I Ate the State – Snohomish County (Part II – The Sea Side)

Alllllllllrighty! We’re back with more Snohomish County action!

If you haven’t checked out Part I – The Mountain Side, give it a read HERE.

*A quick note if you’re reading this on 5/11/19 and are in or around the Mukilteo area:

May 11th is Opening Day of flying season at Kilo-7 and the Historic Flight exhibit. (Fully restored/operational planes from 1927 – 1957.) Most importantly, you’ll get to bid bon voyage to their Douglas C-47B/DC-3 as it departs at 3pm for Normandy, France to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day. WOW!!

And now back to regularly scheduled programming…

For the second part of my excursion, I visited the “sea side” area of Snohomish County. This part of the county is easily accessible from many points off I-5 as well as many excellent backroads; a collection of which are referred to as the “The Seaside Loop.” For this portion of my adventure, I decided to head north via I-5 and start my loop tour in the small town of Stanwood.

As Stanwood is on the way to Camano Island, it can sometimes be taken for granted as a thoroughfare to the Salish Sea, also commonly known as the Puget Sound. (Note: Camano Island is part of Island County, an area of which I’ll be soon covering!) While Stanwood is indeed the gateway to Camano Island – and Camano Island is a beautiful place to visit – don’t count out Stanwood! There are many reasons to spend a bit of time wandering around the area.

A mix of Native American heritage, Scandinavian traditions from mid-1800s settlers and a good bit of easy-going, coastal charm, Stanwood is a delicious combination of flavors. Initially coined “Centerville” in 1866, it became Stanwood in 1877 after the maiden name of the postmaster’s wife. It was well-situated as a trading post with its position at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River, where it flows into Port Susan and the Skagit Bay and it remains a pivotal location today. In 2009, Stanwood gained an Amtrak train stop in the downtown area, further cementing its ongoing relevance and accessibility.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Stanwood, check out the D.O. Pearson House Museum in the downtown area. Home to Stanwood’s first mayor and built in 1890, it’s a beautiful Victorian “period house museum” and remains quite grand to this day. (On the National Register of Historic Places) Who doesn’t love a good museum??

For further adventure through the historic downtown center of Stanwood, consider adding these places to your list:

  • Get your glogg on at the Uff Da Shoppe located in the quirky Viking Village, just off the main route through town, SR-532. Stock up on Scandinavian foods, housewares, collectibles, GNOMES, holiday goodies and MORE! (Dad – they have gnomes!)
Uff Da
They’ve got gnomes!
  • Just a block behind Viking Village, you’ll come to the first section of old-town Stanwood. The street is lined with several shops and restaurants to check out. One of my favorite stops was Polska Kuchnia, a delicious Polish restaurant featuring all the Polish hits. I tried the pierogis, stuffed cabbage and farmer’s cheese cheesecake – all topped off with a Warka blackcurrant radler. Suffice to say, I was stuffed. (Like the cabbage – ba-doom-ching!) But that doesn’t mean I didn’t also make room for some delicious cupcakes from Stanwood Cupcakes, just down the street. YUM!! (Okay, maybe I waited to eat them later in the day. Maybe.) Note: Many of the shops are closed on Sundays.
  • Just a couple blocks up, you’ll find the Stanwood Farmers Market. Stock up on fresh produce and other tasty treats – enjoy the local bounty! (June 6 – Oct 11, Fridays – 2p – 6p)

Heading further west on SR-532, you’ll pass by the more recent additions to Stanwood – the newer chain restaurants, grocery stores and assorted retail shops. Stanwood has all the modern conveniences, but don’t miss out on the next section of old-town Stanwood, about a mile west on SR-532. An entire day of exploring could very easily take place within a couple square blocks…

  • Located about a block off SR-532, the Stanwood Hotel & Saloon (c. late 1890s) is a cool spot to grab a meal – or an overnight stay in their haunted They feature pub-style food, live music on weekends, period-decor rooms and it’s in walking distance to the great old building of Stanwood – including the D.O. Pearson House Museum. And it’s haunted!
  • If you’re looking for classic diner fare in a classic diner setting, head to the Stanwood Café – about a block away from The Stanwood Hotel & Saloon.
  • Crow Island Farms offers rustic, farm-to-table dinners in old-town Stanwood – Just across from the Stanwood Hotel & Saloon and down from the D.O. Pearson House Museum.
  • Should shopping be on your list, there’s a cute antique shop, Brick Road Antiques (Closed on Sundays) near the Stanwood Café as well as the urban-funky, Urban Trends. They have an online store, too!

There’s something to be said for getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and Stanwood has no shortage of opportunities. The Stanwood Camano Fair is the state’s largest community fair and takes place the first weekend of August. (8/2 – 8/4) Also in summer, the city hosts free movies in the park at Church Creek Park and concerts in the downtown area – as well as the Stanwood Camano Summer Arts Jam, July 12-14. (Watch the city Events page for more information and official dates.)

