Once we arrived in the Skagit Valley in Washington, we quickly noted that there is ALOT to do in this area. Before we headed over to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival to photograph the tulip farms, our local photographer host Valerie Henschel of Step Ahead Photos gave us some information about a couple of things we need to do while up in this area. A cute little red barn reflecting in a pond, a Rhododeron farm, lunch at a unique local spot and another waterfall. I have to say, there is SO MUCH TO DO IN THIS AREA, it could be a week’s vacation in itself. Mountains, an ocean, canals, rivers, National Parks, State Parks, charming coastal towns, big cities and agrotourism galore!!!
In order to get where we wanted to photograph today, we had to take a Ferry ride across Puget Sound. Taking a ferry, where you drive your vehicle onto the deck of a boat and ride across the water, and drive off the boat was a first for me. I have taken a Ferry to Mackinaw Island in Michigan and a Ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen in Mexico, but those you don’t drive your car onto. It was rather fascinating that some 50 to 75 cars and trucks of all sizes, including an 18-wheeler that was directly behind us on the boat, drove onto this ferry and were transported across the water AND WE DIDN’T SINK LIKE A ROCK! I also have to say, it was quite a pleasant journey. The Ferry from Edmonds to Kingston Washington was like a well oiled machine. The whole process was painless, very little waiting and an overall great experience. Kudos to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Once the Ferry dropped us off at the other side of Puget Sound, we set off for our destination of Brinnon, Washington to find this little gem we were told about by our local host. The drive was uneventful, with the exception of all the logging of forests in this area. Huge clear cuts, where logging operations have come through and cut down entire hillsides of very large trees. I am guessing that many of these trees that have been sacrificed for commercial purposes had to be at least 100 years old or more. I understand the industry, but it doesn’t mean I like it. Very sad to me to pass these areas along our travels, rather upsetting.
Anyone who knows me, knows that photographing barns and old homesteads is one of my favorite subjects to photograph. I was told about this barn several years ago, after several other photographer friends came back from a trip to the Pacific Northwest and posted these gorgeous images of this gem! It wasn’t hard to find, it was directly on the Pacific Coast Highway / Highway 101 as you arrive in Brinnon. We stopped for a bit to snap the images we wanted of this very picturesque scene, and were ready to head to the Rhododendron farm. As we pulled out onto the highway, I spotted a Bald Eagle sitting not far off the road in the water, looking for his lunch. There were also several Great Blue Herons keeping a close eye on what the Eagle was doing. We sat there for a few minutes hoping to see the Eagle catch something to eat, but no lunch action for us.
Red, Red and More Red
Not far down the road from the little red barn by the pond was a Rhododendron farm. Until this trip I have never in my life seen a Rhododendron! Oregon and Washington are LOADED with them and in the spring they are putting on quite the show! Red flowers like you have never seen before in your life. Bushes and trees filled with this gorgeous rich red color!! When we entered the Rhododendron farm, we quickly noted that red isn’t the only color this beauties come it! Red, whites, pinks, purples, oranges and yellows…this place was SIMPLY STUNNING! With our cameras in hand, we spent several hours wandering around the farm capturing the stunning colors of these bushes and other plants at the farm/gardens!
Lunch at Geoduck’s
After we spent a couple of hours photographing in the gardens, our Washington host recommended Geoduck’s Tavern in Brinnon for lunch. COOL PLACE! It was an old rustic lodge type of place, complete with moose, elk, deer and bear heads hanging on the wall. The burgers were OUTSTANDING and so were the sweet potato fries! If you are ever in the area, be sure to stop in and have a burger. When you are leaving be sure to check out the Red Neck Wind Chimes on the back of the door, HILARIOUS!
Time to Head Back
After we finished lunch, we had one more stop before we took the Ferry back across Puget Sound. Brinnon Falls (Rocky Brook Falls) is a large waterfall in the area, that is very easy to get to and not too far off the road. It came highly recommended by our host, unfortunately just as we arrived at the trail, it started to pour rain and hail. So we didn’t get a chance to see or photograph it. But click the link above and check it out, definitely worth the stop!
Cheers from Behind the Camera,