Willamette Valley Wine Escape

Oregon’s Willamette Valley winemaking presence grows larger each year. Located in the heart of Oregon, this valley showcases nearly 600 wineries.

We decided to focus our trip on the Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Legacy Estate Vineyard, and this 162-acre scenic vista draws us in. We are instantly drawn to the Estate’s “Wiking” wine-hiking trail as we enjoyed a light stroll through the vineyard vines while savoring heavenly sips of Eola’s own Muller-Thurgau sparkling wine. Named after the Greek god of the winds, Aeolus, the rolling emerald-hued hills of ‘Eola-Amity’, revealed to us a special destination, providing a reason to stay for the day.

Our Legacy Estate adventure continues as we enjoy plates of locally sourced charcuterie while tasting some of the finest top-tier reserve wines that Oregon has to offer. Katie Bass, Wine Club Manager shares, “Wine making is our passion, but creating a destination and unique experience for our guests is what we’d like to achieve here at the Legacy Estate.” Guests won’t be looking far for adventure. The Legacy Estate boasts a beautiful and sought-after outdoor wedding and special occasion venue.

Then we head to The Independence Hotel. This new gem is located just outside of Salem in the quaint town of Independence. Situated along the scenic Willamette River Water Trail, the Independence Hotel has made itself a bit of a cyclist’s mecca. Bike amenities include indoor and outdoor maintenance spaces complete with rinse-off station, tools and a bench. Rooms are designed elegantly and beautifully, all with designated spaces to store two bikes. Each room features local artistry that can be seen in the live-edge wood tables, cedar headboards, wall art and even handmade soaps.

Independence Hotel general manager Matt Smith shares, “Since opening day in late 2019, we’ve continued to be a favorite amongst locals and travelers to the area. We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with our guests.”

As if the year wasn’t challenging enough, this hotel filled its 75+ rooms (at a steep discount) to house displaced families during the September wildfires that burned hundreds of acres in the region, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes.

Our day was complete after a visit to dine at the Hotel’s Territory Restaurant. Its impressive menu boasts locally-sourced fresh food, wines, microbrews, cider and distilled spirits. Be sure to consider a take-away order and growler fill or wine bottle purchase and head up to hotel’s rooftop deck. Morning, afternoon or evening, guests discover beautiful views, elegant lounge-style seating, and fire tables to warm you on a cool evening. Looking for more peace and quiet? Consider reserving the custom-designed indoor hot tub/spa before retiring to your cozy room and private deck overlooking the great Willamette River.

The options for adventure are endless in this region. Whether you are looking for an outdoor adventure, shopping, or wine tasting, visit the beautiful Willamette Valley for a treasured experience with elevated offerings.

For Additional Information
Independence Hotel
theindependencehotel.com

Eola Hills Wine Cellars,
Legacy Estate Vineyard
eolahillswinery.com

BY DANA PETHIA

Whidbey Island: A Welcome Winter Escape

The perfect opportunity for a winter escape is just over the water on Whidbey Island. As you drive onto the ferry from the mainland to the island, you are transported across the Sound to a true adventure that is close to home, but feels much farther away.

To start your journey, be sure to stop by the adorable artist town of Langley. There are plenty of local boutique shopping options in town, as well as places to grab a bite to eat, like Braeburn Cafe. This eclectic bistro offers vibrant food that is sure to please, and owner Lisa Carvey and her staff know how to make guests feel at home in the café.

After shopping downtown, make a stop at Sweet Mona’s for handmade chocolates, caramels and truffles. Sweets are made in-house, and the owner invites visitors to try her artistic creations.

Grab breakfast at Sunshine Drip in Coupeville before heading off for the day! This adorable breakfast and lunch spot serves delicious food and has a cool vibe with plenty of fresh breakfast options and outdoor seating.

Enjoy shopping and galleries along Front Street NE, followed by lunch at the Oystercatcher. This restaurant serves up savory, sustainable, farm-to-table dining options created by owners Chef Tyler Hansen and Sara Hansen. The Oystercatcher also produces in-house breads made from local wheat, which are then featured at their sister location, the Little Red Hen Bakery.

