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

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


Looking back over my lifetime in Washington State, there are many places I know I’ve taken for granted. I’ll initially contribute some of that to being young and without means – or transportation. Unfortunately, there was also a fair amount of time spent in Eastern Washington, for instance, where I really wish I’d given it more of a chance. The grass is literally greener on the western side of the state, but that doesn’t mean there are lesser prospects for finding beauty and adventure. Every time I go back to visit the “other” side of the state, I am constantly blown away by the full palette of opportunity. (A huge part of this travel project is not only to share the beauty of this state with others, but to ensure I never again take any part of it for granted.)

This oversight has never been the case where Snohomish County is concerned. I’ve now lived in Western Washington for quite a while and have spent several years straddling the border between King and Snohomish Counties. (Bothell represent!) I can say with total honesty I’ve never gotten bored with the area and have never been at a loss for something to see or do – or eat! One of my favorite, lazy-weekend activities is to jump in my car in search of random backroads and tasty treats. I am never disappointed with the hidden gems and unexpected opportunities that cross my path while wandering around Snohomish County.

Sauk River
The beautiful Sauk River

I’m going to divide my Snohomish County adventures into two sections; the “mountain side” and the “sea side,” with Part I tackling the mountainous portion of the county.  Both sections are spectacular and contain an amazing amount of adventure potential, with the overall county being very accessible from most parts of the state, at most times of the year. (The mountainous areas do pose a few more obstacles during the winter.) If you happen to live in the western part of the state as I do, Snohomish County is even more accessible. You very well might live in Snohomish County, considering it is the third most populous county in Washington State, behind King and Pierce Counties. (And 13th when ranked by size.) For extra coverage on Part I, I’ve consulted with a couple locals – AND brought along my long-time adventuring buddy (and WA State transplant) Beth, to help me explore some of the backroads. All the coverage, all the time – Snohomish County is BIG!

As it is one of Washington’s most populous counties, many people are familiar with the beauty within its boundaries. That might not seem apparent, however, once you make your way towards the mountains of Snohomish County. Just heading a few miles out of Bothell towards Monroe takes you away from the urban sprawl and into idyllic, rural farmlands and foothills – often without another soul in sight. It is completely possible within a few hours of exploration to experience the vibrant pulse of city life, serene suburban neighborhoods, gorgeous coastal shorelines, vital farmlands, sweeping forests and towering volcanic masterpieces. Snohomish County is like a ‘greatest hits’ tour of Washington state!

The North Creek Trail
Peaceful beauty on the North Creek Trail

Since a large part of Bothell is in King County, I’ll be covering it later in the project. (I’m saving King County for the end, on account of it being quite a behemoth.) The area of Bothell heading towards Mill Creek is generally Snohomish County, so that’s where I’m starting. And since that portion of the county sits on the east side of two of its main south-north thoroughfares, I-5 and I-405, I’ll be heading off in the direction of the beautiful Cascade mountain range.

When heading to Mill Creek, I typically drive north on the Bothell-Everett Highway (SR-527), through the Bothell and Canyon Park areas. It’s a main route and can be a useful alternative to I-5 and I-405. Heading through these areas, you’ll be met with a corridor of commerce with many great options for shopping, dining and general day-to-day needs.

A few of my go-to spots along the way to Mill Creek:

  • Russell’s Restaurant offers rustic dining in a renovated 1920s dairy barn and is a lovely place for a cozy lunch or dinner when in Bothell. You can find a more casual version of the fare at Russell’s Garden Café & Wine, located inside Molbak’s Garden & Home in nearby Woodinville.
  • If you’re looking for a great Bloody Mary with brunch or a tasty burger, the Crystal Creek Café in Bothell, just off I-405 is a good place to stop. In fact, you could pretty much just have the bloody Mary – it’s a meal in and of itself!
Crystal Creek
A very tasty Bloody Mary at the Crystal Creek Cafe in Bothell.
  • You’d never guess this unassuming sports bar on Bothell-Everett Highway would have a kick-ass, all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab feed on Monday nights, but they certainly do! Check out Thrasher’s Corner Sports Pub for all your sports bar – and Dungeness crab feed needs.
  • The Original Pancake House chain is always a great stop for traditional pancakes as well as their amazing Dutch-baby oven pancakes. I’m also particularly fond of their homemade corned beef hash. Mmmm… Located right off the Bothell-Everett Highway.
  • Local favorite Burgermaster, with their locally-raised, grass-fed and hormone-free beef, is one of my favorite places to get a quick burger – all from the comfort of the front seat of your ride. And those fries… And that tartar sauce… And the malts! Dreamy. (This location is conveniently situated directly off Bothell-Everett Highway)
  • Oprah loves it – and so do I! Ezell’s Famous Chicken is delicious. And so are their mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls and mac-n-cheese… (Uhhh, I’ll be right back – need to take a trip to Ezell’s) Bothell-Everett Highway for the win!
  • I’ve got a punch-card for Patty’s Egg Nest – and I am PROUD! Their Swedish pancakes are glorious. I occasionally venture off into their other breakfast masterpieces, but I’m a pretty devoted fan of the Swedish pancakes. Sigh… ALSO right off Bothell-Everett Highway.
Swedish Pancakes
Mmmmmm! Swedish pancakes at Patty’s Eggnest.