Since I wasn’t traveling onto Camano, I turned off SR-532 onto the scenic Pioneer Highway and headed towards the little town of Silvana. The Pioneer Highway is a great trip in and of itself if you’re into beautiful farmland, winding curves, old barns – that kind of thing. (Gross!) To drive the entire stretch, enter via Exit 208 off I-5 or at Exit 221 to Conway, further north in Skagit County. It’s definitely one of Washington’s more wonderful backroads – and a great pick for motorcyclists.

Directly off the lovely Pioneer Highway lies the equally lovely and very tiny town of Silvana. Packed into its small bit of township are several worthwhile stops to make. You could in fact head home with the ingredients for a pretty amazing farm-to-table meal from just a quick Silvana visit. Some of the places to hit up:

  • Stop by Willow & Jims Country Café for the classic, country diner scene. It seemed like the entire town of Silvana was there when I visited. Popular place! Serving breakfast and lunch from 7a – 3pm. (Closed Monday/Tuesday)
Silvana Five and Dime
There’s stuff in there I NEED!
  • Snohomish County is well known for its strawberries. That said, they’re also growing some pretty amazing blueberries, too! Check out Hazel Blue Acres for U-pick blueberries – and hazelnuts! (Note: Check their hours before you go as they have special hours during the off-season.)
  • Head to Silvana Meats for all the meats! Locally sourced meats, fresh sausages, ham, Landjäger, jerky, BACON, pickled herring – you name it, they’ve got it! They’ll also process your wild game, duck, goose and fish!
  • Heading out of Silvana proper, all one block of it, you’ll come to the Old Silvana Creamery, located on Pioneer Highway East. I will admit to not being a super huge milk fan, but they have me intrigued. They specialize in raw milk from grass-fed Jersey and Guernsey cows and people rave about it. (As opposed to the common Holstein cow.) Very interesting…

After exploring Silvana and ooing and awing over the truly gorgeous countryside, I headed back towards I-5, down south to Exit 206 and west towards the North Lakewood area. I was specifically heading towards Lake Goodwin and towards the coastal Marine Drive, but was pleasantly distracted along the way by more beautiful scenery, idyllic old barns and picturesque farm scenes. The small town of North Lakewood is located along SR-531 and offers the usual modern conveniences, but I was most drawn to the scenery past the city hub as I drove closer towards Port Susan.

My first stop was at Lake Goodwin Community Park for some beautiful lake views and then nearby Lake Goodwin Resort to check out their cabins, RV park, boating and rental opportunities. Between the two properties, it’s possible to spend a very enjoyable few days – or more – in the area, soaking up the lake vibes, boating, swimming, water skiing, jet skiing and MORE! There is some serious fun-in-the-sun to be had in the Lake Goodwin area.

If you’re up for a meal and a good cocktail while you’re in the area, check out The Paddle Club for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s located directly along SR-531/Lakewood Road and is a good place to relax after a sunny visit to Lake Goodwin. Sure, the area is ripe with opportunities for picnics on the lake, but just know there’s a sit-down, cocktail-friendly option right across the road…

Paddle Club
Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

A little further up Lakewood Road, you’ll come to the junction of 92nd Avenue NW. Take a left and make a quick jog onto 176th Street NW and you’ll hook up with Marine Drive. It’s possible to take this coastal-hugging road from Stanwood all the way to Marysville, but there are a few points to sync up to it from other areas along the way. It’s a gorgeous, winding drive and it’s worth a trip alone to make. And just like nearby Pioneer Highway, it would be exceptionally nice on a motorcycle…

Not too far south on Marine Drive, you’ll come to the beautiful Kayak Point County Park and their awesome Yurt Village. (They have a regular, drive-in campsite section, too!) Stay in a cool yurt, hike down to the beach looking out over Port Susan, take in a spectacular sunset, get in some fishing or crabbing and maybe bust out some windsurfing – Come on – who doesn’t want in on this?? I know I do. Pretty much all day, every day… Sign me up.

Since I was doing the “Seaside Loop,” I continued south down Marine Drive to where it meets up with I-5 in the Marysville area. It’s a beautiful, tree-lined drive with views of the water peeking through here and there, as well as gorgeous stretches of pastures and farm land as you get closer to the I-5 corridor. Between Marine Drive and the Pioneer Highway, it’s the perfect lazy weekend drive…

As you drive along Marine Drive, you’ll enter the lands of the Tulalip Reservation. The Tulalip Tribes are comprised of descendants of the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish and other allied tribes who were signatories of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. The treaty is a lands settlement between the US government and Native American tribes of the Puget Sound area in what was then known as the Washington Territory. Noted signees of the treaty include Chief Seattle, Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens (I attended Isaac Stevens Junior High) and Chief Patkanim. To learn more about the Tulalip Tribes, visit the excellent Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve for an in-depth look into tribal histories, lands and customs.

