In 1920, rumor had it there was profitable work to be done in the apple orchards of Washington State's Wenatchee Valley. Unfortunately, North Dakotans Marie Resner Hecht and her brothers didn't have money to travel. So, to earn cash for the trip, the trio sold whiskey made from milk whey. Their westward trek took them to a Dryden orchard, where they settled and eventually brought in 52 harvests.
Today, Carol Levi pays homage to Grandma Marie’s industrious spirit, by combining her family’s history of fruit harvesting and liquor distilling at It’s 5 Artisan Distillery. Here, owner Colin Levi helms the process, making each batch using fruits and grains grown in Washington state. Those ingredients yield spirits such as brandy, grappa, whiskey, fruit liqueur, and, most notably, a gin that Heather Larson of Discover Washington State described as having a blend of botanicals including coriander, star anise, and lavender “not found in any other gin.”
The husband-and-wife duo behind Swakane Winery started their wine-making journey humbly enough, making wine for themselves in their own home. They started with blackberries, simply because the fruit is plentiful near their home in southwestern Washington. As their ambition and wine-making skills grew, they purchased a picturesque plot of land overlooking the Columbia River, and spent six years nurturing riesling, cabernet franc, and sauvignon blanc grapes. Today, those grapes are used in eight wines that are crafted at the boutique hillside winery. Sticking true to its roots, the winery offers a blackberry dessert wine alongside floral, citrusy whites and woody, berry-rich reds. The wines are all made from grapes grown onsite or purchased nearby from a feudal-estate-owning French noble. And this focus on local doesn't end with the grapes: works by local artists are featured at the winery's tasting room and bistro in Leavenworth, and on bottles of the signature Swakane Red.
Water is the source of life. But it?s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating down a total of seven rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation?s guides undergo extensive training?twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area?s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway?a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.