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

Sunday was a charming Autumn day with blue skies and warm enough for just a sweater.  My sister and I decided to head into Washington State for the day and do the famous Chuckanut Drive; a winding road starting in Bow Edison, up a mountain pass ending at 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 Autumn colours.

 Less than 2 hours from Vancouver, we started in Bow Edison, a tiny, very funky town with one road in and out.  Edison is surrounded by farmland and feels like the middle of nowhere yet has some really unique shops. Housed in buildings dating from the early 1900’s,  Edison boasts some impressive coffee shops, the BreadFarm bakery that supplies their bread and delicious cookies throughout the state. There’s the Lucky Dumpster (a quirky gift shop), a very interesting Antique store filled with eerie saint statues rescued from old churches and high end colognes. There’s 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 hopped in and headed out along Old Bowhill Road then north following the sign to the Chuckanut Drive.  Pretty soon we could 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, the forest canopy above so thick at times it feels like you’re driving through a tunnel; the sun barely breaking through. There are a few viewing stops along the way.  We got out at one to enjoy the ocean sparkling in the sunlight below the cliffs and to take photos. The San Juan Islands in the distance, a darker shade of cobalt than the blue water. We sat happy under the trees 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 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: a 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 and watched the many visiting tourists outside enjoying the Autumn weather and snapping photos. It was a great day.


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




Leave a Reply