Insider Guide: Seattle

Our travel editors' must-see places to stay, eat, and play around Emerald City

Take in tulip season in Skagit Valley, WA

Fields of blooming tulips beckon you to this corner of northern Washington come spring, when acres of multi-colored fields beg for some camera time

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Blooms to buy: The valley is full of cut-flower stands, but to buy potted spring bulbs for your own garden (and waves of spring-flowering perennials that pair well with them), stop at Christianson’s Nursery & Greenhouse.

You can picnic on benches scattered around the 1888 schoolhouse—and duck inside if it starts to drizzle. 15806 Best Rd., Mt. Vernon; 360/466-3821.

It’s better by bike: Skip the bus tours and ditch your car. The best way to experience the tulip fest is by bike: no crowded pullouts, no circling for parking. Rent a tandem, road bike, or electric-assist two-wheeler from Skagit Cycle Center (from $40 per day; 1704 S. Burlington Blvd., Burlington; 360/757-7910). Or book a fully supported 12- to 15-mile morning ride with Tulip Country Bike Tours ($75, including lunch; reservations required).

Lunch like a local: While the tourists wait outside Seeds Bistro ($$; 623 Morris St., La Conner; 360/466-3280), slide easily into a table at La Conner Fruit & Produce Market ($; 116 S. First St., La Conner; 360/466-3018). Or grab a BBQ beef sandwich and sweet-potato fries to go, for a picnic in a pretty field. Homemade cookies too.

Prints by a pro: If your own snapshots are, well, just that, buy a framed, fine-art print from the Connie Coleman Photography Gallery. A remarkable photographer whose images have appeared in Sunset, Coleman has captured some of the best-ever Skagit Valley landscapes, both in and out of bloom. 609 S. First St. (inside Skagit River Traders), La Conner; 360/466-9197.

Next: Must-stop: La Conner



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