For a creative way to relax, try your artistic hand at Marbley, where you can create your own silk scarf with water marbling. It’s an intuitive, fun, grounding, and mesmerizing art form where you float colors on water and move them with a comb or stylus. Then, when you have a pattern you want to save, you capture it on a silk scarf to take home.

There are plenty of fantastic dining options on Whidbey Island, and if Italian food is on your wishlist, check out Ciao during your vacation time. This family-owned business offers homemade local Italian cuisine made with finesse by Mark Laska and the entire Ciao family. They create wonderful meals for takeout or delivery.

For a day excursion, travel to Oak Harbor for a mouth-watering seafood lunch from the Seabolt’s Smokehouse. At Seabolt’s, seafood is smoked and processed daily in the open-air kitchen for a wonderful smell and fresh taste.

This escape would not be complete without exploring the trails and beaches at Deception Pass State Park where beautiful vistas and beaches await you.

Looking for an easy escape that is safe and has a multitude of options for food, art, shopping and outdoor activities with a laid back vibe? Whidbey Island is just a short drive and sail away! MORGAN LUCAS

For Additional Information:

whidbeycamanoislands.com|braeburnlangley.com |sweetmonas.com|sunshinedrip.com|oystercatcherwhidbey.com |ciaocoupeville.com|seabolts.com

Go-to Getaways in Washington

Do you need a break from your regular routine’s stress, but don’t want crowds or travel far? Find secluded bliss at four extraordinary Washington retreats. 

Cave B Resort- Quincy, WA

Stroll through lush vineyards, delight in a glass of Caveman Red at the tasting room and admire the incredible view of the Gorge from the central balcony. Cave B Resort is an elegant experience in the middle of beautiful farm country right next door to the famous Gorge Amphitheater. Lodge in prepared cavern rooms, lavish yurts, condos or cliff cottages that each overlook the breathtaking Columbia River. The resort is adorned in earthy tones, marble, rock slab, ornate iron furnishings and rustic paint detailing to reflect the area’s beauty and ancient history. The Inn offers a full delivery service of cuisine and drinks from their Tendrils restaurant to lesson interactions. *The spa and pool are closed until it is safe to reopen them.

Guemes Island Resort- Guemes Island,WA

Paradise awaits amongst the San Juan islands at Guemes Island Resort. Book a stay at one of the personal beach homes or cabins. Wake up to views of Mt. Baker, take a peaceful boat, kayak or paddleboard ride out on the water, reserve some alone time in the Dutch hot tub and sauna, or simply relax with a book and cup of coffee in the modern oceanside architecture and decor. *Massage therapy and recreation room are closed until it is safe to reopen them.

Cameo Heights Mansion- Touchet, WA

A truly unique bed and breakfast experience and an oasis sitting right on the Walla Walla River, the mansion contains several luxurious suites that each hold a different cultural theme. The themes come down to coloring, room details, complimentary food, and even floor placement. Consider the Greek suite, the ancient influence apparent in the wall art and furniture detailing, even in the Corinthian column bedposts. Test the Dubai room where you indulge in modernized Ottoman luxury- gold accents to a white-dressed room. Observe the Arabian lamps and bottle decoration. Feel romantic in the French suite that is complete with a luxurious standing bathtub and French doors that open to a private balcony- Parisian style. As only 14 guests total can stay at the BNB at a time, you will have all the safe distance you need. 

Little Owl Cabin- Packwood, WA

For some, an ideal getaway is rural and mountainous. The Little Owl A-frame cabin options are perfect for the ultimate private experience. The cabins are settled cozily in the woods and are magically quaint but still full of updated amenities for the most comfortable stay possible. Woodburning stoves, indoor bathrooms, hot tubs, books, TV (in some), fun furniture and decor. The best part is that Mt. Rainier National park is right next door if you need an adventure day.

From Slavery to the Founding of Centralia

Most people know that Washington state was named in honor of U.S. President George Washington. But did you know that there was another George Washington who played prominently in our state’s history? The founder of Centralia was also named George Washington. In recognition of his 200th birthday, the city’s residents are commemorating his life and good works in a yearlong celebration culminating with the unveiling of a bronze statue this past August.

Centralia’s George Washington was born Aug. 15, 1817, in Virginia to a white woman of English descent and a black man who was a slave. Knowing that her child with dark skin would likely be taken from her and eventually become a slave too, the mother asked a white couple to raise him as their own. Her friends James and Anna Cochran agreed. This set the stage for Washington to live a remarkable life, though one with many hardships as well.

