One of my favorite past-times is to just get in the car and go, with no plans, no direction, and only the anticipation of what the day may bring forth. One of my favorite discoveries during one of these spontaneous road trips was the little town of La Conner, Washington.
This old mill town, established during the Victorian era, sits quietly on a canal, with tree lined streets full of beautiful old houses that appear to have remained the same since their birth in the late 1800′s. I have always had a fascination with the Victorian time period, so naturally, being in this little time warped town had me frolicking around like a kid in a candy store.
La Conner has a population of around 1000, and the town itself only covers a span of about a mile. It is easy to park your car and see the entire town on foot within less than an hour. There are cafes and shops, and many quaint little restaurants on the canal.
Located West of I-5, about 40 minutes North of Seattle, the drive to La Conner is as gorgeous and scenic as it gets. In the Spring, you wind through miles of colorful tulip fields, and old farmhouses with authentic, rustic barns. In the fall, you see pumpkin patches, surrounded by orange and red leaves covering the tree-lined rolling hills.
One of my favorite discoveries in La Conner was a place called Nasty Jack’s Antiques. This little diamond in the rough is full of old collectibles, furniture, clothes, and magazines. Since I was already feeling like I had taken a time machine back to the Victorian era, I found it suitable to wander through many rooms full of Victorian items.
Far in the back, there was an old hutch full of old magazines, dating back to the 1800′s. “The Ladies Home Journal,” a popular women’s magazine (still today), was fascinating to flip through and read. Especially the advertisements for fashion and household products in the 1800′s.
I found and purchased old ”Life” and “Family Circle” Magazines from each member of my family’s birth month and year. These magazines have been great conversation pieces at birthdays and have made great gifts. Within them, there are ads for popular products and interiors. It amazes me how many of the fashion and interior design styles are back in full circle.
One little known fact about La Conner is that Tom Robbins, author of many award winning novels, including “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” which was later made into a movie, currently resides there. His house is distinctly different from all of the traditional Victorian homes. He re-faced an old San Francisco Palladian style Victorian into something more quirky and playful like himself.
A typical home in La Conner- beautiful Victorian.
Tom Robbin's Playful Exterior.
There are many reasons to see La Conner, Washington. These are just a few of my favorite memories there. If you ever get the itch to step back in time, this would be a great place to try. You will feel the overwhelming historical energy, as though you’ve been there before.