients at La Conner Channel Lodge. At 9:45 am, the group will meet outside the hotel for a short walk to the Museum of Northwest Art, where we can enjoy a private tour of one of the best collections of northwest art, learn about the NW School and explore how our NW environment has inspired artists, writers and craftspeople alike.
After this enriching and inspiring experience, we will hop on our bikes and begin a leisurely ride north. We will traverse along Padilla Bay and stop to visit select galleries along the way to meet a few of the many talented and inspired craftspeople who call this region home. Back in Edison, not far from where we began, we will enjoy a delicious wood-fired pizza lunch at Terramar Brewstillery. While we wait for our food, we will receive an introduction to distillation from local staff and complete our journey from seed to spirits!
After a relaxed outdoor lunch overlooking the water, we will ride just five minutes back to Samish Bay Cheese, where we will arrive by 3:00 pm. There we can say farewell to our new friends before parting ways.
For information on additional opportunities during your visit to the Skagit Valley, check out Visit Skagit Valley.
We are committed to supporting our local community – food for our programs is sourced from local providers and sustainable producers.
Light snacks and refreshments are always on hand, just ask your friendly guide if you are hungry or run out of water.
Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions on your registration and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
A pre-packaged picnic lunch for the program is included and will be prepared fresh to order on the day of the program by local licensed food providers. After program registration and 30 days before the trip start date, participants will receive a menu from which to select food preferences for meals.
Saturday evening is free to enjoy on your own. You will be able to choose from one of several gourmet dining options within a few minute’s walk from your hotel.
A delightful continental breakfast featuring fresh local ingredients is included at the La Conner Channel Lodge, where guests can start their day with serene views directly over the water.
A delicious wood-fired pizza lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients is provided by Terramar Brewstillery. Located on a historic property in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where land (Terra) meets sea (Mar), Terramar Brewstillery is a brewery & distillery that focuses on sourcing hyper-local ingredients to craft beer & spirits with a sense of place. We could think of no better place to learn about craft distillation and enjoy a delicious lunch than with our good friends at Terramar Brewstillery.
Channel Lodge, directly on the waterfront in downtown La Conner, WA. La Conner’s only waterfront hotel boasts Northwest styling, water views and has an ideal location for relaxation and fine dining. Here you can take in the beauty of the Swinomish Channel while relaxing in this truly memorable town and unforgettable accommodations.