We’re so fortunate to be right on the edge of more: more coastline, more mountains, more rivers, more parks, more culturally diverse cities, and just more to discover. British Columbia is a vast wonderland filled with sun-strewn summer views, toothy winter grins, hand-crafted local eats—in short, more of all the things we love about the Pacific Northwest, only bigger. And right next door.
Because navigating the choices of destinations can feel overwhelming, we offer some direction in your travels: north to Whistler, southwest to Victoria, and east to Kelowna. Find dreamy details that will have you booking an escape to hike, wander a city, tour wineries—or all three. Directly northwest, immerse yourself in the easy and diverse charms of four Vancouver neighborhoods, complete with where to eat and what not to miss.
Wherever you decide to go, you’re certain to return with more memories and a greater appreciation for our neighbor to the north.
— Amy Anderson Guerra
Home to some events at the 2010 winter Olympics, Whistler is a charming mountain town just an hour and 40 minutes north of Vancouver. The town’s two mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, create numerous adventure opportunities no matter the season. With skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking, biking, golfing, zipline tours, and plenty of lake recreation during the warmer months, there really is no limit to what you can do. If you’re looking for an outdoor-lovers paradise, look no further than Whistler.
The good news? So long as you have a quick border crossing, Whistler is less than a three-hour drive from Bellingham. From the Peace Arch crossing, you’ll hop on BC-99, BC-91, and BC-1, eventually staying on BC-99 North. Once on 99, you’ll drive along the coast, catching epic views of Horseshoe Bay, Howe Sound, and the mountains beyond. The drive is somewhat twisty, but the views are more than worth it.
If you’d rather leave your car behind (and in pedestrian-friendly Whistler you totally can), there are several shuttle options. Epic Rides will take you from Vancouver to Whistler and back for $35 round-trip, with no additional cost for carrying bikes or snow gear. Other shuttles include Snowbus, Perimeter Transportation, and YVR Skylynx. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you also won’t have to worry about finding or paying for parking. Truly, if you’re staying in Whistler Village, nearly everything is within walking distance. The town also boasts a great public transit system.
Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel
Located in the heart of picturesque Whistler Village, you’ll find Summit Lodge, an award-winning boutique hotel. With protected underground parking and easy access to hiking, shopping, and world-class cuisine, staying at Summit is a breeze. Guests also enjoy access to a heated outdoor pool, hot tub, and sauna.
This sweet and quirky hotel has everything you need, with an extra serving of personality and style. Upon entering, you’re greeted with a bright, cheerful lobby. Guests can work or relax in one of two lounge areas (one boasts a canine corner for four-legged guests). Speaking of, pet-lovers, this is your hotel. Pets stay free.
The rooms are spacious, clean, and well-organized for maximum function. The furniture is tastefully modern, and each bed features a Sealy mattress that’s the perfect balance of firm and soft. All rooms include a kitchenette with a two-burner stove, mini-fridge, and coffee and tea maker.
When it comes to Summit, the charm is in the details. From the handmade sock monsters on every bed to the in-room Instax polaroid camera and iPad (both of which you can use off-premises), the atmosphere at Summit is at once playful and classy, much like Whistler itself. All this, combined with a location that’s hard to beat — walking distance to Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas as well as restaurants, shopping, and an ice-skating rink — make Summit an easy choice for a fun-packed Whistler getaway. 4359 Main St., Whistler, B.C., 604.932.2778, summitlodge.com
Quattro at Whistler
After a long day of outdoor play, recharge with dinner at this exceptional Italian restaurant, where fine dining meets upscale-casual atmosphere. Quattro’s Chef Jeremie Trottier brings authentic Italian flavors to life with inspiration from the restaurant’s Italian founder, Chef Antonio Corsi.
The restaurant is perfect for both romantic date nights and larger outings with friends and family. Entrees can be ordered family-style, for maximum sharing and tasting. Quattro also boasts an award-winning wine list with bottles at every price point and from every region of significance.
Start your meal with warm focaccia, made daily in-house with flax and sunflower seeds. Not listed on the menu, do yourself a favor and order the antipasto plate. Although the offerings change daily, I can’t imagine any of them disappoint. On the night I went, the plate featured radicchio; arancini; marinated and smoked salmon with lemon and tarragon aioli; chicken liver pate with extra-thin crisps; lamb and Italian sausages; and a smoked tomato bisque with goat cheese. All were extraordinary, but the radicchio and arancini were stand-outs.
On the menu you’ll find plenty of pasta options. The Quattro Spaghetti is described as “for Italians only,” but don’t let this warning scare you away. The hearty dish dates back to Chef Corsi’s days in Rome, on a late night when he and some friends were returning home at two in the morning. Wanting to whip up something tasty, Corsi scanned his pantry but found only four ingredients: chicken, black beans, garlic, and red chili flakes. Undeterred, he pulled everything together. The result? A delicious, one-of-a-kind spaghetti that’s spicy and multi-textured. 4319 Main St., Whistler, BC, 604.905.4844, quattrorestaurants.com
Across the road from Summit Lodge you’ll find this charming creperie. Featuring savory and sweet crepe selections, as well as chocolate and cheese fondue, this restaurant ranks high in both taste and charm. The intimate space features an open kitchen and limited booth seating. Don’t be deterred if you have to “stand in queue” for a table; the cozy experience and delicious crepes are worth the wait. 4368 Main St. #116, Whistler, B.C., 604.905.4444, crepemontagne.com
Stepping into PureBread is like stepping into a gingerbread house, where it seems even the floors and furniture are edible. At the counter you’ll find heaps of sweet treats: scones, cupcakes, cookies, croissants, macaroons, meringues, brownies, and bars, just to name a few. The selection is overwhelming, so it’s best to come prepared with an idea of what you’re craving. If you’re feeling like something more substantial, the café also serves sandwiches, savory turnovers, hand pies, and pizzettes, as well as delicious coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. There’s also no shame in coming back a second time…or a third, fourth, or fifth. 4338 Main St., Ste. 122, Whistler, B.C., 604.962.1182, purebread.ca
Alpine Café & Catering Co.
Just a few miles north of Whistler Village you’ll find Alpine Café. Situated in the Alpine Meadows neighborhood, this quaint café offers delicious items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although indoor seating is limited to a few tables and booths, the café also boasts a lively outdoor eating area perfect for sunny days. Guests can even lounge in a decommissioned gondola. When it comes to the food, co-owners and Chefs Kevin Wood and Martini Bart both have European culinary training, and bring a combined 40 years of experience to the table. From breakfast bowls and wraps to homemade soups and sandwiches, this café has everything you’re craving. 8104 Mckeevers Pl., Whistler, B.C., 604.905.4663, alpinecafe.ca
Earls Kitchen & Bar
If you’re looking for a solid happy hour, Earls is the place to go. With a chic, modern dining room and cocktail options under $5, you can’t go wrong. In addition to standard pub fare — tacos, burgers, and chicken sandwiches — the menu also features several healthier options, like poke bowls, curries, and salads. Just a short trek from the gondolas, it’s a great option for a post-adventure meal or a lively night out with friends and family. 4295 Blackcomb Way, Ste. 220/221, Whistler, B.C., 604.935.3222, earls.ca
Peak 2 Peak Gondola Ride
The magic of Whistler comes from the mountains. Experience both Whistler and Blackcomb peaks with this breathtaking gondola ride, which carries you gently from the top of one mountain to the next. In the winter, the gondola offers easy access for skiers and snowboarders. In the warmer months, it opens up a world of high-alpine hiking and biking. The gondola is also a great option for those who just want to enjoy an unparalleled view of the glaciers and river valley below.
At its apex, the gondola hovers nearly 1,500 feet in the air. If this doesn’t faze you, wait for one of the glass-bottomed gondolas, which offer a dizzying peek at the world beneath your feet. Once you reach solid ground, you’ll find restaurants, shops, and bathrooms on each mountain. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear and dress in layers, as the temperature at elevation is typically much colder than that on the valley floor.
The gondola is closed for routine maintenance a few weeks each year, typically in late April until late May, and in early October through late November, so be sure to check before you plan your visit. 1.800.944.7853
Vallea Lumina is somewhat difficult to describe. It’s sort of like a light-show, play, and nature walk all in one, or like walking through the pages of an electric fairy tale. If you’re travelling with kids or grand-kids, be sure to put this on your agenda — it’s the kind of outing they’ll remember for years to come.
After an easy bus ride from Whistler Village, the trip starts at Base Camp, where posted signs warn about two missing hikers. According to witnesses, an old man and a little girl have disappeared from camp without a trace. Meanwhile, news clippings report of strange occurrences in the forest: mysterious fish that light up in the water and stars falling from the sky. There’s a legend in the woods, and it seems the missing hikers have something to do with it.
Although the narrative is somewhat tenuous, the story is largely beside the point. Vallea Lumina is first and foremost about the visuals, and the visuals are like nothing you’ve seen before. The self-guided tour takes you from scene to scene, through an easy-to-follow loop in the woods. As you go, you’ll encounter colorful lights, holograms, talking trees, and creeks filled with glowing salmon. The high point comes toward the middle, when you cross a bridge that’s swimming with dots of blue and green light.
Once you’ve completed the loop, you can hang around Base Camp and enjoy hot drinks, snacks, and S’mores around a bonfire. Picks up at The Gateway Loop, Gate Way Drive, Whistler, B.C., 833.800.8480, vallealumina.com
Audain Art Museum
Just a quick jaunt from the main village stroll, you’ll find the Audain Art Museum, a hub for contemporary art from B.C. and the world over. The museum is the brainchild of philanthropist and builder Michael Audain, whose permanent collection of Canadian art is featured in the museum.
The building itself is an architectural achievement, receiving numerous awards and distinctions. In the galleries you’ll find work from the late 18th century to present day. The museum’s crown jewel is a ceremonial dance screen by Haida carver Chief James Hart. Completed in 2013, The Dance Screen (Scream Too), is a breathtaking carving made from red cedar with abalone and zinc details.
Make sure to visit the museum during one of their walk-and-talk tours, which are free with admission. During my visit, one of the museum’s knowledgeable and friendly docents guided our group through a special exhibit on Canadian artist Emily Carr. The tour was instrumental in putting the exhibit into context; I fell in love with Carr’s work in a way I simply couldn’t have without learning her background. Although this particular exhibit ended in January, you can find several of Carr’s later works in the permanent collection.
This spring’s special exhibit, The Extended Moment: Fifty Years of Collecting Photographs, celebrates the history of Canadian photography. Check the museum’s website for additional information, as well as special programming for families and youth. 4350 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, B.C., 604.962.0413, audainartmuseum.com
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Learn more about the native inhabitants and rightful stewards of the land Whistler now occupies. In the permanent exhibit, you’ll learn about the regalia, ceremonies, language, and stories of the Lil’wat and Squamish tribes, while also viewing traditional carvings, blankets, canoes, and totem poles. The center offers guided tours, craft classes (like how to make your own hand drum or dreamcatcher), as well as a gift store and cafe. 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, B.C., 604.964.0990, slcc.ca
Victoria is known as “The City of Gardens.” You’ll find some of the most beautiful sights in B.C. in this spot at the southernmost end of Vancouver Island, completely separate from the mainland. The mildest climate in Canada makes Victoria a stellar place to explore all the wonderful things nature has to offer, from captivating gardens to stunning parks. Experience the city’s rich history by strolling past Victorian architecture or visiting world-class museums. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor getaway or an immersion into culture and history, Victoria is sure to please.
Victoria is roughly three-and-a-half hours from Bellingham. Take I-5 up to the border and continue onto BC99. You’ll follow BC99 until Vancouver/Richmond, where you will see signs for the Tsawwassen Ferries. Merge onto BC-17A and follow BC-17A until you hit the ferry terminal, then kick back and enjoy the 90-minute ferry ride. The ferry takes both vehicles and walk-on passengers, so feel free to leave your car in Vancouver.
The quickest way to fly to Victoria is to drive to Vancouver and catch either a commercial flight out of Vancouver International Airport or a helicopter or floatplane in downtown Vancouver/Richmond. The flights are typically only a little over 30 minutes, perfect if your time in B.C. is limited. You can also catch a charter flight to Victoria on San Juan Airlines from Bellingham or Anacortes.
If you’re looking for a hotel that embodies Victoria’s history, charm, and elegance, the Fairmont Empress is one of the highest rated hotels in Canada. Opened in 1908, the Empress is renowned for its daily high tea service — half a million cups are served each year. One accommodation package includes lodging, tea service, and admission and transportation to the stunning Butchart Gardens and Butterfly Gardens. Want to bring the whole family? The Empress offers a babysitting service so you can explore Victoria while knowing your kids are in good hands.
If you want to stay close to the action, consider reserving a room at Magnolia Hotel & Spa. Located in the heart of downtown, this award-winning luxury hotel offers a variety of spa services that will leave you feeling refreshed, reenergized, and ready to take on your day in Victoria. If you don’t feel like eating out, Magnolia’s Courtney Room is regularly featured as a top restaurant in Canada, putting a sophisticated spin on Pacific Northwest flavors.
Victoria offers many critically acclaimed restaurants. In the downtown area alone, you can find a delicious meal around every corner. If you’re looking for the French-Canadian experience, check out Brasserie L’ecole and try their duck confit or french onion soup. Craving Italian? Il Terrazzo is rated the number one Italian restaurant in Victoria, and offers a truly cozy atmosphere. If you’re looking for the perfect brunch or breakfast location, try John’s Place Restaurant, or Murchie’s if you’re wanting to eat on-the-go. Cap off your day with a drink at some of the local bars and pubs. 10 Acres Kitchen & Commons is always buzzing with excitement– particularly over their seafood dishes and cocktails. If you’re looking for a more intimate environment, stop by Clive’s Classic Lounge for their one-of-a-kind cocktails and popular poutine.
Victoria is teeming with historical sites and tourist attractions. The Royal British Columbia Museum is located right next to the Fairmont Empress, and may be the most interactive museum you’ll ever visit. Many of the displays are three-dimensional, immersing you into Victoria’s history, as well as the history of the Lekwungen peoples whose land is the unceded traditional territory on which Victoria resides. Once you leave the museum, walk to the Helmcken House — the oldest residence in B.C. that still exists on its original site, and the home of local politician and doctor John Sebastian Helmcken. Don’t forget to head to old town to explore Canada’s oldest Chinatown. Once home to 8,000 people, this historic district offers a glimpse into another culture. It’s also home to Fan Tan Alley, one of the narrowest corridors in the world. (If you’re looking for one of the narrowest buildings in the world, that’s in Vancouver’s Chinatown.)