Before leaving the Tulalip area and heading back down south, I might have hit up the Tulalip Resort and Casino, located just off 1-5. And I might have won (or lost) a few dollars… I’ll never tell. But what I will say is the Tulalip Resort and Casino is quite grand and if you’re looking for a quick shot of that Vegas vibe without leaving the state, they can hook you up. Nice onsite lodging, a spa, great restaurants, entertainment and opportunity to win (or lose) a little cash…

Further south on I-5, you’ll come to several exits for county seat of Snohomish County, Everett. Since Snohomish is quite large, this trip definitely required several days of hard-hitting “research” and for the Everett portion, I brought along one of my dearest friends and longtime travel buddies, Emily-Suzanna. We’ve hit up some pretty amazing places around the world together, but it was time to do some exploring in our own backyard. Plus, we can handle each other for long periods of time, cooped up in a vehicle together without punching each other. Bonus! And whenever someone joins me on a quest, we get to sample WAY more tasty foods and beverages… Road trip buddies for the win!!

To make the most out of Everett and the most out of our day trip, we got an early start. Even on a sunny day, the area between Edmonds and Everett can get foggy in the morning, making an eerie start to the day. The Union Slough is a marsh mudflat area on the way to Everett and early in the day, there’s often low-lying layer of fog covering the area. It can certainly feel a bit haunting as you make your way up I-5 – into the misty embrace of adventure… (I’ll be right back. I think I need to go drink tea and read some Tolkien.)

If you’d like to explore the slough and observe all of the great wildlife and water birds, the Union Slough Mitigation Bank & Trail is accessible off of I-5 or downtown Everett. Also in the area are the Langus Riverfront Park and its two loop trails and the bird-watching haven of Spencer Island.

Union Slough
An eerie morning on the Union Slough near Everett

Our first point of investigation was downtown Everett. Covering roughly 10-blocks, the downtown core is filled with businesses, restaurants, entertainment and a great collection of historic buildings. The Historic Everett Walking Tour, courtesy of our friends at the Granite Falls Historical Society, is a cool way to check out the scene. Click here to get started with your smart phone adventure!

Since it was still relatively early in the day, I was convinced I needed more caffeine to fuel the adventure. I’d hear about a great coffee shop downtown called Narrative Coffee so we made it our first stop – and I’m absolutely glad we did. It’s a cool space in an older building with exposed brick walls, an open-air design and a super friendly staff – And the coffee was excellent! I’m a devoted lover of coffee and have tried a variety of styles, beans, add-ins, etc. over the years, but I’ve settled back on either an Americano or Espresso Con Panna. (w/extra whip. Duh.) On this occasion, however, I was inspired to try their mocha made with Ritual Chocolate and I have no regrets. It was delicious and just what I needed to perk me up in the foggy morning.

Feeling alive and ready for adventure, we walked up a couple blocks to the amazing, over-the-top, glorious, SUPER FUN, spectacularly kick-ass Funko Headquarters & Store. If you’re unfamiliar with Funko, they make the collectible block-headed figurines modeled after all things pop culture and beyond. (Golden Girls figurines anyone??) In addition to selling pretty much all of their figurines at their store, they also feature an impressively large variety of collectible gear from movies, sports and more. A visit to the Funko store is like a visit to the pop-culture mothership! They even have a section of the store where you can custom-make your own Funko doll. And even if you don’t want to nerd out over their wares, they also feature the most elaborate displays inspired by movies, comic books – you name it – all around the store. It’s a store AND a pop-culture museum – and fun for ALL ages. If you can’t find something you love at Funko, I’m worried for your soul. (Special props to Emily for helping me differentiate between want and need while perusing the Funko treasures. For the record, I did put a few things back. Because I know I’ll be returning. Heh heh.)

If you’re hanging out downtown, Everett has a variety of eateries. A few places to check out while you’re in the area:

  • Head over to Capers & Olives if you have a passion for delicious pasta, seasonal dishes and local ingredients served by a knowledgeable staff. (Owner/Chef Jimmy Liang has credits including Café Juanita, Serafina and The Herb Farm) Closed Sundays.
  • If you’re looking for a dive bar with loud, live music and a good burger, check out Tony V’s Garage. They’ve also been known to host School of Rock concerts on weekend afternoons. (All ages) My nephew played his very first gig there, in fact. Kind of weird to see a 15-year old playing behind a chain-link fence in a bar, but hey – get ‘em rockin’ out young! (PSA: It was all on the up and up. NO underage drinking took place – or any other teenage shenanigans. Other than 15-year olds bustin’ out Led Zeppelin… Quite nicely, I might add. Aunt Dayna was proud!)
  • Cookies, cakes, fresh bread, pastries, macrons, sandwiches… If any of these made-fresh-daily items sound tasty, stop in at Choux Choux Bakery and get your bread on!
  • If you’d like to enjoy a sauna and some delicious Pelmeni (And who doesn’t?), hit up Downtown Banya for all your Russian spa – and cuisine – needs. (Closed Tuesdays)
Capers & Olives
Delicious pasta at Capers & Olives