Washington and the Cochrans eventually made the journey west to find, as Washington said, “any decent place in this world.” Together, through hard work and legal ingenuity, they acquired 640 acres where the Skookumchuck and Chehalis rivers join. This would become a settlement known as Centerville, and later Centralia.

As the community grew, George Washington lifted it up in every way he could. Stories about his generous spirit run deep. He cared for and supported his foster parents until their deaths. He took wagons to Portland to bring back rice and supplies to feed his neighbors during hard times. He paid others’ debts to stop foreclosure on their homes. He started the city’s first floral club because he loved flowers. He was the best in town at manning a barbecue, according to local lore.

“George Washington was not only a unique figure in Pacific Northwest and American history, but he was a really good man and someone who should be celebrated,” says Brian Mittge, chair of the George Washington Bicentennial Committee. “We invite everyone to join us in celebrating our founder.”

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information
George Washington Bicentennial Committee
ourgeorgewashington.com

Ultimate Fall Getaway in Leavenworth

Ready for a midweek escape? Look no farther than Leavenworth, Washington, nestled on the east slope of the central Cascade Range. Fall’s cooler nights and shorter days mean the mountainous region comes alive with vibrant colors of orange, yellow and red, providing breathtaking views as you drive along the Cascade Loop Highway.

At an elevation of 1,200 feet, the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth provides an excellent base for enjoying outdoor activities your family will love. There are over 800 miles of accessible trails for hiking and biking. You can play a round of lateseason golf or miniature golf. Take a walk along the Wenatchee River at Waterfront Park. Visit an orchard to pick apples or pears. Pack a picnic at the Cheesemonger’s on Front Street and enjoy all the sights and sounds of Leavenworth in autumn. If you enjoy the arts, check out the events lineup of music, opera, theater, dance, films and more at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts.

While exploring the streets of downtown Leavenworth, you can imbibe in a little wine-tasting in any of 20 tasting rooms. Indulge in an afternoon of “retail therapy” in the shops, followed by some quiet time in Front Street Park. This beautifully landscaped park in the heart of downtown provides a welcoming respite after a busy day. It’s also the site for some of Leavenworth’s most exciting fall festivals and celebrations.

Stick around through the weekend to enjoy the Autumn Leaf Festival, Leavenworth’s original festival dating back to 1964. There’s also live music in the Gazebo, Art in the Park, Fall Wine Walk and Oktoberfest. Visitors from all over the country flock to scenic Leavenworth in September and October to indulge in traditional festivities, fantastic food and of course beer!

Take in a little sightseeing while immersing yourself in fabulous fall color. Head to Lake Wenatchee, located halfway between downtown Leavenworth and Stevens Pass. The 489-acre lake offers over 12,000 feet of waterfront with plenty of space to relax along the shore and take photos of the stunning fall scenery. The reflection of vibrant autumn colors on the lake is breathtaking.

Tumwater Canyon, located along the Stevens Pass highway, is one of the top fall-foliage viewing spots in the region. Along the way are multiple pull-off areas for incredible viewing—and photo opportunities—of the towering cliffs standing above the roaring Wenatchee River. Don’t forget your camera!

For information on places to stay and things to do in Leavenworth, visit leavenworth.org.

KELLY LENIHAN

Introducing Kids To Birding

Birds are the perfect hook for getting kids interested in nature. Children are mesmerized by nature, so a window into that world is all you need to get them started on this lifelong hobby.

Backyard bird feeders are a wonderful place to start. Neighborhood parks also provide endless potential for observing birds, as well as butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, toads, rocks, leaves and more. Many parks also have wetland areas, and since water birds are often large and conspicuous, ponds are enjoyable for beginning birders.

Birding as a Family When kids see an unusual bird or observe its entertaining behavior firsthand, they’ll be thrilled. To get started, consider attending a guided bird walk. Many local bird clubs, nature centers, parks and wildlife refuges offer regular walks. Your local Audubon Center is another treasure trove of information and is a great place to visit.

The younger your budding naturalist, the more important it is to be flexible. Rather than focusing solely on birds, encourage exploration and opportunities to discover something in the natural world. Perhaps the glimpse of a small animal—or something as simple as a caterpillar or pretty stone—becomes a lifelong memory.