Heading into Mill Creek proper via the Bothell-Everett Highway, the area makes way for peaceful neighborhoods and parks, ample shopping areas and a great variety of dining options. Mill Creek is a pleasant community and is perfectly situated for commuting both into the Seattle area as well as locations on the ‘Eastside.’ (Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue) In recent years, the Mill Creek Town Center has brought much commerce into the central area of town. There are quite a few great options to check out in this area. Some of my favorites:

  • In need of a delicious Bundt cake? WHO ISN’T?? Check out Nothing Bundt Cakes to handle all your Bundt cake needs. Bundt cakes always remind me of this scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  • Enjoy delicious Mexican and Caribbean fare at the Azul Restaurant & Lounge. Stop in for brunch on the weekends!
  • The Saw Mill Café is a great place for diner-style breakfasts, tasty burgers and classic comfort food.
  • Looking for homemade gelato, crepes or classic pasta dishes? Delizioso European Bistro & Wine Bar has a great selection of all the things – and wine!
  • Offering regular tasting events, small plates and a great Washington State wine selection, de Vine Wines is a cozy spot to check out. (Closed Sunday/Monday)
  • The classic UW staple, University Book Store has a Mill Creek location! A great place to grab a book and do some learnin’.
  • Central Market is one of my favorite locally-run grocery stores. I typically hit up the Shoreline location, but the Mill Creek location is pretty spectacular. An excellent seafood section, beautiful local produce, an amazing deli (the cheese!) and hard to find international items are just a few of my favorite aspects of this market.
  • If you’re a fan of maple bars AND bacon, you can have them at the same time at FROST This place makes delicious donuts as well as cupcakes and macrons. I won’t lie. I dream about their bacon maple bar…
  • A little further north on Bothell-Everett Highway, you’ll come to the Gateway Shopping Center and home to the Mill Creek McMenamins. A NW institution, McMenamins restaurants and hotels are some of my very favorite places to visit. (The Bothell Anderson School McMenamins property is fabulous and I’ll be covering it in the King County article) The Mill Creek property features outdoor seating, a brewery, (I love their Ruby Ale!) and a great menu featuring local ingredients. I’m particularly fond of the Quantum Leap BBQ pulled-pork sandwich with TOTS – or the blue cheese Captain Neon burger w/bacon. Yowsa!

The Mill Creek area has no shortage of beautiful parks, nature trails and outdoor opportunities. If you happen to be out and about in the area, a few great options to consider:

  • I am a great fan of Bocce Ball and the Buffalo Park – Bocce Ball Court is an excellent outdoor spot to knock your friend’s balls out of play. Yeah!
  • The North Creek Trail is a lovely walking/biking trail rambling from Everett through Mill Creek and into Bothell. The wetlands and wildlife are plentiful and there is much beautiful scenery to enjoy. Some of the trail markings and directions can be a bit elusive, but in general the trail starts at McCollum Pioneer Park (600 128th Street SE in Everett) and heads through Mill Creek to North Creek Park in Bothell. (1001 183rd Street in Bothell – AKA: The Sammamish River Trail at Blythe Park) You can enter the trail in Mill Creek just west of the Mill Creek Town Center.

I don’t normally head from Mill Creek over towards Stevens Pass (US-2), but for purposes of covering my favorite areas on the “mountain side” of Snohomish County, let’s head up nearby SR-522 out of Bothell towards the tiny town of Maltby

Maltby is a small stop off the highway, but it is a very worthwhile stop to make. All within a few hundred yards you can enjoy a solid day of delicious foods, shopping and adventure. Start off at the always amazing Maltby Café for a delicious breakfast or lunch. (Stop there on the way to the ski hill at Stevens Pass!) The side of bacon comes on a platter and their homemade cinnamon rolls are the size of a dinner plate… Nearby Maltby Antiques and Collectibles has an excellent selection and I’ve picked up many things I’ve absolutely NEEDED from them over the years. Cross hot air balloon rides off your bucket list and hop a ride with Over the Rainbow. (Passengers picked up at Maltby Café) And lastly, end your Maltby adventure with creamy, dreamy ice cream and custard at the Snoqualmie Scoop Shop. (Opens on 5/14 for the summer – I love their French Lavender ice cream!)