Everett has an extensive waterfront area, as well as one of the west coast’s largest marinas, Port of Everett Marina. (Important note: They allow live-aboards at this marina – something not available at many NW marinas. And one day I WILL live on a boat…) There are many things to do, restaurants to appreciate and views to enjoy on the waterfront. We had a great time investigating the scene during our Everett adventure. A couple of the highlights – and more:

  • Scuttlebutt Brewing Co. is located near the marina, looking out towards the water. They have great beer, make excellent cocktails (try the Bloody Mary!) and feature a varied menu of very tasty treats. They also host events and recently featured a very unique afternoon filled with Baby goats and Pints! I had hoped to check it out and was unable, but my friend and co-worker, Kara attended got to snuggle up to an adorable 2-day old baby goat. Awwweee!
  • Just next door to Scuttlebutt Brewing, you’ll find Bluewater Organic Distilling. My dear friend, Lorrie was pretty bummed not to be with me on this adventure as she raves about the place. It’s understandable given their great organic spirits, distilled onsite along with their tasty cocktail and bistro menus. Enjoy one of their cocktails from their patio seating while looking out over the Everett Marina and waterway.
  • During the summer months, check out the free Music at the Marina They run Thursdays and Saturdays in the summer with children’s concerts on Thursday mornings.
  • For an enjoyable day on a sandy, mini-island, take the free ferry over to Jetty Island. Lounge on the beach with a picnic, build a sandcastle or try a bit of kite-boarding. A few important items of note: There are no cars, no electricity and no running water – And it’s a good idea to reserve your ferry crossing in advance. (7/5 – 9/2)
  • Starting this weekend, check out the excellent Everett Farmer’s Market on the waterfront at Boxcar Park. Sundays, 11a – 4p (5/12 – 10/6) They’re also located at the Everett Station Transit Center on Wednesdays from 4p-8p. (6/5 – 8/28)
Everett Marina
I could definitely live here…

One of the industries for which the Northwest is best known is aviation and Snohomish County is its biggest supporter. In addition to Boeing’s enormous presence, there are airports, museums and fascinating exhibits to enjoy. There are many important spots in both Everett and neighboring Mukilteo. We’re heading to Mukilteo next, but while you’re in Everett, here’s a good handful to get you started:

  • Paine Field is located in both Everett and Mukilteo and has a rich aviation history dating back to 1936. Originally planned as a commercial airport, it instead provided support during WWII and the Korean War and militarily into the 60s. In 1966, Boeing purchased land north of Paine Field to build an assembly plant large enough to accommodate their new 747. Most recently, Paine Field has finally realized its longtime commercial flight plan and they now offer limited flights to and from several west coast locations. I’ll be flying into the airport next month and am very excited to check out the scene! (And to not deal with Sea-tac traffic.)
  • The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum is located on the southeast corner of Paine Field and features painstakingly restored WWII era aircraft, tanks, combat armor and related exhibits. (Tues – Sun, 10a – 5p)
  • Tour the museum and chat with volunteers working on the intricate restoration and repairs of vintage aircraft at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center & Reserve Collection (Wed – Sun, 9a – 4p)
  • Created in 1997 out of the need for both airport expansion and still maintaining important wetland areas, the Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary was born via a process called mitigation banking. After checking out the vintage planes, stop in for a peaceful walk along the 2 miles of public trails.

Everett has a great downtown core, a beautiful waterfront area and a huge stake in the vibrant aviation industry, but it’s also got a quirky side. Should you be feeling quirky, consider these options on your next Everett adventure:

  • If you’d like a different take on the local aviation scene, head to High Trek Adventures for a high-flying zip-line adventure, a round of mini-golf or go night-owl and check out their Night Zip & Climb. They even have a Fear of Heights Class!
  • My friend Lorrie was sad about missing Bluewater Organic Distilling, but she was particularly forlorn to have missed scouting out the Twin Peaks Laura Palmer House. I am a fan of Twin Peaks, but Lorrie is a SUPER fan. Don’t despair, Lorrie – we’ll go back! (708 33rd Please be respectful and admire from a distance.)
Laura Palmer's House
Don’t worry, Lorrie – I promise we’ll go back. (You Twin Peaks super fan, you!)
  • Not only can you get great Irish and American fare at Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub, they also work with local travel agency 58 Stars to host – or help you plan your own – trips to Ireland. Enjoy a pint of Guinness in the land of its birth!
  • The AFK Tavern is a local haven for gamers, nerds, geeks and all manner of combinations. Food, drinks, a casual and comfortable atmosphere and they’re open late! I’m quite happy you can get a ‘Dragon Burger’ with ‘Red Ring of Death’ sauce – or perhaps the ‘One Ring’ burger with ‘Mt. Doom Sauce’ is more to your liking. If you can’t decide what you want, don’t worry – the menu has tooltips.
  • For a bit of classic Everett kitsch, stop by the Totem Diner for all manner of diner staples – plus BBQ. They have an extensive breakfast and lunch menu and are also open for dinners Wed-Sat until 8pm. Since 1953.

