Within an Hour: Mount Vernon

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Within an Hour: Mount Vernon

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Spring has sprung! Check out the newest Within an Hour featuring Mount Vernon, and a Washington favorite: the Tulip Festival, all in under an hour drive from campus.

Big Scoop Sundae Palace

Julia Smiljanic
Classic diner-style booth fill the red and white interior of Big Scoop Sundae Palace, perfect for sitting back and enjoying the scoops in glass dishes.

This old-fashioned Sundae parlor is hidden amongst strip mall buildings in Mount Vernon. The Big Scoop offers forty-one flavors of ice cream such as orangilla, lemon meringue pie, caramel caribou, and many more make picking flavors a difficult task.  Twenty-nine options of classic sundaes are also available, such as the Old Fashioned Banana Split (fun fact: this sweet treat was created in 1907). And the ice cream doesn’t stop there: special Big Scoop Exotic Sundaes were also created for customer enjoyment with options such as the Mount Everest or the Gourmet’s Extravaganza – “Fit to feed 8 people, or 4 pigs[,]” the menu teases.

Big Scoop’s is more than just a sundae parlor, they also offer classics diner options such as gourmet burgers, dogs, sandwiches, salads, and more.  The original menu for Big Scoop is still hung above the ice cream counter, displaying options and prices from 1973.

Julia Smiljanic
Family and friends walk along the river, while others sit and chat on the benches, another man stops to pet his pocket-beagle.

Skagit Riverwalk

Nestled between downtown Mount Vernon and the Skagit River is the Waterfront Revitalization and Flood Project: the Skagit Riverwalk. This picturesque riverwalk reveals art such as a statue of tulips, and benches to sit on while enjoying the view. Skagit Riverwalk is also lined with monuments which mark its history, such as the logjam from the summer of 1876, paid tribute to by the artistic Skagit River Jam Memorial.

Easton Books

Dreams of the book-obsessed come to life at Easton Books. Located in the heart of downtown Mount Vernon, this bookstore is lined from floor to ceiling with shelves of books. The books are not contained in the floor to ceiling shelves alone,

Julia Smiljanic
A brick arch bridges the two seperate shops which now house Easton books.

bookcases also line the walkways, leaving a narrow passage for customers to peruse through. Easton Books features a variety of every genre one could imagine. Books which are used, collectible, or even out of print, Easton Books aims to find.


Red Door Antique Mall

The smell of vanilla, envelopes shoppers at the door. Vanilla so intense it seems as though grandma just baked cookies or some other sweet treat. But the sweet smell is simply the candles which line one section of cabinets. Venture further into the Antique Mall and over twenty different vendors items reveal themselves – there is a find for everyone in this shop. Items range from children’s toys and books through to furniture, dishes, and beyond.

Chuck Wagon Drive-In

Julia Smiljanic
Straight out of the old-west the Chuck Wagon serves up classic American dishes in a western environment, complete with cowboy statues, and a train set complete with towns, tracks and electric train cars.

A covered wagon is the entryway to the Chuck Wagon Drive-In, Mount Vernon’s eatery which transports customers into the Old West. This Drive-In is complete with wooden carved cowboys standing guard in the of the main entrance doorway. Meanwhile, train tracks line the rafters carrying two electric trains chugging along between the three rooms that make up the Chuck Wagon Drive-In.

This drive-in keeps the menu old-school, no burger costing more than $5.25. Sides of fries and onion rings are of course also optional, along with milkshakes in a variety of flavors, dogs, or sandwiches.

Calico Cupboard Old Town Cafe and Bakery

Enormous cream puffs, cookies, large slices of pie, scones, huge cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, all day breakfast and more; Calico Cupboard makes food lover’s dreams come true with variety, quality, and large portions. Opened in 1981 by Linda Freed this cafe and bakery has grown from just one shop to three, featuring locations in Anacortes, La Conner, and Mount Vernon.

Inside Calico Cupboard is a blackboard, hung from the ceiling, with its purpose to list all the sources which the cafe and bakery use. On a separate blackboard is a list of locally made beers, also available on tap. Inspirational sayings such as “A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands” fill space on every available wall in the Mount Vernon location.  

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Julia Smiljanic
Tulips of every type and every color of the rainbow can be found in Mount Vernon’s RoozenGaarde tulip farm.

Those who drive past Mount Vernon on I-5 see the water tower rising above the city in the sky, painted with tulips to honor what is unique about this little city. People from far and near come to partake in the Tulip Festival which occurs every spring. The Tulip Festival consists of more than just frolicking amongst the tulips, and take pictures amongst the array of flowers (just a reminder: please don’t go between the hundreds of rows unless there’s a pathway meant for walking). Events such as a weekend street fair consisting of booths for events such as the Highland Games, artists, including those who paint with coffee, and companies from across the state are present.

If simply seeing fields of tulips strikes your fancy, check out Mount Vernon’s Tulip farms such as Tulip Town and Roozengaards. Both occupy acres of land in the fields of Mount Vernon. These tulip fields are part of the tourism pull that brings travelers from far and near to Mount Vernon every spring.


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