Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Destination weddings have a way of taking me to the Pacific Northwest. A few years ago my cousin’s wedding on Lopez Island in Washington gave me a chance to explore Vancouver and the beautiful San Juans. This time around it was a destination wedding in La Conner, Washington that brought me back to the region.
After spending two great days with my relatives in Seattle, I traveled up north to La Conner with a fellow wedding guest. The hour-and-a-half drive took us through everything from coastal land to farmland, complete with roadside vegetable stands and pretty wooden churches.
We arrived in La Conner in the early afternoon, and I checked into my accommodation, Hotel Planter. The historic hotel was conveniently located right on 1st Street, the small town’s main shopping strip. My room was a good size and had floral decor and a spacious bathroom. The window overlooked a pretty courtyard with a hot tub and garden.
Once I was situated, I set off to explore La Conner. The town was right on the Swinomish Channel, and many of the shops and restaurants on 1st Street had pretty waterfront terraces. One such place was Hellems Vineyard wine shop. After perusing the selection of regional reds, I sat down outside with a glass of Washington Cabernet Sauvignon and a charcuterie plate. It was a perfect lunch on the water.
After eating I window-shopped at some of the many antique stores and boutiques in La Conner. The sheer number of antique shops in the town amazed me, and I started to wonder if it could win an award for most antiques per capita in the country.
At 3pm, I boarded a shuttle to my friend’s wedding. The bus took the guests to Juntunen Gardens in nearby Mount Vernon for the ceremony and reception.
The gardens were gorgeous, and the weather perfect for an outdoor ceremony. We were greeted with peach iced tea and sat surrounded by foliage and flowers until the wedding began.
The ceremony was beautiful, and just the right length. Afterwards we were offered mint juleps as we made our way through the hedgerows to the reception area. There we enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and dancing under the stars.
The next morning we all met for a post-wedding brunch at the Wild Iris Inn in La Conner. I ate more than I needed to, and then said farewell to the bride and groom before walking around the town again.
Most of my time was spent window-shopping at stores selling everything from baked goods to artisanal olive oil. At the end of the street I found a small waterfront park. I sat there for an hour reading a book in the sunshine while a harbor seal swam in circles around the passing boats.
Soon it was time to leave La Conner for the next location on my Pacific Northwest journey. This time I would be going back to the islands off the coast, but instead of stopping at Lopez Island like I did for my cousin’s wedding, I was heading to Canada’s Gulf Islands. Who knew destination weddings in Washington could start so many travel adventures!