The Great Northern Route

Though they’re spreading fast, Seattle’s suburbs haven’t yet reached the tidy Victorian town of Snohomish (pop. 9,098), a century-old former logging center that lines the north bank of the Snohomish River, 25 miles upstream from Puget Sound. Six blocks of well-preserved warehouses and commercial buildings stand along 1st Street, across the river from a whining old sawmill, while the blocks above hold dozens of charming homes and quite a few impressively steepled churches. One of these old homes has been restored and now houses the Blackman House Museum (118 Ave. B, 360/568-5235, Sun. 1pm-3pm, $5). The museum features period-style furnishings and displays on the town’s early history. The range of antiques shops, taverns, and cafés in the historic center has made Snohomish a popular day trip from Seattle. Pastry fans come here for the fantastic apple, pecan, cherry, and other slices available at the Snohomish Pie Company (915 1st St., 360/568-3589), while beer-drinkers converge upon Fred’s Rivertown Alehouse (1114 1st St., 360/568-5820), on the river. Snohomish has maintained an admirable balance of history and commerce and is well worth a short stop if you’re passing by.

Around Snohomish, the old US-2 road has been replaced by a four-lane freeway that loops around to the north, so follow signs for the “Historic Center.”