Maltby Cafe
A giant platter of breakfast goodness at the Maltby Cafe!

Heading out of Maltby, continue west on SR-522 and head towards the turnoff to US-2, to get to our next point of interest, the mountain-gateway town of Monroe. (For the record, I pronounce it MON-roe. My goofball brother thinks I’m ridiculous and says Mun-roe… The battle wages on. MON-roe. MON-roe. MON-ROE!)

Monroe is a smaller town, but the largest one you’ll hit until arriving in Leavenworth, just over Stevens Pass. What I like about Monroe (MON-roe) is it’s strategically located to still be a reasonable commute to the Eastside and also closely situated to excellent skiing and hiking opportunities. (My family often stops there to or from the ski hill) Additionally, it’s a great kick-off point for driving the stunning Cascade Loop via US-2 along with offering many great points of interest all its own.

Some great picks when visiting the MON-roe area:

  • For a good old-fashioned county fair experience, check out the Evergreen State Fair from August 22 thru September 2. (The fairground has events happening year-round!)
  • The Twin Rivers Brewing Co. / Adam’s NW Bistro & Brewery has a great selection of local craft-brews and tasty NW bistro fare.
  • For an excellent tap selection, check out the Route 2 Taproom right off US-2. They’ve also got some pretty tasty Smoked Pork Mac-n-Cheese and tots loaded with BBQ pulled pork. Awwweeeee yeeeaahhhh… (Looks like they’re opening a place in Woodinville as well – Route 522 Taproom. Going to have to check it out!)
  • Soooo, you like the creepy-crawly reptile thing? The Reptile Zoo just past Monroe on US-2 is the place for you. All things reptile – just waiting to creep up on ya! You will never run into me there, however, as I’m not into the creepy-crawly reptile thing. No. No. NO.  But hey – you do you!
  • For a leisurely stroll in the MON-roe area, check out Lake Tye. There’s a nice walk around the lake and there are all sorts of events going on year-round in the area.

A little further west on US-2 you’ll come to the small towns of Sultan, Startup, Goldbar and Index. They are all located directly alongside US-2 and can be a bit blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, but it would be a real shame to pass them by. There are many great spots tucked along the way and many excellent reasons to stop and spend some time. A few destinations to add to your US-2 adventures:

  • Spada Lake is a great stop located not too far off of US-2. There are several easy-going trail options, but it’s also a jumping-off point for several other cool trails, including Greider Lakes and The Sultan River Canyon Trail.
  • Beautiful Wallace Falls State Park is an incredibly popular spot for hiking, snowshoeing and camping. There are five cabins for rent (Book early!) as well as walk-in tent sites along with backcountry sites available at nearby lakes. (5-6 mile hike away) One-day parking fee or Discover Pass
  • There is much watery adventure to enjoy in the greater Sultan area. Rip Tide Fish is a great resource for options in the Skykomish River area and check out Outdoor Adventures for all things river-rafty. If you need a place to stay while adventuring on the Skykomish River, the lovely Bonny Sky Lodge is located right on the river.
  • I love the old Washington State fire lookouts. You can stay at the Heybrook Lookout, located in the greater Sultan area. It’s high on my bucket list to score a reservation!
  • The Mountain View Diner in Goldbar serves hearty, made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cozy little spot right off US-2. YUM!
  • I love the classic Zeke’s Drive-In. They’ve got great burgers, fries and shakes and are conveniently located directly off US-2. (I must also mention they’re one of the last places to stop with a restroom before you reach the top of the pass. This is important to note.)
  • I have sworn testimony from a Sultan native that the Sultan Bakery is beyond compare. She’s been a companion on many of my recent foodie adventures and is also a pretty excellent chef in her own right. I trust her taste implicitly and so should you… Thanks for the tip, Ellie!

Taking it to the Snohomish County border, we end up in the tiny hamlet of Index.  In addition to the beautiful forests and mountainous areas, Index is also a filming location of 80s classic, Harry and the Hendersons. Check out the quirky Espresso Chalet for a shot of espresso and film nostalgia. Should you be looking for more of an adrenaline shot, Index Town Wall is a popular trail for rock climbing. It’s a beautiful area, but if you have an aversion to heights, you might consider shying away from this one. The same can be said for the lofty heights of nearby Mount Index.  It’s going to take a bit of training, but the Mount Index East Route is on my bucket list. One of these days…

For more adventure past Index and into the beautiful, neighboring Chelan County, check out my recent I Ate the State article for the tasty scoop.

Downtown Snohomish
Onto lovely downtown Snohomish!

