It started with the giant cookies.
As soon as my husband and I checked into our room at the Wild Iris Inn, we found a china plate stacked with two almost-plate-sized oatmeal cookies, bursting with chocolate chips, white chocolate, dried cranberries, coconut, and more.
And we hadn’t even seen our breakfast.
Friends with Bicycles
We recently spent a weekend with two other couples at this modern inn in La Conner, Washington, which is roughly equidistant to both Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.
It was a weekend for FWB, and no, I don’t mean “friends with benefits.” The six of us were “friends with bicycles,” and we’d come to La Conner for two days of leisurely cycling.
We were fortunate that we’d planned an active getaway, since the Wild Iris Inn kept us all amply fed.
Who Moved My Cheese?
With 18 rooms, the two-story wood-framed Wild Iris is a little too large to have the personality of a B&B. Yet, it still felt homey with lots of personal touches.
One morning, the staff removed an extremely ripe wedge of Brie that our friends had left in their room and put it into the inn’s refrigerator. They left a note apologizing for moving the cheese but explained that “it was really stinky!”
Guests can gather in the overstuffed chairs in the lobby, where the sideboard is stocked with teas ’round the clock and with fresh coffee in the mornings. On this sunny summer weekend, most people congregated, as we did, outside on the wrap-around porch.
The owners collect ceramic statues of rabbits, which are placed all around the inn. In the lobby, one pair of bunnies nestles on the coffee table, chastely kissing. Kitschy? Perhaps. But if smooching rabbits get your back up, you can go stay at the Marriott.
Guest Rooms and Rates
The Wild Iris Inn has three categories of guest room, all outfitted with flat-screen TVs, DVD players (with a disc library in the lobby), CD players, and complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as modern private baths.
The least expensive rooms, the “Casual Guest Rooms,” are the smallest, with either one queen, two twins, or one king bed; they’re priced at $119-129/night.
The larger King Suites, which run $149-169 per night, have a king bed, a gas fireplace, and a whirlpool outside on a private porch.
In the Deluxe King Suites, the whirlpool tub — ample enough for two to soak — is in the bedroom. Priced at $179-199/night, these units also have a small balcony or private porch, as well as a gas fireplace.
Save Room for Breakfast
Served from 8 to 9:30am and included in the rates, the breakfasts at the Wild Iris Inn are hearty and delicious.
We started with juice, coffee or tea, and a bowl of berries piled atop yogurt and granola, served with a thick slice of freshly-baked sweet bread.
The second course is usually some type of egg dish. On our first morning, we had slabs of frittata so large that none of us could finish them. One of our friends sensibly requested a half portion the following day, and we all followed suit. Even the half-sized servings were more than ample.
Things to Do Around La Conner
La Conner is best known for its spring tulip season, when colorful flowers blanket the fields surrounding the town.
Although our July visit was long past tulip time, we cycled to the farmers’ market in nearby Anacortes to picnic on locally-made cheese, delicious bread from the Breadfarm, and fresh local berries.
We hopped on the 10-minute ferry to Guemes Island and lounged on the beach after slogging up the biggest hill of the day.
And back at the inn, before tumbling — exhausted — into our comfortable beds, we had no qualms about wolfing down those giant cookies.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller.