The trip began with a flight from San Jose to Seattle. We stopped in Woodinville for lunch, went wine tasting and then on to La Conner. Then drove to Lake Whatcom in Bellingham where we stayed in an apartment on the Lake. Next day we walked on the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor and spent the day exploring the island. Drove to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island for dinner and then back to Lake Whatcom. The next day we went to the Farmers Market in Bellingham, explored Fairhaven and then drove up to Birch Bay and then on to Semeahmoo Spit. We drove back to Lake Whatcom and watched the sunset. The last day we drove to Mt. Baker and spent the day hiking and exploring various areas in the Park. Our last day we drove to Seattle to see the new Chihuly gallery at Seattle Center took the monorail to downtown and went to Pikes Place Market. We then went to Ballard and Ray’s Boathouse for a sunset dinner. Spent the night in a hotel near the airport and left early the next morning for home.
MORE DETAILS OF THE TRIP
We have been to many areas in Washington but had not explored the Mt Baker area or Bellingham. My husband has Celiac disease so we plan around restaurants which offer gluten free items. We drove from the airport to Woodinville for lunch at the Woodinville Café. We had an omelet which was gluten free. There are many wineries in the area and we stopped at Novelty Hill /Januik. This has a modern tasting room and lovely wines. We wanted to stop at JM Cellars but they are only open on the weekend. Then we drove over to La Connor, stopping along the way to buy Cherries and fresh raspberries at the road side stand. We did stop to have locally made ice cream which was gluten free and absolutely wonderful. We had been in La Connor a few years ago for the Tulip festival which is marvelous. This time it was much quieter and we enjoyed checking out the shops, admiring the wonderful glass and wood art, and enjoying the lovely architecture. We then drove onto Bellingham. It is easier for us to stay in apartments so that we can control the food issue so we used VRBO and found a small apartment on Lake Whatcom that was very convenient and right on the lake. The nearby Fred Meyer’s grocery had a section of gluten-free items which made it easy for us to pick up snacks, and the deli meats were marked gluten free so we could pack sandwiches. Our first night we ate out at Anthony’s which had a great view of the marina and also had a gluten-free menu. The food was fine and the casual atmosphere was very pleasant.
The next day we decided to walk onto the Ferry to Friday Harbor. In hindsight, I would have preferred to get up an hour earlier and get in line and drive the car on. Although it is cheaper to walk on, we ended up buying bus passes to see the other parts of the island. The bus was easy to use and got us most of the places we wanted to see, but the bus schedule restricted our choices. There were restaurants that advertised as gluten-free, but we opted to go to the market and buy items for a picnic. There were many choices that were listed gluten-free in the deli and we were very happy with our lunch. Took the bus to Lime Kiln Point State Park for our picnic and watched the Orca whales in the water. It was just spectacular. Then we went back to Friday Harbor, picked up the bus and went to Roche Harbor. It was lovely but small and we would have liked to have gone to the nearby Lavender Farm but it was difficult with the bus schedule. Took the bus back to Friday Harbor.
We took the ferry back to Anacortes and drove to Deception Pass Bridge and stopped to take pictures on the bridge. We have done this before but the view of the islands and the water is just beautiful and worth a repeat trip. We drove to Oak Harbor and had dinner at Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway. We stopped here because it was on the Urban spoon gluten-free friendly list. This was a spectacular restaurant. Although there is not really a view, it is charming and every inviting. The food was exceptional, the service was great and there were gluten-free choices for my husband. I highly recommend this restaurant.
The next day we drove down to the Farmers Market in Bellingham. What a fun quirky place to spend some time. The produce looked great and we did buy some, there were lots of handmade items and specialty booths. There was even a gluten-free bakery stand with wonderful cookies and other items. The regular cupcake stand had great cupcakes. There are a wide variety of food stands and some with gluten free menu items. Stopped and explored the historic Fairhaven area nearby. We then drove on to Ferndale and then to Birch Bay State Park. The beach is very rocky and there is a lot of sea life in the water, but we hadn’t planned to go in so we didn’t stay very long. But it is a nice park and looks like a great place for families. Drove up to Sameahmoo Parkway, which ends on a spit of land. We walked on the beach and looked across the water at Canada. We drove back to the apartment, had leisurely dinner at the lake edge and watched the sun set.
The next day we packed a picnic lunch and drove to Mt. Baker and spent the day hiking on some of the easier trails, driving to some of the wonderful scenic spots and just generally enjoying the beauty of the place. We drove back to the apartment for another wonderful sunset dinner lakeside.
We left Bellingham the next day and drove the Chuckanut Drive (HWY 11) back towards Burlington We probably should have driven it up to Bellingham our first day. There are a lot of places to stop and wonderful locally-made cheeses to sample but we wanted to get to Seattle.
We parked near Seattle Center. The new Chihuly Glass museum is really a special place. We loved the exhibits and the garden shows off the glass sculptures. We took the monorail to the downtown area and walked down to Pikes Place Market. Took the monorail back to Seattle Center, picked up the car and drove to Ballard to Ray’s Boathouse for dinner. The menu has gluten-free designations next to the menu items. It is expensive and the food is good but the window seat watching the sun set, the geese in the water, the kayakers, and the sail boats makes it a great place. We had wonderful service and a nice wine that was reasonably priced. We have been there before and find the fresh fish specials tend to be the best choice on the menu.
We dropped off the rental car, took the shuttle back to the airport and picked up the Double-Tree Hotel shuttle. We got a very reasonably priced large room on Hotwire. It was a wonderful place to stay for the night and is only 5 minutes from the front door to the airport.
The weather in early July was spectacular. I would recommend going to a visitor center and picking up some of the maps. The driving map for Hwy 542 for Mt. Baker was very detailed and identified places to stop on the way up. The Chuckanut Drive (Hwy 11) map was also detailed and points out the specialty places along the way. The whale watching boats were highly recommended but we decided not to do it this trip. Lake Whatcom was a fun place to stay and is perfect for swimming, boating and kayaks. Bellingham is only an hour away from Canada.
It was a fun and relaxing trip. This is a beautiful, quiet and peaceful area of Washington and has a lot of places to explore without crowds of people.