An impromptu family day in Washington

The quaint streets of Lynden, Washington / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors

“Son, we’re going to the states!”

My boy looked at me with the most dismayed look ever. He knows my directionally challenged ways. And he also doesn’t like a whole lotta new and detests getting lost. So we are quite a team when we venture out to places unknown. :)

Sundays are traditionally our family day, so rather than continuing to tinker on a new DIY in the works while my son zoned out on some screen, I grabbed the keys and out the door we went instead.

I admit, I’ve been wanting to try out our dual passports. They arrived awhile back, and haven’t taken him across the line with it yet. We hope for a little summer trip where the palm trees blow, so I wanted to make sure they both worked in harmony before absolutely needing them.

Sumas BC border / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors
We live a quick 15 minute drive from the Sumas, Washington border, so we chose to start with Sumas, then see which direction the wind would eventually blow us.

Sumas BC border / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors
I’m really embarrassed to admit, it’s been 14 years since I’ve parked in this border lineup. I’d been an avid states goer for food and gas before my son was born, but ever since he arrived, there were adoption papers that dealt with a long wait, then the dollar changed in our favour. So going back no longer held much merit.

But I was hungry for good Mexican food. And there’s an amazing place called El Nopal that had been getting some local buzz lately. So off we went, fingers crossed that we wouldn’t get hopelessly lost.

And I admit, as I looked up Lynden on the google map before we left, my eyes wandered further down the west coast, to places I hadn’t returned to in YEARS… getting braver here, can you tell?

I flicked my iPhone to airplane mode so it wouldn’t roam, fired up the GPS, and took off for the relatively unknown.

Lynden trees / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors

Funny, but I remember Sumas being a little more to visit 14 years ago. I think we counted about 20 buildings and we were done. With most not open. So we moved onto Lynden.

Lynden is a quaint little dutch community with windmills dotting most intersections. Completely adorable and worth taking pictures of. As we cruised one way, my son displayed full bored zombie mode, plus most stores were closed again, so I knew right then I should have taken pics on the way in, because we were about to exit. Real fast.

If you look REALLY hard in picture #1, that teal building is part of a windmill. Boo! I’ll return again on my own another day when I have my good camera with me… and I’m alone. :)

“Where DO you want to go then? The beach? Shopping to a mall?”

“THE MALL! METROTOWN!” 

Although he got his countries mixed up, we head out to Bellis Fair in Bellingham. Teen town shopping for sure. His dream and my nightmare. :)

Bellis Fair Shopping Mall in Bellingham, Washington / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors
Well, this one store had me bringing out my iPhone in a real hurry. It was gorgeous! The exposed lighting tubes, the ceiling panels, crazy different floors in every nook and cranny, it was wonderful! But I felt guilty even taking this picture, so I hid my phone once again.

Goodness… all those cute little clothes… do I sound like a 50ish year old? When did this happen?

Metal and wood file cabinet in TJ Max / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors
Delighted to find a TJ Max since we don’t have them in Canada, I fell rather hard for this metal and wood file cabinet. Two side by side with a desk top would be fabulous! But it wasn’t a need, just a like.

On our way home, we stopped at our Mexican place, and had the MOST AMAZING meal ever, complete with fried ice cream. We will be back!

Train sunset picture in Sumas, Washington / An impromptu family day in Washington via FunkyJunkInteriors

It’s interesting how much verbal conversation is missing from life when you’re online. An impromptu family day in Washington ended up being the best things we could have done. 

We even chatted where our next adventure would be, with a choice. Waterfront or an antique town? I was prepared to kick off my shoes and dip my toes in frigid waters collecting sea shells, but that is not what he chose!

“Do you KNOW what kind of town Snohomish, Washington is?! Are you SURE?!”

He rolled his eyes, and with a small smirk, told me to just bring on the good food, and he’s on board.

Dear Snohomish, please stock up on new antiques and plenty of fresh grub, because I’m bringin’ a good camera and a hungry boy with me! Soon!