Just a little further South down the I-5 corridor is the cozy town of Mukilteo. For this adventure, I took I-5, but if you’re looking to avoid traffic and enjoy the scenic water views, taking Broadway to 41st Street out of Everett and then Mukilteo Blvd along the water is a nice way to go. It will also conveniently lead you down to the iconic Mukilteo Light Station (c. 1906 – On the National Historic Register) and adjoining Lighthouse Park.

I typically only visit the area when I’m boarding the Mukilteo/Whidbey Island ferry, but I’ve made a promise to myself to visit the park more often. It’s a beautiful area and there is plenty of shoreline to enjoy the fabulous views of neighboring Whidbey Island and the Puget Sound. Tour the lighthouse, learn more about the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott at the spot it was signed, stroll the Mukilteo Walking Tour, bring a picnic and watch the sunset next to one of the beach fire pits – or use the boat launch to head out on your boat. (Take me, take me!) Lighthouse Park and the Mukilteo Light Station are excellent spots to spend the day. (And you might even randomly run into one of your best friend’s mom while you’re hanging out. Thanks, Judy for giving me more of the hometown Mukilteo scoop!)

If you forgot to pack the picnic basket, there are several great dining options near the lighthouse and ferry terminal. Grab a quick bite while you’re waiting to board the ferry or take a load off and enjoy the easy-going pace of Mukilteo while enjoying the view. A few places to meet your Mukilteo needs:

  • I much enjoy the Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse. They have a great ice cream and coffee shop up front for the quick treat as well as a family-friendly dining room and large bar area for the adults. Plus – you can get a GIANT stuffed tater tot! Seriously – a giant stuffed tater tot, a couple pints of their Kolsch Style Ale and a bowl of Seafood Chowda’ and you’re set! The rest of their menu is also pretty stellar – including their breakfast menu. Make time before your ferry calling to try their customizable eggs Benedict… Also, their servers called me “miss” – and that’s just adorable. (And a fine way to get a good tip.) In addition to their location on the water, also check out their Production Brewery & Taproom near Paine Field and their Brewpub in nearby Mountlake Terrace.
  • For the classic NW dining experience, check out Ivar’s at Mukilteo Landing. Ivar’s acres of clams in Mukilteo! And if you only have a small bit of time while waiting for the ferry, head to their walk-up window for fish-n-chips, their famous chowder and soft-serve ice cream. And then make a mad dash back to your car before they start boarding and you end up being “that guy.” (Nobody wants to be “that guy”…)
Ivar's at Mukilteo Landing
Grab your fish-n-chips and race back to the car before the ferry loads!
  • I’m sure that Arnie’s has more on the menu besides prawns and shrimp – and their seafood bisque – but I actually wouldn’t know. I’m a life-long lover of prawns and the fact that Arnie’s actually hosts a Festival of Prawns every October-November pretty much seals the deal for my ordering preferences. All prawns, all the time. (I’m pretty sure the rest of their menu is quite delicious.) Located a block up from the ferry terminal – in Edmonds, too!
  • Good vegan restaurants can be hard to find, but Mukilteo’s Sage and Cinder, just up from the ferry terminal accomplishes the task. Lovely late lunch and dinner options and brunch on the weekends – give them a try!
  • Enjoy a nice steak or tasty pork loin while looking out over the Sound at John’s Grill. Just up from the ferry terminal, family friendly and a cozy atmosphere – Enjoy!

There are many ways to work off all the great food options in Mukilteo. You could check out the yearly, city-wide Mukilteo Garage Sale (4/27) or maybe hit up the Traxx Indoor Raceway for a few laps in one of their custom go-karts. If you’d instead like to lap through the lush greenery of the shoreline areas, try the Japanese Gulch Trailhead. And for the ultimate walking tour, head to the Boeing Future of Flight tour located at Paine Field

The tour at the Boeing plant, in the largest building in the world (by volume), is a must for any aviation aficionado and enjoyable for all. The tour lasts 90-minutes and takes you through North America’s only publicly accessible commercial jet assembly plant. They also have a pretty amazing Aerospace Gallery, gift shop, café and observation deck – And don’t forget to check out the Destiny Module Exhibit for a taste of life on the International Space Station. A few important items of note: You must be at least 4-feet tall to join the tour, 16-year olds and under must be accompanied by an adult and it’s highly recommended to book tours in advance. No cell phones or cameras allowed. (There are fee lockers available onsite.)

While in the area of Paine Field, be sure to stop in at Kilo-7 to visit the Historic Flight exhibit of fully restored/operational planes from 1927 – 1957. Note: If you’re in the area on May 11, be sure to stop by for Opening Day of flying season. Most importantly, you’ll get to bid bon voyage to their Douglas C-47B/DC-3 as it departs at 3pm for Normandy, France to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Boeing Factory
The largest building in the world! (by volume)

Another Snohomish County ferry harbor and one of my favorite spots in the greater Seattle area is the charming town of Edmonds. I love Edmonds for its great downtown area, its proximity to the Sound and its great support of the Arts. It’s only a 20-minute drive from Seattle, but when I’m hanging out in the downtown area, I feel like I’m visiting a quaint, coastal community.

