EVENTS, NEWS, AND COMMUNITY INFORMATION - MARCH 22, 2023
A Play Day in La Conner
by Cecilia Ray
With winter retreating and the temperatures a bit too cold for sunning on the beaches, it is the perfect time to take a day to wander the streets of La Conner, Washington. There, in the variety of shops that line the streets, creativity has sprouted in many forms. I am always inspired by the artists who have turned inspiration and vision into form. Their ideas have manifested into figurines, painting, glass and metal art, and so much more. The shops are filled with these works of art.
Raffaele, one of the owners of Sempre Italiano.
My first stop this time was Sempre Italiano, a store known for its fine Italian Ceramics. Walking in was like walking into a summer flower garden. The tables danced with bright colors and creative patterns of flowers and landscapes, beautifully displayed in the numerous ceramic collections. One of the owners, Raffaele Chiusano, greeted me warmly and shared the story of how he and his wife, Laura, found their way to La Conner.
Originally from Italy, Raffaele and Laura came to visit La Conner in 2006. At the time, they were importing pottery for their wholesale business in Seattle but had dreamed of having their own storefront. They spoke to the owner of the building they are currently located in and decided to make their dream come true. Now their store features hand-crafted, authentic Italian ceramics and beautiful cloths made by families from different regions of Italy. This store is unique to the area.
Hand-crafted rocking chairs in The Wood Merchant
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Some of the many wooden figurines
I continued on towards the south end of 1st Street to The Wood Merchant. If you have been to La Conner in the last forty years, chances are you have been there. How could someone miss admiring the craftmanship and beauty of the woodworking found in this shop. Furniture, bowls, boxes and other creations made of wood from all over the world adorn the shelves, tables, and spaces in the two large rooms. The current owner, Mark Carrier, has maintained the store’s long-standing reputation for quality. It is one of the cornerstones of La Conner.
Glass art and some of the treasures on display
Another shop I always enjoy is Two Moons owned by Dominique and Alan Darcy. It has a variety of glass art, paintings, clothing, whimsical figurines and much, much more. I think I could spend hours there and not see everything. For twenty-seven years this store has been in the same location, about as long as I have been going to La Conner to relax and get inspired.
Of course, any day trip needs time for lunch. There are many restaurants offering a variety of tasty meals making the choice difficult. My appetite for fish and chips led me to the La Conner Pub and Eatery. There,
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from my window seat, I relaxed and enjoyed watching boats parade through the canal. Even a lone eagle soared above the Rainbow Bridge against the blue backdrop of the sky. It was a perfect setting for a seafood meal.
The fortune-telling image of Nasty Jack
Moving on, I made one more stop for the day, Nasty Jack’s Antiques. This wild west style building is loaded with memorabilia, antique furniture and household items, and collections of comics, magazines, books, and other interesting objects. This visit I took time to learn a bit about its the store’s history. Nasty Jack’s Antiques was established in 1972. Jack Wilkins and his business pardner partner, Jim Reynolds, two colorful characters according to some, started with no business experience or money. Jim left the business, but Nasty Jack expanded it to one of the biggest antique stores in Washington State. In 1994 he passed away leaving it to his children. Today Marlo and Gary Frank, his daughter and son-in-law, are the owners. It continues to be a big draw for La Conner visitors.
Nasty Jack's is loaded with memorabilia.
Driving home past the fields being prepared for planting, I felt more relaxed, refreshed, and ready to step back into my life. If your life feels a bit heavy, you might consider lightening up with a day in La Conner. I highly recommend it.
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