Back near the Maltby area, head up SR-9 towards the beautiful county namesake, Snohomish. Known as the “Antique Capitol of the Northwest,” Snohomish nicely mixes the modern conveniences of a big-city suburb with the classic charm of a well-established small town. The entire downtown “historic district” and nearby Snohomish River Bridge are in fact listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Long inhabited by the Lushootseed Native American tribe (now known as the Snohomish tribe), it became first known as Cadyville by western settlers in 1858 and later in 1871 as Snohomish. (Note: Snohomish the county was established in 1861.)

Strolling down 1st Street in the historic district in an absolutely lovely way to spend the day. Parking can get hectic on weekends, but it is entirely worth the effort. 1st Street alone is chock full of antique shops, boutiques, restaurants and quirky bars and saloons, while the surrounding neighborhoods are filled with beautiful homes and strolls. (Note: Some of the establishments on 1st Street aren’t open on Sundays. This is the case in the off-season – summer might be different…) For a unique tour of the area, check out the Snohomish Walking Tour designed for your smart phone and download the handy accompanying brochure. (Courtesy of the Granite Falls Historical Society) For a detailed look at early Snohomish life, visit the Blackman House Museum (c. 1878) located just off 1st Street.

There are so many excellent shops on 1st Street and around the historic district. I will fully admit to girding my wallet on my last visit as there were many bits and baubles I positively needed. BUT – I was really, really good and only picked up a few necessities. Pretty much… A few spots to get you started on your Snohomish visit:

  • It’s the tiniest shop in Snohomish (true story!), but Lather and Salt is big on delicious smells from their amazing soaps and more. (I have a weakness for handcrafted soaps. I cannot say no. And I didn’t. But come on – everyone needs soap!)
  • Faded Elegance made me want to sit in the middle of the store, in a cozy chair, enjoying a spot of tea… just taking in the lovely antiques and home items. Like it was my home or something!
  • Worthy is very worthy of your antiques browsing endeavors. SO many lovely items to bring home… Stay strong!
  • When I find myself (finally) decorating my dream home/cabin, I’m heading to Retreat home store to help outfit my digs. So many dreamy items to choose from. They have a “bar” where you can create your own terrarium!

There are many fine options for dining in the Snohomish area. 1st Street in the Historic District is a goldmine of restaurants, but greater Snohomish has many additional selections. A few places of note for your Snohomish visitation:

  • Snohomish Pie Company. It’s a company that makes PIES. Need I say more? They also have soups and sandwiches – and cookies. My work here is done. Located on historic 1st (Now also in Mountlake Terrace!)
  • Larry’s Smokehouse is an excellent place to check out for great BBQ and delicious smoked salmon. They also do great catering and are an incredibly nice bunch of people to work with. I’ve driven out of my way on more than one occasion to procure their smoked salmon. Located on SR-9.
  • If you’d like your lunch with a side of ghostly super-sauce, The Oxford Saloon is the place for you. Serving pub-style food and tasty drinks, The Oxford Saloon has been in operation since 1910 and is purported to be haunted. Spooky! They’re family friendly during the day and offer music in the evenings. And ghosts. Located on 1st Street.
  • Also located on 1st street, The Repp features tasty NW bistro fare and cocktails with regular live music. Closed Mondays.
  • The Center Public House is an exceptionally cool, non-profit pub serving great food and drinks. Their proceeds benefit local charitable organizations such as Take the Next Step, Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services, Snohomish Community Foodbank and Sarvey Wildlife Center. Right around the corner from 1st Street. Family friendly, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

If you’d like to check out the beverage offerings of Snohomish, there are many options. Just a few of the hot spots:

  • Trails End Taphouse & Restaurant – Located a few minutes away from the 1st Street core, they have a great tap list and a tasty menu.
  • The Skip Rock Distillery offers an excellent selection of spirits and tastings and is located in a very quaint brick shop just off of 1st Street. I’m a fan of their Skip Rock Rye Whiskey. (Closed Sundays)
  • Randolph Cellars tasting room is located on 1st Street and is a lovely stop amidst the antique browsing. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and the tasting room relaxing. I very much enjoyed their 2015 Petit Verdot. Delicious!
  • For a great overview of Northwest beverages, check out the Snohomish Wine Festival on March 7, 2020 or hit up the Snohomish Ale Trail for a taste of all things Northwest and hoppy.

Walking around 1st Street and checking out all the antique shops can indeed offer some exercise, but chances are, you’ve added a bit of food and drink into the equation. While the overall combo might even out, add a few more steps to the Fitbit with one of the great walks and hikes in the Snohomish area. A few popular options:

  • Centennial Trail – Walk, bike or ride (a horse) on 30 miles of trail connecting Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Arlington and the Skagit County border.
  • Lord Hill Regional Park – Hike, bike or ride (horses!) around this beautiful nature preserve and check out one of the many ponds within the wetland areas.
  • Snohomish Riverfront Trail – Walk along the winding Snohomish River and enjoy the peaceful scene. It forms a one-mile loop trail with 1st Street and Maple Avenue. A good one for walking off that wine-tasting and dinner!

The Snohomish area has many beautiful stretches of farmland and with that comes many options for visiting the local farmers. Fall and winter bring with them a score of pumpkin picking, corn mazes and Christmas tree gathering, but many of the farms have events going on throughout the year. A few of the prime (pumpkin) picks:

  • Check out Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm during the harvest season for their corn maze and U-pick pumpkins. They also have a great country store open mid-August thru the end of October.
  • The Thomas Family Farm also features corn mazes and a pumpkin patch and is open during the fall. Additionally, they host events throughout the year. Two intriguing upcoming events are the whiskey distillers’ night, Snohomish on the Rocks (4/27/19) and the Snohomish Hard Cider Festival (8/11/19).
  • In addition to corn mazes and pumpkins, Stocker Farms also has Christmas trees, as well as a country market. (All open seasonally) In October, be sure to check out their “Stalker” Farms
  • The Farm at Swan’s Trail has all the usual fall farm activities with the addition of U-pick apples and early-bird breakfasts on weekends. They also have a concession stand in the fall. (Open end of September thru end of October)
  • Craven Farms rolls out all the fall hits from September 21st thru October 31st and also plays host to cool events during the year including NW Vintage & Vino (May 17-18) and the Antique Tailgate Sale. (6/29)
  • Hagen Farm doesn’t do the corn-maze/pumpkin-patch bit, but they DO sell grass-fed, naturally raised meats as well as offer up the farmhouse for “haycation” rentals. They also have private hiking trails and a roadside store called Milk House Mercantile.
Snohomish County Backroads
Beautiful scenery on the Snohomish Co. backroads (Photo credit: B. Skoczen)

Next up on the tour is a visit to tiny Granite Falls, in the shadow of beautiful Mt. Pilchuck. From Snohomish, we took SR-9 up to SR-92 and into Granite Falls. There are several other back-road routes into Granite Falls, but this one works best for me when coming from the greater Seattle area. (The Jordan Road-Canyon Creek route is an option when coming from Arlington.) It is on the drive to Granite Falls, when the roads become much less traveled, that I really start to feel the tug of mountain adventure. (This is also the case when heading out of MON-roe, but as US-2 is a state thoroughfare and often quite busy, it can be harder to achieve the desired level of peaceful exploration.)

Mt Pilchuck
Granite Falls, in the shadow of Mt. Pilchuck

Mount Pilchuck is definitely the most imposing Cascade peak as seen from Granite Falls, but in reality sports about half the elevation of the highest point in Snohomish County. Seen looming in the distance from Granite Falls is the beautiful Glacier Peak, towering over the area at an impressive 10,541 feet. Glacier Peak is the most remote of the five active volcanoes in Washington State, a list which includes Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker and Mount Adams. Its threat potential has been labeled “very high” by the USGS, along with Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker. (Mount Adams is slacking and has only made it on the “high” threat potential list.) Additionally, the threat levels of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier are currently listed as 2nd and 3rd in the US, behind Hawaii’s very active Kilauea. It’s never a dull day for the geology of Washington State.

Eruption Awareness
Important info regarding the local volcanic situation.

If you’re interested in hiking or climbing in the area, there are many options. For a good workout, hike up to the Mt. Pilchuck lookout via Mt. Pilchuck State Park or try one of the many hikes in the Glacier Peak area. If climbing is your thing, consider the Glacier Peak / Disappointment Peak Cleaver route. Start training!

If you’d like to get fueled up for your hiking adventure, check out Hanky Pies for a delicious cup of coffee and a spot of breakfast or lunch – Or PIE! They also do a lot of great community work and sponsor local events. (Closed Sundays) For a great pizza pie, hit up Omega Pizza just around the corner for delicious pizza, salads, gyros, calzones and more.

The Granite Falls Museum and Historical Society (open Sundays, 12-5) is a great resource for not only the Granite Falls area but for all of Snohomish County. Stop by the museum proper for a well-curated look at local history or strike out on your own with their Granite Falls Walking Tour. Just download the brochure from the website, call the number listed and enter your stop number from the brochure for a guided tour! They have additional tours for the Snohomish County area, one of which is the Snohomish County Living History – Guided Mobile Tour, covering all the museums in Snohomish County. Download the brochure from the site and follow along with maps and info. Very handy!

Just out of Granite Falls lurks one of the coolest roads in Washington State, the Mountain Loop Highway. (And we have a lot of cool roads!) It is only fully traversable in the warmer months (unless you’ve got a beefy snowmobile or are rockin’ snowshoes), but even then it can give you a go as portions are a bit narrow and graveled. Who’s up for an adventure?!