For younger children, binoculars may be a bit tricky to master and can be frustrating. To start, skip identification and go on a bird-behavior scavenger hunt without the pressure of pinning down an exact species. Ask kids to watch for specific behaviors, from preening and perching to walking and hopping.
Bird Walks & Nature Trails Few things are more inspiring than exploring nature with children. With over 70 Metro Parks in the region, there are endless opportunities for birdwatching. Nature trails, woodlands or wetlands provide exciting opportunities for exploring nature and wildlife. Some locations offer scheduled guided walks.

KELLY LENIHAN

McMenamins Renovates the Elks Lodge

A crumbling façade is about to be reborn. For decades, the prominent Tacoma Elks Lodge has perched vacant on the hill at 565 Broadway downtown, not unlike a large white albatross. The substantial stone structure commands attention. Its stature, intricacy and lore have long beckoned to natives and passersby. Soon, thanks to the cultural and rehabilitative wizardry of McMenamins, we’ll be able to go inside.

McMenamins has an undeniable track record of crafting destinations that are inventive, engaging and charming. Using regional themes, local artists, carefully chosen materials and a keen understanding of Northwest history, they have breathed new life into dozens of historical properties.

Designed by É. Frère Champney in the second Renaissance Revival style, the Elks Temple was built in 1915 and 1916, when popular fraternal organizations were making big impacts on communities. On the south side of the building, a sprawling stairway scales the hill. Modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome, the Tacoma staircase carries the same name, in English: the Spanish Steps.

According to local historian Steve Dunkelberger, brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin spend countless months researching the history of an area and draw from that past to craft their decor and entertainment features. “They know how to inform and entertain with the simplest of details. The Tacoma project won’t be any different from that ‘voodoo’ they do so well,” he says. “Everything they do is top-notch.”

McMenamins Elks Lodge will include 44 guest rooms with private baths. The grand ballroom is being transformed into hotel rooms with terraced views of Tacoma’s waterfront. Inspired spaces will host live music, events, weddings and meetings. Three restaurants and a McMenamins brewery will be highlights of the entertainment. (There are also rumors of a “secret bar”—shhh!) Gardens on site will supply fresh, seasonal ingredients. Local artists are being commissioned to paint murals, and some large graffiti that accumulated during the building’s vacancy will be preserved. Stay tuned for the grand opening in early 2019.

Take a staycation at other area McMenamins hotel and entertainment properties, the Anderson School in Bothell and the Olympic Club in Centralia. Dine and drink at McMenamins on Seattle’s Queen Anne or Capitol Hill, in Mill Creek, or at Olympia’s Spar Café.

EMILY HAPPY

For Additional Information:
McMenamins
mcmenamins.com

The Greatest Summer In Puget Sound Yet

Summer here and so are countless events throughout the South Sound. Surrounding cities are preparing to provide their locals and tourists with unforgettable events this year.

Puyallup

Puyallup knows the best way to welcome summer. The 79th annual Meeker Days Art & Music Festival will be happening June 15–17. Over 200 vendors serve treats like elephant ears, cotton candy and ice cream, and pour beer and taste-test wine. There will be music for everyone, too, whether country, rock or alternative. To cap it all off, the Buick car show is ready to show itself off in style. The city also hosts a farmers market through the summer, promoting local produce and fresh goods.
puyallupmainstreet.com

Tacoma

Summer events in Tacoma are endless. Learn about the native Puyallup people through a canoe excursion. Enjoy local music every second Sunday at W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. Learn about nearby tide pools. Sample the delicious and varied food truck offerings in July. There’s never a dull moment all summer in Tacoma.
traveltacoma.com

Gig Harbor

Is there a more beautiful way to kick off summer than the 21st Annual Gig Harbor Garden Tour? Take a guided tour by volunteers and ogle the floral scenery, and then enjoy treats from local vendors. Throughout the summer Gig Harbor hosts free concerts, rain or shine. On Aug. 11 you can support or participate in the Galloping Gertie Half Marathon, which takes participants through scenic byways and over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
gigharborguide.com

