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In an area of uncommon scenic beauty, Mount Vernon is adjacent to a vast river delta that stretches west to the Puget Sound but is otherwise surrounded by mountains. Anacortes is a main port gateway to the San Juan Islands and an oil terminal and refining center. The river delta supports a magnificent area of farmland, settled by Swedes and later by the Dutch, bringing visitors worldwide during the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival each spring. The economy is a mix of farming, forest products, fishing, tourism, and some industry.
The area is located centrally between Seattle, Bellingham, and Vancouver, British Columbia. There is a strong and mostly successful effort to preserve the farmland, but areas of unattractive commercial sprawl spread north along I-5 towards the towns of Burlington and Sedro Wooley. Attractive new subdivisions are appearing east of town among the coniferous forests, populated in part by people working in northern Seattle suburbs. The area works for telecommuters or occasional commuters needing a big city at times, and transportation links (including Amtrak “Cascade” service) are effective.
Mount Vernon itself is located along I-5 just east of the delta farmland, with wooded Cascade foothills rising just to the east. The marine climate gives very pleasant and mostly dry summers, while winters are cool, wet, and variable. Occasional snows and strong windy Pacific storms can occur.
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