Samuel Hill was undoubtedly a visionary in his own right, but having friends in high places didn't hurt him any. In 1907 he purchased 5,300 acres along the Columbia River to establish a Quaker farming community and found the Maryhill Land Company, named after his daughter. Seven years later he set to work building a mansion on the hill overlooking the river. But then his company folded and the mansion was without purpose. Enter friend number one: Parisian dance pioneer Loïe Fuller. She advised him to transform the cavernous building into an art museum. Throughout the next several years, he filled its halls with pieces from around the world, supplemented by works from Loïe's artist friends—including Auguste Rodin. And to further demonstrate his web of camaraderie, another friend of Hill's, Queen Marie of Romania, contributed Orthodox art and icons from her homeland. In 1926, the Queen dedicated the mansion as the Maryhill Museum of Art to a crowd of more than 2,000 onlookers.
And yet the museum wasn't finished. When Hill died in 1931, the museum's board of trustees stepped in to helm the completion of the project. On May 13, 1940, on what would've been Hill's 83rd birthday, they opened the museum to the public. In the years immediately following, Hill collaborator and arts patron Alma de Bretteville Spreckels fortified the museum's already-impressive collection with works of art loaned and gifted from her own home.
Today Maryhill overlooks the same vista, plus a sculpture garden, displaying its diverse collection of art from around the world. In addition to 80 original pieces by Rodin, including The Thinker, paintings by other European and American artists, and the Théâtre de la Mode French fashion exhibition, the museum's halls display Native American works from prehistoric times to the modern age. It also caters to younger minds with an activity room filled with games and child-friendly activity guides that make art accessible to kids so that parents don't have to carve Starry Night into their grilled cheese sandwiches.
Founded in 1972, Cougar Mountain Zoo has maintained a commitment to wildlife education, with particular focus on endangered species. Sweeping views of the Cascade Mountain range and Lake Sammamish set the backdrop for myriad activities, such as daily keeper-led animal walks and minilectures led by zoo staff on two- and four-legged residents who refuse to speak English. Membership benefits include free zoo admission and a 15% discount at the zoo gift shop.
On a mission to preserve the vestiges of motorboat racing, The Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum allures wave-whizzing enthusiasts into its historic halls with a trove of racing artifacts, collections, and boating exhibits. Seven decades worth of designs are touted by a compilation of vintage hydroplanes, including boats that have won championship cups and arm-wrestled legendary propellers. An eclectic stock of memorabilia, such as photo archives, trophies, and vintage packs of personal floatation device trading cards provide glimpses into the past, with some pieces dating back to the early 1900s. Alternatively, more than 200 hours of rare films transferred from videotape cover hydroplane racing events from the 1940s up to present-day competition. The museum also lets visitors glean the stories of renowned drivers including Bill Muncey, Ron Musson, and "Wild" Bill Cantrell.
When Josh Lawrence joined his father and uncle to work the land the Lawrence family had farmed for nearly a half-century, he wanted the fruits of his labor to be tasted in a glass. So they began Lawrence Vineyards in 2003 with just one block of vines and a single garden gnome for security in the sunny Frenchman Hills bearing the family's name. From there, the planting and production flourished, and today more than a dozen varieties of grapes populate nearly 125 acres of land. For the Lawrences, Gård Vintners was the natural next step, and a host of award-winning wines followed. Today, they invite visitors into their two tasting rooms to sample a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, and refreshing Rosé with notes of strawberry jam and fresh herbs. Guests may also purchase bottles of their favorite varietal or enjoy glasses of Gard Vintners wine at restaurants throughout the area.
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.
For more than 40 years, the trained and professional pilots at Chelan Seaplanes have been floating passengers through the air on exotic day trips and scenic charter flights. Flights ferry passengers the 25 minutes back and forth to Stehekin, giving them unique views of the Lake Chelan Valley and the snow-topped Cascade Mountains. Passengers pick and choose from a collection of diverse sightseeing tours or climb aboard Chelan's amphibious aircraft for a chartered flight to Seattle and British Columbia. Clyde and his son, Shane, also lead adventurous outdoorsmen on a diverse collection of day-trip packages. Trips fuse flying with an afternoon of kayaking, fly fishing, hiking, or river-rafting, ferrying guests back at the end of the day full of stories about meeting celebrity waterfowl.