The Bavarian Ice Festival blends winter activities, snow sculptures, and holiday lights into two days of revelry amid Leavenworth's ivory snowflakes. Busses operated by Alki Tours depart at 8 a.m. and deliver Saturday visitors to downtown Leavenworth, where the annual Smooshing contest finds teams of four atop 8-foot wooden planks as they glide merrily down Front Street and safely away from escaped dinosaurs. Guests can relax under warm blankets and sip hot chocolate or coffee during a 40-minute horse-drawn sleigh ride. First day visitors also take in the artwork of an ice-sculpting contest, a slippery footed tug-of-war, and an ice cube scramble or frisbee sweep for the kids.
After his first time riding a Segway, 11-year-old Gregg Jantz Jr. was hooked. There weren’t Segway tours in his hometown of Edmonds, so he and his father went to the company’s headquarters in New Hampshire to learn more about the self-balancing transporters. They were excited about what they learned there, leading to the creation of Segway of Edmonds.
Today, visitors can take 90-minute tours of Puget Sound. By day, the tours take a historical angle, and educate groups about Olympic Beach and the mills that used to sit along the coast. Sunset tours create beautiful photo ops, and can be arranged to end with dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants. All tours begin with a 30-minute orientation session, and guides stop occasionally to take photos of groups and make sure no one has fused to their Segway. Visitors can also rent Segways for self-guided tours.
An approved FAA part 141 flight school with an option for part 61 training, AcuWings bestows certifications and ratings for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters upon trainees who have passed their gauntlet of training curricula. The outfit operates its fleet out of Renton Municipal Airport, a full service airport with an operational control tower that allows aspiring aviators to practice radio communication. The school's instruction comprises hours logged both in the cockpit as well as in ground school, where students study aviation topics such as flight theory, chart navigation, and aircraft systems, in a one-on-one setting with the instructor. Potential pilots interested in an initial taste of flight before signing up for a full-blown certification regimen can take advantage of the introductory flight. Flyers share control of the aircraft with the instructor for approximately an hour and log their time spent aloft in a logbook.
To say Mark Coleman knows how to fish is an understatement. Coleman, the owner of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters, has mastered the art of side drifting, float fishing, hover fishing, back bouncing, and jigging during his more than 10 years exploring the Pacific Northwest’s waterways. In the process, he earned captain certification from the US Coast Guard, a distinction also earned by each member of his team.
Aboard vessels that range from the 29-foot Reel Tight to a 16-foot, nonmotorized drift boat, Coleman and his staff lead chartered fishing trips through fresh- and saltwaters. All Rivers & Saltwater Charters have caught fish on the Columbia and Olympic Peninsula rivers, traveled the waters outside Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, and explored Puget Sound. Voyages pursue salmon, steelhead, lingcod, sturgeon, and other types of fish. The team can also lead fishing lessons for newbies, teaching essential fly-casting techniques, including the correct grip, the different casting styles, and how to use homemade tiramisu as bait.
As the founder of Seattle Food Tours, Michael Rogers couldn't have started a more perfect business for himself: as a former chef and frequent traveler, he appreciates the feeling of discovering new places. He's surrounded himself with a team of similarly knowledgeable tour guides, including a professional baker, a wine tasting expert, and an international tour guide.
Given the group's impressive backgrounds, it's not surprising that they operate top-notch excursions. They lead the curious through Pike Place Market, and even though it's one of the most visited culinary destinations in the country, their trip grants access to five spots not featured on any other market tour. A progressive dinner through Belltown Restaurants welcomes groups to sample libations from a nationally renowned cocktail bar, and taste the creations of a sushi chef who is a two-time James Beard nominee. Each outing can be amended for vegetarians or those with fork allergies, or reserved for private groups.