Stretching across Skagit Valley since 1875, Lenning Farms has seen countless oats, grains, vegetables, and fruit grown and harvested on its land throughout five generations of hard work. The farm’s current operators, Todd and Bev Lenning, erected The Berry Barn more than 10 years ago to house their berry-related goods, then a new endeavor for the farm. The pair stocks the big red barn with dozens of varieties of fresh-picked berries—from strawberries to gooseberries to blueberries—14 types of fresh-baked pies, hand-dipped ice cream, and handmade gifts. To challenge and entertain their visitors, Todd and Bev constructed their mind-exercising hedge maze, which has grown to be one of the largest in North America, where customers search for different stations featuring facts about berries and Lenning Farms. Lenning Farms also has a rope maze available for younger guests.
Crusty Tasty Bistro's artisanal bakers and sandwich constructors craft a menu of Hungarian-American fusion fare and fresh baked goods. Steamy Hungarian goulash ($7.99) dazzles palates with a spicy paprika swirl, and fried dough sings under a shower of sour cream and garlic ($3). Sandwiches ($7.29) swaddle a variety of hearty, just-cut meats, and are available au naturel or grilled, and pastries ($1.39–$3.50), such as linzers, burst with sweet almonds and fruit. Bread loaves ($3.60), ranging from pumpernickel to challah to sandwich rolls, donate a just-baked smell to the atmosphere, giving noses a glimpse of the old country without the inconvenience of attending Renaissance fairs or ceasing to pay the electric bill.
Occasionally, the ground shakes at Karl's Bakery & Cafe, sending ripples through cups of coffee. These trembles occur throughout the day, but they're not the result of an earthquake or a T. rex playing hopscotch. Rather, they originate from the Everett train tunnel, located just below the café.
Since its inception, Karl's Bakery & Cafe has had a unique relationship with transportation. In the 1960s, it found a permanent home at Wetmore Avenue, earning the nickname "drive-through bakery" courtesy of a driver who crashed through the front window.
Perhaps the driver had a hankering for the café's glazed cake donuts or tightly coiled cinnamon rolls—they're freshly prepared daily according to time-honored recipes. Customers can peruse these baked goods as well as apple fritters, cherry danish, and other buttery delicacies in the bakery's display cases.
In addition to baking sweets, cooks prepare hearty breakfasts and lunches. Stacks of pancakes measure about three fingers tall, and four strips of bacon add a second deck to saucy cheeseburgers. Cooks bundle theses entrees with sweets for well-rounded meals, served in the café or catered to designated locales.
Before teaming up in 1953, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins were seasoned business owners with their own ice-cream shops. The words “unusual varieties” shone high above each shop, signaling their respective owners’ passion for anything but an ordinary dessert experience. When the two got together, it was natural that they’d adopt the theme of “31 flavors,” one for each day of the month. Since then, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 flavors and opened shops with more than 5,800 franchise owners worldwide. Even their little pink tasting spoon has become a staple as a way to make flavor browsing an event by allowing guests to try specialties without paying cash or chicken-based trade for the privilege.
The tenure of US Coast Guard–certified Captain Brett as captain of the Island Whaler began as a dream. In the course of nine months, he had a recurring dream about an unusual flatbed boat, which replaced his normal dreams about beating up Napoleon with Horatio Hornblower. More than a year after the visions stopped, Brett discovered his fantasy boat sitting in a parking lot in Anacortes. He now owns that boat and pilots the open-topped Island Whaler through picturesque waters to view the multitudinous wildlife found in and around Deception Pass.
The open deck and low-slung cabin of the seafaring sloop grants easy, panoramic views of the steep, rocky landscape. Captain Brett chimes in against the breeze with educational details about the pass's historical significance, structures, and ecology. Throughout the tours, spritely fauna with unevolved senses of stage fright perform lively, natural ballets as visitors potentially lock eyes with bald eagles, seals, porpoises, gray whales, and Pacific Northwest giant squid.