Mount Vernon

Brilliant blooms are the draw during Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Brilliant blooms are the draw during Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

Come for the tulips, stay for the town’s treasures

written by Ryn Pfeuffer

Welcome to Skagit Valley, where Mount Vernon takes center stage in April for the annual horticultural extravaganza—the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. As spring unfolds, millions of tulips burst forth in a kaleidoscope of colors across the fields, attracting visitors from near and far to witness this floral spectacle. But beyond the festival, there’s a wealth of activities to enjoy here, especially for those passionate about local agriculture and wildlife. With abundant farms, a charming downtown area boasting a children’s museum, breweries, a vibrant farmers market, multiple parks and a historic theater, Mount Vernon offers something for everyone to explore and enjoy.

Day 1


Start your day with a mouthwatering brunch experience at Martini Brunch, just a stone’s throw from downtown. Indulge in the signature honeycomb toast, topped with a generous scoop of honey butter and sprinkled with flaky salt. Or opt for The Big Sexy, a crispy chicken delight slathered in honey and garlic chili oil. Don’t miss out on Martini Brunch’s creative cocktails, like the sparkling mimosa with edible glitter. Check out their Instagram for weekly specials (

Find creative breakfast fare like the honeycomb toast at Martini Brunch.
Find creative breakfast fare like the honeycomb toast at Martini Brunch.

After brunch, head over to Schuh Farms for a delightful afternoon. Explore their offerings, from veggie and herb starts to freshly cut daffodils. During Tulip Fest, the Pickle Barn transforms into an art hub for local artists and handcrafters to showcase their latest creations. Say hello to the friendly goats and chickens as you indulge in freshly baked pies, bread, cookies, and berry milkshakes, or treat yourself to artisanal cheeses, jams and syrups. And mark your calendar for summer—the U-pick berry fields open up, offering strawberries, raspberries and tayberries.

As the evening sets in, unwind at The Town Pump, a funky dive bar known for its welcoming atmosphere and friendly locals. Sip a cold beer, savor a slice of artisan-quality pizza and soak in the laid-back vibes. Whether tapping your feet to live music or enjoying the company of good friends, it’s no surprise why this spot quickly becomes a regular haunt for many.

The Town Pump in Mount Vernon is a dive with great pizza and a welcoming atmosphere.
The Town Pump in Mount Vernon is a dive with great pizza and a welcoming atmosphere.

Finally, rest and recharge at the Tulip Inn or La Conner Channel Lodge, both offering comfortable accommodations for a peaceful night’s sleep. The La Conner Channel Lodge sits on the Swinomish Channel, just a short drive from Mount Vernon. For a more rustic experience, consider staying in the yurts and cabins at Thousand Trails in nearby Bow, resembling tiny homes straight out of HGTV, complete with all the essentials for a cozy stay.

Day 2


Soak up the small-town charm of downtown Mount Vernon by starting your day at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market in River Walk Park Plaza. The 2.3-mile paved pathway leads behind downtown Mount Vernon and trails alongside the riverside. Here, you’ll discover a vibrant tapestry of local delights, from farm-fresh produce and fragrant herbs to colorful cut flowers and artisanal crafts. Engage with friendly vendors, sample local cheese and treat yourself to handmade soaps and jewelry. With something for everyone, including coffee and ready-to-eat foods, this bustling market is a must-visit from May to October, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Convenient parking along Main Street also ensures easy access to this community event.

Beautiful sunsets at Mount Vernon.
Beautiful sunsets at Mount Vernon.

After the market, indulge in the signature all-day breakfast dish at Calico Cupboard Café & Bakery: the Skagit Hash, featuring a flavorful medley of red baby potatoes, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, onion, crushed red pepper flakes, feta and mozzarella cheese.

Then, make your way to the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. This informative center offers free admission and provides a glimpse into the diverse wildlife of the coastal area where the Salish Sea meets Skagit Valley. Dive into interactive aquarium displays and educational exhibits, which examine local ecology and the crucial role of intertidal mudflats in the area’s environment and economy. Afterward, venture to the Upland Interpretive Trail, winding through the surrounding forest and fields, or explore the nearby beaches and shore trails for more natural beauty.

Bay View State Park with views of Padilla Bay.
Bay View State Park with views of Padilla Bay.

End your day with a leisurely picnic at Bay View State Park, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the bay. (Be sure to pick up provisions earlier at Skagit Valley Co-op in Mount Vernon.) Take a leisurely walk along the beach and soak in the sunset while reflecting on the day’s adventures. Keep an eye out for ducks, eagles, shorebirds, peregrine falcons, harbor seals and river otters, if you’re lucky.

Day 3


Start your day amid nature’s vibrant hues at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Thanks to the unique microclimate of the Skagit Valley, characterized by mild winters and abundant rainfall, you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking displays of tulips in the United States. While the official festival dates span from April 1 to 30, some fields open as early as March 30 and extend their blooming season until May 6, contingent upon weather conditions and bloom progress. Like the cherry blossom festivals in Japan and Washington, D.C., the timing of the blooms is dictated by nature’s whims.

Wander through fields of tulips at four prominent locations: RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town, Garden Rosalyn and Tulip Valley Farms, with sunrise and sunset offering optimal lighting for photography enthusiasts. Remember to dress in layers and don waterproof boots to navigate muddy areas, as spring weather can be unpredictable. Additionally, consider buying tickets in advance, especially on weekends when crowds tend to be larger. For a more intimate experience, plan your visit on a weekday when the fields are less crowded. Whether you’re an avid photographer or simply revel in the beauty of nature, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival promises an unforgettable experience.



Calico Cupboard Café & Bakery

Martini Brunch

Schuh Farms

Skagit Valley Co-op

The Town Pump


La Conner Channel Lodge

Thousand Trails Mount Vernon

Tulip Inn


Bay View State Park

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Leave a Reply