Victoria offers a variety of gorgeous gardens and parks that showcase breathtaking views and recreation opportunities. The Victoria Butterfly Gardens are home to nearly 75 species of exotic butterflies and moths, in addition to other wildlife. For even more critters, The Victoria Bug Zoo showcases insects from all around the world. If you’re looking to see more flora than fauna, head to Butchart Gardens — a top tourist attraction that welcomes over one million visitors annually to its 55 acres. The city has had an annual bloom count since 1970, and 2018 reported a flower count of 3.4 billion. Victoria is also a great place to stop and smell the roses — at the Government House Rose Garden or Abkhazi Garden.
Nestled along the shoreline of Okanagan Lake is the seemingly small town of Kelowna. While the population is high (140,000+) and the geography is widespread (more than 80 square miles), this city feels homey. If you stay for more than a day or two, you’re sure to run into familiar faces, who will greet you with a warm smile and the classic Canadian charm. Whether your hobbies are golfing, skiing, hiking, wine tasting, or brewery hopping, Kelowna offers something for the whole family. If nothing else, there’s always a day at the lake.
Getting to Kelowna in late spring/summer/early fall is a fun family road trip. From Bellingham, it’s a little over a four-hour drive. Use the Sumas border crossing to hop on the BC-1, leading to a long haul on the Trans Canada Highway. Eventually, you’ll continue the rest of the journey on the BC-5 North, following the signs for Kelowna until you reach your destination. Be careful though — the Coquihalla Highway tends to be dangerous, especially in the cooler months. Snow tires or chains are required from October 1 to April 30. In the warmer months when the snow is gone, maintain a safe speed and you’ll be just fine.
A year-round way to access Kelowna is through the local international airport. Crossing the border by car and flying out of Vancouver is the easiest route, skipping international customs upon arrival. You can also fly directly out of Sea-Tac if you prefer. The Kelowna airport is located on the northern border of the city, with an extremely short commute to downtown and most hotels. While the airport is on the smaller side (picture the Bellingham airport), there are still a couple options to grab a bite or some souvenirs.
Hotel Eldorado at the Eldorado Resort
The British actress Olga Irene May was married to Count Johann Franz-Bubna-Litic of Austria in 1901 after many years spent on stage. After living in Paris for a few years, the couple divorced in 1908, something unheard of at the time. Because of the controversy, the Countess relocated to North America, eventually finding her way to Kelowna. Bubna used inheritance money to open a Victorian-style inn in 1926, meant to accommodate her wealthy European friends. Originally dubbed the Eldorado Arms Hotel, the lodge became a high society gathering place.
The El, as locals came to call it, maintained its social prominence throughout the ‘60s. Kelowna Mayor John Hindle used the hotel to host dog shows, garden parties, and international guests. When the hotel was purchased by the Nixon family (no relation to the U.S. president of the same name) in the ‘80s, the hotel was to be moved to its current location right on the Okanagan Lake. However, during the transition, the building burned down, leaving only the foundation and scraps. The Nixon family rebuilt the hotel at the new location using the original blueprints from 1926, restoring it to its former glory as imagined by Countess Bubna.
Today, the hotel is owned by Argus Properties. Argus also purchased the residential villas next door and the Manteo Resort Waterfront Hotel on the other side of the villas. Including the Eldorado Marina, and all the facilities, restaurants, and recreation, the whole property is now referred to as the Eldorado Resort. Guests staying in the Eldorado Arms building (the original hotel) have access to everything the resort has to offer, including a business center, water sports rentals, a rooftop deck overlooking the lake, private beach access, a water slide and spray park, indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, a library, tennis court, basketball court, playground, putting green, and more.
The guest rooms in the Eldorado Arms building are nothing short of the Countess’s dream of luxury. Upon entry, you’re greeted with a desk area for working (or not — it’s vacation, after all). There’s a separate sitting room with armchairs, a sofa, and a fireplace. The kitchen has everything you’d need for an extended stay, including a fridge, dishwasher, dishes, and silverware. The bathroom features a pedestal sink, plenty of shelving, and the most amazing shower: choose from a rainfall, handheld, or jetted wall shower experience. And finally, the piece de resistance, the bedroom: with a king-sized bed, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a massive, deep jetted bathtub overlooking the water, this bedroom is fit for royalty. 500 Cook Rd., Kelowna, hoteleldoradokelowna.com, 250.763.7500
The Okanagan Table was inspired by Chef Rod Butters’ cookbook of the same name. Set in the heart of downtown Kelowna, the space is made to feel like guests are in the middle of a working kitchen — which they are. The main kitchen stoves and ovens line the left wall of the building and the baking stations line the right. All of the tables are on wheels and can be moved up and down to create a space unique to each event. It’s not a traditional restaurant: The space can be reserved for private events, or guests can attend dinners or culinary events hosted by Okanagan Table.
The main vision of the new business, which just opened in October 2019, was the “Demo & Dine” aspect. This idea refers to events in which participants are in the kitchen doing a hands-on cooking class, then enjoy the resulting meal around a table. Instead of the traditional-style cooking classes in which the chef is at the front and participants are paired off at their own table — high school lab-class style — all guests are in the kitchen with the chef, with their own tasks that bring the meal together. Then, everyone dines on the freshly cooked food at the long, farmhouse-style table. Wine pairings are also available.
Chef Butters is a well-known figure in the community for his many moves in the restaurant industry. He is the owner and co-founder of RauDZ Creative Concepts, which has established RauDZ Regional Table, Sunny’s Modern Diner, Terrafina at Hester Creek, and Micro Bar & Bites, all restaurants in the Okanagan region. The Okanagan Table team also includes Audrey Surrano, a self-proclaimed wine guru with years of wine judging experience, and Evelynn Takoff, a contestant on “Top Chef Canada” and competitor on “Chopped Canada.” Other team members include two B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame inductees, two members of the Canadian Culinary Honor Society, and a mix of professionals with awards in both food and drink. Long story short, these people know food. 1571 Pandosy St., Kelowna, theokanagantable.com, 778.484.5569
Located at 50th Parallel Estate Winery in Lake Country, BLOCK ONE represents the past and future of the establishment. The term “One” refers to being one with the land, farming both food for the restaurant and grapes for international award-winning wine. “Block” refers to the block of land on which the vineyard sits. 17101 Terrace View Rd., Lake Country, 50thparallel.com, 250.766.3408
The restaurant inside O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars features all-around floor-to-ceiling windows for a panoramic view of the vineyards. There’s an on-site organic garden and two greenhouses, so the kitchen is always stocked with the freshest fruits, veggies, and herbs possible. In the summer, sit at any of the 80 tables on the vineyard-side patio. 2290 Goldie Rd., Lake Country, orourkespeakcellars.com, 250.766.9922
Ex Nihilo Vineyards’ name was inspired by an art installation done by Fredrick Hart that sits over the doors of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The vineyard owners saw fragments and castings of Hart’s work while visiting Napa Valley, and thus the vineyard inspiration was born: Ex nihilo translates to “out of nothing.” Today, Ex Nihilo Vineyards and CHAOS Bistro form a trendy, modern, and upscale destination for locally-crafted food and wine. 1525 Camp Rd., Lake Country, exnihilovineyards.com, 250.766.5522
CedarCreek Estate Winery earned the 2019 Winery of the Year title from Intervin International Wine Awards. Enjoying the world’s best wine in a structure crafted from fieldstone and 100-year-old barn wood is dreamy enough — then add what they call “honest, confident food” cooked on a grill fired with timber from local orchards. With all of these elements, it’s just possible that this is going to be the best meal of your life. 5445 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna, cedarcreek.bc.ca, 250.980.4663
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, Kelowna is a big wine city. Within a 20-minute radius, you can take your pick of over 40 wineries, most of which are highly ranked nationally and internationally.
Tourism Kelowna’s website will pair you with your perfect winery experience. Search by dog-friendly wineries, guided wine tours, or wine trails. Because the encompassing area is quite large, and making decisions can be tough, there are plenty of private companies that offer tours — and will act as your designated driver.
Despite spring’s recent arrival, consider stopping at some of these wineries in the wintertime. Kelowna is the most picturesque city in the winter, with everything covered in snow that sparkles against Okanagan Lake. Imagine snowshoeing through a snow-covered vineyard, to end up inside the tasting room next to the fireplace with a nice, big glass of red. If this sounds like your cup of tea — er, wine — check out The View Winery in January or February. In addition, most wineries and tasting rooms are much quieter in the off-season, giving you a better chance of meeting the owners or winemakers.
If you’re looking to channel your inner snow bunny, Kelowna is the perfect place to go skiing in the winter. With breathtaking snow-dusted mountains and cozy lodges to provide much-needed warmth afterwards, there’s an endless list of places to hit the slopes.
BIG WHITE SKI RESORT
Known as “the place to go for lots of snow,” Big White has provided winter fun since the ‘60s. This mountain resort offers more than 100 designated Alpine trails and over 25 km of Nordic trails. Not an expert? No problem. You can also schedule private lessons regardless of skill level, and there’s plenty of adult, teen, and kid programs to choose from. Cap off your day on the slopes with a delectable meal at one of the 20 mountain restaurants, lounges or pubs, and even partake in a horse-drawn sleigh dining tour. Big White is also in the process of implementing new activities and equipment — from a beginner’s magic carpet ride to brand new gondola cabins. Big White Ski Resort, 5315 Big White Rd., Kelowna, 250.765.3101, bigwhite.com
KELOWNA NORDIC SKI AND SNOWSHOE CLUB
You’ll find this beau-ski-ful set of trails just 20 minutes outside of Kelowna. With over 30 regularly groomed and monitored trails, this club offers safe and diverse experiences for you and your whole family. Perfectly equipped for skiers and snowshoers, it has lots to offer, from spectacular panoramic views to accessible day-use cabins, lessons, and tours. To top it off, you can even bring four-legged friends on any of the dog-friendly trails. Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club, McCulloch Rd., Kelowna, kelownanordic.com
TELEMARK NORDIC CLUB
This ski and snowshoe club provides opportunities for adventurers of all experience levels. With courses and competitions ranging from “development,” to “competitive,” for toddlers through adults, everyone can improve their skills. Winter means short days, but don’t let that interfere with your recreation time. Telemark offers lighted trails, making night skiing possible and safer. So, grab your skis or snowshoes, take in views of the Okanagan Valley, and finish the night with a warm drink by the fire in the communal lodge. Telemark Nordic Club, 4425 Glenrosa Rd., Kelowna, 250.707. 5925, telemarknordic.com
SILVERSTAR MOUNTAIN RESORT
What makes Silverstar so special? It’s got a village attached. Ski through a variety of terrain — 3,000 acres of land and 1,600 meters in elevation–with runs ranging from beginner to expert. The 100% natural snow in the Monashee Mountain Range will leave you cloaked in both white and joy. On the mountain, you can cross-country ski, snowshoe, fat bike, ice skate, go winter tubing — and a whole lot more. Nestled in the mid-mountain area, you’ll find a mountain village packed with fun activities, stores, restaurants, hotels, and lodges. While it’s a little outside Kelowna, the endless amenities will make the trip worth your while. Silverstar Mountain Resort, 123 Shortt St., 250. 542. 0224, skisilverstar.com
Whether you are looking for the perfect item for yourself or a loved one, or are simply looking for a delightful browse, check out some of the 100+ shops in Downtown Kelowna. Find bargains or collectables at a variety of art, antiques, and thrift shops. Locate one-of-a-kind items to decorate your home — or yourself — at the dozens of home and apparel stores.
This district’s got you covered for evening fun as well. A night out might entail a hip nightclub, a laid-back pub, live theater or music, or even comedy. Depending on the timing, you could start your night at Downtown Kelowna After 5 — where more than 200 people meet to eat and party — then catch a touring show at Kelowna Community Theatre, move on to jam night at a pub, and finish it out enjoying DJ-curated beats.
But wait, there’s more. Downtown Kelowna is home to a flight-training center, art galleries, museums, studios, tours, cruises, casinos, theaters, sports centers, and a gorgeous Downtown Marina with boat rentals if you want to explore further.
Myra Canyon offers the chance to learn more about the history of the Kettle Valley Railway and its stunning Myra Canyon Trestles, all while enjoying scenic views. This trail is just shy of 15 miles and is supported by 18 trestles. To experience its deep history and amazing views, you can walk or bike the trail, either solo or on a guided tour.
Just across the border is one of the world’s top cities for style, livability, major events — and tourism. Attractions range from museums focused on science and art to simulated experiences of competing in the Olympics or flying over the city. Real life outings to famous bridges, parks, and beach walks are a breeze, and shopping is diverse and divine.
A culturally rich city, Vancouver attributes its eclectic feel to the influence of many different ethnic groups. Vancouver has regions like Chinatown and Little India, a Japanese festival and gardens, an Italian Cultural Centre and concentration of Italian eateries. Around the city, you’ll find art and culture from First Nations inhabitants.
Much like Seattle, Vancouver’s big-city buzz is tempered by its natural features. The lure of sunlight on the water or the beauty of the surrounding peaks will make you want to get out and take a stroll. Here’s a guide to some of downtown Vancouver’s most vibrant neighborhoods.
If you are traveling from the US, there are four places to cross the border into Canada within close range of Vancouver. The Washington State Department of Transportation provides access to camera feeds and wait times on its website, wsdot.com. There are also electronic traveler information signs on Interstate 5 that give wait times and could inform a route-change decision.
Coming from south of Whatcom County, or the coastal region within, your best route will be to travel up I-5 to a choice of the Peace Arch or Pacific Highway crossings. Both are open 24 hours and offer NEXUS lanes for pre-approved, expedited travel. While Pacific Highway is a smaller operation and a short diversion off-route, the line-up can be shorter at times so it’s smart to note the posted wait times.
Once in Canada, follow BC99 through Delta and Richmond, and then in South Vancouver you’ll transition from Oak St. to Granville St. before crossing the Granville Bridge into the Downtown core from the south.
If you’re coming from inland Whatcom County, you might choose to cross at Lynden or Sumas crossings, found at the northern ends of Guide Meridian Road and WA-9, respectively. Lynden’s crossing is only open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., and neither crossing has NEXUS accommodations. Once crossing into Canada you will want to travel west on Trans-Canada Highway/BC-1 through Surrey and Burnaby, and will enter downtown from the east.
