Updated: Jun 4, 2019
Mt. Vernon, Washington is probably not at the top of many people’s bucket list when it comes to places to travel. However, once a year it does pop up on the travel radar for its location in Skagit Valley, offering countless fields of blooming flowers.
What the Skagit Valley is really known for is their annual tulip festival. It is even said that this annual Tulip Festival is very similar to Keukenhof in The Netherlands. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival happens every April. However Mother Nature determines the exact dates. This year was one of the later blooming seasons so lucky us, we could experience it in early May. Below is my exact itinerary that I hope inspires you to visit next year!
Thursday, May 2nd: Mt. Vernon, Washington
United has many direct flights daily from Houston, Texas. It is a 4h 40m duration direct flight to Seattle, Washington.
Hertz is our go to when it comes to rental cars. As President Circle members, they always take great care of us. The journey from Seattle to Mt. Vernon is an easy 1h 30m car journey, one way, give or take traffic conditions.
Mt. Vernon is limited when it comes to options. We found a cute BnB on Airbnb called Willow Inn that offered a clean and comfortable place to lay your head.
RoozenGaarde was the last of the tulip farms to still be open for the season and luckily we were able to visit the same day we flew in as they are open till 7pm.
RoozenGaarde, though advertises that they close at 7pm, will stay open normally until dusk (about 8:45pm). This great for photos as “golden-hour”, the hour prior to sunset, captures the beauty of the fields perfectly.
· No drones are allowed. The nearest radius to fly a drone is about 10 minutes away.
Bellingham, Washington located nearby is said to have the cleanest air in the US.
Friday, May 3rd & Saturday, May 4th: Vancouver & Whistler, Canada
We found ourselves another 1h 30m drive from Mt. Vernon in Vancouver, Canada. Bring your passport folks; you never know where your adventures could lead you! The Fairmont Waterfront took care of us and was our home for the evening. There are four Fairmont Hotels & Resorts properties in the city. I only visited two out of the four, Fairmont Waterfront and Fairmont Pacific Rim. Both lovely properties but completely different. Fairmont Waterfront was more classical while Fairmont Pacific Rim was more contemporary. I’ll be booking my next trip to Vancouver with Fairmont Pacific Rim (I’m also biased because they have a flower shop located in their lobby).
There is so much to do in Vancouver. Highly recommend visiting one of the many waterfalls, including Shannon Falls, which you can see from the highway! You can also take a sea plan and visit neighboring cities such as Victoria and even treat yourself to High Tea at the iconic Fairmont Victoria Princess hotel. Looking to get out of the city, drive another 1h 30m to Whistler and enjoy everything Whistler Village has to offer skiers and non-skiers alike.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Mt. Vernon is a very quaint town. Highly recommend the Calico Cupboard Café for breakfast. Everything is locally sourced, similar to a “farm to table” concept. They take great pride in the vendors they work with. There is even a sign listing all the providers and farms they partner with for all their ingredients, giving you something to feel good about, knowing you’re supporting local families, tradition and expertise. As well as enjoying the delicious food as a result.
Vancouver is known for its seafood, especially sushi and though the city is known to be expensive, when it comes to sushi, there are numerous great and very affordable options. A few of my favorites were Momo on Water Street (Gastown) (reservations recommended, they close the kitchen at 10 and take last orders at 9:30pm, only for patrons who have a table), General Public on Main Street and The Eatery on Broadway.
Sunday, May 5th: Whistler, Canada to Seattle, Washington
The drive from Whistler Canada to Seattle, Washington took about 4h, depending on traffic and the wait time at the boarder crossing.
United has many direct flights daily from Seattle, Washington. It is a 4h 15m direct flight to Houston, Texas.
Head over to the world famous Pike’s Place Market to witness fish being flung and the rows and rows of flower bouquets on display.
Parking is hard to come by. Recommend pulling into Pike St. where Valet is located. Turn right to drive down the street parallel to the market. On the right hand side are 30 min load zones that are usually free. If you just want to pop in for a few photos, this is the perfect place to park.
Visit the original Nordstrom. They have an amazing restaurant and bar inside incase you become famished while you shop.
Chihuly Gardens is an absolutely incredible experience for all the senses. Be sure to check out this one of a kind floral glass museum. Bonus, it’s right next to the needle.
The Seattle Underground Tour is recommended as well.
If you’re looking for a great park to get a view over the water of Seattle, look no further than Kerry Park.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
The Pink Door is a must visit. Just above the original Starbucks, it’s a 2 minute walk from Pike’s Place Market . The entrance is hidden in an alley way but you can’t miss the pink door. Make sure to get a table by the window so you can see the water and overlook the hustle and bustle of the city.
While at Pike’s Place Market, be sure to visit Beecher’s Cheese.
Restaurant recommendations: Walrus & the Carpenter (great oyster and seafood restaurant), Momiji (sushi), Top Pot Doughnuts
This quick weekend get-a-way was inspired by tulips and discovering new places. There is so much to see in the Pacific Northwest that the options are endless.
I hope this inspires you to discover and bloom in new places.