The Chuckanut Drive (From Bow Edison to Fairhaven) Washington – A Photo Essay

Sunday was a charming Autumn day with blue skies and ideal temperature, warm enough for just a sweater.  My sister and I decided to head into Washington state for the day and take the trip along the famous Chuckanut Drive; a winding road from Bow Edison, up a mountain pass and into Fairhaven in Bellingham. With stunning views of the Pacific ocean and San Juan Islands, we couldn’t have picked a better day.  I would recommend taking this trip especially in the Fall when the trees are dressed in crimson.

 Only 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver, we started in Bow Edison. This tiny, very funky town with one road in and out,  is surrounded by farmland yet has some really interesting shops. Housed each in buildings dating from the early 1900’s,  Edison boasts some impressive coffee shops, the BreadFarm bakery that supplies their bread and delicious cookies not only locally but throughout the state. There’s the Lucky Dumpster (a quirky gift shop), a very unique Antique store filled with everything from eerie saint statues rescued from old churches to high end colognes and the Longhorn Saloon, the local watering hole for bikers stopping in Edison to stretch their legs (and enjoy a pint). Then there’s Tweets Cafe, a farm to table style restaurant serving great brunch and gourmet coffee and teas. This is where we ate.

After our brunch of organic fare the car was toasty warm from sitting in the sun.  We headed out along Old Bowhill Road then north following the sign to the Chuckanut Drive.  Pretty soon after you see the mountain ahead, thick with trees painted gold and burnt orange. That’s where we were headed. The road climbs gently, hugging the side of the rocky hill with only one lane each way. The forest canopy above so thick at times it feels you’re driving through a tunnel, the sun barely breaking through. There are a few viewing stops along the way. The ocean sparkling in the sunlight below the cliffs and the San Juan Islands in the distance, a darker shade of cobalt than the water. We sat happy under the sunlight breathing in the cool salty air.

And so continued our drive which took just under 30 minutes, passing the Oyster Bar on Chuckanut and the Taylor Shellfish Farms where you can buy your own fresh oysters, clams and mussels to take home. Once you start seeing more houses you know you’re approaching Fairhaven;  a district of Bellingham with an old time feel. Brick buildings, cobblestoned alleys, cozy shop windows and sailboats moored in the bay.  We stopped for photos at the Fairhaven  Village bus: an British style double decker that’s been converted into a Fish & Chips stand. We had coffee at Tony’s seated next to the warm wood stove watching the many visiting tourists outside snapping photos. It was a great day.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with us. Until the next one!




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