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 beauty. 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
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.
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.
Perry and Penny grew up together near Prosser, Washington in the 1970s, and were close friends throughout elementary school. More than 20 years later, the two rekindled their friendship but it wasn't all smooth sailing from the start. That year, Penny started making fortified blackberry wine, which Perry described as, "indescribably undrinkable." More than a little annoyed by this harsh judgment, Penny challenged Perry to do better. The result of this winemaking challenge was four cases of merlot that won a second-place ribbon among the amateur entrants at the Puyallup Fair. Stina's Cellars grew from this initial success, and over time production grew and grew, until finally the team was able to move into a small facility and officially open the winery for business in 2006.
At the winery, Perry and Penny?joined by helpful family and friends?make small batches of wine using grapes grown throughout eastern and western Washington. The type of wines they make changes frequently, but past bottles have included a dark and fruity syrah balanced by its bold tannic structure as well as an amber-hued roussane with hints of poached peaches and a pronounced nuttiness reminiscent of sherry. These wines appear on store shelves and restaurant menus throughout the region, but can also be sampled inside Stina's Cellars tasting room. Visitors are encouraged to stop in, try some samples, and attempt to guess which wine bottle contains a wish-granting genie.
Those who find themselves near the Washington State Fair Events Center in early December may feel as though they've been transported straight into a Dickens novel. For five days, the events center transforms into a Victorian village that celebrates the sights, sounds, and spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas. Guests can stroll past twinkling lights and old-timey storefronts, peering into the windows of more than 500 shops selling goods such as ornaments, handmade sweaters, and fudge. Kids can ride on the Christmas carousel or head to the North Pole, where they can take a tour of Santa's house, write a letter in Santa's post office, make toys in Santa's workshop, and do yoga in Santa's barely-used home gym, before posing for a photo with the big guy himself. Of course, one of the most important aspects of A Victorian Country Christmas is music: the festival welcomes more than 100 singers, musicians, and dancers performing throughout the event for the whole family to enjoy.