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. It’s 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. by Dana Pethia

Independence Hotel

201 Osprey Lane, Independence, OR 

theindependencehotel.com 503.837.0200

Eola Hills Wine Cellars, Legacy Estate Vineyard

1600 Oak Grove Road, Salem, OR

eolahillswinery.com 503.362.1546

Whidbey Island: A Welcome Escape

The perfect opportunity to escape is just over the water to 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.  Start your journey with majestic outdoor activities, shopping and stay safe while enjoying the true beauty of Whidbey Island.

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. 

Don’t forget to grab breakfast at Sunshine Drip in Coopeville before heading off for the day! This adorable breakfast and lunch spot serves delicious food and and has a cool vibe with plenty of fresh breakfast options and outdoor seating. 

Image by Morgan Lucas

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

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.

After stopping for lunch, hike Ebey’s Landing Bluff Trail, a beautiful nature preserve trail with varying lengths that take you out on a bluff and along the beach. 

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 handmade local Italian cuisine made with finesse by Mark Laska and the entire Ciao family. They create wonderful meals for take out or delivery. 

For a day excursion, travel to Oak Harbor for a mouth-watering seafood lunch from the Seaboldt’s Smoke House. At Seaboldt’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 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 and a laid back vibe. Whidbey Island is just a short drive away.

For Additional Information: Visit whidbeycamanoislands.com

Braeburn Cafe 197 2nd Street Langley 360-221-3211 braeburnlangley.com

Sweet Mona’s   221 2nd St Ste 16 Langley sweetmonas.com

Roberts Bluff 781 Roberts Bluff Rd, Cooperville Robert Bluff

Sunshine Drip  306 North Main Street, Coopville   Sunshine Drip 

Oyster Catcher 902 Grace Street, Coopville Oyster Catcher

Marbley 7 front street., Coupeville Marbley

Image by Cheryl Smith

Ciao 701 N Main St, Coupeville Ciao

Seaboldt’s Smoke House 31640 Sr 20, Oak Harbor Seaboldt’s Smoke House

Blue Fox Drive 1403 Monroe Landing Rd, Oak Harbor 360-675-5667 reservations required Blue Fox Drive

Wine & Spirits Tasting whidbeyislandvintners.org

5 Hikes that Define Washington

There is nothing quite like summer in the Pacific Northwest. Add these easy Washington hikes to the top of your to-do list and start exploring your own backyard!

Staircase Rapids in Olympic National Park

Follow the stunning Lake Cushman along its north shore to discover handfuls of trailheads that will take you to the heart of the Eastern Olympics. Staircase Rapids Trail is a very short loop that leads you through lush forests along the North Fork Skokomish River, offering several places to step off trail and soak your feet in its glacier blue waters. If adventure still calls, check out the demanding Mt. Rose trail, among others, or explore Cushman’s many day-use areas.

Cape Alava Loop on the Pacific Coast

The Cape Alava Loop, also known as the Ozette Triangle, showcases the best of Washington’s coast. Here you will find old boardwalks that wander through towering old growth forests, and then finally open up to the stony shores of the Pacific Ocean below. Wild life abounds as eagles, sea lions, otters and even black bears call this dynamic coast their home. Be sure to check the tides while planning your trip.

Lava Canyon in Gifford-Pinchot National Forest

The Muddy River that flows through Lava Canyon is anything but. These crystal blue waters etch their way into what was once a molten lava field courtesy of Mt. St. Helens. The trail begins as a paved ADA-accessible path that ends at a waterfall viewpoint, then increases in difficulty as it descends into the canyon below. Check out the nearby Trail of Two Forests, as well as Ape Caves, for even more fascinating volcanic geology.

Ancient Lakes in Central Washington

Located just east of the Columbia River Gorge, Ancient Lakes and its surrounding lakes are nestled below columns of basalt cliffs, offering a myriad of multi-use trails and recreational fishing opportunities. This desert area is very exposed, so bring appropriate protection. Explore nearby Dusty Lake, discover waterfalls around every turn, and be sure to stop for a wine tasting at one of the many wineries on your way back home. 

Packwood Lake in Goat Rocks Wilderness

Packwood Lake has a little bit of everything that the Pacific Northwest is best known for: mossy forests, a clear blue lake, bubbling creeks and peaks that peer from above. Plus, it’s dog friendly! What more could you ask for? Take the short loop around Packwood Lake to find camping, fishing and swimming opportunities for all. Don’t forget the bug spray!


