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Volume 35
Issue 05
 
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OUTBOUND: The Skagit Valley Casino Resort is a great getaway for a late winter weekend
OUTBOUND: The Skagit Valley Casino Resort is a great getaway for a late winter weekend
by Richard Kennedy - SGN A&E Writer

Back in December, my partner and I headed up north to the Skagit Valley Casino Resort. We went to watch Debbie Reynolds when she was passing through, and it turned out to be a fantastic one-night getaway! Aside from the show, we found ourselves hitting the slots, taking a couple drives to the nearby malls and even did some thrifting in Bellingham. After our day, we holed up in our suite, enjoyed the view from our room and relaxed while watching movies all night. The staff was nothing but courteous and accommodating, and it was an excellent way to escape the craziness of the city. You know we all need that sometimes! Here is just a little information to get you started on planning a visit to The Skagit.

GETTING TO THE SKAGIT
The Skagit Valley Casino Resort is nestled in the evergreens halfway between Seattle and Vancouver BC. At just over an hour from Seattle, the location makes it an ideal stopping point for those traveling on to Canada. If you are looking for a weekend or one-night getaway that requires little planning and stress-free activities, The Skagit really makes for a fun roadtrip. With the casino and shows that go on year round, it's also an excellent group destination too. In fact, just last week you could find rows of Gay guys playing the slots right after the Joan Rivers act.

LODGING & RELAXING
There are two hotels at The Skagit. The main property, which is attached to the casino and showroom, offers 103 rooms in a luxurious 4-story, richly decorated building. Guests entering the lobby are greeted by a two-story slate fireplace and oak-paneled double staircase. The rooms include two Executive Suites, one Presidential Suite, 26 standard suites and 74 standard size. Each suite comes with two-way fireplaces that can be viewed from the living room and bedroom, two-person jetted spas, two televisions, sleeper sofa, kitchenette and workspace. All standard rooms offer a 25-inch television with high-speed DSL Internet access, movie channels and a Sony Playstation. Other amenities at the hotel include a glass-enclosed, heated indoor swimming pool (under a retractable roof), dry sauna, fitness room and hot tub.

Across the street, you will find The Skagit Ridge Hotel (www.theskagitridge.com), which offers 40 standard rooms and one suite. This property is great if you are a little more budget conscious. Many rooms capture scenic views of the North Cascades and the Skagit Valley. Continental breakfast is served here every morning and a complimentary shuttle runs every 20 minutes over to the casino resort for your convenience. For rates and availability, visit www.theskagit.com.

DINING, COCKTAILING & SNACKING
If you do decide to make The Skagit Casino Resort a romantic weekend trip, be sure to try the award-winning Moon Beach Restaurant. It offers a more intimate setting in the casino, completely enclosed from the noise and bright lighting. The menu features steaks, seafood and Northwest specialties. More casual dining alternatives include the Market Buffet and Grill, and the Northern Lights Deli. With these options it's easy to accommodate a large group, or to have a relaxing dinner before or after one of the shows.

TO-DO'S & MUST-SEES
I have to say that the roster of performers at The Skagit has been pretty exciting the last few years. The 450-seat Pacific Showroom has year-round performances in a theatre-style setting. Past acts include Joan Rivers, Debbie Reynolds, Gladys Knight and Patti Loveless. Coming up are Charo, Glenn Campbell and Rich Little. Be sure to check for updates, especially as summer gets closer. You won't want to miss some of these rare concerts by some premiere entertainment legends.

Let's not forget the gambling! There is a 64,000-square foot casino, featuring more than 670 slot machines, video poker, video bingo, Keno and game tables with blackjack, roulette and craps. The resort's location is a great home base for day trips around the area as well. Gay couples will especially find many of these options an excellent way to add to a romantic overnighter. From intimate walks through the forest trails to sightseeing drives looking for antiques, you and your partner can find plenty of alone time. If you are looking for outdoor activities, you will find hiking, kayaking and bird watching along the Skagit River. Take a ferryboat ride on the Puget Sound to the San Juan's. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April is a huge draw each spring. Hit some of the outlet mall stores and shopping centers just off the freeway, or try some shopping in the quaint little towns scattered around the area.

For additional information on the Skagit Valley Resort Casino, visit www.theskagit.com.

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