Sumner

Sumner hosts the best summer classic, the rhubarb festival. Another Sumner classic is the car show. From old hot rods to antique farm trucks, this event sees countless visitors taking in the array of cars.
promotesumner.com

Lacey

Spend the 3rd of July in Lacey, a town that knows how to celebrate our country’s birthday in style. There’s a plethora of free children’s activities, such as playgrounds and booths, and parents can enjoy music from the Olson Brothers and the Funaddicts. On July 7 get your summer barbecue fill at the South Sound BBQ Festival. This event entails a professional BBQ cook-off and several other food vendors dishing out tender meat and other foods throughout the day.
ci.lacey.wa.us

Olympia

The Olympia Air Show, marking its 20th year, has become a beloved tradition to locals. On Labor Day Weekend, don’t forget about Harbor Days. As always, spectators can expect tugboat races, arts and crafts, classic fair food, and live entertainment including tribal activities. This event is in its 45th year and continues to be free, fun, and highly anticipated.
experienceolympia.com

Centralia

Visit downtown Centralia this summer for the area’s best shopping, dining and entertainment all located in a beautifully restored National Historic District. Downtown events include the three-day Antique Fest July 27-29 and the Hub City car Show on Aug. 25.
downtowncentralia.org

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW

‘Taste Washington Wine Month’

Raise a glass in celebration, because Taste Washington Wine Month is back with even more ways to enjoy and discover Washington State wine. Throughout the month of March, restaurants, retailers, hotels and wineries will offer special promotions to raise excitement about Washington’s dynamic wine industry.

The Taste Washington Wine Month website features a calendar of promotions, including winemaker dinner opportunities, discounts at local wineries and restaurants, special tasting events and more. On the website also lives a Tagboard, which automatically aggregates social media posts to pull even more specials, promotions and other social activity in one place.

“Washington State Wine is committed to supporting our local wine industry through promotions like Taste Washington Wine Month,” said Steve Warner, President of Washington State Wine. “It’s a great way for folks to discover new Washington wines and support local businesses.”

Washington State Wine will run a large advertising campaign throughout the month of March to generate roughly 1.8 million impressions. Organizers hope that combined efforts will support local restaurants and retailers, and also bring in additional opportunities through direct-to-consumer channels.

Excitement will build all month leading up to Taste Washington the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event, March 22-25 in Seattle. Taste Washington is celebrating its 21st birthday with an exciting expanded lineup of events, including more wineries, restaurants and premier chefs throughout the weekend.

Designed for Gathering: Ocean 5

Opening this November,  Ocean5, has been designed as an innovative gathering destination in Gig Harbor. The 57,000-square-foot building, will be the first of its kind in the region. With a two-story laser challenge arena, exciting game room, ten pin and duckpin bowling and comfortable spaces for gathering. Ocean5 also specializes in private event and party spaces for groups from 5 to over 400, with dedicated event teams and banquet services.

The Ocean 5 concept was developed by long-time Gig Harbor resident Troy Alstead, the former chief operating officer of Starbucks. “Ocean5 has been a vision of mine for 10 years,” Alstead said. “Bringing this space to the community where we live and are raising our children is a huge part of that dream. I’m excited to be giving the South Sound a space where friends and groups have enough elbow room to relax and just have fun, whether they stay for an hour, an afternoon or a night out.”

Ocean5 gets its name from the idea that all five of the world’s great oceans are connected. The company’s goal is to provide a place that inspires connections between people, with the community, and the rest of the world, with the mission to enable and inspire small actions that create a positive impact to the health of our oceans, starting with Puget Sound.

Ocean5 is pursuing LEED certification, and is constructed sustainably with materials such as carpet tiles made of recycled fishing nets and reclaimed wood. The building will be heated and cooled by geothermal energy from over 3 miles of wells under the parking lot, significantly reducing energy use for a facility this size.

Also on the property is Table 47, a casual 300-seat restaurant that responsibly sources it’s ingredients and can be experienced either together or separately from Ocean5. Both businesses are now hiring for all positions. Open roles and applications can be found online at O5social.com/jobs and T47.com/jobs.

This new state-of-the-art facility will be located in the new Olympic Towne Center at 5268 Point Fosdick Drive NW Gig Harbor, WA 98335, just off the Olympic Drive interchange of Highway 16. For more information go to O5social.com or find them on Facebook.