Family Road Trip Tips

Long drives with little ones can be stressful to say the least. Here are some tips to make your next trip fun for the whole family.

Many families love taking road trips during the summer because of the chance to see relatives, explore nature, or visit a fun attraction. However, road trips can end up being less than enjoyable for everyone without the proper foresight and planning. Before you take a road trip with your children, make sure you’ve taken the necessary steps to planning a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone. Here are a few tips to help make your next family road trip the best one yet.

Stock Up on Drinks and Snacks

Road trips take you down long roads without a lot of dining options. Hungry and thirsty children are generally cranky children, so many sure you stock up on some snacks and drinks that you can easily keep in the car. This will also be healthier than fast food, and you can spend the money you would have spent on fast food at your destination.

Make Sure Every Child Has Some Entertainment Options

Different age groups need different types of entertainment. Make sure each of your little ones has a few entertainment options that they can access on their own during the trip. You can make this fun by having each child pack a bag with a few toys, games, or books of their choice. Each child can keep their bag beside them during the trip.

Get Your Car a Checkup

There is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road with tired and frustrated children. To avoid any safety issues, make sure that your car is in tip-top shape before you ever take off on your trip. Have a trustworthy mechanic inspect your car for any problems before you leave.

Plan Fun and Active Breaks

You will have to stop for bathroom breaks anyway, so schedule a little extra time into your trip for some active breaks. You can stop at places such as rest stops and playgrounds. The goal is to find a place where your children can run around for a little while and burn off any excess energy. This will go a long way towards helping everyone to stay relaxed and calm during the trip.

Take Turns Driving

Driving while you’re tired can be miserable as well as dangerous. Studies show that drowsy drivers can be just as likely to make driving errors as drunk drivers. If you have another adult with you, make sure to take turns driving. If you’re the only adult in the car, make sure you’re well-rested and take breaks as needed.

Use Defensive Driving Skills

The last thing you want to deal with while on a road trip with your family is a car crash. A crash can be traumatizing, costly, and dangerous for you and your children. In order to minimize your chances of being involved in a crash, make sure you’re using defensive driving skills. Make sure you’re well-rested, don’t drive distracted, and obey the rules of the road.

Plan as Much as You Can in Advance

Most of these tips involve planning ahead, and for good reason. When you have small children in tow, planning ahead can go a long way in reducing stress. By knowing your stops and ETA ahead of time, your entire trip will go that much more smoothly.

Hopefully these tips will help your next family road trip go from stressful to an enjoyable and fun experience for everyone.

Your Very Own Cabin Adventure Awaits!

As the weather warms, we start thinking about getting outside and getting away. Fortunately, Washington is renowned for its glorious national parks, fun outdoor activities, wonderful Pacific beaches, and numerous other points of interest. Getting outside and getting away are easy.

Whether you’re planning an enjoyable vacation as a solo traveler, a romantic getaway for two, or a family-friendly adventure, to ensure that you have the most unique experience, skip the hotel and try renting a vacation cabin with hotel-like amenities for a more memorable stay.

The world outside can take a break while you hunker down, find some nature, and truly get away in an idyllic cabin. How does unwinding in a cozy hot tub on the porch sound? Or perhaps dining on the deck as the sun sets over an amazing view? What are you waiting for, your adventure awaits!

Did you know Washington has:

  • Roughly 2,500 miles of marine shoreline, with plenty of access points for beach combing, sailing, pleasure boating, sea kayaking, fishing and whale watching?
  • Twenty-nine officially designated national and state scenic byways—including the nation’s only Marine Highway?
  • Three national parks within state boundaries: Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier?
  • More than 7 million acres of state-managed recreation lands, including access points to parks, wildlife areas and hiking trails?

No matter how you spend your days exploring and playing, after the adventures of the day are done, you will love going home to your very own vacation cabin. The following agencies offer cabin rentals all over Washington state, so whether you prefer rainforests and wild mountain ranges, the moody seashore, or somewhere in between, we’ve got you covered.

For Additional Information

Cabin Escapes | cabinescapes.net

GlampingHub | glampinghub.com

TripAdvisor | tripadvisor.com

Vacasa | vacasa.com

VRBO | vrbo.com


Weekend Stay and Play at Little Creek Resort

Fifteen minutes south of Olympia is a wonderful weekend escape.

As you approach Little Creek Casino and Resort, you are sure to notice that you and the property are surrounded by nature. You are then greeted by the warmth of the lodge-like hotel, with 1,200 newly renovated and well-appointed rooms.

