North: Foodie fun in Edison
Talk about grown-up-worthy grub: The tiny Skagit Valley hamlet of Edison, Wash., which sits prettily along the Samish River near Chuckanut Drive, has become a celebrated destination for art-loving foodies in recent years. But many families still haven’t checked it out, figuring it might be best saved for older kids with actual table manners. Our tip: No need to wait. Sourcing ingredients from Skagit County farms, its eateries are as inventive as they come, but also informal, welcoming and packed with picnic fare the kids will love.
Foodie fun: Stop and savor. Make those words your mantra as you exit Interstate 5 at Burlington and head west, admiring weathered barns, endless fields and big sky along the way (this area is a birding mecca, so keep your eyes up). About 2 miles east of Edison, stop at Bow Hill Blueberries to pick a peck of luscious, certified-organic blueberries (typically open for picking mid-July to mid-September). Next stop might be the vintage Farm to Market Bakery for espresso, buttermilk biscuits and a game of chess. Just down the road, Samish Bay Cheese sells cheeses made on the premises (as well as cheese plates, drinks and Lopez Island Ice Cream). Sample any of the wares, and take a self-guided tour of the farm and its herd of organically raised cows. (Warning: The smell of manure is likely.)
About a minute later (don’t blink), you’ll arrive at the colorful patchwork of streets that make up Edison. Park and wander, admiring the blooming gardens and art everywhere. Pick up a chocolate babka and a loaf of Samish River potato bread at Breadfarm; share a hearty strata or peach crisp at lovely Tweets Artisan Café and Eatery; or enjoy tacos at Mexi-chic Mariposa Taqueria. (Pro tip: Bring cash.) Artsy families will also want to browse the antique and vintage stores, such as The Lucky Dumpster collective for one-of-a-kind garden art and recycled-lumber furniture and eco-fixtures. On your way out, pick up picnic supplies at Slough Food and head to one of the scenic spots described below.
Nearby nature: Just 10 minutes south of Edison, Bay View State Park offers brilliant views of the San Juan Islands and opportunities for kiting, boating and beach fun. Just a half-mile away, visit the Padilla Bay Breazeale Interpretive Center to learn about the 11,000-acre protected Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve through its aquaria and other exhibits; or walk (or bike) the scenic Padilla Bay Trail, a 2.2-mile trail along a dike and mud flats.
Other destinations north: Closer to Seattle, steer toward Snohomish for some of Edison’s charm, including good eats, uncrowded biking on the Centennial Trail and berry picking.