For many of us, it’s not a tough trade: swapping a reliable cell signal and ubiquitous wi-fi for a sweet slice of small town heaven. Tucked away in all corners of the Northwest are tiny backwater hamlets, perched seaside, on idyllic bays or in mountain clefts, brimming with character, friendly locals and a peaceful main street to stroll. Slow your pace a while and explore these 14 tiny towns; the city, and all its cares, will be here when you get back.
Be hungry. That’s the first rule of any visit to darling Bow Edison, a pair of tiny twin towns about a half-hour north of La Conner and a quick detour off farmland-scenic Chuckanut Drive. Bow is actually marked just by the turnoff to Edison; you’ll see the Rhododendron Cafe and the Bow Post Office at the Bow Hill Road intersection. Make your way into Edison.
Your first stop should be at Farm to Market Bakery (Bow, 14003 Gilmore Ave.; 360.766.6240), where you can pick up a lime-soaked polenta cake or two for breakfast or a snack. But if you’re lucky enough to be visiting on a weekend, save room for the gorgeous farm-to-table lunches awaiting in the town of Edison at Tweets (Edison, 5800 Cains Court; 360.820.9912; open Friday–Sunday only). Chef David Blakesley creates ever-changing menus that showcase the area’s sensational produce.
Browse through town and stop in at the Edison Eye Gallery (Bow, 5800 Cains Court; 360.766.6276) and the Lucky Dumpster (14044 MacTaggart Ave.; 360.766.4049), where recycled materials become gifts and reclaimed wood becomes gorgeous furniture.
Next, pop over to the Breadfarm (Edison, 5766 Cains Court; 360.766.4065; pictured left, photo by Gabriel Rodriguez) to pick up a loaf of the sensational bread (black olive baguette, Tonasket rye or multigrain) and then head back toward Bow to the Samish Bay Cheese shop (Bow, 15115 Bow Hill Road; 360.766.6707), where splendid cheeses await (the Ladysmith and Port Edison are standouts).
Bread and cheese in hand, it’s time for a scenic drive and an impromptu picnic on your way to The Wild Iris in La Conner. (There’s no in-town lodging in Bow Edison, though there are several house rentals in the area, some of them waterfront. Check vrbo.com for those listings.) It’s a pleasant trip, especially if you take Farm to Market Road or the longer (but worth it!) trek via Bayview Edison Road, which winds through farmland and offers sensational views of hidden inlets and wetlands.
Summertime visitors, don’t miss the Mount Vernon Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., where both Samish Bay and the Breadfarm sell their wares. —ALLISON AUSTIN SCHEFF
GETTING THERE: About 90 minutes north of Seattle via Interstate 5. See map.
To read the full list of 14 small town getaways, click here for the entire Seattle Magazine story.
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