I called this "Over the Rainbow" Expedition, because if it had not been for the word "rainbow" and an Internet search engine, I likely would never known about this charming village in the Pacific Northwest, that I will describe visiting, in this blog post. In January, 2010, I wrote a blog about the Rainbow Arch Bridge in Cotter, Arkansas. Around that time, a person interested in promoting tourism to see the Rainbow Bridge pictured in this photo, typed "Rainbow Bridge" into her search engine, to see how many times her town's bridge would be mentioned. That Internet search resulted in my blog about the Cotter Rainbow Bridge coming up on her computer. She contacted me, and said I REALLY needed to come to La Conner, Washington, to see THEIR version of a rainbow bridge!
When I started looking into the location of La Conner, Washington, I discovered there are many ways to arrive in that area of the Puget Sound. One of these is by sea plane, as shown in this photograph. I passed on that option, since luggage is severely limited on such a small plane!
Likewise, some people may come by boat. In fact, the Puget Sound area has one of the highest ratio of "boats per person" of anywhere in the USA! This photo shows the public launch ramp below the Rainbow Bridge. There was a picnic table there, so my friend and I had great lunch-time entertainment, as we watched two men pull their boat out of the water. I told my friend, that such boat/people watching at launch ramps in the Ozarks, is about the best entertainment you can get (without an admission ticket), and this location proved to be no exception. As the guys were pulling the boat out of the water, it mysteriously popped off the trailer hitch, and was precariously perched on the steep launch ramp, with just a small chain tying it to the rear bumper of the truck. Seeing the locals solve this dilemma was fascinating!
Another way to get to La Conner, Washington, is by bicycle, as shown in this photograph. In fact, there is a big promotion going on this week for the Boneshaker Bicycle Festival, scheduled for October 26 - 27 ( www.boneshakerbikefest.com ).
And of course, with my history of motorcycle riding across the United States, I was not surprised to see that motorcycle enthusiasts have also discovered this picturesque village. Many of these riders drive across the border from Canada, since it is so close.
La Conner is not a "newcomer" to the Pacific Northwest culture. The fishing port dates back to the founding of a trading post in 1868. This cabin, dated just a year later in 1869, is reminder of their past from over a century ago.
In the more recent past, La Conner has become known as one of the Northwest's favorite artists communities. It is home to a museum that has examples of the style of visual art they are famous for. For 28 years, this small community of less than 1,000 population, has sponsored the Arts Alive! festival ( www.lovelaconner.com/arts-alive/ ). This year's event is scheduled for November 2, 3, 4.
Besides having a history as a fishing village, as with most old communities in the Northwest, the timber industry was a major player. My friend, Jan, stands in front of a "slice of timber history" that is on display in a small park along the La Conner main street. It was actually Jan who made my "dream" of visiting La Conner a reality. She told me that years earlier, she had worked in La Conner, and was interested in accompanying me on a trip there, so she could visit it again. We made our trip last month, and true to small-town reputations, Jan bumped into a friend she had worked with decades earlier! In fact, that unexpected and fortuitous reunion, could be the subject of another blog, I have titled in my mind as "Finding Grace in La Conner"!
When Jan and I visited, the annual Quilt Walk was taking place. For this event, creative quilters had their designs on display at various retail establishments throughout the town.
There are many dining options available in La Conner. With a day as beautiful as it was when we visited, there is nothing like an outside deck, overlooking the water and the mountains, to bring out the true "flavor" of a local cuisine.
The Calico Cupboard is a local favorite, and their popularity has allowed them to also open locations outside La Conner.
The main street was aglow with brightly colored flowers, storefronts, and shoppers, on the weekend I was there. This scene will change in a few days, when the annual October 31 Halloween parade is held on this street. For that event, participants and merchants dress up in costumes, and treats are handed out to the little ones.
Not surprisingly, there are numerous art studios and galleries available for visitors. Often, the artist who did the work, is present in the shop, to comment on their creations.
Just across the channel from La Conner is the Swinomish Indian Reservation, established in 1855. These placards describe how life was in the past for the Native Americans that populate the area.
These pavilions, built in the style of many Northwest Native American tribal structures, provide shelter for community events and visitors strolling.
The pavilions have wonderful wooden roofs that are a work of art , in and of themselves! Plus, a trip across Rainbow Bridge to visit them, gives you a good view of the marina area on the opposite side of the channel.
The festivals that this area is MOST famous for is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, held each spring. One of the businesses we visited had a collection of the official colorful posters from past events framed, and hung throughout their facility. I am thankful that an Internet search engine looking for the word "rainbow" planted the seed for me to get to visit La Conner, Washington. Likewise, I am thankful for the concordance in my Bible that tells me Genesis 9:13 has God's promise as follows: "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." If you would like to start planning your "Over the Rainbow" expedition to this beautiful area, just log on to www.laconnerchamber.com , for a journey that will give you miles of smiles! Tricia