For the artist, Edmonds is very welcoming and supportive. As a musician, I’ve had the privilege of participating in many Edmonds events over the years and I hope to be a part of more to come. (My nephew has even gotten to play at the Edmonds Art Festival! Again, Aunt Dayna is so proud.) If you’re up for enjoying a fine performance, taking in a cool gallery or checking out any number of artistic endeavors, here are a few of my favorite options:

  • The Edmonds Center for the Arts regularly hosts great concerts as well as local theatre, film series and more.
  • The Edmonds Art festival is an absolutely wonderful way to spend the day. Check out a large variety of regional and national artists and craft vendors, local food trucks and food specialties – and great local music. (June 14-16)
  • Check out the Taste of Edmonds for great food, craft vendors, entertainment, rides and more. There’s something for everyone! (Aug 16-18)
  • The downtown Edmonds Farmers Market offers an excellent selection of NW produce, artisan foods and crafts and more. Check out their website for specific hours and locations. (Saturdays from May – Sept)
  • The Edmonds Theater (c. 1923) is awesome. Period. Not only do they show first-run movies in their historic location, they also regularly feature special showings and hard to find shows. (For example, they’ve celebrated Wookie Life Day with the once-aired TV spectacle, Star Wars Holiday Special. RIP, Peter Mayhew.) I love the Edmonds Theater.
  • For a monthly dose of art, hit up the Edmonds Art Walk in the downtown area. Galleries, shops and cafes are showcasing their wares along with music, written word, culinary treats and more. (Third Thursday of the month, 5-8p)
Edmonds Theater
The awesome Edmonds Theater

The Edmonds downtown area is a great place to while away the hours. There are so many shops, restaurants and things to do, one day is never enough. Some excellent diversions to enjoy while visiting the downtown Edmonds area:

As I’m sure you’ve probably gathered, I like to travel. I love it, in fact. Traveling to places far and near, meeting new people, trying new foods, listening to new music – these are the things that bring us all a bit closer. It is for this reason I first visited the town of Edmonds, home to none other than, RICK STEVES, travel god.

Just a block off Main Street in downtown Edmonds sits the Rick Steves home base and mothership. It’s a great place to learn about all the tours they offer, but also an excellent resource for planning your own adventure. They offer classes, books, information – all the things you need to get your foot out the door and onto a plane. (Or train. Or boat. And so on.) I would’ve been lost (literally) had they not been around while I was planning my very first solo trip abroad. (Years ago – when the Internets weren’t quite as robust as they are today) And if you ever have the chance to attend a Rick Steves lecture or event – DO IT. The man is a dynamic whirlwind of information.

As if the Rick Steves shop weren’t enough, there are countless other great shops, restaurants and more in the downtown area. Just a few to occupy your time:

  • To learn about all things Edmonds, visit the beautiful Andrew Carnegie Library and Edmonds Historical Museum and find out about life in early Edmonds. (On the National Register of Historic Places)
  • The Spangler Book Exchange is a great bookshop in downtown Edmonds, which I’m sad to say is closing after 30 years! Their last day of business is May 29th and they have big sales going until then. I hope whomever takes over the spot keeps the awesome book murals on the building exterior.
Spangler Book Exchange
A sad loss! Get there by May 29th! I really hope they keep the exterior paint job…
  • If you have a great love of fancy soaps as I do, visit The Papery and revel in their offerings. They also have a great stationary selection as well as coastal décor and other assorted goodies.
The Papery
All the soaps!
  • Salt and Iron, located in the center of downtown offers local oysters, great steaks, craft cocktails and other delectables such as grilled octopus and roasted bone marrow. Mmmmm…
  • Located in a cute shopping strip a couple blocks south of the downtown core, The Cheesemonger’s Table offers a great selection of local and European cheeses and meats as well as a full menu of sandwiches and other tasty fare.
  • In the same group of shops as The Cheesemonger’s Table, check out Otherworlds for a taste of geeky goods, steampunk, Sci-fi, arts, games and more!
  • For coffee, pastries, sandwiches and more, visit Café Louvre and enjoy a lazy afternoon. Dream of Paris while reading that Rick Steves guide you picked up earlier…
  • The Red Twig Café and Bakery is a great stop for brunch, lunch and all-day crepes. Crepes! More dreaming of Paris…
  • If you’d rather read that Rick Steves guide while drinking a great local pint, check out the Salish Sea Brewing Co. They feature a great locally-crafted beer selection and pub-style menu. (I like their Honey Golden Ale!)
  • If you’re craving a taste of the Islands, Barkada, located just south of downtown is a great new addition to the Edmonds food scene. A mix of Filipino and Hawaiian tastes, their menu offers everything from Spam Musubi to Sisig to fresh oysters. They also have a brunch menu on Sundays – and a great specialty cocktail menu. I can’t wait to try more!

