Bamboo and berries thrive in Redmond and Snoqualmie Valley
Arching high over a bark path, bamboo fronds make lace ofthe early-summer sun. The tall groves at Redmond's Bamboo Gardensof Washington not only are serenely elegant, they also illustratethe variety this highly specialized grass can achieve. The bamboois just one highlight of a day trip to Redmond and the SnoqualmieValley east of Seattle.
Set in a pastoral valley just five minutes east of downtownRedmond, BambooGardens (196th Ave. N.E. at State 202 east; 425/868-5166) is anursery that welcomes visitors to simply stroll its quiet paths,marveling at timber bamboos that can soar upward of 50 feet.
Bamboo's not the only thing going (or growing) in Redmond. The RedmondSaturday Market (9-3 Sat; 7730 Leary Way, on the northwestcorner of the Redmond Town Center; 425/556-0636) offers everythingfrom begonias to canned smoked tuna. And any day of the week, youcan get fresh-roasted coffee beans and homemade pastries atVictor's Coffee (7993 Gilman St.; 425/ 881-6451), a much-lovedcoffee shop with Dada-esque tables and chairs.
If you want to explore more, a 15-minute drive farther eastbrings you to the Snoqualmie Valley town of Carnation, where dairypastures surround U-pick farms. RemlingerFarms (32610 N.E. 32nd St.; 425/333-4135) is the biggest andbest known of these and is a fun place to pick your ownstrawberries ― they usually ripen in early June.
Before you leave Carnation, stretch your legs on a portion ofthe Snoqualmie Valley Trail, an old railroad grade that covers atotal of 31 miles from Cedar Falls to Duvall. The trail winds upfrom the valley floor past quiet fields and into hillside alder andmaple woods (access at Nick Loutsis Park, corner of Entwistle St.and Milwaukee Ave.; www.metrokc.gov/parks or206/296-8687 for trail information). Any part of it makes a nicestroll through native Northwest woods that, like the bamboo, lookespecially ethereal in the sunshine.
FROM SEATTLE ...
Redmond is 15 miles east of Seattle on State 520. Carnation is10 miles from Redmond; take State 202 east, turn left on N.E. ToltHill Rd., then left again on State 203. For more information,contact the GreaterRedmond Chamber of Commerce (425/885-4014) or the City ofCarnation.