And I can’t wait to bring you all along for the ride. :)

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  1. SO, SO fun to read this. My oldest daughter lives in Abbotsford and we’ve been lining up in this border line over and over again when we go to see her and her hubby and 4 grandkids since she moved there in 2005! I’m a thrifter from St. Louis,MO (with a small shop) and love following you and your finds…have brought some finds home with me from your side of the border several times!

  2. How wonderful that you can take a short drive into the States . . I remember how cool it was when we were in NIagra Falls many, many years ago and traveled across the border (needing no passport back then) and visiting Niagra on the Lake…loved it!…So glad you and your son had a wonderful day!…

  3. I always loved trips with my son. None of the other kids were up for it. He told me years later that not only were they fun, he always knew there would be food and some found buy just for him. Why turn that down? You are going to enjoy this for years to come.

    What a great idea for a file cabinet. I have one piece of a metal kitchen cupboard with drawers. It already has the clean steel, know what I’m going to do with it now.

    • My boy tends to fight me on this, so I attempt to squeeze in something cool for him along the way. It’s a tricky combination! He’s a tough sell for something new, BUT after we do it, he wants to go back to that very place! Why didn’t he just listen willingly the first time? haha

  4. So sad for Snohomish… My heart goes out to them with that horrible mudslide. Glad for your fun time though.

  5. The town of Snohomish is south of the town of Darrington and Oso. It is the north fork of Stillaquamish River you are thinking of, Hwy 530.
    #osostrong

  6. Enjoyed this post because I actually know these places you were talking about. I grew up in Washington state not far from there – Skagit County. You need to go there in April to see the tulip fields. On a weekday though because it’s packed with people. Bellingham is a neat city filled with so many older style homes. They use to have a really neat downtown shopping area.

    Snohomish is also very pretty – but it’s been over 10 years since I lived up that way so a lot has changed. Eastern Washington is really wonderful – you would enjoy the winthrop/twisp area in the summer.

    Laconner which is in Skagit county and about 45 minutes from Bellingham is a fun little town. Love it when others post about an area I’m familiar with. My Grandma was brought up in the Vancouver area and then got married and moved to the states. We spend many drives going back and forth visiting family for a good 20 years of my life. Still have family up that way.

    Oh and if you want great Mexican food – come visit us in Texas!
    Thanks for sharing great post – Carole at GardenUp green

    • Carole, I know all of those places you speak of as well. I use to be a big bed and breakfast traveller and would hit Ocean Shores plus. LaConner is remarkable with all those heritage homes. We’ve even done the Cascade Loop back in the day, which is the most incredible drive you can ever take. Leavenworth was a darling little bavarian styled town that is not to miss. I’ll keep the tulip festival in mind as I’ve never done that.

      These days my focus is junk shopping, so it’ll be neat to discover all those towns again one day with that in mind.

      As for Texas? I’ve only been to your airport, but you can bet I was DIEING to get on some Texas street instead and snoop around! One day…

    • Loved your “travelogue”. I’m from New York State not far from the Ft. Erie/Niagara Falls border. Love traveling into Canada….our wonderful northern neighbors …. so similar yet so different!!

  7. Hey! You visited my old stompin’ grounds. I graduated from Bellingham High School way back in the day and I still have two sisters that live there. In fact, I will probably be visiting them this summer. We should meet up and play. :D

  8. Be sure to visit Ruffles and Rust Square when in Snohomish! Such a fun store and the ladies who run it are wonderful. Even my 15 year old son will tolerate a day of antique and vintage shopping if I take him to one of the many yummy restaurants AND at least one stop at Simply Sweet Cupcakes!

  9. Sounds like a great Sunday outing to me. Although it also sounds way too cold for me. lol I live in Florida and I don’t like to be cold. Anything below 68F is way too cold for me. Ya know?

    Have a ton of fun on your next adventure too.

  10. Ain’t young teenage boys fun!LOL I really miss those days. I truly loved your pictures, I was born in Washington and haven’t been there for over 50 years so anytime I see pictures I love it. Keep having those outings with your son, you are making wonderful lasting memories for the both of you.

  11. Loved this entry, Donna. The file cabinet looks like it’s all wood only painted to look like metal drawers… is that right?

    Our passports expired a few years ago and we cannot travel beyond our own borders any longer but I do thank you for taking me along on your adventure into the lower 48!

  12. Now I need some Mexican food. I was born in Seattle, raised in Southern California. Who knew I needed to head back north to find good grub.

  13. Nothing beats good, quality one-on-one time. I am all about revisiting many favorite old places, but I am always game to go on a new adventure. What fun this trip looks to have been!

  14. I love that you came down here. I live just south of Bellingham and I recently got my enhanced drivers license so that I can venture your way after seeing all your wonderful posts. You will love Snohomish, it is more amazing that ever!

  15. When you’re in Snohomish I recommend stopping at The Cabbage Patch restaurant for a slice of their amazing Raspberry Cream Pie – they make it fresh on site with their own housemade raspberry jam. It is so yummy!

  16. LOVE El Nopal ! Mexican food is my absolute favorite, and they have the best I’ve had lately! Love reading your blog, especially since I am in Langley so it’s nice to read about different perspectives of the same areas I visit! Take care :)
    Breanne
    Dahlia Love Vintage

  17. I loved your trip and the dialog with your son. I used to live in Chelan,Washington (east of the Cascades), not too much snow for this California girl. I would go back in a heartbeat, but too much family here in the Central Valley of Cali. Hope you get a chance to go back to Washington soon, I’d love to see what it looks like now.

  18. Thank you for sharing your trip photos. It wasn’t raining!! We live on an island in Southeast Alaska and drive to to points South every winter (to thaw and dry out). We leave our little island home in Petersburg on the Alaska Marine Highway. After sailing for 19 hours, get off a ferry in Prince Rupert and drive to California, via the Sumas border crossing. Did you know that you can’t drive out of Alaska without going through Canada. I love Canada, the Yukon and BC have always been fun and very friendly places to visit.

    I love Snohomish and LaConnor AND Centralia. If you are looking for great antique shops, there are lots in Centralia. It’s a lot further South but you could probably do a day trip if you started early. Your son could enjoy Cabelas too. Happy travels with your son.

  19. Donna, if you ever feel the urge to go farther South into Washington,come visit me in Olympia…ROOM, BOARD and Great company for free in exchange for a power tool lesson??? LOL……Christine from Little BRags

  20. How fun!!! we used to live in Friday Harbor WA(ferry off island first) and would cross the border to Canada to ski at Big White or camping also in Kelowna.Glad you had a good time!

  21. Tell your son he’s really lucky to have a mom like you, and that as the years go on, he’ll more and more appreciate those kinds of memories with you. ;)

  22. I think if you’re headed to Snohomish we could probably find one or two folks to meet you there for lunch. LOVE that town!!! Glad WA wasn’t a total boring day for your son. Hope you can come back soon!

  23. loved this post. I am so glad your son opened up and I am looking fwd to your next adventure. Ohhhh the sound of fried ice cream at the end of a great Mexican meal is so tempting. (still working on zapping some pounds off)

  24. Really glad you could have family time. We take our 2 granddaughters on road trips whenever possible.
    I love that area. This is the furthest inland I have ever lived (Spokane WA)
    But I agree about visiting the tulip festival and the lavender fest is fantastic in Sequim. You would love Port Townsend also.
    My Sis just moved from Burnaby back over to Nanaimo so I don’t get home much. (the ferry has got so expensive). I really miss it.
    Are you coming over here in June to the Farm Chicks show in Spokane? If so, I will have get all of the vintage and junk Sisters from here together to meet up!

  25. What a fun day, and how lucky you live so close to the border. The closest one to us is 1 1/2 hours one way or 2 hours another, so I don’t get to the States that often. It sounds like you’re going to make a habit of visiting with your son…you’ll make some amazing memories.
    Debbie :)

  26. Hi Ms FJI Donna…I’m catching up so much tonight. The new format (that is not new anymore I know) had me a little technically challenged. I really like it – the only difference is that it seemed a little easier in the older format to catch up if I had not been on for like a week. Anyhow – LOVE all the pics on your impromptu family trip ! hugs ox

  27. I stumbled across this post through Pinterest. I used to live in Bellingham. Next time you visit do old town Bellingham and Fairhaven. You missed so much! It’s definitely worth the trip back :). Bellingham will forever be my home.