Mt Loop Highway
Get ready for an adventure!

The Mountain Loop Highway heads out of Granite Falls towards Verlot, past the ghost towns of Silverton and Bedal (formerly Monte Cristo) and ends as you near Darrington. It’s a serious mountain trek filled with beautiful hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, climbing and general communing-with-nature opportunities. It’s truly unique and removed from the city hubbub only a couple hours away. Check out the Granite Falls Museum Mountain Loop Tour for commentary along the way. (There’s very spotty cell service, if any, so download the brochure before you head out. GPS should still work on your phone.) For the record, on this particular journey, part of the road was still closed due to winter conditions. We did, however, go as far as we could on both sides of the closure. (There was a fair amount of driving involved as well and several times Beth and I looked at each and agreed we should probably turn around. Sporty Spice is AWD and good in snow, but sometimes you gotta make the icy roads call… We’ve learned our lessons over the years.)

There are indeed many great hikes and adventures to be had along the way on the Mountain Loop Highway. Here are a few cool spots to get you going:

  • Lake 22 Trail is a beautiful jaunt with lush views in the Granite Falls area near Mount Pilchuck. It can also be a good snowshoe trail in the snowy months, but due to avalanches on the road, travel in the warmer months is recommended.
  • There aren’t many structures or remnants of the old mining settlement left, but the Monte Cristo Ghost Town is definitely worth investigating. It’s a nice round trip hike out of the Barlow Pass area. (Only accessible in warmer months due to this portion of the highway being closed during winter.)
  • The Big Four Ice Caves are located out of Verlot and offer a great view of Big Four Mountain and the icy caves at its base. (Don’t walk on or in them!) The hike is fairly easy, but not really accessible in the winter months.
  • For great snowshoeing with beautiful forest scenery and views, hit up the Mallardy Ridge trail area just past Verlot for great winter adventure.
  • Bedal Campground is a low-key, drive-in campground near the Sauk River with a great hike to the North Fork Sauk Falls located close by. (Also easily accessible out of Darrington)

Popping out on the other side of the Mountain Loop Highway, you wind up in the little foothills town of Darrington. Nestled right at the edge of beautiful forest land and framed by spectacular mountain peaks (Spectacular!), Darrington is a great place to hang out as well as an excellent jumping-off point for local adventures.

Part of Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, the Darrington Ranger District has long been safeguarding the area.  The Darrington ranger station, Miners Ridge Lookout and Green Mt Lookout are all on the National Register of Historic Places. The ranger station is located right in town and is a great resource for learning all about the local hikes, fishing, camping and more. On our recent Darrington visit, we spotted the local forest ranger taking it to the streets – with cross-country skis in tow.

On the topic of hiking and adventuring in the beautiful local forests and mountains, here’s a list to send you on your way:

  • You can’t miss the amazing Whitehorse Mountain rising up behind Darrington. It dominates the skyline and is truly mesmerizing on a sunny day. The Neiderprum Trail 653 is a good trek, but the ascent of the actual mountain should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers.
  • Yet another spectacular point in the Darrington skyline are the peaks of Three Fingers. It’s a stunning site just viewing it from town, but there’s a cool trail which provides quite a day’s work-out and stunning views from Tin Can Gap if you’re willing to make the trek. (Or backcountry camp overnight if you want to break up the work-out!)
  • The historic Green Mt Lookout (c. 1933) is accessible by a relatively moderate trail and provides excellent views and lush forest scenery.
  • The Old Sauk River Trail is an easy going, family-friendly trail through lush forest with streams and the Sauk River in the background.

In addition to the stunning natural beauty of the Cascades, Darrington is also well known for its contribution to the state’s music scene. Every 3rd weekend of July, Darrington welcomes musicians and fans from around the world for the Darrington Bluegrass Festival. It’s a great time to visit, but arrange lodging early.

If all the hiking, driving on crazy backroads and basking in the local beauty makes you hungry, there are some great options in Darrington to curb your appetite:

  • The Burger Barn is an old-school burger joint in the center of town with great burgers, fries and shakes. Outdoor seating available – great for taking in the mountain view while enjoying a burger.
  • Check out the Hometown Bakery Café for delicious baked goods, pizza and salads.
  • River Time Brewing is a cozy spot with locally crafted beer, tasty sandwiches and flatbread pizza.

SR-530 is the main route out of Darrington towards Oso and Arlington. In the hopefully not-too-distant future you’ll also be able to hike, run or bike the 28 miles to Arlington via the Whitehorse Trail. (With a connection to the Centennial Trail.) Currently, only 6 miles of the Whitehorse Trail are open to the Swede Heaven Trailhead, but it’s a nice, family-friendly jaunt in the meantime. Keep an eye on the project website for updates on trail status and openings.

