LA CONNER, Wash. — This town, nestled beside the Swinomish Channel, was named after a woman, so it isn’t surprising it has many female qualities. First, it is exceptionally beautiful. The Swinomish Channel, or slough, as some call it, is a saltwater connection to Puget Sound, but unlike the Puget Sound, which has all the rough and noisy characteristics of its parent, the Pacific Ocean, such as waves and sea winds, the Swinomish Channel is generally quiet and calm.
One can build beside it and not expect it to wash one’s work away on a whim. One can sit quietly beside it, as many do, and contemplate life in the full knowledge there are few better places on Earth for rolling things around in one’s mind.
La Conner, named after original Caucasian resident Louisa Ann Conner, is home to some of the world’s biggest flower gardens. Every spring thousands of acres of daffodil and tulip fields burst into bloom, and flower lovers from around the world come to walk through the fields, buy bright and colorful bouquets and take home with them net bags full of bulbs so they can try their own hands at making their yards more beautiful.
La Conner, as is the case with most of the best places to live, was first established by the Swinomish Tribe, which lived for centuries as fishermen and gatherers of the abundant wild foods, such as berries, grains and root vegetables. When Caucasians came along, they staked their own claims.
Today, the descendants of the Swinomish live on the west side of the slough and the descendants of the Swedish and Norwegian fishermen live on the east side of the slough, within easy view of each other. Both sides still fish, but their biggest catches may be tourists, which pour in every day to marvel at this miracle of nature.
La Connerites and the Swinomish tribe both are history conscious. You can’t go a block without running into something historic.
Like a woman, the town is not only beautiful, but gentle, kindly and very wise.