Located just 30 commuter-miles from Seattle and 50 weekend-miles from downhill skiing at Stevens Pass, the town of Monroe is a booming bedroom community of condos, tract houses, and more established residences. A local promotional brochure brags about the “thoughtful planning” that makes Monroe such a great place to live.
But first impressions—especially if you’re coming from the relatively undeveloped Cascades or the pretty town of Snohomish—are a bit different. Highway 2 through Monroe is a sickening chain of strip malls, fast-food joints, and neon signs. Despite this, there is at least one redeeming quality that attracts visitors to Monroe: the state fair.
The small Monroe Historical Society Museum (207 E. Main St., 360/794-7056, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat. April–Labor Day) houses local memorabilia and videos from old-timers. Also of interest is the open farmland that surrounds Monroe (at least till the “thoughtful planning” spreads out more) and pleasant backcountry roads that are great for bike riding.
To the south are U-pick farms for strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, and farm stands offering fresh produce. Horse owners especially like the mild climate here, making Monroe a regional center for horse training and breeding.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition