Friday, August 23, 2013

Amazing Eastern WA

Sue's 60th Birthday turned into quite the event! What started off as a visit to Bellingham, turned into "Oh lets take Mum to a winery for lunch" into a full, four day tour of Eastern Washington complete with an additional four people (surprise visit from Popo and Umon and Charleen and Donnie), fruit stand hopping, winery touring, sightseeing and more! 

Bellingham Salmon Hatchery and Falls

First Fruit Stand of the trip. Saturn (Donut) Peaches galore!

Stevens Pass Highway

Our ride... yes, I felt like we were the Hillbilly family with seven of us and luggage all bundled up here

The two Yahoos - Geoff and Donnie in the front seat.

Skykomish - what a cute, little town! Perfect for pictures.

Old abandoned hotel

Leavenworth - "Little Bavaria" in the heart of the mountains.

How social everyone is texting eachother across the table :)

Schweinehaxen, Rotkohl and Sauerkraut - LUNCH!

The beginning of the beautiful Lake Chelan

Well-deserved Vino after a long day of driving and sightseeing at Chelan Cellars

Tsillan Cellars - truly a beautiful spot with amazing views of the lake and mountains

Columbia River

Our home for the first night - Mission Ridge Cabin, situated high up in the forest, nearby to Wenatchee

Just relaxing in the hot-tub with some of the local wine we bought

Day two: The early get-up at 5am got us on the road for 6am, which left us all a little tired...but imagine the size of our eyes when we came across this incredible view of the Columbia River Gorge!

L'Ecole - a former schoolhouse, now turned tasting room for some of the best wines that we had on the whole trip.

You only turn 60 once right? May as well do it right! (Actually, this was the only rental vehicle that was able to fit seven people plus a driver)

Figgins - this what every drop of red should taste like!

Garrison Creek Vineyards

Getting the underground, VIP, back-room guided tours wherever we went! 

Barrel sampling was another real highlight of the tour... I never quite understood how to tell the different between a "young" wine and a wine that was deemed ready to drink, but try a barrel sample and you'll quickly learn what its all about!

Thanks to Randy, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of freshly caught salmon on two nights of the trip!

Day Two: Prosser region touring

Desert Wind: this was another one of the highlights (for me at least) from the places we visited. We received a tour of the barreling warehouse and afterwards a delicious lunch made of local produce.

Who knew you needed so many tools for barreling wine?

If the tour guide is too short to reach the barrels - just ask Donnie! :-)

And last, but definately not least (in fact, I think I speak for the group when I say that DavenLore was one of the top couple of places we visited), this winery offered to stay open late for us and we were thoroughly entertained by winemaker and owner, Gordon (and his assistant Denise). Gordon used to work in Australia making wine, and returned back to Prosser to start his own winery.
This is one MUST DO stop for anyone visiting the region.

Cruzan Rum meets DavenLore: A good time is had by all!

We now all have the DavenLore mark!

Last group shot with the limo!

Gorgeous sunset from the house in Prosser

Geoff setting up camp for roasting marshmallows in the fire pit!


 Now here's the to pack everyone's suitcases, boxes and boxes of fruit and wine back into the Ford? Suggestion was that we strap Popo to the roof but she didnt like the sound of that... so we ended up strapping suitcases to the roof instead!

Last stop before dropping off the group in Seattle - the famous Chateau St. Michelle. This one was especially interesting for the boys, two of them in the rum industry and the other in a bottled water you can imagine, boys and their toys...

Nothing we like more than a dog-friendly winery!