Craft, Inspirational things to do, Kiss House Team, Perfect places | 02 April 2020
A visit to La Conner, Washington.
Welcome to La Conner, Washington — a quaint and quirky coastal village in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Situated on the Salish Sea between Vancouver, Canada and Seattle. La Conner isn’t a place you pass through on your way to somewhere else; it’s the end point of a drive through the world-famous tulip fields of Skagit County which, in the spring, reward the traveller with breath-taking vistas of colour as far as the eye can see.
Although I grew up in this region, British Columbia and Washington state, I hadn’t visited La Conner before my mum, stepdad and sister moved there (I’ve lived and worked in the UK for around 15 years now). They relocated there in the last few years and during this time I’ve enjoyed being in this friendly community during visits with my husband. Though I’ve never lived in La Conner, visiting my mum provides an inevitable sense of “coming home,” not only because I’m welcomed by much loved family but also because La Conner’s relaxed atmosphere is so easy to slip into.
La Conner is known for its thriving community of artists, craftspeople and independent businesses; you won’t find a Starbucks here (a rarity in Washington state!). There’s a small–town, bohemian ambience and it’s the sort of place where folks say “hello” to strangers they pass on the street. There’s a sense of stepping back in time.
According to the Love La Conner website there’s a lot of time to step back into; the land on the delta near the mouth of the Skagit River has long been home to the Swinomish Tribal Community and La Conner history and heritage spans thousands of years. The village itself was founded in the 1860’s and you’d be forgiven for thinking its name has French roots, in fact in 1869 a local man named John Conner purchased the trading post that’s now La Conner. The trading post grew, a post office was established, and in 1869 the town plus 70 acres was deeded to John Conner for a mere $500! To honour his wife, Louisa A. Conner, the town’s original name of Swinomish was changed to La Conner. Quite the romantic gesture!
“There’s a small–town, bohemian ambience and it’s the sort of place where folks say “hello” to strangers they pass on the street. There’s a palpable sense of stepping back in time. ”
For a small town La Conner has a lot going on and the Love La Conner website lists 101+ things for visitors to do. I love being immersed in the natural beauty of the area’s waterways and woodlands and my highlights include: The annual arrival of migrating snow geese in October, spotting tugboats pulling log rafts under the beautiful wrought iron Rainbow Bridge, walks around the marina, and the world–famous tulip festival each Spring.
I also adore the craft shops and restaurants. It’s becoming a family tradition to visit the Earthenworks Gallery, voted one of the Top 10 Retailers of American Craft, to buy a calendar each year. I can happily be persuaded to enjoy a rather potent Margherita at COA Mexican Eatery and Tequileria! The Mexican food is delicious at this understated vegan and veggie friendly spot. No visit is complete without popping into the LaConner Brewery renowned for its tasty selection of year – round and seasonal brews.
La Conner is truly a place for getting away from the hustle and bustle and filling your lungs with fresh coastal air. To me visiting feels like a warm, relaxing embrace. I step back into the heart of my family and I realise that whilst I’ve never actually lived there, I feel a real and tangible sense of belonging. Perhaps I’m starting to think of La Conner as home, certainly a home from home.
Thanks for reading.