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.
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.
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.
To make their award-winning, handcrafted wines, Amy and Josh Stottlemyer source their grapes from the local eastern Washington fields in the Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley, and Columbia Valley. From that harvest, they craft thirteen wines, ranging from classics such as cabernet sauvignon and malbec to less-common wines such as tempranillo and viognier.
Like many of the best things in life, winemaking began as a hobby for Bob and Flossie Heymann. The operation quickly grew to be much more than they could drink themselves, and when they shared the fruits of their labor with friends, they were repeatedly encouraged to turn the hobby into a business venture. Thus, Heymann Whinery was born. Initially, they focused on fruit wines, but have since expanded to include chardonnay, cabernet, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon. True to their roots, they also stock a variety of home winemaking equipment and accessories.
A gypsy rides through the crowd while standing upon two horses. Behind him follow more members of his troupe, who do back flips off their steeds and then regale spectators with fire breathing and juggling. Performed by the seventh-generation acrobats of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, this spectacle—called Ma'Ceo—often draws standing-room-only crowds every day during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. It's these kinds of glimpses into the Elizabethan era that fulfill the mission of bringing renaissance Europe to life. Turning the Kelley Farm into the Village of Merriwick, entertainers of all types, from courtiers to peasants, engage fairgoers with a range of acts. Flanked by her entourage, Queen Elizabeth travels through the streets, perhaps on her way to watch the jousters compete for her phone number, or perhaps to watch sprightly performers such as the Celtic fiddlers or the commedia troupe. Merchants peddle wares to passersby, talking up goods such as hand-forged weapons and armor, hand-tooled leather goods, and roasted turkey legs. Camel rides and bubble-filled buckets cater to kids, and adults can duck into two alehouses where quick-witted wenches pour draft microbrews and ciders. For guests who want to spend the whole weekend immersed in the renaissance festivities, organizers reserve a section of the grounds for tent and RV camping.