Friday, August 23, 2013

Go North, Young Man! (Old Man, Middle-Aged Woman, Family with Small Children...)

When you are heading north to Bellingham to buy a nice cut of meat from Carne Bellingham, why not make a day of it? You will be driving through some of the most stunning scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Surely you'd do yourself a huge favor to take the trip at a leisurely pace!

Here are a few ideas of some stops you might like to make along the way.

Depending upon where you begin the trip, you may be ready for a rest stop. (The last northbound rest stop along I-5 would have been 67 miles earlier near SeaTac Airport.) Pull in to the Smokey Point Rest Area (milepost 207) and take a look at the giant cedar stump! It used to be along a wide spot in the old Pacific Highway, and we'd beg our parents to "drive through the stump" every time we traveled north. It was great fun. The last time I remember checking out the stump was when our son, now 23, was in kindergarten and we took Tom's parents to see it. If you look really closely at the second photo, you might see the stump behind us. This picture sits on my kitchen windowsill, and was taken in 1995.

1940s Postcard

It's 17 miles on up the road to the honey stand where they've been selling pure, raw honey since 1952. It's an honor system stand, with honey in various sizes and a slot to drop in your payment. But if you need help, Jim has left his number and you can give him a call!

Swing into downtown Mt Vernon for a stop at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op for a bite to eat. (You might like to know that they make their own ice cream.)

Drive on up to Bellingham. Besides Carne Bellingham you'll want to stop in Fairhaven. If it's a Saturday you'll find all kinds of wonderful things at the Farmer's Market. It's one of the largest markets in Washington State and offers far more than fresh produce.

One of many charming Fairhaven shops

Bellingham Farmers Market

Why not drive down Chuckanut Drive on your way home? Whether enjoying the scenic forrest or water views, the drive is absolutely beautiful. And it take you through some of Skagit Valley's lush farmlands as you head back to I-5.

Berries growing at Sakuma Brothers Farm and Market

Is there time for one more stop?   Take a drive to the top of Little Mountain, just south of Mt Vernon. It was quite hazy when we were there, but can't you just imagine how beautiful it must be to look down from Little Mountain on a sunny day in April and see the tulips all in bloom during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!

The summer weather has been amazing, with long, warm days and breathtaking vistas. It won't always be as gorgeous as these last couple of months, but even in foul weather the drive is enough to invigorate the soul. In case you're not convinced, here's a sample of what you'll see along I-5 through Skagit and Whatcom counties on any random day.

Mt Baker -- Photo Credit: Marilee Drew


Jane Bilbro said...

You've convinced me Ginger--let's go!

Joan Husby said...

If these photos are just a sample, how could anyone resist?