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.
Having grown weary of the Texas tropes of football and heavy-handed competition, James Moore sought some kind of escape. At the advice of his father, he enrolled in Prescott College in Arizona for its unorthodox and outdoorsy approach to education. The school's recreation program lured James to Moab, Utah, where he received his first taste of whitewater rafting. After 30 days hiking the red-rock country, rafting the Green River, and living off peanut butter and freeze-dried dinners, James was not convinced the outdoors were his calling. He struggled to develop survival skills or cultivate an innate sense of how to navigate the wilderness. After one year at Prescott, he found himself returning to Texas.
It was a three-day kayaking trip with his father and brother-in-law on the Guadalupe River that showed James that working together and challenging themselves in such exhilarating conditions could bring people closer to each other and to nature. It wasn't long before he was off again, cramming all his earthly possessions into his pastel-blue '74 Ford Pinto and departing for Western Washington University in Bellingham. Once there, his love affair with the outdoors came to fruition while hiking the lush forests and rafting the bucking rapids of the Pacific Northwest. He was finally at ease in his surroundings.
Orion River Expeditions is the living continuation of James's journey and how he has ultimately solidified his relationship with the great outdoors and his community. He and his team lead explorers down seven of the Pacific Northwest's most scenic and adventuresome rivers, from the Wenatchee in Washington to the Deschutes in Oregon. Each trip strives to bring participants closer to their fellow passengers and their natural surroundings.
It's pitch black inside Purple Haze, one of two inner-tube slides at Slidewaters Lake Chelan Waterpark. The enclosed tube takes riders through 400 feet of darkness, where they twist and turn before dropping back into sunlight and a heated splash pool?the epitome of an adrenaline rush.
Yet for a few moments at the top of the slide?just before the attendant says "go"?it's easy for riders to forget they're inside a water park. The setting could easily come from a postcard. Slidewaters sits just off the shores of Lake Chelan, with national forests and the rolling hills of the Chelan Butte visible in the distance. Luckily, the park makes it easy to relax and soak in the view. A lazy river takes inner tubes and their passengers on leisurely floats around a 500-foot loop, while the 100-degree waters of a hot tub welcome up to 60 individuals or up to 30 identical twins at a time.
At some point, the call of adventure pulls visitors to one of the more thrilling rides, many of which cater to families. The Tube Blaster sends double tubes and their riders through multiple 360 turns, while the Downhill Racer lets three siblings or friends simultaneously coast on mats towards the finish line. Nearby, the Aqua Zoo welcomes younger kids and their parents, who can help toddlers down two animal-themed slides.
That's just what takes place in the water. Here are a few drier things to do: play a game of volleyball, grab a hot dog at the snack stand, or choose from more than 100 temporary air-brush tattoos.
Though it has winter in its name and boasts lessons in both nordic and downhill skiing, Leavenworth Winter Sports Club gives outdoor sports enthusiasts a reason to explore its sprawling grounds throughout the year. Called a “sportsmen’s mecca” by Club's President of the Board of Directors, Damian Browne, the trails date back to 1928, when people would flock to the club's ski-jumping hill to watch skiers soar through the air and high-five bald eagles as they began their descent. Visitors can strap on snowshoes to navigate the Waterfront Park path or lace up a pair of skates and pirouette across the Leavenworth Ice Rink. The area's ski trails double as hiking and biking trails during the summer months, and a golf course invites guests to work on their short game once the snows melt to reveal manicured greens.