Walk just a couple blocks from downtown and you’ll come to the Edmonds waterfront and the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry Terminal. Aside from waiting in line for the next ferry, there are many things to occupy one’s time on the waterfront. (That are much more enjoyable than hanging out in your car, playing Candy Crush. But I would never do that.)

  • Check out Marina Beach Park and the Edmonds Marina Boardwalk area and enjoy the local beach. There’s also an off-leash area where you can take that road-weary pooch for a quick break before boarding the ferry.
  • If scuba diving is your jam, dive into the Underwater Park and check out its hidden treasures. My friend, Beth (and earlier Snohomish County travel-buddy) used to spend quite a bit of time exploring the area and always had great stories about friendly octopi and other sea creatures – as well as cool sunken vessels.
  • I mentioned their Mukilteo location earlier, but don’t forget about Arnies Restaurant for all things seafood. Did I mention they have a festival of prawns in October and November?? Enough said.
  • Open on weekends for tastings, the Scratch Distillery offers some very distinct spirits. They started with gin, which they still feature, and also do vodkas, whiskey and a very unique bier schnaps. (Dog and kid friendly)
  • 190 Sunset is a newer hot spot on the Edmonds Waterfront. Featuring fresh seafood, great steaks and chops as well as a great bar and weekend brunches, they’re definitely a good reason to miss your ferry.
  • For a relaxing pint on the waterfront, head to Brigid’s Bottleshop. They’ve got several beers on tap as well as local ciders and snacks. Fill up your growler or grab some bottles for the homestead. (Pet friendly, 21+)
Edmonds Ferry
Watching the ferries come and go from Edmonds

Just walking around Edmonds and the waterfront is a great way to get in some exercise and a few steps. If you’d like to make it more official, there are several great trails and walks around the area. A great area just off of Main Street as you’re heading towards the downtown core is Yost Park, Shell Creek Trail and the Highline Trail. It’s an intricate set of trails located in Shell Creek ravine – Download a map for the trails HERE. (Definitely check out the map if you’re unfamiliar with the area) For a little more of a walk/hike, you can head over to Pine Ridge Park for more trails and woodsy scenery.

On the way out of Edmonds, I often like to take Highway 99 back towards Seattle. Not only do I get to avoid I-5, it also takes me through another great Snohomish County town, Lynnwood. But before we make it to Lynnwood, there are a few cool spots along the way:

  • If you have a passion for fusion cooking, like I do, Bar Dojo is the place to go. Featuring Asian and Chino Latino cuisine, Bar Dojo is a one-of-a-kind place. Spicy chorizo ramen, ginger hoisin prawns, pork belly nachos, Banh Mi tacos – WHAT?? That’s just amazing.
  • Should you like to feed your inner – or outer – geek, hit up Another Castle – Arcade Edition right off Highway 99. They feature all manner of old-school arcade games, pinball, snacks and beer! Family friendly. They also have video game stores in Lynnwood and Marysville – by the Tulalip Casino.
  • Known as “The Starbucks of Taiwan,” the 85°C Bakery Café chain is taking the NW by storm. First in California and now with several NW locations, this is one of my favorite bakeries of all time. The variety of pastries, cakes, coffees and teas they feature is impressive – including items definitely not found in your standard US bakery. (I recently tried a ham, corn and tuna grilled sandwich/pastry. Oddly good.) Their location on Highway 99 is now open with their official opening on May 17th. Go now, before the line gets too long. Seriously. There’s always a line.
  • If you’re in need of great local produce, but don’t have time to hit up the farms directly, check out Country Market on Highway 99. (Also in Everett, Lake Stevens and Burlington)

Rounding out my excellent Snohomish County is the close-to-home, always-has-what-I-need, very lovely Lynnwood. The area is often thought of for its large amount of shopping opportunities, but there is so much more to be found. Great food, great parks and a great central location to get to all of the Seattle-area hot spots – it’s great! From downtown Lynnwood, you are easily within 20-minutes of downtown Seattle, downtown Bellevue, Everett, Snohomish and more. But there are many other things to enjoy within Lynnwood proper.

If shopping is indeed on your list, Lynnwood has what you need. (The area gets particularly busy during the holidays – Yowsa!) Here are a few of the mainstays:

