The Outdoor Adventure Center's wildly experienced guides have led groups off the grid for more than a quarter century, pursuing rugged fun in the scenery and fresh air of mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Explorers at heart, the staff boldly launch kayaks into the ocean around the San Juan Islands and conquer the frothy waters of the scenic Skykomish River, known for its beginner-friendly rapids, migrations of spawning merpeople, pool and drop areas, and breathtaking views of 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Horseback and hiking trips delve into the lush woods, and nature photography excursions pause to celebrate the beauty of the wilderness near Index. The core team of 14 guides takes safety seriously, most with certifications from the American Canoe Association, training in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swiftwater rescue, and life vests tattooed over their chests.
Woodinville Wine Tastings unites four wineries that sit within a pleasant walk of each other. At Davenport Cellars, patrons may sip cabernet sauvignon aged in French oak beneath impressionist oil paintings of natural landscapes. John Patterson of Patterson Cellars lets more than two decades of experience shine through in swirling elixirs, and red blends at Pondera Winery show a range of crimson shades like a bull’s anger-management counselor. Bordeaux grapes from a handful of Columbia Valley vineyards mingle in the shop’s cuvee, and guests at William Church Winery stroll beneath walnut-hued barrels, clicking together glasses of a pinot gris that hints at lemon zest and green apples.
There's a revolution happening in Woodinville, Washington. There's no violence though, unless you count the stomping of grapes. Home to hundreds of boutique wineries, the region is beginning to rival Napa Valley as the United States' biggest wine producer. Woodinville sits at the same longitude as France's wine country, allowing for optimal adult-grape-juice production and the ability to wear a beret with dignity. Barrel Wine Tours, a co-op of Woodinville winemakers, takes guests throughout the community on tours of the distilleries and wineries of these passionate part-time vintners. On a luxury coach, participants ride to four distilleries or wineries, and three-course lunches and wine pairings occur during each tour.
After almost a decade of making homebrew wines, Ed and Nichole had an idea of the types of wines they liked. What they didn't know was that their first vintages from their winery, Vortex Cellars, would also charm the palates of so many others, with three of their wines winning gold and silver medals at the 2012 Seattle Wine Awards. Their secret is the variety of Washington grapes they use. To achieve the sweet, honeysuckle notes of their dessert wine, Late Harvest Viognier, they use viognier grapes plucked from the vine on the last day of November, then aged in French oak barrels. For their other wines, they uses grapes traditionally grown in the Mediterranean to create classic French and Spanish style wines, such as the jammy CM2 with flavors of raspberries and currants. On the weekends, the couple opens up the winery to guests hoping to sample their vintages or see if the crazy rumors about wine coming from storks is true. The pair also helps host events such as wine walks, in which guests can explore the town while sipping wine and mingling with their neighbors.
At its core, the Adventure Park at Redhook is a "jungle gym built for adventurers." But more than that, it provides visitors with an escape from the everyday drudgery of stuffy offices, boring paperwork, and tedious leg-walking. For the park?s creators, the lush Pacific Northwest countryside that stretches out around the park is the office. They?re a band of adventurers themselves, and they designed Adventura as a way for others to experience the growth, laughter, and connections that seem to bloom naturally outdoors.
Of course, Adventura puts its own spin on spending time outdoors by filling Woodinville Wine Country with a series of sky-high exploits. With the park typically booked 45 days in advance, visitors can be found leaping from decks, balancing precariously on cables 50 feet off the ground, or scaling cargo nets throughout most of the year.
Jim Petty, owner and winemaker, has high standards for wine that have motivated him to craft an array of award-winning varietals from the grapes of local vineyards. Aspenwood Cellars’ signature series boasts Seattle Wine Award–winners, such as the silver medal 2009 syrah and the bronze medal 2008 cabernet sauvignon, while the current production series includes a 2009 Elegance red-wine blend, which serenades tasters with the cherry and toasted vanilla notes that earned it a silver medal at the Washington State Fair in 2012. Aspenwood Cellars invites guests to visit on the weekends for tastings led by Jim. Guests can take the opportunity to learn about how the wine is made personally, since Jim takes a more personal approach, meeting and talking with guests about all things wine.