In 1985, as ends meet became harder to make, the Carleton family sold its cows and closed its nearly 30-year-old dairy farm. Not to be deterred, Mary Carleton began selling pumpkins and sweet corn from a roadside stand three years later. Today, the Carletons continue Mary's efforts by cultivating 60 acres of produce, including english peas, zucchini, and green and purple beans. Along with their own veggies, the Carletons stock their farm market with organic raw milk, grass-fed beef, local honey, and handmade pies.
After a summer spent selling their produce, the Carletons unwind with guests for nearly two months of autumnal fun starting in September. A corn maze with stalks more than 9-feet high snakes through a 4-acre field in a different shape each year. Come dusk, a cornfield eerily transforms into the haunted swamp, which dares guests aged 12 and up to creep through its creature-filled labyrinth. The pumpkin patch teems with various-sized pumpkins ripe for plucking, while the pumpkin cannon launches gourds into the air in hopes that one will transform into Cinderella's private jet. The fenced kids' area further entices youngsters with a zip swing, tube slides, and a rope maze, and the play area inside the barn intrigues them with a rope swing and hay maze.
Founded by Floyd Remlinger, Remlinger Farms first began as a wholesaler of fresh strawberries. Ten years later, his son Gary Remlinger made sure to keep up with the ever-changing times, opening up the fields to the public to pick their own. When he and his wife, Bonnie, got married, they planted pumpkins?the first crop of their new life together. When groups of children visited the farm, curious about animals and harvests, Bonnie found new ways to teach them about how simple seeds sprout into giant trees to escape from worms' constant requests for directions.
Today, the family's farm stretches across 200 acres of land and attracts 200,000 visitors annually to its home in the picturesque Snoqualmie Valley. The third and fourth generations of the Remlinger family have kept adding their own personal touches and new features, while still keeping true to the farm's original vision. Though visitors can still pick their own berries by the pound, crates of fresh fruits and veggies overflow at the market, demonstrating the abundant yields possible through the Remlingers' use of organic fertilizers and sustainable-farming practices.
Beyond the agricultural attractions, a theme park with more than 25 family-friendly rides lets young guests frolic among the grounds, whether watching live children's entertainment or hopping aboard a pint-sized steam train to chug along the Tolt River and past the homes of barnyard animals. Elsewhere, families can replenish their energy levels at the full-service Railway Cafe, or corral treats from the bakery or ice-cream parlor before enjoying them at one of the spacious picnic areas. Aside from stocking home refrigerators with all-natural goodies, Remlinger Farms consistently gives back to the community by hosting fundraisers throughout the year.
At Buffalo Chevron, drivers fuel up engines at the pump while journeying inside to recharge with sweet and salty snacks. Their Extra Mile convenience store serves up piping hot cups of Seattle’s best coffee, complimented by a warm and hand-held breakfast sandwich. The station’s automated car wash blasts away stains from rain and road salt while an assortment of Red Bull and Rockstar energy drinks give you enough pep to translate your owner’s manual into Elvish.
Named Best Gift/Book Store in the Bothell Reporter's Best of Northshore 2010 Readers' Choice Awards, Ostroms Drug & Gift has presented patrons with greeting cards, novelty gifts, and pharmaceuticals for half a century. Owned and operated by three generations of the Ramsey family, the store has amassed a loyal staff, with each employee averaging 10 years. In addition to greeting their customers with a friendly face and an enthusiastic chest bump during regular business hours, the staff's community-minded pharmacists make emergency house calls.
When people are ill, they usually either make a doctor's appointment or lie in bed and wait it out. Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy has created a third option. Visits to its stores, which are scattered across the western US, are more casual than a doctor's visit but less passive than bed rest. Each location's team of health experts, including credentialed pharmacists, naturopathic doctors, herbalists, nutritionists, and more, consult with customers?no appointment needed.
But Pharmaca aims to serve its customers every day, not just on sick days. Its stores have been drawing droves of clients since 2000, partly because they meet so many needs in just one spot. In addition to a full-service pharmacy, Pharmaca offers organic and food-based vitamins from MegaFood and New Chapter; professional-grade skin care and cosmetics from Jane Iredale, Sanitas, and Dr. Hauschka; and therapeutic-grade supplements from Metagenics and Thorne Research. Customers can also choose from an assortment of homeopathic remedies, herbal formulations, medical supplies, toiletries, gifts, and fair-trade chocolates.