by MaryRose Denton
Walking through a quintessential small town, strolling down main street arm-in-arm while glancing in shop windows, can exude romance any day of the year.
When love is in the air, we think of showering our loved ones with chocolates, gifts, and affection. Maybe even something too big to be wrapped with a bow, maybe something like an experience. La Conner, voted best small town by King 5, makes the perfect romantic getaway whether looking for a weekend escape or a jaunty day trip
Here are 5 selections to help you craft your ideal date:
Date #1 – For the Love of Food & Drink
Share a romantic meal at Nell Thorn Restaurant and Pub where you can sit in a cozy corner with a custom crafted cocktail or if the weather is fine, sit outside on their patio overlooking the Swinomish Channel. Perhaps you will catch a glimpse of a local seal or the sunset reflecting off the rainbow Bridge standing sentinel on the south end of the canal.
This farm-to-table bistro offers daily menus filled with artisan selections of NW fare using produce from the local farming community in the valley. Truly a La Conner favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Another popular romantic spot is the Oyster and Thistle Pub, where a “booth for two” provides a rather cozy ambiance overlooking downtown from atop this restaurant nestled on the hill. Inside, this old English style inn creates an intimacy instantly, just right for a romantic tête á tête.
If a glass of wine sounds good to you after a walk along the boardwalk, stop in at La Conner Sips or Hellam’s Wine Vineyard. Wherever you find yourself, enjoy a glass of spirit while gazing out on the channel. Perhaps a walk down the dock will find you the perfect place for a first kiss, or one that is well practiced with many years.
Date #2 – Inspired by Nature
The Skagit Valley is well known for growing beautiful Tulips but it is equally famous for its fields of wintering birds. The flocks of snow geese and trumpeter swans cover the farming ground where corn and wheat grow throughout the summer months.
A stop at Fir Island Wildlife Reserve will afford you the opportunity to view a variety of bird species from songbirds, wading birds, and shorebirds to waterfowl and birds of prey. Just to the west of this 225 acre reserve, looking out over the fields of planted winter wheat, is the nesting home of two Eagles. Talk about a view! A trail through this wetland is well maintained and accessible, for almost any walker.
Keep your eyes open and camera ready to spot the Great Blue Herons, Golden Eagles, Falcons, and ducks which inhabit this marshy area. It is common to catch the snow geese flying in a murmuration of movement across the inlet.
Date #3 – Amorous Adventure in Arts & Culture
Impress your date with an afternoon at an art show or crafty exhibit. There are several museums and art galleries with new exhibits worth checking out, from Museum of NW Art, the Pacific NW Quilt & Fiber Museum , and the Skagit County Historical Museum, but it is a newer gallery called the Lux which brings a fresh face with innovative ideas to the world of art.
Showcasing local artists with month long exhibits, the Lux also offers hands on workshops with each artist as the master teacher. Owner, Rebecca Strong, believes “art is the vein in which the soul can be expressed and healed”. She has developed a performance space in which all art forms are welcomed and exhibited, from the visual to dance to the written and spoken word. Pop into the Lux for an inspiring look around.
Date #4 – Indulge in Spa & Wellness
If relaxation is your goal, why not begin your day with a meditative Yoga class at Crescent Moon Yoga. After limbering up with a few downward dogs, saunter down the road holding hands to the LaConner Waterfront Day Spa where you can indulge yourselves and your senses with a couple’s massage. Enjoy each other while receiving a relaxation massage or spa treatment in the same room.
Curious how to give as well as receive a massage? At the Waterfront Spa they offer couples a class to learn to massage each other. To give the gift of love is to give the gift of wellness.
Date #5 – An Enchanting Walk or Hike
In addition to walking along the boardwalk which spans the entire downtown of La Conner, there are numerous trails to explore and nature to observe.
In the southwest corner of town, Pioneer park is a small park offering a forested retreat with a few short hiking trails. This wooded area houses picnic tables, a rustic bandstand for any kind of impromptu performance and a set of stairs. At the top of the stairs are two paths, the one to the left meanders downhill, under the bridge to finish at the waterfront park below. But if you take the path leading to the right, you will hike up to the top of the Rainbow Bridge for a breathtaking view of downtown La Conner.
However long your stay, you will make fond memories and experience the romance and allure of small town La Conner.