any updates about Methow Valley / Winthrop WA?
this thread from last year might help you - the OP was also travelling with young people.
we go often when the snow has melted.
if you are driving over the mountains on Hwy 20 - North Cascades - the distance is short however, make sure you leave time for stops at the scenic lookouts and the picnic areas and the short trails etc.
NB - note that there is not much cell phone service and no gas stations - the last one is in Concrete (definitely Sedro Wooley) , I think - the next one is in Winthrop.
Here are some stops you might like ----
from Mt Vernon heading east
Rockport State Park - picnics only - huge old trees. You need state park visitor ticket (you can pay when you stop there)
Cascadian Farm - easy parking, ice cream! washrooms, fresh berries (this farm is related to the organic frozen brand you see in the supermarkets)
North Cascades National Park Visitor Center - they have that Jr Ranger passport stamp at the visitor center - it's down a narrow road and not obvious so make sure you look for the signage as you get close to Marblemount.
EDIT - I meant to say "Newhalem" (not Marblemount) - if you haven't packed enuf for a picnic, this is your last chance for drinks, coffee, in a little store in the main townsite. If your toddler is keen on trains (as in ones like Thomas the Tank Engine), there is a vintage steam locomotive parked near the store.
now you wind along the Skagit - cross the river, etc. Just east of Colonial Creek campground, there is a spectacular overlook looking over the mountain peaks, the lake (created by the hydro electric dams)
I also recommend Happy Creek Trail (pretty soon after the scenic lookout) - short trail, it's in the forest, is very easy (a raised boardwalk that a wide-tired stroller could navigate) - very beautiful.
then continue til Washington Pass - be warned that the viewpoint trail has a 1000-foot drop-off and so I would think twice about walking out there with a young person.
Perhaps you adults could take turns - it's a short walk from the parking lot and very scenic.
now you come down the big hill in to Mazama. There are three Ntl Forest campsites coming down in to Mazama if you need a run-around break (outhouses)
- or a picnic.
Now - watch for deer. They are everywhere - and do bounce across the hiway.
It is obvious when you enter Winthrop - big red community hall barn, bridge, then the town. Ice cream at Sheri's is fun. The Rocking Horse bakery is good (coffee, too). See Island Girl's post from last summer - linked above.
There is an extensive trail system MVSTA (google it)- up around Sun Mtn Lodge are some easy, fairly level ones (Beaver Pond, etc) that you could cycle or walk with a toddler in tow. (park at Chickadee trailhead)
we like to visit the salmon hatchery in Winthrop (important for the Columbia River Salmon stocks) - they give you a small Dixie cup of trout food - and you go over to the pond and toss it in for the fish. They leap and race to eat the pellets.
the Red Apple supermarket just south of town (toward Twisp, next to Ace Hardware) has decent selection, prices, produce (veggies).
Sun Mountain Lodge (a short drive from Winthrop) has a horse-drawn wagon and cook-out dinner that might appeal to a young person - it's fun, I know it's kinda dude ranch-ish, but that's the point. the people who look after the guests are very pleasant and the food ain't bad. You'd have to look on their website to see the prices etc.
I hope that helps a bit in your trip planning.
re: Georgia Strait
There's gas in Mazama, at the store, 14 miles west of Winthrop.
We regularly rent the same cabin in Mazama but it has a full kitchen and we have a dog, so we just cook in. The one food thing I'd say not to miss is the bagels at the Mazama Store. I've never had bagels like that outside of NYC. They are a world apart from what you get in Seattle or anywhere in the west. So good. But you need to get to the store by 7:30 or so. They use most of them for egg sandwiches, and the rest sell fast.
It's not exactly new anymore, but if you haven't been to Kelly's at Wesola Polana, it's a very pleasant place to have a beer or meal outside.
And I don't know if this is a fairly recent change, or if just has always escaped my notice because it's in Twisp and we stay in Mazama. But Hank's Harvest Foods (grocery) is great. Good local and specialty products, cheese, wine, and they do a Saturday seafood market where they sell only wild fish. The taxidermied animals on display...I'm not sure if I'm fascinated or repulsed.
I second the Mazama store - it's a great source for interesting snacks (bulk wild-rice sticks and partially popped popcorn kernels were my favorites last year). It caters to the hipster and yuppie tourists, so there are gourmet chocolate bars, organic snacks, good cheeses, etc. Nothing's cheap,but it's a vacation treat.
Big Apple in Winthrop has some local finds, like wheat from local Blue Bird farms. Peruse carefully and you'll find some treasures. Their cold beer case is also very good.
The old-fashioned looking gas station in the center of town, at the intersection of highways, has a great selection of chocolate bars. Again, catering to the snobby tourists (I can say that because I am one).
Organic foods store in Twisp is good too; again, some local treasures.
I know none of these are updates, but perhaps they are things fellow travelers hadn't noticed before.