Why Edison, Washington, Is the Food- and Art-Filled Getaway You Need

Beers and baked goods made from farm-sourced ingredients, a world-class collection of art galleries, and picturesque views of Samish Bay are a few of the reasons to visit this tiny Pacific Northwest town.

Why Edison, Washington, Is the Food- and Art-Filled Getaway You Need

Chuckanut Drive, just north of Edison, reveals scenic views of Samish Bay and Skagit Valley.

Photo by Cascade Creatives

Even if you live in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a chance the tiny town of Edison, Washington—just 90 miles north of Seattle—has yet to make it on your radar. However, the one-road town, tucked between Samish Bay and miles of Skagit Valley farmland, is brimming with reasons to visit: a collection of well-curated art galleries and shops, an abundance of nearby farm stands to explore, and more than a couple top-notch places to eat and drink—many of which source ingredients from nearby.

Whether you’ve heard of ol’ Edison or not, here’s why you should set your sights on this eclectic town for your next weekend getaway from Seattle, along with things to do, places to stay, and where to eat.

Where to stay in Edison

The Smith and Vallee Gallery Guest House is artist decorated, overlooks Samish Bay, and is centrally located.

The Smith and Vallee Gallery Guest House is artist decorated, overlooks Samish Bay, and is centrally located.

Courtesy of Airbnb

While there are no hotels in Edison proper, there are a handful of cozy vacation rentals to choose from in and around town.

Smith and Vallee Airbnbs

Local art gallery Smith and Vallee also has three Airbnb rentals in Edison, all of which are conveniently located in a home between the hosts’ art gallery right and Terramar Brewstillery on Main Street. The three rentals—Smith and Vallee Guest House (sleeps six), Gallery House (sleeps four), and Boat House (sleeps two)—are on their own floor of a large house, each with their private entrance. However, they all share an outdoor space, which includes a spacious lawn and cozy firepit, and can be rented together if you have a large group. As you might expect from an Airbnb run by a team of artists and makers, all three are beautiful inside and out, featuring custom cabinets and artwork made by the Smith and Vallee team and views of the nearby San Juan Islands.

Blanchard Mountain Farm Stay

For a more nature-filled experience, book a stay at the Blanchard Mountain Guest House, a five-minute drive from downtown Edison. Although guests will have plenty of privacy, the house is located on the Blanchard Mountain Farm, a working organic farm run by husband-wife duo Walter Brodie and Linda Versage, complete with farm stand and a classroom for those who want to learn more about agriculture. It also happens to be a great spot for bird-watching, according to the owners.

Where to eat and drink in Edison

Grab a pizza and beer made at Terramar, a brewstillery committed to sourcing local ingredients and supporting the community.

Grab a pizza and beer made at Terramar, a brewstillery committed to sourcing local ingredients and supporting the community.

Photo by Katheryn Moran Photography

Start your Edison food adventure at the bakery, Breadfarm, which has been baking artisanal pastries, breads, and—we dare say—some of the best tarts outside of Paris for over 20 years. But they’re not just great bakers: Breadfarm also gives back by using local ingredients, like Cairnspring Mills flour, as often as they can and driving community fundraising initiatives. Since you can’t go wrong with anything on the daily-changing menu, we recommend asking for whatever is fresh out of the oven. You won’t regret it.

For a more hearty breakfast, locals love the french toast and classic diner fare at Edison Café.

Come lunchtime, grab a seat in the garden at Tweets Cafe (open Saturdays and Sundays; cash only) for a seasonally driven menu of sandwiches and salads. Light, Mediterranean-inspired fare (paninis, caprese salads, and tinned fish) as well as an excellent selection of wine are available next door at Slough Food, a café/shop that also sells many local foods and products.

For lunch and dinner, the spacious backyard and taproom at Terramar Brewstillery is a popular place for craft brews, ciders, and pizza. Committed to sourcing local ingredients, it makes beers from Skagit Valley–grown and malted grains, ciders from nearby apple orchards, and single malt whiskey, vodka, and gin from local barley farmers—resulting in some dangerously delicious drinks. “There aren’t many places in the world you can still source all of your ingredients locally of exceptional quality,” says owner Chris Barker. Additionally, it supports the community by regularly raising funds and minimizing its food waste. Its “barker’s dozen” dog treats, for example, are made from leftover pizza dough and sold for a donation that goes to a different charity each month.

In the evening, Edison mainstays include the Longhorn, an Old West–style saloon and tavern, and the Old Edison, which turns out pub classics with a local twist (think: burgers made with local beef, Breadfarm buns, and Golden Glen Creamery cheese; clam strips; and some of the best fried oysters around). It’s also the spot to be in town if you’re looking for nightlife (live music, shuffleboard, and a full bar). Top it all off with a nightcap back at Terramar’s evenings-only speakeasy.

Things to do in Edison

Start your farm tour with Taylor Shellfish farm, a 15-minute drive north of Edison.

Start your farm tour with Taylor Shellfish farm, a 15-minute drive north of Edison.

Photo by Stephanie Braconnier

Go farm-hopping

The area surrounding Edison is home to farms producing fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats, and cheeses that can be found throughout the United States. (The now ubiquitous Cascadian Farm brand was founded in Skagit Valley.) Of course, they’re best sampled straight from one of the many farms and farm stands in the valley.

First up, head to family-run Taylor Shellfish’s Samish Oyster Bar and Shellfish Market a few miles north on scenic Chuckanut Drive. Taylor Shellfish is best known for its oysters (after all, it has been farming them since 1890) but has expanded to farm mussels, geoducks, and other shellfish as well. At its Samish Bay location (it has several throughout Washington), sit down for a lunch of freshly shucked oysters and smoked fish before dropping by the market to pick up fresh fillets for dinner.

Back in the Bow-Edison area, swing by Bow Hill Blueberry Farm where you can pick (you guessed it) blueberries in the summer. Year-round, stop by its farm store or book a tour of the farm (advanced reservations required), to learn more about the property, its ecosystem, and anything else your crew might be curious about.

Round out your Skagit Valley farm tour with a stop at the cheese shop at Samish Bay Cheese to stock up on its award-winning, organic cheese, yogurt, and kefir. Although it has paused food service at its café due to COVID-19, there are a few tables outside for impromptu picnics. For even more dairy delicacies, it’s also worth a visit to Harmony Fields, a sheep farm that sells cheese, yarns, and other sheep products, and dairy farm Golden Glen Creamery (only open Monday–Friday but you can find its products for sale at nearby Slough Food).

Explore shops and art galleries

For decades, Edison has drawn artists and creative types from around the region—both as visitors and permanent residents—who give the town a sense of vibrancy, especially on weekends. Explore the town’s creative legacy by dropping by one (or many) of the art galleries and shops in town:

  • i.e.: Run by artist and longtime Edison resident Margy Lavelle, i.e. showcases artwork by a rotating roster of local and regional artists in part of the old Edison Eye building, once home to the Edison Eye Gallery (one of the original, but now retired, artistic Edison enclaves).
  • Hedgerow: Visit this tiny shop on the edge of town for an ever-changing selection of current and vintage art, clothes, home goods, and other items.
  • Lucky Dumpster: Discover a variety of handmade items from local artists, such as pottery and wood furniture, for sale at the Lucky Dumpster.
  • Indigo Dreams: Find artistic textiles, like hand-dyed tunics and felted landscapes, at Indigo Dreams Fiber Shop, run by artist Janeen Doi and housed in Edison’s old red and white firehouse.
  • Smith and Vallee: Located in a historic schoolhouse, Smith and Valle is a contemporary art gallery showcasing works by a range of artists and providing monthly demonstrations and lectures. It also has a rotating collection of large outdoor sculptures next to the gallery, making it a hard-to-miss shop.

How to get to Edison

By car, take Interstate 5 north and follow directions toward Bellingham. The trip takes approximately 75 minutes (without traffic) from Seattle.

>> Next: A Ferry Ride Away, a World Apart: A Weekend Retreat to Whidbey Island

Jessie Beck is a San Francisco-based writer and associate director of SEO and video at AFAR. She contributes to travel gear, outdoor adventure, and local getaway coverage and has previously lived in Washington, D.C., Malta, Seattle, and Madagascar.
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