Cross-Border Transit[Text Wrapping Break]If you’re looking for a car-free experience, Quick Shuttle connects the Sea-Tac airport with downtown Vancouver, stopping at Seattle locations, Tulalip, Bellingham, and a few B.C. locations in between. Their coaches have washroom facilities and specialize in cross-border travel. quickcoach.com
Bolt Bus has service from Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, and Bellingham, and travels to Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station, just east of downtown. From Bellingham’s Cordata Station, the one-way fare is typically under $20. boltbus.com
Amtrak connects anywhere along the Cascades line into Vancouver, also terminating at Pacific Central Station. The Seattle north-bound train runs two times per day. amtrakcascades.com
Canadian Transit[Text Wrapping Break]The Expo Line of B.C. Rapid Transit has a stop near Pacific Central Station to continue your Bolt Bus or Amtrak journey on to Chinatown or Gastown, timing and luggage permitting. Vancouver has buses, two other SkyTrain routes, and a SeaBus into Burrard Inlet. translink.ca.
To hop back and forth along False Creek’s attractions, including Granville Island and downtown neighborhoods, Vancouver has water taxis that stop at eight locations approximately every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. You can purchase a day pass or a one-time fare, and tickets are available through the website or on board the boat. theaquabus.com
Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park sit on a peninsula in the Burrard Inlet. For accommodations with stunning northern views over Vancouver Harbor there are hotels by the dock at Canada Place and close to Gastown. These include Fairmont Waterfront or the five-star-rated Fairmont Pacific Rim and Pan Pacific Vancouver. On the more southerly False Creek side of things, the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver will put you right next to B.C. Place stadium, while upscale and fun Opus Hotel gets you into the heart of Yaletown.
A budget-friendly option right in the thick of things is the YWCA Hotel Vancouver, named 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for the Best Bargain Hotel in Canada. Want to feel like you live there? Hit the Times Square Suites Hotel in the West End, just two blocks from Stanley Park and a walk or transit ride to the heart of downtown. These apartment-styled rooms have a full kitchen and washer/dryer, along with a rooftop grill.
Granville Island sits in False Creek, a water taxi or bridge-drive away from the other neighborhoods of downtown. A boutique option right on the water is the Granville Island Hotel, known for its quiet location outside the bustle of downtown proper.
On a stroll from Canada Place dock to B.C. Place Stadium you’ll pass the edge of Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. This roughly five-by-three block area emits charm as plainly as the steam blowing from its signature steam-powered clock on Water Street. Formed around an 1867 saloon for forestry workers, the feeling of everyday fun has lived on in streets lined with pubs, restaurants, galleries, and shops. Cocktails are creative, and in plentiful supply, just like saloon owner ”Gassy Jack ” would have wanted it.
Gastown is a gastronomic delight, so perhaps eat lightly and often to take in the wide variety of fare. Revolver Coffee on Cambie Street prides itself on coffee from world-class roasters and a great experience to go with it — often topping best-of lists. MeeT owners are on a mission to connect people through vegan comfort food, and with menu items like “Fries Done Right,” and “…I Dream of Poutine”. Tuc Craft Kitchen, or just Tuc, was formed by three industry veterans and features Canadian farm-to-table fare in small bites or mains. From brunch to late-night happy hour, food is accompanied by perfect beverage pairings.
Steamworks uses the same pipes that connect to Gastown’s steam-powered clock to pioneer steam-powered brewing in Canada — to great acclaim. More than 20 years of serving hungry and thirsty folks hearty brew pub fare makes this a safe bet. If you’re ready to commit to a superlative dining experience, Bauhaus offers three to six-course tasting menus that might start with beetroot carpaccio, move to wild boar, and have a main course of chateaubriand.
Gastown is a great place to wander. You can marvel at the Victorian Italianate, Edwardian Commercial, and Romanesque architecture by yourself, or join a guided tour for insight, theatrics, and camaraderie. Gastown Walking Food Tour combines historical background with food tastings, and keeps things fresh by sending you out with a professional improv comic as your guide. The Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour focuses on haunted history for adults using theater and storytelling to engage you in unsolved mysteries and tragic past events.
To see things from above, The Vancouver Lookout is a 40-second glass elevator ride that takes you 553 feet in the air for a view in all directions. One ticket allows return visits during the same day to view the city in different lights. Down below, be inspired by a full range of visual arts at galleries curated around single artists, world collections, and First Nations art. Inuit Gallery of Vancouver has featured Canadian aboriginal art for over 40 years, from sculptures to graphics to jewelry.
Don’t forget to take your picture with the steam clock and the statue of Gassy Jack.
Stretching along the waterfront of False Creek is the incredibly chic collection of eclectic shops and patio cafes of Yaletown. Loft residences and park spaces minimize the bustle, and the area is equally appropriate for a family day or a couple’s night out. From the terminus that saw the first transcontinental passenger train in 1887 to improvements from the 1986 World’s Fair, this area has always held excitement and charm.
The Blue Water Cafe tops not only the neighborhood lists but also rankings among best Vancouver restaurants in general. Specializing in sustainable seafood, the restaurant features a raw bar and the charming “brick and beam” feel of a Yaletown warehouse conversion. On the more casual side, Yaletown Brewing Company is a lively pub with a pool table and fireplace — along with a 160-seat restaurant that spills out onto the sidewalk for sunny drinks and dining. Enjoy cuisine from the south of France combined with Canadian coastal flavors and waterfront views at Provence Marinaside.
David Lam Park and George Wainborn Park are waterside parks that allow you to get out into the fresh air along the seawall. Whether you walk, jog, or bike, you’ll enjoy the public art and great views. Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre is worth a visit whether you’re into trains, art, architecture, or just cultural phenomena. The Engine 374 Pavilion is open for daily, free visits to the famed steam engine, and the supporting complex is a marvel of community development through arts and culture. To the north is the Contemporary Art Gallery, also free to the public but closed Mondays. Shopping involves unique, boutique shops.
One of the largest Chinatowns in North America, this area to the east of downtown is six blocks long and more than 100 years old. Bustling, colorful stores are mixed with the calm of a traditional garden — and of course there is dim sum when you need to refuel. Enjoy the history, but also note a new generation of business owners bringing a diverse flair.
In a building that has been a restaurant for almost 100 years, Sai Woo offers contemporary Asian-fusion in a casual atmosphere. If you want to visit the past, head downstairs to the Woo Bar, a living remnant of an era of secret underground parlors. If you’re in search of dim sum, options include Floata, a giant, third-floor dining room with a large menu and fast service, or Jade Dynasty, a smaller operation with an inviting green storefront and old-style feel. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie is celebrated for its intimate dining experiences with shared plates accompanied by cocktails and fine wines.
Shopping and dining converge in this wonderland of exotic delicacies. The Chinese Tea Shop, run by Hong Kong-born Chinese tea expert Daniel Lui, provides opportunities for tasting, shopping, and learning — before going in, visit thechineseteashop.com to find your perfect tea with an online Tea Wizard. Get a steamed bun at New Town Bakery, or browse B.C.-grown ginseng at one of the many apothecaries. The commercial district is also full of fashion, homewares, electronics, and more.
Iconic photo opportunities include the dragon-covered Millennium Gate, and the world’s narrowest building at just six feet: the Sam Kee Building. Then head to the top attraction for visitors, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. This family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible collection of pavilions, walkways, ponds, and gardens was named among the world’s top city gardens by National Geographic.
Just a bridge away from downtown Vancouver is a delightful district known as Granville Island. Only 35 acres, this industrial hub turned cultural center is home to numerous businesses and offers beautiful views and charming, old-timey vibes. Situated on False Creek south of downtown, Granville is a perfect combination of old and new, and the ideal day-cation spot to visit during your time in Vancouver.
Being right on the water has its perks: Granville is a top destination for seafood. If you’re looking for some superb fish and chips, try Go Fish, a small cafe located right at the island’s bridge entrance. Nearby, you’ll find the famous Granville Island Public Market, a collection of over 50 food vendors with a huge variety of delicious meals and snacks. Among these is Lee’s Donuts, always high on Vancouver rankings for its unique, mouth-watering pastries.
For a place to sit down, try Edible Canada, located right across the market. Great for those with dietary restrictions, this establishment features authentic Canadian cuisine with fresh, nutritious ingredients and tasty cocktails. If you’re looking to expand your palate, or are already a lover of Afghani food, stop at Afghan Horsemen Restaurant. This eatery right across the bridge offers a variety of food and drink items, each one more beloved than the last. Accompanied by the majestic atmosphere, this place offers the comfort food you didn’t know you needed.
While Granville is often seen as a shopping district, plenty of other activities abound. Explore local artwork and photography at Studio 13 Fine Art, or hear local music from some of Granville’s numerous buskers. You can also catch a show at The Red Gate Revue Stage, The NEST, or Performance Works. If you have some time on your hands, try wildlife watching. Prince of Whales and Wild Whales Vancouver offer prime whale watching experiences. Bird lovers should head to Sutcliffe Park.
If you’re visiting Granville during the warmer months, there are tons of water activities for an adventure or a cool-down. Rent a boat and cruise the harbor, hit the Granville Island Water Park, or take a walk along the sea wall to enjoy the breeze off the water while staying dry. Still unsure what to do? The Granville Island website has a planning tool that lets you build a schedule, helping you make the most out of your time on Granville Island.
Like dipping a toe in the ocean, enjoy these finds for Canadian fun that don’t require traveling too far beyond the border.
White Rock Beach
Five miles of sand and the shallow, protected waters of Semiahmoo Bay make for a stellar outing only three miles from Peace Arch crossing. Divided into West Beach, with its historic pier, and East Beach, the perfect spot for a day of sandcastles and kite flying, the whole area enjoys views of the San Juan Islands and Coast Mountains. Rent stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, skimboards, or try out hydroflying. explorewhiterock.com
Richmond – Riverport Entertainment Complex
Need a kid-friendly escape? Just 20 miles into Canada off Steveston Highway on the southeast corner of Richmond you’ll find the end of the rainbow for indoor entertainment. Watermania is both affordable and awesome for all ages. In addition to traditional lap swimming and diving boards, visitors will find a timed wave pool, spray garden area, waterslides, hot tubs, saunas, and occasionally even rope swings and giant water balls kids can get inside.
Also in the complex, Richmond Ice Centre has six, NHL-sized rinks. Extreme Air Park is Canada’s largest trampoline park with 42,000 square feet of interlocking trampolines and activities. If you need a relaxing break, catch a movie at SilverCity Riverport Cinemas (there is also IMAX), and then fuel up at The Old Spaghetti Factory before bowling at Lucky 9 Lanes.
Richmond – Steveston
Travel west on Steveston Highway and you’ll hit this charming, working fishing village situated at the mouth of the Fraser River. For a small place it holds high honors — Steveston is home to the largest salmon run in North America, the first dojo house ever built outside of Japan, and has been the filming spot for several movies. Go there to eat, learn about Japanese-Canadian culture, and check out the daily catch as you stroll the pier.
Though the harvest season has begun to give way to winter, you can still find fresh produce, local goods, and holiday gift items at these nearby markets during the month of November!
■ In Friday Harbor, the San Juan Island Farmers Market will be warm and indoors on November 2 and 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with vendors highlighting island-made crafts and produce.
■ Though finished with their regular season, the Anacortes Farmers Market has two holiday markets on November 23 and 24. Stop by from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to enjoy live music, fall produce, and gift items crafted by local vendors.
■ The Bellingham Farmers Market is continuing through November at the Depot Market Square every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come for the food, artisan goods, produce, music, and friends!
For more content like this, check out our Lifestyle section
Celebrate the season with some classic autumn activities. Take a hayride, sip some cider, or get lost in a corn maze. Whatever you do, enjoy the falling leaves and the cool Pacific Northwest breeze.
■ At Gordon Skagit Farms in Mount Vernon, you can buy a wreath, drink warm cider, solve a corn maze, and explore their haunted barn the first weekend of October.
■ The Cloud Mountain Farm Center is hosting a Fall Fruit Festival on October 5 and 6. There’ll be more than 200 types of fresh fruits and veggies, cider pressing, live music, and caramel apples.
■ On October 26 and 27, the horrifying and legendary haunted hayride at Orcas Island’s Camp Orkila is sure to be frightfully fun. Those who prefer less scary activities can enjoy pumpkin carving and archery.
■ Pick your own apples and pumpkins at Bellewood Acres, which is open daily through October. There’s a corn maze, train tour, and fresh apple cider—need we say more?
For more content like this, check out our Lifestyle section.
Tucked away in the Silver Beach Neighborhood, you’ll find some of the best gardening and artistry our local community has to offer. While Bellingham is full of public art, Big Rock Garden trails are surrounded by a super-concentrated array of sculptures, painted installments, and hundreds of tree and plant varieties.
If you use a GPS with the Sylvan Street address, you might get sent to the back of the garden where parking isn’t as convenient. I recommend heading to Balsam Lane to secure a spot in front of the entrance. If their main spaces are full, you’re allowed to park along the greenspace on Sylvan Street right outside Balsam. Once you’re parked, head inside the gate. You’ll find a small shack off to the left with information posted about the art pieces and their history.
Big Rock Garden is open to the public and maintained by dedicated volunteers year-round. Each season offers a unique gardenscape experience, as maples, conifers, rhododendrons, and azaleas make their appearance throughout the months.
Stray from the main perimeter trail and meander down different paths in the 2.5-acre sculpture garden. Each turn brings you to a new discovery, from several stone works by local artist Michael Jacobsen to the ornate Korean War Children’s Memorial pavilion completed in 2006.
There are some slopes to the trails, but none so steep that those with mobility aids can’t access the different works. Some paths have rockier terrain than others, so be careful as you explore.
Whether you’re alone, entertaining friends, or just in need of a quiet walk, strolling through Big Rock Garden will satisfy your every need this season.
Recorded address: 2900 Sylvan St., Silver Beach Neighborhood, Bellingham
To find main parking: Balsam Ln., Bellingham
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September means cooler days, changing colors, and soaking in as much sun as you can before autumn arrives in full force. What better way to bid farewell to summer than by exploring some of the Pacific Northwest’s best wine regions?
While there are hundreds of wineries to explore in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve focused on those in a day’s drive of Bellingham that offer overnight accommodations. The wineries featured in these pages offer a full vacation experience with wine at the heart and center.
To help you plan your own weekend wine escape, we’ve organized each overnight winery by location: Whidbey Island, Okanagan Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Prosser in Yakima Valley, and Lake Chelan Valley. Because nobody can drink wine from sunrise to sunset (okay, maybe some people can), we’ve also listed options for what to eat, see, and do when you’re not busy tasting.
What’s an AVA?
AVA stands for American Viticultural Area. The official definition, as determined by the U.S. government, describes it as a “delimited grape-growing region with specific geographic or climatic features that distinguish it from the surrounding regions and affect how grapes are grown.” Categorizing wines according to their AVA not only helps consumers understand more about the wines they purchase, but also helps growers develop a common identity alongside other growers in their area. Washington has 14 AVAs that collectively boast more than 950 wineries and 58,000 acres of planted grapes.
What’s a wine varietal?
A varietal is a type of wine made from a single variety of grape. Here are a few common varietals found in our neck of the vineyard:
One of the world’s most recognized red wines, known for its deep color and full body. Flavors range from green apple to cherry, vanilla, and even tobacco.
A popular white wine with medium acidity that ranges from crisp and clean to rich and creamy. Primary flavors include vanilla, butter, and apple.
A popular red wine—second only to Cabernet Sauvignon in the U.S.—with a smooth texture and medium to full body. Flavors include chocolate, black cherry, and plum.
A high acidity white wine known for its floral aromas. Flavors include pineapple, pear, apple, and lime, as well as jasmine and honeycomb.
A tannin-heavy, full-bodied red wine known as Shiraz in South Africa and Australia. Flavors include plum, blueberry, and smoke, with afternotes of pepper.
What’s a wine’s vintage?
A wine’s vintage is the year the wine’s grapes were picked. The vintage serves as an important time-stamp, allowing connoisseurs and consumers to trace a bottle back to a particularly good or bad harvest.
What’s a tannin?
Tannins are organic compounds found in many fruits, including wine grapes. In nature, tannins create a bitter taste meant to deter animals from consuming a fruit before it’s ripe. Although tannins can be bitter, they can also be enjoyable—think of the bite in coffee or dark chocolate. In wine, tannins are responsible for the dry feeling in your mouth when you drink a red. The amount of tannins in a wine depends on the type of grape and the vintage.
What does it mean if a wine is oaked?
When a wine is aged in an oak barrel, it is referred to as oaked. The oak may imbue wine with different aromas and flavors such as cedar, vanilla, spice, or smoke. Unoaked wines typically have lighter, fruitier flavors than their oaked counterparts.
Why do people swirl their wine before tasting?
Short answer: It makes the wine taste better! Swirling wine introduces oxygen into the glass, a process known as aeration. Aerating wine releases the wine’s aroma compounds. Because taste and smell are so closely linked, these newly released notes enhance the wine’s flavor.
With its rural countryside and Olympic Mountain vistas, Whidbey Island has all the makings of an unforgettable weekend wine escape. Known for its temperate climate and as part of the state’s third oldest AVA, the island’s wineries are famous for their award-winning Madeleine Angevine, Siegerrebe, and island-grown Pinot Noir.
Many of the wineries are close to the small towns of Freeland and Langley, both of which make for an ideal home base for touring the Whidbey Island Wine & Spirits Trail. For wine lovers who want to take their wine escape to the next level, two wineries offer accommodations just steps away from the tasting room.
COMFORTS OF WHIDBEY
Located on a 22-acre farm, Comforts of Whidbey is a mix of industrial-yet-rustic architecture with large wooden doors and warm wood floors. From the tasting room, guests can chill with a glass of wine, snack on light nibbles, and admire the Puget Sound view.
Tucked above the tasting room, the lavish six-room bed and breakfast features well appointed guest rooms with calming water or vineyard views, king-sized beds, private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and luxurious bathrobes. With no televisions or alarm clocks, Comforts of Whidbey is the perfect place to reset to island time.
In the mornings, guests begin the day with a delicious farm fresh breakfast featuring seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. While the winery is open Thursday through Sunday, the bed and breakfast is available every day. Guests who arrive between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. receive a complimentary flight of wine with a cheese plate. Stay for Sunday Jazz or help pick grapes at the annual community harvest.
THE VINEYARD HOUSE AT DANCING FISH VINEYARDS
Set on six private acres, the Vineyard House is steps away from the tasting room at Dancing Fish Vineyards. Inspired by Italian decor, the renovated house accommodates up to six guests and features two bedrooms, a bathroom with a clawfoot tub, a dining room table for six, a stylish living room where you can sip a glass of wine around the gas fireplace, and a courtyard and deck to take in the lush landscape. Guests may prepare meals in the gourmet kitchen on the LaCornue range or walk to downtown Freeland for dinner.
In the evening, stroll along the hillside to admire the pastoral acreage that includes a historic renovated red barn and rows of grapevines. If you want to burn off some wine, head to the Loafing Shed and play a game of bocce ball.
The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, and the Vineyard House is available year-round. For a unique experience, plan to stay for live music on Fridays.
OTT & HUNTER WINES
Overlooking Saratoga Passage, this wine bar has one of the best views in Langley and features hand-crafted artisan wines, wine flights, and a limited evening-only menu on Fridays and Saturdays with cheese plates and pizza.
WHIDBEY PIES & CAFE
No trip to Whidbey Island is complete without a slice of pie. The loganberry is a must! The cafe opens daily at 11 a.m. and serves soups, salads, and grilled sandwiches.
CHOCOLATE FLOWER FARM
Featured on “Martha Stewart Living” and in the Food Network Magazine, this shop specializes in chocolate flowers as well as chocolate products and gifts.
LANGLEY WHALE CENTER
To learn more about Washington’s resident orca whales and the latest whale sightings, this is the place. If the whale bell rings, head to the shoreline one block from the center and search for whale spouts in the water.
GREENBANK FARM WINE SHOP
For wine gifts, wine accessories, and to sample more local wines, this shop has everything you need, including the area’s famous loganberry wine, jams, and syrups.
Upcycling with wine bottles or corks is in trend right now, and why not? It’s inexpensive, convenient, and creates fun decor for any oenophile’s home or garden. Check out these simple yet beautiful ways to reuse empties after your wine escape weekend.
Creating a garden edge with empty bottles is super easy and fun. First, ask your friends to save and even sign their wine bottles. When you have enough, fill each bottle with glass beads or marbles and burry neck-down to create your edging or border. Burry at different depths and alternate colors to give the pattern some flair.
FOR THE BIRDS
Drill holes near the bottom of an empty bottle for birdseed to spill out. To build a perch and feeding dish, glue a plate or wooden round to the bottom of the bottle. Wrap the bottle’s neck with copper or other ornamental wire to hang.
Paint your favorite wine bottles with sea-glass-effect paint. For clear glass, simply paint the outside with sea glass spray paint. For colored glass, try Martha Stewart’s etched glass effect paint. For a coastal vibe, wrap the bottle’s neck with twine and tie-off with a dangling seashell. Add fairy lights or a sprig of your favorite flowers to complete the look. JENN BACHTEL
Home to Oliver, B.C., which has been dubbed the “wine capital of Canada,” the Okanagan Valley is a mecca for fans of Rieslings, Chardonnays, sparkling wines, Pinot Gris, and even reds.
The area is hot and the summers are short, so it might seem like unideal conditions to grow Syrah, Bordeaux, or other red wine grapes, but lucky for us, this isn’t the case. The long daylight hours in the summer make up for the short season, and the 83-mile-long Okanagan Lake regulates temperatures throughout the valley during extreme seasons.
The Okanagan area has a rich history of agriculture, with roots in the peach, cherry, and apple industry. This infrastructure paved the way for the area’s wine country. Here are a few places to go if you’re hoping to experience the Okanagan valley from inside the vineyard gates.
The Stewart family is the third generation to farm their parcel of land in West Kelowna. The Stewarts have used the now-vineyard since the early 1900s, and have been active members of the community for the last century. Quails’ Gate offers unparalleled wines, with 10 options in both red and white varietals.
If you’re looking for a place to un-wine-d, Quails’ Gate offers two overnight accommodations. The first is the Lake House, which boasts a large kitchen, a dock on the lake, and enough space for 14 people. The second is a cozy beach-front cottage called the Nest, which sleeps up to seven.
THE INN AT THERAPY VINEYARDS
If rest and relaxation are just what the doctor prescribed, head to Therapy Vineyards. The tasting room, which sits on the edge of the vineyard, is called the Farmacy, and boasts wines with names like “Freudian Sip” and “Pink Freud.”
If you’re in need of some Divine Intervention, the inn has recently undergone a lengthy remodel. The semi-private balconies offer breathtaking views of the vineyards below and the lake beyond. All rooms have access to the outdoor hot tub as well as the dining room, where you’ll find a gourmet breakfast spread each morning. Guests of the inn receive free tastings and a discount on purchases.
Winner of Best Okanagan Restaurant at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, Waterfront is known for their extensive wine list. This high-end dining room is perfect for a formal night out.
MYRA CANYON ADVENTURE PARK
Soak in the beauty of B.C. while testing your bravery. This adventure park offers nine different treetop challenge courses, so this activity is not for those who dislike heights.
LAKE BREEZE WINERY PATIO RESTAURANT
Grab lunch in the garden of Lake Breeze Winery. Sip on some wine and eat a hearty meal that’s local, ethically sourced, organic, and sustainable.
SUMMERLAND ORNAMENTAL GARDENS
Established in 1916, these 15 acres are the perfect place for leisurely strolls or longer outings. Pack a picnic and spend the day among the flowers.
DAVISON ORCHARDS COUNTRY VILLAGE
If you’ve ever dreamed of wandering the streets of the Old West, dream no more. At Davison Orchards Country Village, shop produce, treats, and other handmade goodies. You can also take a tractor tour of the orchards.
It’s no secret that Walla Walla is a great place for wine. In fact, just last year, Sunset magazine named it America’s best wine town. Since becoming the state’s second AVA in 1984, the Walla Walla Valley has quickly developed into a first-class wine region home to more than 100 wineries.
What makes Walla Walla such a haven for winegrowers? The answer is in the land. The region spans a variety of climates, topographies, and soil types and is situated along the same line of latitude that runs between France’s Burgundy and Bordeaux regions. Compared to other major wine regions, it also boasts an extraordinarily high winery-to-acreage ratio.
“We have 120 wineries, but we only have about 3,000 acres of grapes,” explains Caleb Agee, marketing and communications manager for Visit Walla Walla. For reference, Napa has around 400 wineries from a whopping 45,000 acres of planted vineyards. “We have wineries producing world-class wine, but it can sometimes be hard to find in the store. The easiest way to experience Walla Walla wine is to visit.”
Another thing to love about Walla Walla is the vibe, which one might define as casually luxurious. “For the variety and quality of wine we have, you can’t find a more laid back and enjoyable experience,” Agee says.
While the present is looking good, residents also anticipate the wine town’s bright future. “We see our trajectory and know that, long term, we’re going to be a world-class wine destination,”Agee says. “We know it’s going to happen.”
To get the official scoop on the darling of Washington’s wine scene, I spent a harrowing weekend in Walla Walla, tasting wines, touring vineyards, and settling into an overnight winery of my own. Sounds terrible, I know. Follow me as I walk you through my experience of being literally wined and dined in Walla Walla.
8 A.M. HIT THE ROAD
The quickest way to Walla Walla from Bellingham is via I-90, which takes roughly six hours. To shake things up, my boyfriend and I decided to take Highway 20 on the way there and I 90 on the way back. If you have the time, I highly recommend making this loop, as it lets you see a greater swathe of the state’s eastern side. Although Highway 20 adds about two hours of travel time, you avoid Seattle and get a bonus drive through North Cascades National Park. Fun fact, you also pass by two of the other wine areas covered in this feature: Lake Chelan Valley and Prosser.
4 P.M. ARRIVE AT JOHNSON RIDGE INN & VINEYARD
Johnson Ridge Inn is situated northeast of downtown Walla Walla, where development gives way to stunning hills quilted with green and gold. The Inn is perched atop one of these hills, with four private suites tucked into the estate’s spectacular vineyard setting. At the center of it all is a heated outdoor saltwater pool. When we arrived, another guest was floating on a giant inflatable swan, looking extremely blissed out.
As soon as we walked into the Guest House, we looked at each other and said, at the same time, “Wow.” The stunning open-concept house is spacious and bright, with multiple windows facing the vineyard and rolling fields beyond. Sliding doors open onto your very own patio with outdoor seating, a gas grill, and—wait for it— a private hot tub.
The modern house has everything you need, plus the extra touches that make you feel at home: a fireplace, a full-sized refrigerator (stocked with juice and two Coronas), and a flat-screen TV mounted furtively into the bar. Waiting for us on the counter was the trip’s raison d’etre: a bottle of the winery’s 2014 Estate Syrah.
My boyfriend’s immediate impulse was to put on one of the cushiony bathrobes hanging in the closet and flop down on the extra-comfy king bed. We then headed for the saltwater pool, whose water was crystal clear and exactly the right temperature.
For dinner, we grilled on the patio and then, as night fell, headed to the hot tub, glasses of Syrah in hand.
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a winery, this might be your chance. To fulfill their dream of travelling internationally, the Johnsons have put the beloved business up for sale.
10:30 A.M. TOUR & TASTING AT ARMSTRONG FAMILY WINERY
Refreshed from a pot of in-room coffee and a night of sound sleep, we headed north of town to Armstrong Vineyards, home of Tim and Jen Armstrong.
The Armstrongs met, in of all places, the beer-city of Milwaukee. As self-declared wine geeks, they started learning the trade through remote winemaking classes. “The more we learned, the more we [knew] this is what we wanted to do,” Jen explains. “We love the idea of creating something beautiful out of a natural product and preserving time in a bottle.” After establishing themselves in Kirkland, the Armstrongs moved to Walla Walla in 2017.
Guests stay at the Vineyard Cottage, which sits a stone’s throw from the Armstrong’s home and boasts spectacular views of the Blue Mountains. The warm and homey two-bedroom house features a full kitchen, adorable wood stove, Jack and Jill bathroom, washer and dryer, and a patio with a grill, making it the perfect place for a weekend getaway or a more substantial stay. According to Jen, one couple
stayed for three weeks, just relaxing, going for bike rides, and touring wineries.
The property is a nature-lover’s paradise, with frequent visitations from deer, hawks, owls, coyotes, and songbirds. Guests are free to roam around, exploring the creek, irrigation pond, and a modest cliff where numerous birds have built nests into the soil.
After touring the vineyards and learning a ton about wine grapes from Tim (if you’re curious about viticulture science, this is your go-to winery), we followed Jen to the winery’s tasting room downtown. Although the Armstrongs plan to open a winery and tasting room on-site within the next few years, for now the tasting magic happens on Main Street.
We sampled a 2016 North Avenue Riesling, a 2016 Merlot, and a 2015 Scotsman Syrah. My favorite was the 2016 Bogie’s blend, a delicious mix of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon named for the family’s dog.
12:30 P.M. TAPAS & TASTING AT VALDEMAR ESTATES
After saying goodbye to the Armstrongs, we headed south of town, to Valdemar Estates, the area’s first non-American winery. The Estate is the newest venture of the Valdemar family, who have been making wine in Spain’s Rioja region for more than a century.
Driving up to Valdemar, you get an idea you’re in for something special. The brand-new location is large and imposing, with a second-story tasting room patio overlooking the fields below. When you walk in, you’re greeted with a 150-year old barrel press that speaks to the family’s wine legacy.
“[My family] started in the wine business the same year Washington became a state,” says CEO Jesús Martínez Bujanda Mora, who first came to the Pacific Northwest to study business at the University of Washington. “Maybe it was destiny we came here.”
We tasted many great wines during our weekend, but I have to say the wines at Valdemar were my favorite. The highlight was La Gargantilla, a 2016 Garnacha from the family’s Rioja winery. I also enjoyed the 2017 Component Trial, a Syrah from Walla Walla.
From the tapas menu, my favorite dish was the Bonito Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, whose peppers are shipped in from Spain. Also excellent was the Tortilla de Patatas, a dish I ate daily when I hiked part of the Camino de Santiago in 2013 and which lived up to its memory. Mora told us, with a look of pride, that the tortilla is his wife’s recipe.
Since opening this past April, Valdemar has been greeted with great success. While one might credit this success to five generations of winemaking, Mora kept returning to a central theme: his gratitude for the Walla Walla community.
“The rest of the wineries are promoting us all the time,” Mora says. “We are so grateful for that. Honestly, we are here today because of the support we’ve gotten from the rest of the industry.”
6:00 P.M. TOUR & DINNER AT ERITAGE RESORT
Nestled on 300 acres of rolling fields and vineyards, Eritage Resort offers 10 lakeside bungalows—each with two rooms—and 10 King suites. Each accommodation comes with a private patio or deck, a fireplace, and an elegant spa-inspired bathroom with soaking tub.
At the heart of the new resort is a lovely irrigation lake where guests are invited to stand up paddle board or kayak. The bungalows are also situated along this lake, so that when you step onto the patio, you have the sensation of floating on water.
Guests who don’t feel like recreating among the resident ducks can instead take a dip in the saltwater pool or participate in one of the resort’s regular activities. Every Monday, guests enjoy Rosé and Croquet on the lakeside lawn. The resort has also invited yoga instructors to hold classes on the lawn and CrossFit trainers to guide runs through the vineyard.
Even if you don’t stay at the resort, do yourself a favor and visit Eritage Restaurant & Bar, which has become a must-try dining experiences for guests and non-guests alike. Chef Brian Price centers every dish around locally raised meat and fish, relying on strong ties to area farmers.
In addition to a glass of the Eritage Rosé, which was crisp, juicy, and sweet, I started dinner with an Eritage Manhattan, the bar’s signature cocktail. Because when in Walla Walla you must do as the Walla Wallans do, we also ordered a bottle of Saviah Cellar’s 2015 Malbec.
Our meal began with Wild Mushroom Toast and Spice Roasted Carrots—both excellent. I then moved on to the Smothered Buttermilk Fried Organic Half-Chicken, which was thinly coated in spiced batter and served with flavorful kale apple-bacon slaw and pureed potatoes. For dessert we indulged in a sumptuous Bourbon Soaked Bread Pudding.
9:00 A.M. BREAKFAST & TASTING AT ABEJA WINERY & INN
Just east of downtown, Abeja sits on 38 acres of historic farmland. The farmstead’s original buildings have been meticulously restored into attractive cottages, suites, and rooms, many of which are named for their original purpose, e.g. the Chicken Coop Cottage and Hayloft Suite. Large parties can also rent the stunning five-bedroom farmhouse.
All guests of the Inn enjoy a wine tasting and gourmet breakfast. To experience these amenities first-hand, we sat down to enjoy breakfast on the charming outdoor patio. Our table overlooked a meticulously tended garden lush with colorful flowers and fat, happy bumblebees. Right away, we were given a glorious carafe of piping hot coffee.
Our first dish was a baked egg. Reader, I could write a whole feature on this egg. When the chef kindly shared the recipe with me, I was startled to find it contained nothing out of the ordinary—no secret oils or rare spices. The magic was a simple mixture of cream, truffle salt, and fresh herbs picked on-site.
After the egg came two generous slices of bacon and Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes topped with local strawberries. Although these were also tasty, I would happily return to Walla Walla just for Abeja’s baked egg.
After breakfast we sat down at the tasting bar, where we sampled the winery’s 2017 Chardonnay, 2016 Merlot, and 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. My favorite was the 2017 Beekeeper’s Blend, a mix of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petit Verdot with notes of vanilla bean and plum. It’s also the only wine on the menu you can’t get anywhere else.
The logistics of traveling to wineries can be difficult, especially if everyone in your party wants to join the fun. While walking is a great way to avoid designating a driver, some wineries are too far apart. Besides, why not make your wine staycation an experience to remember? Here are a few ways to really make an entrance.
STRETCH IT OUT
What’s classier than a limousine? If you’re planning a trip to Walla Walla, grab some friends and let Walla Walla Wine Limo chauffeur you from one winery to the next. If you’re heading to the Lake Chelan area, Lakeside Limousine Tours will be your guide.
If you’re planning to do some tastings in Chelan, why not literally drop in on your favorite winery? Skydive Chelan offers the country’s only tandem winery skydiving experience. They’ll pick you up at a winery of your choice and then, after a training, fly you into the clouds. Once you’re back on land, toast your flight with a bottle of wine.
201 Airport Way, Chelan
509.881.0687 | skydivechelan.com
GET IN THE CHOPPER
For the ultimate arrival, book a three-hour Lake Chelan Wine Valley Tour with Lake Chelan Helicopters. You’ll stop at two wineries of your choice; whenever you’re ready to leave, just jump in the helicopter and let the pilot whisk you away.
Situated along the Yakima River, the little town of Prosser rests in the heart of the Washington wine scene and is part of Washington’s oldest AVA, the Yakima Valley. With fewer than 7,000 residents, Prosser is home to more than 30 wineries known primarily for their red blends and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Just north of town, you’ll find Vinter’s Village: a collective of more than 12 wineries all within walking distance of one another, making Prosser the perfect place to visit for a weekend of touring and tasting. For those who prefer to sleep among the vines, these overnight locations are tucked right into the action.
INN AT DESERT WIND
If you’re a fan of the southwest, the Inn at Desert Wind will spark daydreams of Santa Fe. Guests can stay in one of four southwest-inspired rooms located just upstairs from the winery.
Desert Wind Vineyards boasts more than 400 planted acres of Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to a complimentary bottle of wine, guests also receive a breakfast delivered straight to their room each morning.
To relax even deeper, book an on-call masseuse whose services include hot stone, deep tissue, or Swedish massage, or add a romantic package featuring sparkling wine, flowers, and a private dining experience.
ALEXANDRIA NICOLE CELLARS DESTINY RIDGE TINY HOUSES
If you’ve ever wanted to explore a tiny home, here’s your chance. Located among the grapes of Alexandria Nicole Cellar’s Destiny Ridge vineyard, these tiny houses are just a short walk away from the tasting room, where you’ll find several wines on-tap.
Previously reserved for wine-club members, these four tiny homes—some of which appeared on HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living”—are now open to the general public. Each unique home comfortably fits at least two people and offers phenomenal views of the surrounding vineyards.
Enjoy a fireside glass of wine on the deck or watch for shooting stars from a second-story patio. These homes may be tiny, but they pack a big punch.
COZY ROSE INN BED AND BREAKFAST
The name says it all. Located on family-owned orchards and vineyards, this inn will leave you feeling cozy and refreshed. Enjoy a romantic getaway in one of four luxury suites or bring the family and book the Irish House, a cottage-style house with a living room, dining room, and outdoor hot tub.
Each suite boasts a Jacuzzi, private entrance, and a private deck from which to admire the surrounding vineyards. After your in-room candlelight breakfast, explore the dozens of wineries within a 30-minute radius. Two world-class wineries are only a 10-minute drive away.
HORSE HEAVEN SALOON
This western-style gastropub serves up rustic dishes with a modern twist. Order a beer at the bar or enjoy a glass of wine from a rotating list of local offerings.
BILL’S BERRY FARM
Visit this family-owned-and-operated farm just north of Grandview for u-pick apples, peaches, and raspberries. In October, come for pumpkins, gourds, and squash. You can also press your own cider or pop into the farm store.
THE GREAT PROSSER BALLOON RALLY
Watch the sky come alive with color as hot air balloon pilots from across the region gather for this event. Weather permitting, take-off starts at 6:15 a.m. on September 27 at the Prosser Washington Airport.
JADE’S BRITISH GIRLS TREATS
Craving something sweet to pair with your wine? Head to this combined confection shop, bakery, and deli located inside Desert Wind Winery.
SIXTH STREET ART AND GIFT GALLERY
Tasting is hard work. If you need a break, check out this cute store in downtown Prosser, offering refurbished furniture, eclectic vintage items, home decor, and local art.
Lake Chelan Valley is Washington’s 11th AVA, with most of its acreage dedicated to Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Riesling. While technically part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA, the area is unique in that it boasts a higher elevation and more temperate climate than other areas within the Columbia Valley. The region’s lake effect produces favorable temperatures that lead to fewer instances of frost and longer growing seasons.
Since the first production vineyard opened in 1998, the area has become home to more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms, many of which offer stunning views of Lake Chelan. Here are a few that also offer overnight accommodations.
THE GUEST HOUSE AT NEFARIOUS CELLARS
Just steps away from the scenic vineyard, this two-story guest house comes with everything you need for a relaxing wine get-away. Formerly the home of Nefarious Cellars’winemakers, this spacious, industrial-style loft offers two bedrooms, an outdoor grill, and full kitchen. Share the outdoor patio and tasting room with visitors during the day, but have it all to yourself at night. With epic views of Lake Chelan, you can’t go wrong.
THE VILLA AT SIREN SONG WINES
This cute villa boasts two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and enough space to sleep six people. The best part? It’s located in the heart of the winery. Just steps away from the villa’s private entrance, you’ll find Siren Song’s tasting room, restaurant, and an outdoor veranda where you can sit back and relax with a glass of wine or a tasty pizza, all while admiring unparalleled views of Lake Chelan and the mountains beyond. Want to make your stay educational? Sign up for a two-hour private cooking class that includes a meal and wine pairing.
THE STONE HOUSE AT TUNNEL HILL WINERY
The Stone House at Tunnel Hill Winery features three bedrooms and enough sleeping space for eight guests, making it the perfect getaway for a large group or family. With its own private golf practice area and sweeping views of surrounding mountains, lakes, and vineyards, this large, newly renovated house has it all.
Guests receive a complimentary tasting at Tunnel Hill Winery, which started in 2001 with three flagship wines: Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Since then, it has also put out Malbec and Viognier and, in 2018, released a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Another bonus: location, location, location. The house is within walking distance of four other wineries, a convenience store, and a gourmet restaurant, making it easy to leave the car behind.
Enjoy exquisite Italian food paired with fine wines from around the globe. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily with occasional live piano performances.
THE VOGUE COFFEE & WINE LOUNGE
Stop in for coffee and breakfast or swing by in the evening to enjoy a cheese plate and wine with friends. Live music happens every weekend from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE
Travel the waters of Lake Chelan by boat, soaking in views of the Cascade mountains. Day trips include a layover in the remote town of Stehekin.
SUNSHINE FARM MARKET
Put some sunshine in your day with local fruits and veggies as well as gifts, specialty food items, and coffee. Press your own cider throughout September and October.
CULINARY APPLE KITCHEN NECESSITIES & GIFTS
Apple fans will be in heaven at this gourmet kitchen store. Browse apple-inspired goods, homemade fudge, unique kitchen appliances, and, of course, local wines.
As you pop bottles throughout your weekend, don’t let the corks go to waste! Here are some crafty ideas—some decorative, some practical—to reuse your corks. Pro tip: For more supplies and more fun, open a bottle of wine while you craft.
Cut the end of a cork so that you have two coin-sized pendants. Sand down the sides, add some hardware, and decorate with paint or rubber stamps.
WINE CORK DIARY
When you’re finished sharing a bottle with friends, mark the cork with the date, who you were with, and something else to remember the bottle by, such as a joke or topic you discussed while drinking. Store in a large clear jar or vase.
Fair warning: This project requires some serious drinking, so start saving up. For a cute, DIY bulletin board, glue corks side-by-side inside a funky picture frame. For a quirkier look, arrange the corks in a pattern, such as chevrons or diamonds.
You can’t spend every weekend at a luxurious winery. For nights spent tent-side, keep a cork fire starter handy for a quick and easy campfire. All you have to do is soak a cork in alcohol for at least a day. To avoid a smoky mess, make sure the cork is real and not plastic.
For more content like this, check out our Lifestyle section.
This is the best-selling Sauvignon Blanc at Haggen grocery stores, so I figured it was only appropriate to put it on my list. This Sauv Blanc has unique flavors such as kiwi, melon, and grapefruit. If I’m shopping for a crowd-pleasing white wine, this is the one I reach for.
GLM Winery owners Tom and Tracy are not only fantastic people—they’re also fantastic with wine. It’s made using old-world techniques that characterize the differences between this Sauv Blanc and others.
Wine Spectator gives this 2015 Sauvignon Blanc an outstanding 89 points. Citrus aromas and a layer of minerality combine with strong pear flavors to round out this gorgeous white wine. It’s crisp and clean and, before you know it, it’s gone.
Most Rieslings on the market are quite sweet, so Chateau Ste. Michelle’s unique take is refreshing to those who appreciate drier wines. With tart fruit notes like lime and grapefruit, this 2016 Riesling earned 90 points from Wine & Spirits.
This elegant Syrah is bold, with flavors of currant, dried herbs, and pepper. The rich texture is complemented with flavors of cedar and dark fruits. Wine & Spirits gave the 2016 vintage 90 points.
This Syrah does not smell like oak—a refresher for some. Take a strong whiff of raspberry, blueberry, and allspice fragrances before tasting the boysenberry and blueberry. It’s rich, soft, and balanced.
Winning 89 points from Wine Spectator, this 2013 Cab Sauv is sweet with dark fruits, rounded out with coffee and baking spice flavors.
This red is a blend of Gilbert Cellars’ “very best barrels.” It’s 50 percent Syrah, 33 percent Grenache, and 17 percent Mourvèdre aged 18 months in 33 percent new French oak barrels. The remainder is aged in once-used French oak barrels. Altogether it’s 100 percent delicious.
The 2016 vintage won an impressive 89 points from Wine Spectator for its unique flavors. You’ll taste notes of fresh melon, green apple, and honeysuckle.
Numerous flavors come together in this wine to create a beautiful fruity blend. You’ll taste grapefruit, apricot, mint, starfruit, orange, nectarine, lemon, lime, and Granny Smith apples. The finish is incredibly long for a white wine.
Peter Osvaldik is the winemaker and owner at Dynasty Cellars, with a tasting room in Bellingham on East Bakerview Road. For only five dollars, you can sample up to five wines, the cost of which is forgiven if you purchase a bottle—which you’ll want to. All of Osvaldik’s wines are great, but his Riesling is my favorite.
This bright rosé has flavors of orange blossoms, strawberries, and ripe melon. The intense acidity lasts, creating a delectable off-dry finish.
Mr. Grassie was kind enough to lend us a bottle of his Coral Rosé for our June Summer Barbecue feature story. I was lucky enough to take the bottle home to enjoy—and that I did. This rosé is amazing. It’s light and airy and not too syrupy, perfect for pairing with cheese on a sunny day.
This fruity white wine highlights flavors such as Bartlett pear, green apple, and honeydew melon. There are also floral hints and kiwi tastes hiding in the smooth texture. It pairs well with just about everything.
Vartanyan’s tasting room may be a little off the beaten track, but it’s worth the adventure up Mount Baker Highway. I tend to like sweeter options, and this Sweet Riesling is nothing short of scrumptious. It’s like liquid wine candy.
This rosé, along with the next, is available at side-by-side tasting rooms in Woodinville. Fun fact: The tasting room are also next door to an incredible pizza place. There’s nothing better than eating some artisanal pizza and sipping an incredible rosé on the patio. Patterson’s rosé is crisp, light, and just plain enjoyable.
This delightful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot is sure to compliment any of the pizzas from the adjoined pie joint. Not only is the wine from Gorman perfect, but the experience of sitting on the covered patio, enjoying chilled wine, and nibbling on a great slice can’t be beat.
The 2014 blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Merlot is medium- to full-bodied. The flavors of ripe black cherries and licorice give it a sweeter taste, rounded out by wild herbs.
Featuring a combination of six different varietals, this red blend has sweet notes of black currant and red cherry. The sweetness is balanced with a mild tobacco leaf flavor, leaving the palette warm.
Because the Walla Walla Vinters vineyard sits on higher ground, the elevation produces a greater balance of fruit flavor and acidity. This 2014 Merlot has a large flavor profile that includes hints of espresso, mint, and vanilla.
This Malbec features awards such as Double Gold in the 2019 Seattle Wine Awards, Gold in the 2018 Seattle Wine Awards, and Platinum in the 2018 Wine Press Northwest.
With 91 Wine Spectator points, this blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petite Merlot is a must-have. Impressive points aren’t the only accolade: This wine also won Gold in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Only two wineries get a repeat on this list, and it’s because they deserve it. The Dynasty Rosé is one of the best rosés to come out of Bellingham. It’s a delicious combination of Riesling and Malbec that’s perfect for light sipping.
I love pineapple, so when I see it listed in the tasting notes for a wine, it’s something I don’t let slip by. The Samson Estates Chardonnay is sweet with fruit flavors and has a good acid balance.
The 2016 vintage boasts 93 Wine Spectator points, with a similar ranking expected for the 2017 vintage. While the 2016 was more flowery, the 2017 takes an earthy turn, with hints of cassis and ground herbs.
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Willowbrook Manor’s green lawns, cottage greenhouse, and quiet reflecting pool rest amid Skagit Valley farmlands to the east of Sedro Woolley. The property was formerly a pasture, bought by owner Terry Gifford and her family in 1996. The manor was completed in 2004, but its latticed windows and brick details make it look like an old English estate.
Gifford’s newest venture, the seasonal Tea and Tour experiences, offers a choice of three bike tours around the area. The tours range from 8 to 12 miles long, but distance for self-guided tours can be adjusted by preference, she says. The Sedro-Woolley Historic Bike Tour and the Farm to Forest History Tour are self-guided rides with historical posts along the way. The 10-mile Northern State Hospital Guided Tour covers the history of the psychiatric hospital and farm and includes a boxed lunch. All tours begin with tea and scones on the East Lawn. Bikes and helmets are provided.
Guests can also enjoy various Tea Time events. The Weeding and Tea experience begins with tea and scones, then weeding on the two acres of chamomile fields on the property. After tending the flowers that make the tea, guests return to the manor for salad and sandwiches.
Gifford currently offers overnight reservations through AirBnb, with two options available: The Loft and High Camp. The manor is currently open for corporate meetings, and Gifford hopes to open more rooms in the house to overnight guests next year.
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Fifty years ago this month, Apollo 8 became the first mission to carry men from Earth’s orbit to the moon.
But that’s not all. One of its three crewmen, Bill Anders, now a resident of Anacortes, took the photo, “Earthrise,” from the space capsule window. It became one of the most famous photos ever taken. On December 24, 1968, Anders, now 85, was supposed to be taking pictures of the moon. Along with crew members Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, Anders had the camera out to shoot the moon’s surface. It was a bleak, forbidding landscape of craters, mountains, and gray. The sight of Earth, emerging on the moon’s horizon, left
even the astronauts agape. “Oh my God!” said Anders, according to the ship’s transcript and noted in the new
book, “Rocket Men,” by Robert Kurson. “Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!” The transcript of the crew and Anders’ urgency to switch from black-and-white film to color is almost comical, and underscores just how sublime the sight was. It got astronauts, the most cool-as-cucumber guys on (and off) the planet, to act like kids. No one had ever seen Earth like this. Swirling white clouds, blue sky and water, all in a magnificent marble, contrasted with the stark moon surface and the black of deep space. Beautiful, fragile, a suspended speck in the vast universe—it’s easy to see how it would make three explorers marvel, and think about how that small blue orb possessed everything they knew and loved. Us, too. The year 1968 had been a turbulent period of social and political upheaval in the U.S.: nightly TV news broadcast body counts of American troops in an unpopular war in Vietnam; in one three-month span, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated; riots broke out in the streets and during the Democratic National
Convention in Chicago. Then came Apollo 8. Its December 21–27 mission was remarkable for what it accomplished, but also for what it delivered: Hope, and wonder. The astronauts famously read from the Book of Genesis on Christmas Eve. Earthrise was credited with bringing an awareness of our planet’s vulnerability. It was used as a symbol for the first Earth Day in 1970. Seen from Apollo 8’s vantage point, Anders’ photo did not show countries’ boundaries or people or ethnicities. It showed the home of all of us. Bill’s son, Greg, plans to
devote an entire room to 1968 at the family-run Heritage Flight Museum in Burlington, where Bill and sons Greg and Alan honor and fly vintage wartime aircraft every spring to fall (Click here to read more). The museum, at the Skagit Regional Airport, is planning a major expansion to be completed in the next two years. Greg wants to put the mission, Earthrise, and 1968 all in perspective. For history, yes. But maybe also to show that a troubled and divided nation can mend, that we are all in this—and on this Earth—together. This month, a half-century ago on Apollo 8, Bill Anders went where no man had gone before, and returned with something unexpected. “We came all this way to explore the Moon,” he famously said, “and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” In the final days of 2018, here’s hoping we still hold some of the wonder, and sense of togetherness, that the Apollo mission brought out in us back then.
Merry Christmas to all—to all of you on the good Earth.
Photo Credit: Bill Anders, NASA
For those of us who spent time or grew up in the East, a West Coast road trip has this one, can’t-beat-it novelty: seeing the sun set over the ocean. The following five places — Gig Harbor; Oregon’s Astoria and Cannon Beach; California’s Arcata/ Eureka and Mendocino — are notable destinations for that reason and more. But getting there should be at least half the fun.
Successful planning for a spring road trip has a few common elements. Consider them as you ponder the possibilities in a trip that includes any or all of these picturesque coastal towns from Washington to California:
We picked these five places not only for the scenery, but for offerings in food, family fun, exploring, and shops. Put winter and some miles behind you. It’s a chance to see new things and think deep thoughts. A good road trip should provide opportunity for both.
At ground level, Astoria has its old-world-meets-newworld charms — remnants of its cannery history are embedded in brew pubs and sidewalk trash bins; its twice-rebuilt downtown is thriving after historically devastating fires, the old county jail has become an internationally visited film museum.
But to really see Astoria’s illustrious place in West Coast history, you have to get above it all, which we did when we climbed the 164-step spiral staircase inside the Astoria Column, a 125-foot-high steel and concrete tower built in 1926 that’s perched on a hill overlooking downtown. Far below the tower’s narrow observation deck, we took it all in: the massive, 4.1-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Washington with Oregon, and just beyond, the mouth of the Columbia River, finishing its 1,200-mile journey from British Columbia to the Pacific.
That sweeping panorama on an oddly sunny October afternoon (Astoria is typically rainy in fall), encapsulated Astoria’s past and present. Founded in 1811 via an expedition funded by investor and fur trader John Jacob Astor, Astoria is the oldest European American settlement west of the Rockies, making it the granddaddy of all West Coast harbor towns. On a clear day from the
One of Astoria’s biggest tourist attractions — and most surprising, even to city officials — has nothing to do with maritime history. The old Clatsop County Jail, site of the opening scene in the movie “The Goonies,” has become a year-round shrine to fans of the movie. Now the jail is home to the Oregon Film Museum, celebrating more than 400 films shot in the state.
But “The Goonies,” a kids adventure movie involving preteens, some bad folks and a pirate’s treasure, is the star here. The museum and a house used in the movie drew 15,000 people from around the world for the flick’s 30th anniversary in 2015, and nearly as many for its 20th. Executive-produced by a young Steven Spielberg, the movie is a cultural touchstone for adults who grew up in the 1980s. People have come to celebrate birthdays and honeymoons, said county historian Mac Burns, but also mark events more searing and personal — cancer remission, and lost siblings who were Goonies groupies. Visits have grown 20 percent each year, and “we don’t know if it’ll ever stop,” said Burns. “For (some), it’s a religious experience.”
column — wrapped in stunningly intricate artwork depicting the area’s founding history — you can look southwest to Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark ended their famed expedition. North of us and dominating the view, however, is the mighty Columbia, home to the notorious Columbia River Bar and “the Graveyard of the Pacific,” where, since 1800, an estimated 2,000 ships and 1,000 people have met their doom.
Back on ground level, Astoria’s maritime history is everywhere you turn. We spent a few absorbing hours touring Flavel House Museum, the restored 19th century Queen Anne mansion of Captain George Flavel. Flavel, Astoria’s first millionaire, cornered the market on bar piloting, providing visiting ships with local know-how to navigate the treacherous, ever-shifting sandbar as they entered the Columbia River.
Boats are everywhere, not just sliding past on the river. Walking along Marine Way, we saw a ship that doubled as a lighthouse, a full-size pilot boat perched on blocks, a smaller boat with a window to order takeout fish-andchips, yet another filling the floorto-ceiling window at the world-class Columbia River Maritime Museum (a must-see), in an exhibit portraying a daring Coast Guard rescue.
Stroll along Astoria’s six-mile paved riverwalk (take the trolley if it’s running) and see old buildings from the era when canneries, fisheries, and the lumber trade ruled. These days, they are transformed to shops, restaurants and brew pubs, but a workmanlike sensibility remains. “We’re gritty, not pretty,” is what locals like to say to show that Astoria (pop. 9,802) isn’t like other places that have abandoned their founding heritage to become gentrified tourist towns.
Veer a few blocks south from the riverwalk to Astoria’s downtown, where the historic Hotel Elliott and restored Liberty Theater are worth a stop, along with eateries like the T. Paul’s Supper Club, boutiques and bookstores.
Past-era buildings dominate downtown, like the home of the Labor Temple Diner & Bar, many built no earlier than 1924. Downtown Astoria suffered two fires, catastrophic because it was built on wooden pilings over marshy ground. One, in 1883, destroyed nearly all of downtown, and another in 1922, wiped out 32 city blocks — Astoria’s entire business district.
Mac Burns of the Clatsop County Historical Society points out Astoria is “really a river town, not a coastal town,” and he’s right. But tell that to the hundreds of sea lions that have overtaken the docks off one Port of Astoria pier. Our hotel nearby offered guests earplugs to muffle the sea lions’ “singing,” actually more like a cross between a guttural bark and a creaking door. The sound was a near-constant backdrop that followed us, even to the top of Astoria Column, where you could see history laid out before you.
1421 Commercial St., Astoria
In a city where local art and restoring old Victorian homes is a thing, this store is a great blend of houseware retailer and interior design studio. Go there to browse their inventory, but also to gather ideas for your next project.
348 12th St., Astoria
Located downtown in the historic Liberty Theater building, Lucy’s has been around since 1998 and is a local favorite. Cozy and quaint, the bookstore also has helpful staff happy to help. Winner of the 2017 Coast Weekend Readers’ Choice award.
1116 Commercial St., Astoria
Also, downtown, Finn Ware is a local institution and emblematic of Astoria’s large Finnish and Scandinavian population (check out the annual Midsummer Scandinavian Festival). Features are Scandinavian gifts, home décor, and Christmas all year-round.
441 8th St., Astoria
Built in 1885 for Captain George Flavel, the city’s first bar pilot and later, millionaire. Restored and furnished in late Victorian style, it is an interesting time capsule of when Astoria was booming. Has been a museum since 1951.
28th and Irving, Astoria
Near the Astoria Column, this hike is notable for its 300-year-old Sitka Spruce, and “Octopus Tree” that youngsters will enjoy. Hike is just a mile long, but visitors say the “up” back to the column, if you parked there, can be tougher than expected.
1 Coxcomb Dr., Astoria
It’s adorned with a stunning hand-painted spiral frieze depicting scenes from Astoria’s founding, with a view worth the 164-step climb of the (thankfully) indoor spiral staircase. Stunning panorama of ocean, city, mountains, and downtown Astoria. Get a (biodegradable) cardboard plane from the gift shop and launch it from above.
732 Duane St., Astoria
Homage to hundreds of films shot in Oregon. Enter the old cells in the former county jail building, where “The Goonies” opening jail break was filmed. Also try your director’s hand on replica movie sets of famous film scenes.
1792 Marine Dr., Astoria
A must-see, with one of the West Coast’s most extensive maritime collections. Video and hands-on exhibits bring boating history to life, and includes a striking 44-foot Coast Guard rescue boat. Admission gets you onto the Columbia, the West Coast’s last lightship station, parked outside.
92343 Fort Clatsop Rd., Astoria
Spanning two states — Washington and Oregon — the park commemorates the turnaround point of the nation’s most famous exploring duo. A replica of Fort Clatsop is popular. That’s where the Corps of Discovery spent a reputed miserable few months (it rained 94 of 106 days) in the winter of 1805-06 at the end of its journey. Check out the visitors and interpretive center.
20 Basin St., Astoria
Located in a renovated, 100-year-old cannery building on the water’s edge, it’s good for casual fare or fine dining with fresh, regional food. Their small plates are generous. If available, order the crab mac-n-cheese and the pear cider.
1483 Duane St., Astoria
Named for their George (King George III), not ours, this downtown pub is built on the original settlement site of Fort Astoria. Best chop salad I’ve ever had — roasted corn; crispy bacon; and avocado chunks, not slices.
1 8th St., Astoria
Housed in the former Bornstein Seafood cannery, this independent microbrewery has become the place to be. Good food and beer are a draw, as are big ships gliding past large windows. Oh, and you can see snoozing sea lions through a section of glass flooring.
Known as one of the gateways to the Olympic Peninsula, Gig Harbor acts as a quaint jumping-off point for an explorer ready to dive into the Olympic National Park, or someone looking for a quiet getaway with a view. Unlike its peninsula neighbors, Port Townsend, and Port Angeles, Gig Harbor is easily accessible over the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge, an attraction in itself. With light traffic, Seattle natives can reach the town in under an hour. For those further north, the drive is nearly a straight shot down Interstate 5. After arriving, guests will leave the hustle and bustle on the other end of the bridge. That is, if they make it across (see next page).
3026 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
Pink doors welcome visitors to this well-loved gift shop in downtown Gig Harbor. The store specializes in jewelry, scarves, and handbags at affordable price points.
4701 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor
Just a few minutes from downtown, shoppers will find restaurants, the movie theater, and national local retailers. Popular shops include Chico’s, J. Jill, and Home Goods.
9406 74th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor
Situated on 12 acres of gardens and wooded grounds, the Chalet in the Woods is more than a quaint store, it is a destination. Visitors will find European clothing, accessories and small home goods along with the flock of Oxford sheep and lamb that roam the grounds.
3207 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
Join professional marine naturalists for a day spent exploring and learning about the unique ecosystems of the harbor. Tours are available June through August for $150 an hour.
5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma
Located just a quick 20 minutes east of Gig Harbor, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium will awaken wonder in guests of all ages. Visit the Marine Discovery Center to touch a sea star or urchin, or if you’re brave enough, a stingray in the Stingray Cove.
3117 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
Enjoy a ride on the only authentic Venetian gondola in the Pacific Northwest. This unique tour allows visitors to experience Gig Harbor from the water without getting even their toes wet under the shadow of Mount Rainier. Reservation can be made online, pricing depends on the number of riders.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge: When the first bridge was opened in 1940, it was celebrated as an engineering feat — the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. Unfortunately, that title was soon changed to one of the greatest engineering failures in the world. The bridge, buffeted by high winds, famously collapsed into Puget Sound, with a movie camera capturing “Galloping Gertie” for posterity. Today, rebuilt and re-engineered, the bridge’s rich history and impressive structure make it a sight worth seeing.
Grab a paddle and prepare to get a little sea spray. Locals say the best way to experience Gig Harbor is from the water itself. Downtown Gig Harbor has numerous gear rental retailers where visitors can rent kayaks, paddle boards, or canoes.
Start one of your days early and trade the seashore for the rainforest. The east end of Olympic National Park can be reached in a little less than two hours from Gig Harbor and is more than worth the drive. Popular east-side hikes include Copper Creek, Mount Washington, and Hoodsport Trail. Be sure to pack your rain jacket.
4121 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
Opened in 1964 by the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society, the museum’s mission is to educate visitors on the rich history of the harbor and the surrounding region. The museum includes an 1893 fully restored one-room school house, a 65-foot-fishing vessel under restoration, and 7,000 square feet of exhibition space.
4116 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
Looking for a different way to enjoy all the seafood? Thai Hut in downtown Gig Harbor has a reputation for authenticity and quality. Enjoy Thai-inspired dishes like garlic or ginger salmon, and prawns karee.
2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
This 21-and-over restaurant and bar has an appealing menu full of seafood classics and an even more appealing location. Constructed in 1910, the building that now houses the restaurant was once the area general store located next to the only public ferry landing referred to as the “People’s Dock.”
8809 North Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor
To grab breakfast or lunch without missing a minute of ocean views, visit the Devoted Kiss Cafe. Breakfast is served until 3 p.m. and offers a variety of options from pastries, to quiche, to eggs Benedict served with housemade hollandaise sauce.
The wide, sandy beaches draw Pacific Northwest residents down to Cannon Beach, Oregon and away from the rocky shores of the Puget Sound. Iconic Haystack Rock towers 235 feet above the sea and is unlike any geological formation in the region. The beach landscape draws people in initially, but the laid-back atmosphere of the town keeps tourists coming back season after season. The most notable “tourist” was William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame, who explored the area in the early 1800s as part of the historic expedition. The group apparently camped about 20 miles north of the beach and Clark explored the Cannon Beach region, later named Clark’s View Point, now part of Ecola State Park.
171 Sunset Blvd., Cannon Beach
Cleanline Surf should be a destination for visitors looking to rent or purchase water sport equipment. Customers will find gear for surfing, kayaking, stand-up-paddle boarding, and kite boarding.
130 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach
The quaint bookstore has historic and current literature, a large selection of mystery, and stories to spark the imagination of any child. Along with books, customers can also find greeting cards and art supplies.
123 S. Hemlock, Cannon Beach
This contemporary women’s clothing store specializes in European as well as locally made apparel. Shoppers will find casual items perfect for the beach along with timeless styles that can transition away from the seashore.
108 N. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach
This nonprofit theater has been entertaining residents and visitors of Cannon Beach since 1972. Each year, Coaster Theatre Playhouse produces five plays and two musicals.
Catch a glimpse of the massive gray whales as they migrate through the Oregon coast waters twice a year on their way to and from breeding grounds further south. While guided tours are available, any walk along the beach can turn into a successful scouting mission with a little patience.
The Oregon coast has some of the best beaches for tide-pools. Haystack Rock is noted as the number one destination at low tide to seek out these miniature marine worlds. An hour-and-ahalf south of Cannon Beach, Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is another tide-pool destination.
988 S. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach
The French Italian cuisine is tasteful and light. The fine-dining atmosphere elevates the experience. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during tourist season.
240 N. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach
This back-to-basics fish and chips restaurant keeps true to its name. While the menu may seem limited, each basket, burger, and salad is well crafted and reasonably priced. Choose from prawns, salmon, halibut, or chicken tenders to accompany your chips.
126 N. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach
For the first meal of the day, try the family-owned Lazy Susan Cafe. The cafe includes classic dishes with a touch of the seashore. Items like the shrimp scatter omelet and the tuna apple hazelnut salad or the Mediterranean seafood stew.
179 N. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach
A local favorite for more than 70 years, the Driftwood has a warm and cozy feel with no-fluff food. The more upscale menu includes entrees like filet mignon, Dungeness crab casserole, and halibut.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Oregon, Haystack Rock rises 235 feet above the sea. The scenic beaches home to Haystack Rock are easily accessed from town and offer four miles of sandy beach to explore.
84318 Ecola Park Rd., Cannon Beach
Offering nine miles of coastline connecting Seaside with Cannon Beach, a visit to Ecola State Park is a must. Clatsop Interpretive Loop Trail is just a brief 2.5-mile journey that follows a part of the historic path of Lewis and Clark.
4175 Highway 101, Tillamook
Just an hour south of Cannon Beach lies the town of Tillamook, home to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. The factory has a popular visitors’ center with all you need to know about dairy along with a shop to pick up fresh cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and butter
Eureka sits in the land of giants. In three directions, visitors can find well-conserved old growth redwoods. To the south, check out Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Head east for Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and north for Redwood National and State Parks. Visitors can’t go wrong. Not that enthusiastic about trees? Eureka is also a destination for water sports like surfing, kayaking, and standup paddle boarding. Its old town area features Victorian homes.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
This tree, located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, has been deemed the “best in show” when it comes to enormous trees in northern California. While not technically the tallest, it is potentially the world’s largest tree in terms of overall mass.
Arcata Ball Park
If you’re lucky enough to visit the coast in the summer, add a Humboldt Crabs collegiate summer baseball game to the itinerary. The season runs June through August.
1150 16th St., Arcata
This public pool is open year-round and offers options for youth visitors as well as their parental partners. Guests will find 25-yard lap lanes, shallow area ranging from 2.5-4 feet, Arcata’s only water slide, and a patio hot tub.
1 Mad River Rd., Arcata
While the Pacific coast is a bit more intimidating this far north in California, it still is a perfect place for a picnic. Mad River County Park is just a few minutes from Arcata and offers gorgeous views, impressive dunes, and boat access.
1 F St., Eureka
The bayside restaurant specializes in Italian and Japanese cuisine. Skeptical visitors will be pleasantly surprised by high-quality dishes in both styles.
617 4th St., Eureka
Eureka isn’t short on brew pubs, however, Lost Coast is a visitor favorite. Grab a refreshing brew and pick from the restaurant’s long list of pub burgers and sandwiches.
846 G St., Arcata
Located in neighboring Arcata, this cafe specializes in organic, fresh plates with plenty of vegetarian options. Open for breakfast and lunch.
301 301 L St., Eureka
The chefs are committed to a garden-to-table philosophy and work hard to incorporate the best ingredients of Humboldt County in their menu.
A trip to Eureka or Arcata cannot be complete without a least a hike or two in the national park that made the county famous. Trail difficulty varies from wheelchair accessible to very strenuous.
Highway 299, Arcata
The coast is far from the only good view in the Humboldt County region, so be sure to set aside an afternoon to explore with the help of four wheels. Take the Trinity River National Scenic Byway east just outside of Arcata.
636 F St., Eureka
This museum is housed in one of Eureka’s most famous historic buildings, the old Carnegie Library, built in 1901. Since the Humboldt Arts Council began restoration in the 1990s, the building has been transformed into a space that supports and shows off local artist talent.
Apart from the ocean, Humboldt County is home to numerous bodies of water just waiting to be explored. Tour the Big Lagoon with Pacific Outfitters Adventures or just rent the gear and go.
Mendocino is the upscale sister of quirky Eureka. Located nearly 150 miles south of Eureka, Mendocino offers guests a gateway to wine country, in addition to the endless ocean activities of the northern California coast. The small town is known for its impressive rugged coastline that is filled with trails just waiting to be explored. With a mild climate, low 60s in the summer and rarely frost in the winter, visitors can have a successful trip nearly year-round. However, the water is more appealing with a bit of sun for company.
45040 Main St., Mendocino
This charming shop offers eclectic gift items, like cards, jewelry, and small clothing items.
18320 N. Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg
Visitors can do more than shop — they can watch beautiful pieces of art being created in the on-site studio. The glass studio specializes in unique lighting fixtures that easily become focal points in any home.
440 Main St., Mendocino
Mendocino Jams and Preserves is a local favorite and offers visitors easy take-home gifts. The shop also has a variety of dessert sauces, chutneys, and nut butters.
Mendocino County is home to a number of organic farms that offer guest spaces like Campovida, Emandal, and Howard Creek Ranch and Inn. Each offers a serene atmosphere for a relaxing stay in a beautiful location.
Hwy. 1, Caspar
Known as the “locals’” beach, it is located at the foot of Ecological Staircase Trail, taking visitors back in time. On the beach, visitors are in present day. Climb to the bluff top and one has traveled back in time 100,000 years. Each terrace is about 100,000 years older.
130 Riverside Dr., Point Arena
Take a trip to the African plains just a few miles from Mendocino at the B. Bryan Preserve. The preserve has been specializing in breeding hoofed African animals for more than a decade. Families can take an hour-long tour of the preserve for $35 per adult and $20 per child under the age of 10.
Elm St./Old Haul Rd., Fort Bragg
Located in nearby Fort Bragg, Glass Beach has become a major tourist attraction in recent years. What once was the town dump has become a stretch of three beaches covered in tiny, weathered glass pieces.
Elm St., Fort Bragg
Rent a set of wheels in Mendocino or Fort Bragg and see the newly opened Noyo Headlands Park Fort Bragg Coastal Trail on the back of your bike. The trail hugs the rugged coastline for 4.5 miles.
Van Damme Beach State Park Hwy. 1, Little River
Join the harbor seals from the seat of your ocean kayak during a 1½-hour-long sea cave tour with Kayak Mendocino tour group. The group also offers stand-up paddle board tours to explore the sea with twice the workout.
343 N. Main St., Fort Bragg
This museum is cared for and owned by the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Historical Society and tells the varied history of the region. Located in what was once the Fort Bragg Redwood Co.’s owner’s residence, the home was built in fine, old-growth redwood.
10483 Lansing St., Mendocino
For a morning jolt, stop into the Good Life Bakery and Cafe. The small cafe is located right in town, making it an easy walk from your hotel or guest house.
961 Ukiah St., Mendocino
This quaint cafe delivers on flavor and charm. The cafe is in an 1893 Victorian farmhouse surrounded by a large, beautiful garden.
N. Hwy 1, Little River
Housed in The Heritage House Resort and Spa, 5200 Restaurant offers high end French inspired plates with uninterrupted views of the ocean.
45104 Main St., Mendocino
The Cultured Affair Cafe is a good stop for lunch or a sweet snack. The restaurant serves soups, sandwiches, and soft-serve yogurt.
If not for the California gold rush, the construction of the first lighthouses on the West Coast would have been far less urgent. The “original eight”—seven on the California coast, one at the mouth of the Columbia River, began sentry duty in the mid-1800s, not long after gold was discovered in 1849 at Sutter’s Mill, an event that triggered a huge influx of fortune-seekers flocking to the coast by land and boat. Those coming by boat had to navigate fog, rugged coastlines and treacherous tides of northern California and farther up the coast.
The need was pressing. In the 300 years preceding the gold rush, 44 ships sank along the West Coast. In the 10 years from 1850 to 1860, 133 ships sank between San Diego and Washington’s Cape Flattery, killing dozens of passengers and losing tons of supplies and millions in gold, according to the book “Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast.”
Alcatraz Island’s was the first of the eight lit, in 1854, and Washington’s Cape Disappointment the last, in 1856, more than three decades before Washington became a state. In fact, lighthouses have been around longer than even these United States. The first, Boston Light, was built in 1716 on a small rock outcropping at the entrance of Boston Harbor, where it overlooked a historic tea party, and initially had a signal powered by candles. Rebuilt after being blown up in the Revolutionary War, Boston Light celebrated its 300th birthday two years ago.
On the opposite coast, the early going was rough for West’s original eight, built by the federal government and advised by a newly established Lighthouse Board. Two California lighthouses had to be rebuilt because the lenses, upon arrival, wound up too big to fit inside. Cape Disappointment’s construction was delayed by years when the ship carrying construction materials sank within miles of its destination. All eight were built on the East Coast’s Cape Cod cottage model. But some of their signals, like southern California’s Point Loma light, were swallowed up by notorious West Coast fog, prompting the light to be moved to lower ground.
In Washington today, 26 lighthouses dot the coast and inland waterways. Most are still active, with a light that shines, but automation has changed the lightkeeper’s role to one mostly of weather reporting for boats and planes and assisting any troubled craft.
Throughout history, lighthouses—and their keepers—have played roles beyond navigation. Some lighthouse keepers, for instance, have saved lives with heroic rescues at sea. In Washington in 1911, John M. Cowan, longtime keeper at Cape Flattery, saw a boat in trouble during a storm and set out with his 21-year-old son, Forest, to assist. Cowan was able to rescue two Navy radio me.
Throughout history, lighthouses—and their keepers—have played roles beyond navigation. Some lighthouse keepers, for instance, have saved lives with heroic rescues at sea. In Washington in 1911, John M. Cowan, longtime keeper at Cape Flattery, saw a boat in trouble during a storm and set out with his 21-year-old son, Forest, to assist. Cowan was able to rescue two Navy radio men, but three others were lost, including his son.
No one can top Rhode Island lightkeeper Ida Wilson Lewis, who saved at least 13 lives, starting as a 12-yearold in 1854 when she rescued four men who had overturned a small sailboat, according to a National Archives story. Fifteen years later, she became a national heroine when she kept two military men from a nearby fort from drowning in a squall. She was nicknamed “the Bravest Woman in America,” and made the cover of Harper’s Weekly magazine for her multiple exploits. Throughout her life, Lewis continued to pluck people from the sea and was awarded a congressional medal, among other citations. Her last recorded rescue came at age 63, when she rowed out to save a friend who was visiting and had toppled from her boat. After her death in 1911 at age 69, Newport, R.I.’s Lime Rock Lighthouse, where Lewis spent most of her life, was renamed in her honor, later becoming the clubhouse for the Ida Lewis Yacht Club.
In wartime, Washington lighthouses played a role. Lighthouses at Admiralty Head, Point Wilson, and Marrowstone Point were aligned with the “Triangle of Fire” forts near them Fort Casey, Fort Warden, and Fort Flagler, respectively—as the forts defended against enemy vessels entering Puget Sound. During World War II, a deactivated Admiralty Head Lighthouse, at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, was reactivated, painted drab olive, and used as barracks for the Army’s K9 corps. The corps patrolled the fort and beaches at night, according to lighthousefriends.com. The Cape Disappointment lighthouse, at the entrance to the Columbia River, found itself uncomfortably close to the action during the Civil War, when the noise from Fort Canby’s large artillery broke windows. In World War II, Fort Canby drew shellfire from Japanese submarines that had surfaced nearby.
Things are much quieter these days. Many have been restored or maintained through public and private foundations, transformed into museums, historical sites, and even lodging for tourists (see p. 64).
Advances in technology meant lighthouses have outlived their original purpose, but not their current one. They continue to occupy a unique place in our history, capturing the imagination of history buffs, tourists and engineers, who marvel at the centuriespast challenges met in building a remote structure that can withstand some of nature’s fiercest storms. Decade after decade, they light, and live on.
When you’re looking at compiling a list of top lighthouses, why not ask the guy who has visited more than 1,500 of them? Kraig Anderson, a San Diego engineer and founder for the website lighthousefriends.com, has traveled to the more than 800 lighthouses in the U.S., and most of those in Canada, since he was first bitten by the bug in 1996, when, during a business trip, he saw a lighthouse near Kitty Hawk, N.C. He is currently at work compiling a list of American lightkeepers.
Built in Spanish style, with stucco over brick, there’s no lighthouse like it in the U.S., says Anderson. The setting is spectacular, on the grounds of Fort Casey and looking over Admiralty Inlet.
Tallest lighthouse in the state, and you can climb the stairs inside. Classic architecture, and a Fresnel lens—the spectacular, multi-faceted lenses formerly used by lighthouses to throw light great distances—can be seen there.
On the tip of the Olympic Peninsula, it’s one of the most remote lighthouses in the state. But you can hike nearby and see it from the shore. Or charter a plane, like Anderson did, and take photos from above.
At the end of a six-mile-long sand spit in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it’s a long hike to get there—but you’ll be walking in the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, which the lighthouse is now part of. Anderson kayaked to the lighthouse, dealing with some tricky tides. “Getting to a lighthouse is part of the appeal,” he says.
This picturesque lighthouse perched on solid rock overlooking the entrance to Haro Strait, a great spot for whale-watching and studying—scientists based there record the travel and behavior of orca whales.
It’s the oldest, mostly intact wooden lighthouse in the state. Rocks and rugged territory—plus the fact it’s an island, located in the San Juans—make this a tough one to visit. Anderson kayaked out, and said you can make the difficult hike up to the lighthouse. Or, take the easy route and just get a distant view of it from the ferry. A fundraising effort is underway to renovate the lighthouse.
Lime Kiln, Friday Harbor
Boasting gorgeous views of the surrounding San Juan Islands, this lighthouse sits mere paces from the coast of Friday Harbor. As one of the most popular whale watching spots in the Puget Sound, you might even have a few marine guests attend your nuptials.
Alki Point, Seattle
Legend has it that the first “lighthouse” on Alki Point was a kerosene lantern hung from the side of a farmer’s barn. More than a century later, a light still burns atop its octagonal tower. With panoramic views of the sound, the Space Needle and Mount Rainier, few lighthouses illuminate so much of the Northwest at once.
Heceta Head, Florence, OR
Nestled into a cliffside of the Oregon coast, it is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. Its white walls and red roofs, along with the caretaker’s quarters next door, are surrounded by nothing but forest. This secluded space is perfect for the couple looking for a venue off the beaten path.
Point Bonita, Sausalito, CA
Accessible only by a thin, white suspension bridge, Point Bonita Lighthouse sits upon a peninsula of stone. More like a giant light bulb than a house, Point Bonita looks out over flanking, sunlit coastlines and a seemingly endless expanse of ocean. No solitary point is better for forming a union.
Pigeon Point, Pescadero, CA
A tall white pillar punctuates a line of white houses and matching picket fence. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is surrounded by scattered cliffs, fresh blankets of grass, tropical beaches and rustic docks stretching to the sea. If it weren’t for the sunsets, you’d wish your day there would never end.
A number of Washington’s most historic and strategic lighthouses from Puget Sound to the Pacific Coast offer lodging in former lighthouse keeper residences that are jam-packed with the memories of their past occupants as far back as the mid-1800s. When I was deciding on my first lighthouse stay, I wanted a location that featured a nice beach, great scenic views and plenty of maritime traffic to satisfy my curiosity.
Without too much searching, I found an ideal point of land that offered exactly what I was looking for: The Point No Point Lighthouse on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula near Hansville.
I didn’t know quite what to expect as far as the lighthouse keeper’s residence was concerned. But I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the door and discovered a welcoming space that had stood the test of time for more than a century. After spending a long day exploring the lighthouse grounds I appreciated the overall peace and quiet of this remote location that was just the ticket for a perfect night’s sleep
The first floor of this historic residence consists of a living room, formal dining room, complete kitchen and breakfast nook, while the second-floor features two bedrooms, a bathroom and small library. Each window in the home presents its own perspective on the world outside, especially the lighthouse to the east that can be seen from every room on the first floor.
Besides the first-class accommodations, I also appreciated the fact that everything I wanted to see and do was only a few steps away from my front door. And if I just wanted to sit on the porch and let the world go by, there was more than enough to keep my attention—from the beautiful Cascade mountains to the busy maritime traffic just off the nearby point.
All in all, I found my first lighthouse stay to be quite enjoyable and I look forward to planning more of them in the near-future, especially at Point No Point, where the light has been shining brightly for more than 135 years.
Reservations for Point No Point can be made by calling 415.362.7255 or email lighthouse@uslhs. org. Generally, you will need to make arrangements several months or more in advance because nights fill up quickly. Flexibilit y is the key here and I highly recommend choosing an off-season stay to beat the summer rush.
The U.S. Lighthouse Society operates the lighthouse keeper’s residence at Point No Point and their national headquarters are right next door. You will find them to be an invaluable resource when it comes to locating the right lighthouse stay for you and your family whether it is in Washington state or around the country. See uslhs.org. Here’s wishing you all the best in living the lighthouse way.
Browns Point, Tacoma
Breathtaking views of Mount Rainier as well as downtown Tacoma and Commencement Bay can be had as you give tours of the surrounding lighthouse grounds.
North Head, Ilwaco
Enjoy commanding views of the Pacific Ocean from one of the highest points on the Long Beach Peninsula.
Sequim Stay and be a lighthouse keeper for the week on one of Washington’s longest spits.
Point Robinson, Vashon
Have a great day at the beach while ocean-going ships and orca whales pass by on South Puget Sound.
Heceta Head, Florence
Perched on a cliff over the Pacific Ocean west of Eugene, this spacious six-room bed-and-breakfast is known for its spectacular seven-course breakfasts.
East Brother Island, Richmond
A wonderful bed and breakfast on a tiny island just 30 minutes from San Francisco that includes not only a great stay and breakfast, but a gourmet dinner, too.
Point Arena, Mendocino County
Offers the best variety of lighthouse lodgings on the West Coast.
Point Cabrillo, Mendocino
One of the nicest lighthouse grounds in northern California, with great ocean views in every direction.
—KURT F. ANDERS
In a region dominated by local beers of all kinds, Bellingham Cider Company boldly enters on the leading edge of a brewing renaissance. The restaurant, set to open in February at 205 Prospect St., is nestled next door to Sylvia Center of the Arts and near the Whatcom Museum, where it will enjoy the bustle of Prospect Street and a pleasant patio view of Bellingham’s unfolding waterfront district.
The new spot in town will serve dinner in addition to house-made cider pressed from Washington (of course!) apples. The ciders are produced in small batches, and its website at bellinghamcider.com highlights ciders that are dry, semi-sweet, hopped, and with a Northwest blackberry ginger flavor. And expect to see other flavors, seasonal specials, and a Reserve Series.
Ten ciders will always be on tap, with 10 beer taps to match. Its walls, tables, and bars are all repurposed wood, polished and illuminated by open bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Bellingham Cider Company will be joining businesses like Cidra Cider Room and Honey Moon Mead and Cider in the growing cider minority.
In 2018, Seniors and Millennials Will Find Common Ground in New Construction.
If we only had a crystal ball. Then we could predict, or at least pretend to predict, the real estate economy and the housing forecast for the coming year. With no crystal ball in hand, we just need to focus on that which we know for sure. According to the Pew Research Center, 10,000 Americans have been turning 65 every day since Jan. 1, 2011 and will continue to do so until 2030, when the last of the Baby Boom generation celebrates that birthday.
Many changes await us as our population makes bold shifts in age. Our senior population is at 46 million. The desire today is for a home where one can “age in place.” We are living longer and our population is growing. Adaptable, accessible, smart design are key features that anyone who is approaching retirement and a change in lifestyle is looking for.
The next thing we know for sure is that our roughly 80 million millennials (those born in the early 1980s to early 2000s), according to the U.S. Census Bureau, will be first-time homebuying candidates in the coming year. And guess what? As much as they want to be considered “different,” they are just like every generation before them. Millennials strive for a life well-lived. They want good jobs. They want to be engaged, emotionally and behaviorally connected. They want a purposeful life and a quiet place to call home at the end of the day. The concept of moving away from home and working at a minimum wage job is highly overrated. Millennials get that. They are not in a big rush to live the repetitive working lifestyle of their parents. They want to spend money on what they want, not just on what they need. Being a highly educated and technologically advanced group, they look for innovative design and ideal function of space in a home.
And while being a millennial doesn’t have to mean living in your parent’s basement—being a senior doesn’t mean you are going to move back in with your kids. Yet, your housing choice really does have to address all these needs. Everyone is looking for the great place to call home. Just look at the numbers: Pew Research says 19 percent of the U.S. population lives in a multi-generational household and 20 percent of U. S. households consist of adults living with roommates. These numbers make sense with the high amount of student debt coupled with the uncertainty of employment consistency as people struggle to put a roof over their head. Today’s buyer is complex, diverse, and demanding. Entitlement isn’t just for the kid in his 20s—think senior who only wants to live on a private gated golf course community. Home buyers today want what they want when they want it… there’s not a lot of patience out there in the marketplace.
Hence, the desire for new construction and a home built with an eco-friendly footprint. Sure, we all watch the shows on HGTV. But in reality, no one actually wants to buy a “fixer-upper.” When looking at a home that needs updating, reality TV only goes so far. As everyone, including HGTV Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines knows, nothing is ever completed in a 30-minute segment. New construction, efficient creative design and state-of-the-art finishes—that’s the desire of most buyers in any age group today. The cost of goods and labor is rising every day and there is nothing to indicate that the cost to build is going to decline. A prediction: 2018 will be the year that we see millennials pinch their pennies and get their credit score on track to qualify for an FHA loan, while our senior marketplace—anyone over 50—is strategizing how to maximize their retirement dollars to enjoy the quality of life they have worked so hard to attain. Whatcom County will continue to be a most precious place to call home as we become an “urban suburb”—a safe and protected place, with walkable neighborhoods downtown, and recreational communities that offer affordability in the outlying areas.