I love it when I stumble upon a place I’ve never been that not only meets, but exceeds my expectations. Recently, my daughter was on a multi-day model shoot in Mount Vernon, Washington. We’d never been there before, so I wasn’t expecting much. On the map, it looked like a tiny little farming community that probably wasn’t going to offer any major surprises.
Boy was I wrong.
I was floored by this charming little town and how much it did have to offer—especially a picky traveler like myself. The picturesque town features several fantastic, gluten-free and vegan friendly restaurants, a bustling health foods store, and one of the most beautiful nurseries I’ve ever visited. There’s also plenty of the usual amenities—like a Walmart Supercenter and several RV parks—you’d hope to have access to when traveling through. If time is on your side, you might want to park it for a few nights. You’ll be glad you did.
Where to eat: The Trumpeter Public House, located at 416 Myrtle Street, has an extensive gluten-free menu, including fish and chips and the ridiculously tasty Black Thorn Cider. I was blown away by their original, made in-house, soy-free veggie burger.
Where to play: Hillcrest Park, located at 1717 South 13th Street, is a great little place to take your whole group. The park features picnic shelters, a playground, walking paths, and a grassy play area.
What to do: This bustling little country town’s claim to fame is the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival held every spring. The month of April is apparently the time to visit as there are literally hundreds of acres of tulips in bloom.
What to do: Visit Christianson’s Nursery and Greenhouse located at 15806 Best Road in Mt. Vernon. It is seriously the quaintest nursery I’ve ever visited. In addition to a vast array of gorgeous plants for sale and quaint gifts for sale, the nursery also has a restored 1888 schoolhouse on the property.
Where to eat: My favorite breakfast café is the Calico Cupboard, located at 121-B Freeway Drive, which offers a wide variety of gluten-free options in a charming, old world style setting. The menu features hearty scrambles and gluten-free French toast and pancakes. The children’s menu is reasonably priced and also offers gluten-free options.
Where to shop: The Skagit Valley Food Co-op, located at 202 South First Street, is pretty impressive for a small town. The co-op is chock full of healthy items like organic produce, wine and beer and a large wellness department. The store also features a deli.