Years ago, Derrick and Donna Smith began brewing a quartet of ales together, the steaming vats of barley filling their small facility with steam. They quickly gained the attention of beer drinkers and critics and expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space. There, they invite you to check out new craft brews such as Classic Nut Brown Ale, Bold Belgian Pale Ale, and Seasonal Citrus Wit. Rotating seasonal suds fill the recognizable frog-emblazoned bottles with beers whose flavors vary with the season. Derrick and Donna offer clients a peek inside their operation with tours and tastings.
With the help of his uncle Tom Campbell, who just happens to be a seasoned enologist and viticulturist, Bijal Shah and his wife Sinead founded The Woodhouse Wine Estates in 2004. The winery's vintages are brought to life by Jean Claude Beck, whose winemaking genes reach back to Alsace, France, where his family estate has been crafting wine since 1579. The team at Woodhouse focuses on expressing the unique terroir of each grape?s origin, yielding balanced, mature wines marked by full flavors. Inside the tasting room, chandeliers sparkle over a long bar, where visitors can sip pours of any number of select wines.
Sassafras, sarsaparilla, and vanilla: above all, these are the flavors celebrated by The Root Beer Store, which is chock-full of root beers from around the country. Owner Corey Anderson grew up making root beer with his dad, generating his admiration for root-beer culture. Anderson was featured on King 5 for his passion for the soft drink, which manifests in his selection of more than 100 types from craft root-beer makers. From Hawaii to Maine to Australia, the creativity of each brewer shines in the collection, which customers browse with visions of ice cubes and ice cream to accompany them. The staff is on hand to help home brewers make their own soda with root-beer kits, extracts from different brewers, and the lyrics to the chant sung to the root-beer lord before starting each batch.
For more than 30 years, Blue Sky Outfitters has been equipping rafters to barrel down rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Whether floating past bald eagles on the the still waters of the Skagit River or plummeting down the 14-foot Husum Falls, the company's whitewater rafts—helmed by capable pilots—meander through wildlife that stuns with the power of a beautiful, inspiring electric fence. For land-bound trips, adventurers can strap on snowshoes and journey through the Leavenworth Valley, or peer through the wide windows of the Adventure Bus as it journeys through wine country. All whitewater trips include a barbecue meal with sirloin, corn on the cob, potato salad, and a deep sense of satisfaction.
With the help of their family, John and Dorie Belisle planted BelleWood Acres' initial orchard in 1996. Today, that orchard has grown to include more than 25,000 trees, creating one of the largest U-Pick operations in Western Washington. Against a backdrop of Mount Baker, the orchard buzzes year-round as families fill up bushels and baskets. Come fall, visitors scour the property for the perfect pumpkin to carve or replace them at jury duty. But fans of BelleWood Acres products don't necessarily have to visit the farm to stock up on its treats, since a lot of them are sold at local businesses around Oregon and Washington. Plus, BelleWood Acres boasts a new, 14,000 square foot building at the heart of its property, which includes a farm market, gift shop, bistro, and bakery.
After immigrating to the U.S. from Amsterdam in 1979, Fien Hulscher and her daughter Bela founded the Islands Inn in Anacortes, instilling it with the same attentive service and cozy atmosphere with which they operated their Dutch bed-and-breakfast. Inside a Fireplace Room, royally replete with a king-size bed, Internet access, and a small refrigerator, guests can curl up near the wood-burning fireplace or snuggle within the hot blast radius of the hair dryer. Most rooms open up to sweeping views of Mount Baker and Fidalgo Bay, and several also feature balconies for breathing in the fresh mountain air and waving semaphore flags at passing ships. Elsewhere in the inn, a hot tub churns year-round, and a pool opens in the summer for swimming or sunbathing no sooner than 30 minutes after devouring the included breakfast.