Posts Tagged ‘staycation’

Tourist in Your Own Town

July 12, 2013

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of disposable income.  kansas-city-missouri-downtown_at_twighlightWe certainly didn’t have money for camps or family summer vacations.  That doesn’t mean I had a boring childhood – quite the opposite.  One year McDonald’s gave out a cartoon type map of Kansas City showing both local landmarks and of course, their restaurants.  My mom took that map and used it as a “Tour KC Guide” and each week we went on an outing.  Again, we didn’t have the funds to “eat out” – even at McDonald’s – each week so she packed picnic lunches for us.  What a great time we had and what wonderful memories!

McDonald'sYou can do the same thing even without the help of a McDonald’s map!  Before you say “I’ve already done everything there is to do in this town” you may want to think about it.  Likely there are new museums, galleries or attractions that have opened.  Others I suspect it has been a LONG TIME since you visited.  Maybe it’s time to go back to the aquarium, the science center or Northwest Trek.  Do you have a friend who moved to your town in the past few years?  Invite them along.  It’s always fun to play tour guide.

Great WheelMy summer list includes riding the Great Wheel, the giant Ferris wheel on the waterfront in downtown Seattle.  The harbor seals have a new home at the Seattle Aquarium I might have to check out.  Northwest Trek has added a zip line and I do love zip lines.  I’ve never made it to Wolf Haven but it interests me – anything with animals interests me.  Which makes me wonder what might be new at Woodland Park Zoo.  There’s also the Chihuly Garden and Glass which I got a glimpse of as we rode the elevator up to the Space Needle for Christmas dinner.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

When you don’t have to factor in the cost of transportation and accommodations, a vacation gets much more affordable making a “Staycation” an attractive idea.

Kenny LogginsThere are lots of free concerts in parks and plenty of other outdoor concert venues where you do need a ticket.  Many let you bring a picnic meal while others have food for sale at the venue.  For the over 21 crowd, the outdoor concert space at Snoqualmie Casino is my personal favorite.

There are lots of great memories to be made right in your own backyard.  With a little internet research and a spirit of adventure you can make this a summer to remember no matter what your budget.


Winers Welcome

June 24, 2011

No, I didn’t spell it wrong.  I didn’t mean WHINERS – who wants them?!?  I mean Winers…or wine lovers if you prefer.

Washington State is home to over 600 wineries 2nd only to California.  Most of the grapes are grown over on the sunny side of the state, but Woodinville has become the processing, sales and tasting capital of Western Washington.

If you aren’t going away this summer, include Barrel Wine Tours in your “staycation” plans.  Have visitors coming into town and need to occupy them for a day? Sign them up for a wine tour!  Need a romantic way to celebrate your anniversary?  The last paragraph is for you!

We did the 6 hour boutique winery tour with lunch with another couple.  A comfortable van from A&A Limousine Services driven by David picked us up at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Seattle.  A few more guests were picked up at the Hyatt in Bellevue and the Willows Lodge in Woodinville.

Sheri, our “wine guide” for the day gave us information about the wine industry here in Washington State as we made our way to Challenger Ridge, the first stop on our tour.  Challenger Ridge is located among the 50+ tasting rooms on Woodinville-Redmond Road.

If you want to do even more than taste great wines, visit Challenger Ridge’s website for the calendar of events.  One of the only wineries to grow grapes in Western Washington, they have a variety of activities on their Skagit Valley property including a grape stomp in October.  Oh yes, the “Lucy” in me has already put it on our calendar!

Next stop:  Covington Cellars which is in the “warehouse district” of Woodinville.  I had not idea this existed!  Take a standard industrial park and put a winery in every space and you have the “warehouse district”.    They even offer a “Third Thursday” walking wine tour.  Pay $20 and BYOG (Bring Your Own Glass).  You can walk between over a dozen wineries and taste for this one special price.

Covington Cellars hosted our lunch as part of the Barrel Wine Tour and served 3 wines, one with each course.  Oh, and yes, they also shared tastes of their most recent Cabernet Franc which scored 91 points in Wine Spectator Insider!

Again, if you want to get more hands-on with the wine making process, sign up on their website to volunteer as part of the bottling team.  Sure, you will work but they will also feed you and probably send you home with a couple of bottles of wine for your efforts.

Winemaker Kevin Correll at Barrage Cellars let us see (and touch) during “racking”.  He also served wine right out of the barrel as a comparison to the seasoned product from the bottle.  Are you getting the idea that this is both fun and educational?  And feel free to buy some wine when you taste something you want to take home…we left our day of touring with a dozen bottles!

Our last stop of the day was Flying Dreams Winery where Winemaker Leroy Radford shared his passion and knowledge…along with his wine.   Being a rose’ lover, especially in the summer, I fell in love here!

All too soon it was time to get dropped back off where we started.  I promised a “romance tip” and here it is.  If you have an anniversary or special occasion, get a room at the Willows Lodge for the night.  Sign up for the Barrel Wine boutique winery tour.  When you get dropped back off after your day of tasting, enjoy a wonderful meal at the Barking Frog and then wander back across the driveway to your room to end a perfect day any way that says “perfect” to you!


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