On the way towards Arlington and the I-5 corridor, you’ll come to the tiny – and mighty – area of Oso. On March 22nd 2014, Oso experienced a horrible, catastrophic landslide directly alongside and across SR-530. An enormous part of the hillside came careening down across the valley, taking with it homes, livelihoods, a mile of SR-530 and most tragically, the lives of 43 people from the community of Steelhead Haven.

As of March 2019, the 23-mile portion of SR-530 between Arlington and Darrington been renamed the “Oso Slide Memorial Highway” in remembrance of this tragedy. A mailbox sculpture near the site pays tribute to the nineteen mail and newspaper boxes that was once a neighborhood gathering spot.

On a happier note, there are many wonderful spots to be found between Darrington, Oso and Arlington. Check out the Boulder River Wilderness area and in particular, its namesake Boulder River Trail, set with beautiful waterfalls and river views. Also in the area is the old Trafton School (c. 1912), located on Jim Creek Road. The one-room school house is sadly no longer open, but I’ve read it’s been sold and may soon have a new mission. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is worth a stop, if only to check it out. If you’re up for a unique dining experience while in the area, stop in at Rhodes River Ranch and dine while looking out over their indoor horse-training ring. They also feature regular entertainment and brunch on weekends.

Rounding out the mountain side of my Snohomish County journey, I spent a bit of time in Arlington. In addition to exploring the area on my own, I also hit up my good friend and Arlington native, Mallen, for a few deep-root tips. The Arlington area has a lot to offer and it was good to get a few secret-squirrel tips from a local. (Thanks, Mallen!)

Located near the Stillaguamish River (named for the local Stillaguamish Tribe) and the Sauk River Valley, Arlington is well-situated for great outdoor adventures as well as being an important contributor to the state’s agricultural bounty. Its close proximity to the I-5 corridor also makes it easily accessible to Seattle and Vancouver BC and a great jumping-off point for travels around the county, in addition to neighboring Skagit County. (I Ate the State article coming soon!)

Beautiful scenery on the way to Arlington

If you’d like to sample the local wares, consider checking out one of the area’s farms to experience the bounty firsthand. A great way to plan your path is to consult the Red Rooster Route for a list of family farms in the Arlington, Oso and Darrington areas. Take Exit 208 off I-5 to follow the entire route. A few suggestions if you’d like to do things à la carte:

  • A Northwest classic, Biringer Farms (since 1948) is the quintessential place to visit if you love strawberries – and the other berries, too! Check out their Strawberry Fest in mid-June and sign your kids up for their “Be-A-Farmer” tours from mid-June thru mid-July. To further celebrate your love of the strawberry, hit up the famous Strawberry Festival in neighboring Marysville, June 8th – 16th.
  • For crisp fall air, farm-fresh produce, pumpkins and corn mazes, visit Fosters Produce & Corn Maze from September 15th thru Oct 31st to get your harvest fill.
  • You say you don’t really dig the strawberry? Head over to Bryant Blueberry Farm & Nursery for U-pick blueberries and lovely flowers! (July 2 – Early Sept) Also, how do you not like strawberries?
  • The Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm has an excellent selection of organically grown produce. Check out their U-Pick page for harvest details.
  • For a taste of all the farms together, visit the Arlington Farmers Market for a sampling of all your favorites. (June 1st thru Labor Day Weekend – Legion Memorial Park, Saturdays, 10a-3p)
  • Learn about the history of the valley and all the stories that make it the beautiful and bountiful area it is today at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum. (Open Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from 1p-4p. Closed December and January.)

Given its proximity to rivers and forestland, Arlington is situated for some pretty spectacular outdoor activity. Hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, hanging out with kangaroos – Arlington has it all! I’ve heard some pretty entertaining stories from my friend, Mallen about his youthful exploits… Arlington seems like a great place to grow up with potential adventures around every corner.

A few cool places to enjoy the fresh Arlington air:

  • As if kangaroos in Washington weren’t interesting enough, the Outback Kangaroo Farm also has wallabies, lemurs, llamas, peacocks Nigerian dwarf goats, miniature donkeys and MORE. Check out their 40-min tour and say hi to their very unique menagerie. (Closed Mon-Wed, open 10a-4pm during rest of the week)
  • Located on the Stillaguamish River (affectionately known as “The Stilly”), River Meadows Park has traditional campsites as well as a yurt village! They also host a Stillaguamish Tribe event every year called the Festival of the River, featuring live music, a fun run and a traditional alder wood salmon bake. (August 10-11)
  • Looking for a cool, capped full-pipe? Who isn’t?? Hit up the Arlington Skatepark at Bill Quake Memorial Park and get your moves on – And wear a helmet and pads. Aunt Dayna cares.
  • Haller Park, where the north and south forks of the Stillaguamish River converge, has a lot to offer. The Centennial Trail follows along the old Burlington-Northern railroad tracks and there are great tide pools to check out near the river. The Great Stilly Duck Dash and the Pedal, Paddle, Puff Triathlon events over the 4th of July are great for the whole family. (My friend Mallen says you can win lots-o-money at the Great Stilly Duck Dash by purchasing a duck for the river “race.” If your duck is the fastest – you win!)
  • Head over to the Arlington airport for the annual Arlington Fly-In. (Aug 16-18) Classic air-show attractions and festivities for the whole family.
  • If you’d like to cast a line in pursuit of the “big one,” Arlington has many great opportunities to help you on your path. (Or maybe you could just kick back in your rowboat with a beer… And then stop at the fish counter on the way home. Your call.) Lake Armstrong, Lake Riley, Twin Lakes and the North or South Stillaguamish River all offer a chance at making your dreams come true.
Downtown Arlington
Great old buildings in downtown Arlington

There are many great places to grab a bite in Arlington. I recently had one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while – at a very unassuming spot. While there are many more places I’d like to check out, we’re pretty lucky to have the list rounded out by an Arlington foodie.

  • Hit up the always packed Blue Bird Café for classic diner fare. I’ve been assured it’s the go-to breakfast in Arlington.
  • If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, head to Bistro San Martin for a nice meal on your next date night.
  • I love that the Moose Creek BBQ is located in Smokey point – How could you not get a smoky perfect brisket with a name pedigree like that? “Pretty legit old-school BBQ,” says my friend, Mallen.
  • Chinese food on pizza? Sign me up! Hit up the very unique Pedeltweezers if you’re curious.
  • I’ll admit it. I have a long-time affection for both bowling and bowling alley/diner food. Rocket Alley can hook you up with both – as well as some entertaining eating competitions. Additionally, I’m told the owner is also a sawyer, who sells the wood rounds he cuts up mixed with sawdust for self-burning campfire wood. Bowling, tasty food AND campfire goods – that’s a turkey right there! (Yes. I just made a bad bowling joke. Carry on.)
  • The hidden-away Ellie’s at the Airport is a great place for lunch or breakfast. Airplanes and omelets – good morning!
  • For an excellent burger, fresh-cut fries and a delicious milkshake, head to Nutty’s Junkyard grill. It truly was the best burger I’ve had in a long time and the décor is worth checking out in and of itself. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen a bathroom floor laid with pennies. Very cool!
  • Head over to Skookum Brewery for locally crafted beers in their Smokey Point taproom. They also host local food trucks and events. (Closed Mon/Tues)
  • I’ve seen some good shows and actually won a few dollars at the Angel of the Winds Casino & Resort. They have a nice selection of restaurants, an onsite hotel and are easily accessible from Seattle or Vancouver BC. You can’t go wrong! Well, except maybe at the craps table. I suck at craps.
  • Set in a historic Arlington building (c. 1898) that’s seen many incarnations over the years, the Mirkwood Public House hosts live music, a café with vegetarian and vegan options, gaming, drinks and a tattoo shop called Mordor Tattoo. All the orcs love it. Sauron would be proud.
  • Looking for a dive-bar kinda night? The Cedar Stump is the place to go. (But my buddy, Mallen tells me everyone just calls it ‘The Stump.’) I’m betting the farm it’s named after the famous Big Cedar Stump, now located at Smokey Point Rest Stop off of I-5 North…
  • If you’re out for a ride on your Hog, check out the Longhorn Saloon. It was voted one of the 5 best biker bars in the greater Seattle area by KISW!
  • For drinks, pool and the Hawks, check out the Whitehorse Saloon in downtown Arlington.
Mirkwood Public House
Where Sauron goes for lunch! (Photo credit: B. Skoczen)

Arlington is a tight-knit community with a great local focus, but they also reach out on the larger scale. Until recently, my friend Mallen was a Volunteer with the Arlington Fire Department. He spent many years on the force and was also able to witness and participate in much of the great community work the department performs. One such event involved the somber endeavor of the department traveling to New York City to bring back a piece of steel-column from the World Trade Center to honor the tragedy of 9/11. The piece is now housed at local Fire Station 46 where the public is welcome to visit.

This brings to an end my “mountain side” adventures in Snohomish. Time to hit up I-5 South and head home… Stay tuned for Part II where I’ll mosey around the beautiful “Seaside Loop,” starting at Stanwood and heading down through Everett, Mukilteo and Edmonds. There are SO many more amazing spots to check out in the diverse lands of Snohomish County. DO join me!

See you soon!

I Ate the State: Snohomish County – 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)
Mt Loop Highway
Beautiful views on the Mt Loop Highway

For more I Ate the State Adventures: