Monday, April 7, 2014

A Great Road Trip To Anacortes, Edison & Tulip Town

Today we found ourselves wanting to hit the road again after a few weeks for downtime. We had a few sick weekends, then moving prep, then moving and we were just ready to go somewhere. We knew it was a bit early for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, but we headed towards the Skagit Valley anyways.
About half way up, we noticed the weather that was supposed to hold until afternoon, was beginning to turn a bit. We changed plans and headed to Anacortes instead of stopping at Tulip Town.
We were somewhat familiar with Anacortes from previous road trips up Highway 20, but we decided to take Commercial Avenue on foot and see what was hiding in this little gem of a town. We found some adorable consignment and second hand shops, enough great places to eat to stay for a week and never hit the same place twice and even a few art galleries and shows that would be worth taking in.
We stopped for lunch at Girl’d Cheese, this little hole in the wall – well actually more of a window in the wall – place that has soup and grilled cheese Tuesday through Saturday around lunch time.
I took on the “Katie” which was a Grilled Mac N’ Cheese with bacon. I also had a cup of their pork chili verde and one of the tartest pickles I’ve had in a while. Everyone else’s food was equally delicious. I overheard the chef, and I am going to stick to the term chef for anyone that can do this to a grilled cheese sandwich, mention that the bread was baked fresh in Edison at the BreadFarm bakery.
I wanted to include this last image because it really shows how “hole in the wall” Girl’d Cheese is. The blue awning in the middle of the image is the place where you order the sandwiches. It’s a block off of Commercial, so don’t miss it!
As we left Anacortes, I did my usual stop at the Donut House. It’s this purple house on the west side of Commercial that has some of the biggest donuts on the planet. They are also some of the richest you will ever taste.
This was the Raspberry Cream Cheese Bowtie that I grabbed leaving town. As you can see, they spare no expense on these $2.50 donuts. Yes, they are pricey, but they are worth every penny as the flavors are stunning.
Since we now had bread on our brains after that amazing sandwich, we headed over to Edison, which was a short trip from Anacortes. Our goal was to find this BreadFarm bakery and get something to take home. Strangely enough, we happened to pull in to Edison on the busiest day of the year for the town. It was the Skagit Valley Historical Society’s Home Tour. After struggling a bit to find a parking spot, we hopped out of the car and headed in to the BreadFarm.
The BreadFarm is a unique experience as you walk in to a bread counter, much like you would find at a local bakery, but that’s where the similarities ended. Directly behind the counter were the bakers making the loaves of bread for all to see. This was one of the coolest bakeries I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.
Of course, I would be sad if I didn’t mention all the great merchandise they had here too. Even bread makers can cash in on a bit of the Seahawks success with their Yeast Mode t-shirts. Brilliant stuff right there! As we finished wandering the cute town of Edison, we decided to give the flowers a try and headed towards Tulip Town.
The drive down from Edison to Tulip Town was gray and wet. We had changes of shoes and socks with us, so the weather wasn’t going to be a set back. In fact, the wet weather and the fact that they hadn’t said there was much color yet in the fields might make for a much less busy visit.
We arrived at Tulip Town to find a somewhat empty parking lot. That’s usually a good sign that we will get right to the fields and not have a giant crowd waiting to see the colors. The question was, how much color would there be?
While the flowers weren’t opening yet, the brilliant colors were downright perfect. The whites, pinks, reds, oranges and purples made it look like the grounds were painted and not planted. As you can see from the image above, the crowds were pretty non-existent as well. It was just about a perfect day to hit the festival.
After a quick groupie in front of the fields, we took a quick walk around the larger field to snag some shots of the gorgeous colors. With the smaller crowds, there was a great opportunity to get Evie to head in to the rows just a bit further than usual.
It was chances like this that produced some amazing photos with her.
We also turned her loose with a Nokia Lumia 920 to take some of her own photos of the day. Last year she shot some amazing photos with the Kodak point and shoot we let her use. Unfortunately, the last 10 minutes of the day last year ended with her dropping said Kodak, so the Lumia was a much better choice for this year.
After snagging a few family shots in the different colored flowers, we moved on around the farm to the main building.
Of course, Evie had to have her photo taken in the tulip display.
After we made it inside, it was time for face painting, and taking some images of the show flowers that they had inside. Below is a slideshow of the images that I took with my Nokia Lumia 925 of those gorgeous show flowers.
Overall, the day was a total blast. It was nice to get a day away from Monroe, even if it was raining and cold. It was a great distraction and a good break from the unpacking that went along with moving. For a closing shot, make sure to watch for the flags at Tulip Town as you enter, you might get lucky and have a bit of a breeze that will be blowing the right way to pull this shot off correctly. I didn’t, but you just might!
To close out, I wanted to show the power of what a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone can do with your trip. I took this shot at Tulip Town with my Lumia 925 and edited it in Fhotoroom for Windows Phone. Here was my finished result…

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