Anacortes is a beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest in Washington. It is the homeport to the San Juan Islands, a unique and beautiful assortment of islands along the Washington and Canadian coast. It is considered part of Skagit County, and sits nestled on Fidalgo Island. It is surrounded by water, but is easily accessible by bridge, and is a popular destination for people of all walks of life. Whether you are just visiting, vacationing, or finding your forever home, Anacortes has a little something for everyone. Anacortes has a huge Ferry Terminal that serves as the gateway for islands such as San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Guemes Island, and also has a ferry to Victoria in British Columbia. It is just a short drive north to Vancouver, B.C., and just a short drive south to Seattle, though you may not want to leave at all. With its unique waterfront communities and huge variety of activities, you may never want to leave. Because of the wide range of terrain available in Anacortes, visitors and residents have the option to play in the ocean, by fishing, swimming, whale watching, sailing, or kayaking, or they can explore the lush forests surrounding them by hiking, running, biking, camping, skiing or birding. If the landscape doesn’t awe you, then maybe the actual town will. Anacortes is bustling with life, and people have the opportunity to experience everything from quirky to elegant. For example, Old Town is a popular destination for visitors because of its charm. Located just adjacent of downtown Anacortes, it is a gorgeous tree-lined neighborhood full of historic homes, and is just on the south bank of the Guemes Channel. This area is full of cute coffee shops and libraries, and is ideal for a stroll along the ocean with a cup of coffee. Old Town is known for its vintage homes, and is full of old Victorian houses and Craftsman bungalows. Anacortes is sunnier than most of its Pacific Northwest neighbors, and offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding islands almost anywhere you go. In April, Anacortes hosts the famous Skagit Tulip and Anacortes Art festival, which is a vibrant and popular festival based around the beauty and variety of these flowers, and celebrates the areas Dutch heritage. On the first Friday of each month, Anacortes also hosts a very popular “Art Walk.” The Art Walk is a monthly display of local artists, where anyone can stroll into a gallery or shop and admire the art with a glass of wine and a group of friends. Anacortes is proud of their reputation for particularly talented artists that focus on themes of the Northwest. Anacortes boasts a huge variety of different restaurants. Because of its proximity to the fertile Skagit Valley, Anacortes often has the freshest fruits and vegetables available. Its waterfront location also means that local seafood is in great supply. If you are looking for variety, the city also offers a range of other cuisines, including Italian, French, Japanese, Mexican, Thai Greek and Japanese. For dessert, just stop into one of the many specialty shops for a slice of homemade fudge. Whether you’re camping at the fully furnished campground across from the beach, staying at the historic Majestic Inn, or finding your forever home, Anacortes is a unique and beautiful place to be. With its unsurpassed views of the ocean, fertile and varied terrain, huge range of activities, and beautiful shops and dining, Anacortes is the perfect place to stay. Be warned: once you’ve been there, you won’t want to leave.
The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia has consistently been rated on of the top ten little hotels for years. There are no signs to point you in the right direction, but when you see the white building with flags flying you will know that you have arrived at the Inn. A stately Dalmatian with a string of pearls around its neck will greet you as a member of the staff takes your bags leading you to a little alcove for refreshment of biscuits and Herbal Tea. The smiling face in the portrait of Brillat Savarin, from the 18th century, hangs high above the fireplace seeming to give his approval. Through French doors is a lovely courtyard with tables lovingly set with crystal and silver giving you a hint of what is to come. The stunning collection of art and antiques, flowers everywhere, sumptuous fabrics and wall coverings tantalize the eye. The delectable little Inn, established in 1978, was the creation of Patrick O’Connell and his partner Reinhardt Lynch. Just for some reassurance of this quality Inn, it was the first enterprise to be awarded five stars for their accommodations and five stars for its restaurant from the Mobil Travel Guide. AAA awarded the Inn its highest rating, the 5 Diamond Award for both accommodation and food. It is the first Inn ever to receive that award from AAA. The brilliant London stage and set designer, Joyce Evans created the gorgeous 15 bedrooms and suites without ever coming to America. Almost all of the furnishings where purchased in England. She then numbered each item and shipped them to the Inn. Once at the Inn they were put together like a giant puzzle. The suites are two stories with balconies and views of the beautiful gardens. Recently they added the Mayors House. This lovely accommodation has a private courtyard, two fireplaces and the bedroom has a beamed ceiling. The Inn adds just the right touches to add to the magic of the place. Huge bouquets of flowers will fill an armoire in the reading area of one of the rooms. Or a canopied sofa will be covered in exotic fabrics in vivid colors. Every single room is unique and beautiful to the last detail. It is like a dream when you step into the dining room. Absolutely pure luxury awaits you. Each table is very romantic with silk lampshades in a rose color floating overhead. Reinhardt Lynch is the host and he keeps a watchful eye as Patrick’s dazzling creations arrive at the 30 cozy tables. If you can believe it, each course outdoes the last one. The Sommelier will marry a wine with your ordered meal from the wine cellar containing over 14,000 bottles of wine. The Herald Tribune as dubbed this restaurant one of the top ten restaurants in the world. Craig Clairborne has honored the Inn with the classification of the best in the world. Patrick, while classically French trained, believes in healthy imaginative meals or as he puts it, “the cuisine of today.” For the past 14 years the Zagat survey has rated it number one in all categories. The Inn installed a new kitchen in 1998 and many refer to it as the most beautiful kitchen in the world. There is an enormous Vulcan range that was built to order in France topped with a huge hood of brass. They even have two tables in the kitchen with they call the inner sanctum where patrons can watch the action. The service at the Inn is impeccable with an eye to service and detail. Travel & Leisure readers always rate it as the world’s best. You can partake of breakfast in the sunny Terrace room by the garden or have it sent to your room. A wonderful touch is that the staff will pack you an exquisite picnic and map out a scenic route through the countryside where you can view some of the best scenery in the country. Just make sure you return in enough time for the afternoon tea. The Inn at Little Washington has won top honors from all the organizations that judge food and accommodations. They have been consistent, year after year. Just across the street from the Inn is a recently renovated old tavern that was built in 1740. No longer a tavern it now serves as The Inn Shops. There are 5 beautifully decorated rooms that offer everything from tableware to delicacies from the Inn’s kitchen. All of the 5 rooms retain their original identities from the 1800’s. Food provisions of all sorts are offered for sale in the old kitchen. Things like jellies and jams or spices. The original dining room offers glassware and china. The old general store has become an art gallery. In the old Tavern Room you can choose from period pieces, silver or pewter. The Inn at Little Washington is a must see. When you are in the Washington, Virginia why not treat yourself and be a guest. You won’t be sorry. This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged