Beyond OUr Borders

La Conner, WA (Skagit County).

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If you love walking, shopping, and more in Historic Downtown Snohomish, then you will absolutely fall in love with La Conner, located North of Stanwood in Skagit County. It is a small town that is quite literally in the middle of nowhere, but still manages to pack a shop, eat, and drink local punch better than most Snohomish County cities. And, despite the distance, it is just as crowded as Snohomish is on any given day.

You can access La Conner via I5 by taking the Conway or Mt Vernon exit, as well as the exits in between. All of them will allow you the opportunity to enjoy some scenery, mostly farmland. If you are feeling adventurous though, opt to take the Pioneer Highway from Stanwood, or even Arlington, like we do when heading out there.

Actually, I’ll let you in on a little secret, we don’t use I5 unless we absolutely have to. Avoiding it means getting to see way better scenery and stumbling on local businesses, recreation, and cool stuff we would otherwise miss out on if we were speeding down the freeway. Try it, seriously, you’re missing out!

As you roll into the city, you will make your way down the main drag (Morris St), which is home to quite a few locally owned businesses in and of itself. Where you really want to go is to the end of that road, where the downtown area lays off to the left. Oddly, and I just now realized this, it is located on 1st St (just like Snohomish).

Also, just like Snohomish, finding parking can be a bit of a nightmare along the street. Fortunately for you, the city has set up a paid public parking lot within walking distance of the other end of 1st St. We used it and had no issues walking all the way back to Morris St and back along the other side of the street. How easy that is might depend on how much shopping you intend on doing though.

You might end up doing more than you think. There are so many shops that it is easy to go on a spending frenzy. Even if you do though, there are places along the way to stop and sit, drink, or eat. Keep reading on to get an idea of what you can find there, maybe even what to look forward to.

If you ask me though, it’s all good, and La Conner is definitely worth the drive to see everything and explore.

Eat Locally

La Conner features restaurants ranging from casual to higher end, with some healthy farm fresh style restaruants thrown in. We chose healthy and dined at Calico Cupboard which is not only an amazing bakery, but restaurant as well (think The Sisters in Downtown Everett). The coolest thing about it is that there are lots of gluten free options in both the bakery and restraunt.

Besides Calico Cupboard’s delicious cookies, we also indulged in chocolates, as well as chocolate covered blueberries and cherries, from the La Conner Sweet Shoppe. To be fair though, the cookies and chocolate goodness was enjoyed once we got home, and no we DID NOT share.

Other restaurant options include:

 – Seeds Bistro & Bar, Morris St (Healthy/Farm Fresh)
– Santo Coyote Mexican Kitchen, Morris St
– Whitey’s BBQ, 1st St
– Nell Thorn, 1st St
– La Conner Waterfront Cafe, 1st St
– The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub, Washington St
– Amelia’s Kitchen & Stage, 1st St
– La Conner Seafood & Prime Rib House
– La Conner Pub & Eatery, 1st St
– La Conner Ice Cream Tower, 1st St
– COA Mexican Eatery & Teguileria, Maple Ave

Drink Locally

Like any local strong city, La Conner has plenty of places to drink locally, both for adults and all ages. We got so caught up in the shopping part of our explorations, that we didn’t get the chance to try any out. Next time for sure though.

Adult Drink options include:

– Hellam’s Vinyard, 1st St
– Skagit Crest Vinyard & Winery, 1st St
– La Conner Brewing, 1st St
– La Conner Sips, 1st St (Wine)

Coffee options include:

– Stompin’ Grounds Coffee, Morris St
– Reclamation Candle Co & Coffee Bar, 1st St
– Orange Rainbow Espresso, 1st St

Shop Locally

The downtown La Conner area has so many locally owned shops, I don’t even know where to start. While It’s SnoCo counterpart Snohomish focuses heavily on antiques, La Conner seems to center around the handmade, both in the form of products and artwork. You all know that stuff is my jam, so I absolutely LOVE La Conner and most of our time there was spent exploring these shops.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to be found there though. The city also has its fair share of boutiques dedicated to fashion, home + kitchen, and even stuffed bears (you read right, a shop literally full of stuffed bears).

Shops we visited (pictured):

The Wood Merchant is home to all kinds of items for your kitchen, home, and for play, all made out of wood (if you couldn’t figure that out on your own). Being a huge fan of our SnoCo wood burning artists, I couldn’t help but take a peak around. It was a look but don’t touch situation though since my kids have managed to ruin any wood kitchen goodies I’ve bought locally and the decor and furniture, which ranged from beautiful lamps to dining tables, was a bit pricey for us.

Courtyard Gallery is an art gallery focusing primarily on glass and metal artwork, both things I’ve fallen in love with in our county. My favorite part of the shop is the courtyard area which had fun and beautiful pieces of both types, hanging and standing, as well as the fountain featured at the start of this article. This shop would probably get me in trouble though, because I can’t stop taking pictures, and they have that as a no no (oops).

Pelindaba Lavender (Bottom Left) is a shop that, while primarily having PNW locations (including Edmonds), also extends beyond, sells a wide area of home, bath + body, and kitchen products made out of lavender grown in Friday Harbor, WA. So, yeah, it’s still local, and smells absolutely heavenly. This is one of the few shops where I actually indulged myself and picked up a little something. Okay, it was a few – bug spray for hiking and camping and honey (cause I LOVE honey and have never had a lavender based one).

Nasty Jack’s Antiques (Bottom Right) was a shop I’m a bit up in the air about. It looked cool from the outside, and the name was a bit irresistable to me. Inside you will find antiques, obviously, but they also had quite a bit of new mixed in from gems/rocks to metal signs. It’s not your traditional antique shop, but it was still fun to explore and if you are into old magazines it is a good spot to visit as they have a large collection.

Handmade La Conner was by far my favorite shop and one I plan on returning to in the future. It offers a good selection of PNW made products, including some familiar honey from Cats Paw Bees of Stanwood/Camano. More importantly though, the shop has a massive selection of home + cleaning products, as well as bath, body, and beauty products that are made right there at the shop.

If you ever find yourself without a local alternative for these things, this is the shop for you. They have literally got everything covered. As for me, I walked away with Sandalwood + Rosemary Soap and Eucalyptus Linen + Room Spray which has been just the thing for sharing a bedroom with two large dogs.

If you make a visit to La Conner, Handmade La Conner is a shop you have to visit. You will love it, trust me.

Other shopping options on 1st St include:

– Fine Feathered Friends Nature Shop
– Sempre Italiano (Home + Kitchen)
– Bearfoot Art Glass Studio & Beads
– Step Outside (Footwear)
– Africa Mama (Fashion + Gifts)
– Sylvia Pippen Designs (Fabric)
– The Country Lady (Fashion)

 – Bitters Co (Home)
– Bears n’ Friends
– The Olive Shoppe & Ginger Grinder (Kitchen)
– Skagit River Traders (Fashion)
– Trumpeter Gallery (Art)
– Jennings Yarn & Needlecrafts
– Caravan Gallery (Art)
– Two Moons (Art)
– Red Door Gifts (Fashion, Home + Gifts)
– Walking Mod (Outdoor Wear)
– Cottons (Fashion)
– The Stall (Fashion)
– Earthenworks (Art)
– Amaryllis (Fashion)

Play Locally

La Conner is home to lots of museums, covering history, art, and more. You can also find art just walking around, the metal art pictured left is on one of the wood pilings in the marina.

– Skagit County Historical Museum, 4th St
– Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 2nd St
– Museum of Northwest Art, 1st St
– Laconner Volunteer Firefighters Museum, 1st St
– Skagit River Tours, 1st St

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