Whether you are an avid golfer or just starting out, check out Salish Cliffs, the par-72 championship course that has won accolades in Golfweek magazine. The beautifully treated course will test your golf skills while exciting your senses as you traverse over 300 acres of lush bentgrass tees, fairways and greens. With stunning elevation changes and terrain, the cartonly course is challenging yet fun for all golfers.

After enjoying nature on the course, you can settle in for some food at the golf course restaurant. Salish Cliffs Grill has plenty of options for you to savor. The resort also includes the Squaxin Island Seafood Bar where fresh, locally sourced oysters are prepared in front of you, and the Island Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When it comes to relaxation, the on-site Seven Inlets Spa offers a range of luxurious treatments to choose from. The massage therapies, organic facials and body treatments incorporate Native American influences and healing elements to soothe the mind and awaken the spirit.

With golf, gaming, dining and spa all with a focus on hospitality, Little Creek Casino and Resort makes a great weekend away of play. “We offer a unique entertainment experience here and we invite guests to experience it for themselves,” says Jim Gibson, head of marketing.

For a destination weekend and a unique entertainment experience combined with warm customer service, Little Creek invites you to escape from the day-to-day and live a little.

For Additional Information
91 West State Route 108, Shelton

Delille Cellar’s Swanky Tasting Room

DeLille Cellars, one of Woodinville’s founding wineries, has opened their beautiful new tasting room and retail tower at Hollywood Station. This past weekend they celebrated the opening with a party and guests enjoyed DeLille wines, cheese pairings and live music while getting a first look of the private tasting rooms, library room, third-story rooftop deck with views of Mount Rainier, and mezzanine overlooking the winemaking facility and barrel room.
“We are excited to open our doors and showcase DeLille’s new home,” said CEO Tom Dugan. “This will mark the first time since 1998 that we’ve had our winery and retail operations under one roof, and with the adjacent access to winemaking and a unique three story tasting room tower, we’re very excited to welcome wine club members and guests to share connections, create joy and experience our passion for Washington wine.”

“With our new home at Hollywood Station, we now have space ideally suited to present our world-class wines, our history, and approach to winemaking,” added Jason Gorski, DeLille’s director of winemaking.  “It has been incredibly rewarding to repurpose the iconic Redhook Brewery and I hope it will continue to be a hub for the local community and a beacon for wine lovers.”
DeLille Cellars is a prominent player in developing Washington State as a premier wine region and they look to continue elevating the Washington wine experience through this endeavor which unites all of their operations under one roof for the first time since 1998. All three levels of the new building will offer predominantly seated tasting experiences for a variety of guests and group sizes, with the main level open to the public and the upper floors available for wine club members and their guests, in addition to space for corporate dinners and events after hours. To book your tasting and learn more www.delillecellars.com/grandpreview.

Luxury Hotel coming to Muckleshoot Casino

Twenty-four years after opening a casino which would set the standard for gaming in Washington State, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe will once again redefine expectations with the addition of a luxury resort at Muckleshoot Casino. 

Anticipated to open in the second quarter of 2021, the 18-story, 400-room hotel tower will offer sweeping views showcasing the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Sixty percent of the accommodations will allow for stunning panoramas of Tahoma, the native name for Mount Rainier, while other rooms will showcase the majesty of the Olympic mountain range.

Beyond the comfort of their plush retreats, guests will be able to enjoy an indoor, climate-controlled pool, pamper themselves with signature spa treatments, and more. A supervised play area and arcade will provide peace of mind for parents seeking respite of a different kind. Additionally, dining will reach new heights with a rooftop, fine-dining restaurant.  

Muckleshoot Casino General Manager Conrad Granito states, “The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has a history of innovation and leadership in Indian gaming. This logical evolution of their well-respected casino brand acknowledges consumer desires for a one-stop entertainment destination where fun, relaxation and dining beyond anything the market currently offers is just steps away.”

The hotel resort at Muckleshoot Casino will be the pinnacle of an exciting expansion already underway which completely re-envisions the gaming destination. The first phase of the project will add a 20,000-square-foot, technologically advanced events center, a trio of fast-casual dining destinations, a high-energy center bar, and more. Smoke-free gaming at Muckleshoot Casino, already the most offered in the state, also will increase. Additionally, a carefully curated cultural gallery will celebrate the history and journey of the Muckleshoot Tribe. The completion of the expansion’s first phase is expected in spring 2020. 

Once the full transformation is unveiled one year later in 2021 with the debut of an anticipated Four Star resort, Muckleshoot Casino will take its reputation as the “Biggest and Best in the Northwest” to an unparalleled level with 157,000 square feet of continuous gaming, 29,000 total square feet of event space, more than a dozen dining choices, and much, much more.

An interest list for hotel reservations and event bookings can be joined via MuckleshootCasino.com.


Leavenworth: A Peek at Midweek

As popular as Leavenworth is, the middle of the week brings a bit of a slower pace and a touch more access to the region’s many romantic as well as family-friendly attractions. And that gives last-minute planners an opportunity to impress their loved ones with the perfect vacation. So why not set your sights on midweek?

Discover the same amazing variety of delicious food and drink, the same blue skies and outdoor adventures, and the entire village at full hum. Choose village lodging with friendly staff to greet you in small, boutique hotels downtown, charming cabins and vacation homes on the river, or opulent luxury accommodations that intertwine with nature. Check in, then head into the heart of Leavenworth. It’s an easy stroll to enjoy the charm of a tiny village filled with amenities like brimming flowerpots, shops, parks, restaurants, and live music in the Gazebo. 

If you’re in the mood for another kind of pedestrian adventure, explore trails that access the nearby mountains and rivers. Fall hikes in Icicle Canyon are considered some of the best in America, and the autumnal color along Highway 2 and the trails adjacent to Lake Wenatchee is glorious. Midweek, the woods will be a little quieter, bringing you closer to the tranquility of nature. Choose from a selection of spa opportunities to put the finishing touch on deep renewal.  

Never forget your taste buds when you visit Leavenworth! The wineries, cideries, and breweries proudly offer outstanding tastes and bottles to take back to your room or home for holiday meals. The wave of farm to table has taken root, creating a broad array of food choices from Bavarian, to brew pub, to locally sourced bistro.  

Visiting midweek will have you living a little more like a local. Discover the amazing Farmer’s Market on Thursdays, and throw your beach blanket out on Barn Beach or enjoy the local musical talent in the evening. Make plans today to take the road less traveled and bag a midweek stay in Leavenworth. 

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

Escape to Woodinville Wine Country

Why go out of state when you can enjoy wonderful wine and food right here in the Northwest? Head north to Woodinville and you will be delighted to find a day trip offering a large selection of wineries, all in Woodinville. We recommend the following favorites.

àMaurice Cellars
14463 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE
425.466.2027 // amaurice.com
àMaurice Cellars is owned and operated by the Schafer family, fifth-generation Washingtonians. This boutique winery is known for creating authentic, food-friendly wines.

purple-webPurple Café and Wine Bar
14459 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE
425.483.7129 // purplecafe.com
Purple Café and Wine Bar features a global wine selection coupled with a menu that blends classic American styles with seasonal Northwest ingredients—all in an informal atmosphere. The restaurant was founded by husband and wife Larry and Tabitha Kurofsky. ShowCase lunch favorites include: chicken salad, flatbread and, for a more filling meal, beef sugo with herbed potato gnocchi. The head chef notes, “We pride ourselves in giving our customers more than they expect.”

matthews-webMatthews Winery
16116 140th Place NE
425.487.9810 // matthewswinery.com
The history and heritage of Matthews Winery is deeply rooted in Bordeaux-inspired wines, from rich, opulent red blends to crisp floral whites. Established in 1993, Matthews Winery is home to a production facility, tasting room and to the “Estate House,” an event center and bed and breakfast. It is now doing farm-to-table dinners and is excited to integrate food into the wine experience with an organic garden.

J & A’s Winery
19501 144th Ave NE
206.409.4841 // jandaswinery.com
J & A’s is a cozy boutique winery in the Woodinville warehouse district. Owner Dick Mettler started his wine career when he was 12 years old, helping his father make wine. “Not everything should be a competition,” he says. “Some things should simply be enjoyed. Glasses of wine with good friends, quiet moments with loved ones and the devotion of friendly dogs.”

pondera-webPondera Winery
19501 144th Ave NE
425.486.8500 // ponderawinery.com
Pondera Winery is a family-owned boutique winery located in the Woodinville warehouse district. The winery specializes in the production of high-quality, well-balanced red varietals and Bordeaux-style blends. With a lovely array of art on display, the winery believes that “Wine is art that you drink.”

For additional information: