Garden of Delights
Arching high over a bark path, bamboo fronds make lace of the early-summer sun. The tall groves at Redmond’s Bamboo Gardens of Washington not only are serenely elegant, they also illustrate the variety this highly specialized grass can achieve. The bamboo is just one highlight of a day trip to Redmond and the Snoqualmie Valley east of Seattle.
Set in a pastoral valley just five minutes east of downtown Redmond, Bamboo Gardens (196th Ave. N.E. at State 202 east; 425/868-5166) is a nursery 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 Redmond Saturday Market (9–3 Sat; 7730 Leary Way, on the northwest corner of the Redmond Town Center; 425/556-0636) offers everything from begonias to canned smoked tuna. And any day of the week, you can get fresh-roasted coffee beans and homemade pastries at Victor’s Coffee (7993 Gilman St.; 425/ 881-6451), a much-loved coffee shop with Dada-esque tables and chairs.
If you want to explore more, a 15-minute drive farther east brings you to the Snoqualmie Valley town of Carnation, where dairy pastures surround U-pick farms. Remlinger Farms (32610 N.E. 32nd St.; 425/333-4135) is the biggest and best known of these and is a fun place to pick your own strawberries―they usually ripen in early June.
Before you leave Carnation, stretch your legs on a portion of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, an old railroad grade that covers a total of 31 miles from Cedar Falls to Duvall. The trail winds up from the valley floor past quiet fields and into hillside alder and maple woods (access at Nick Loutsis Park, corner of Entwistle St. and Milwaukee Ave.; www.metrokc.gov/parks or 206/296-8687 for trail information). Any part of it makes a nice stroll through native Northwest woods that, like the bamboo, look especially ethereal in the sunshine.
FROM SEATTLE …
Redmond is 15 miles east of Seattle on State 520. Carnation is 10 miles from Redmond; take State 202 east, turn left on N.E. Tolt Hill Rd., then left again on State 203. For more information, contact the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce (425/885-4014) or the City of Carnation.