  • Alderwood Mall is your usual mall setup, but with the addition of nice outer and inner courtyards, lined with hanging lights, trees and places to sit and enjoy a coffee. If I have to go to the mall, Alderwood is often where I head. They also have a great REI store, a state-of-the-art movie theatre, Nordstrom’s and several restaurant options. Including the aforementioned 85°C Bakery Café. (Get in line now.)
  • Just across the way from Alderwood Mall is one of the most amazing grocery stores EVER. H-Mart, the ultimate Korean grocery store, not only features an extensive array of Asian foods and home goods, it also hosts a great food court, various side shops, and the Le Bon Patisserie. (Try their Buttercream filled buns, matcha rolls, hot dog pastries and custard buns) Also, don’t miss Beard Papa’s crème puffs and Hometown, a great Korean spot in the food court. (Their Bibimbap is excellent!)
  • Located in the same parking lot as H-Mart, is one of best places to get a burger in the known universe, Katsu Burger. I honestly can’t rave enough about this place. There are several locations in the greater Seattle area, but this one is my favorite as it gets crowded, but never as much as say, the Capitol Hill or Ballard locations. Come for the deep fried katsu burgers, stay for the Korokke or the Nori Fries. For the record, the pork katsu Ninja Deluxe burger rocks my world. It is amazing.
  • And if you didn’t get enough to eat at H-Mart or Katsu Burger, check out Taste of Korea for tasty beef bulgogi, hot pot dishes and more delicious Bibimbap. Located in the same parking lot as H-Mart and Katsu Burger.

While I do often shop in the Lynnwood area, there are also many lovely parks and hikes to check out. After all, I have to go somewhere to work off the Katsu Burgers and pastries from the 85°C Bakery. If I’m in the walking and exploring mood, here are a few of the places I enjoy:

  • Not too far up from the shopping core, you’ll find the beautiful Heritage Park. The grounds are lovely and home to several early Lynnwood structures. (Then known as Alderwood Manor) Tour the grand Wickers Building, the NW Veterans Museum, the Interurban Trolley Car #55 and more. Sit under one of the gorgeous willow trees and just relax…
  • Head down to the beach and Brown’s Bay via the lovely Meadowdale Beach Park and Lunds Gulch Native plant-life, salmon, salmon berries and more. Beautiful!
  • Lynndale Park is Lynnwood’s largest park with 22-acres of native forest and has great trails for hiking and walking. It also has a skate park where I’m pretty sure my nephew recently left a couple teeth – and bit of skin – behind. Eeesh.
  • Scriber Lake Park is a quiet, natural preserve in center of town. It features a floating boardwalk, walking trails and is an unexpected spot of peacefulness in the center of town. Nearby is the Scriber Creek Park and Trail. It’s a much smaller area than the lake park, but there are some beautiful spots to check out.
  • If you’re really in need of a walk or jog – or maybe prefer to commute via bike, hit up the Interurban Trail and earn several days’ worth of steps. It runs from Everett to Lynnwood at 11.8 miles and is great to hop on for a short stint or the longer haul. (But remember – that’s 11.8 miles one-way…)

And with that, I’m all worn out – and full of Katsu Burger… I’m heading back to my home base in North Seattle, just across the border from Snohomish County, to take a nap. It’s wonderful knowing that just a short drive away are so many amazing and beautiful things to see and do – and eat! Snohomish County is an area of great contrasts and resources and well represents the broad diversity of Washington State and I’m happy to be a neighbor. I will admit it’s sometimes difficult to go too far past its borders as Snohomish County truly has so much variety to offer. It makes it a bit hard to venture out to all of the other amazing counties in Washington State… But not that hard – I know what I need to do. What I must do… I gotta EAT THE STATE! And that’s what I’m going to do… Stay tuned for more adventures!


And to accompany you on your road trip –

I Ate the State: The Playlist – check it out on Spotify

  • Keep on Runnin’ – Journey (from Escape)
  • Half-Life – Duncan Sheik (from Daylight)
  • Crooked Teeth – Death Cab for Cutie (from Plans)
  • Wait Until Tomorrow – Live at the Nokia Theatre – John Mayer (from Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles)
  • The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room) (Live) – Flight of the Conchords (from The Distant Future)
  • Wonderboy – Tenacious D (from Tenacious D)
  • Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage (from Absolute Garbage)
  • Good Morning! – Duncan Sheik (from Daylight)
  • Someday You Will Be Loved – Death Cab for Cutie (from Plans)
  • I Think I’m Paranoid – Garbage (from Absolute Garbage)
  • Still They Ride – Journey (from Escape)
  • Robots (Live) – Flight of the Conchords (from The Distant Future)
  • Stop This Train – Live at the Nokia Theatre – John Mayer (from Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles)
  • Wherever Is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile (from The Firewatcher’s Daughter)
  • Are You Alright? – Lucinda Williams (from West)
  • Merry Go ‘Round – Kacey Musgraves (from Same Trailer Different Park)
  • Come with Me Tonight – Bob Schneider (from I’m Good Now)
  • 3×5 – John Mayer (from Room for Squares)
  • Step Off – Kacey Musgraves ((from Same Trailer Different Park)
  • Wayside / Back in Time – Gillian Welch (from Soul Journey)
  • Speed Trap Town – Jason Isbell (from Something More Than Free)
  • The Moon Is Made of Gold – Rickie Lee Jones (from Balm in Gilead)


For more I Ate the State Adventures:

Kayak Point
Beautiful greenery on the Beach Trail at Kayak Point

3 thoughts on “I Ate the State – Snohomish County (Part II – The Sea Side)

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