French Country Inn and Cooking School in Washington Wine Country
Woodinville wine country is only a half-hour drive from the brewpubs and art galleries of downtown Seattle, but the two areas couldn't be more different. Rolling orchards, wooded hills, and replica chateaus make Woodinville feel more like France's Loire Valley than a metropolitan suburb. These European-inspired surroundings permeate L'Auberge at The Edge of Seattle. Set on a 5-acre property secluded by towering pines and banks of lavender, the award-winning French Country Inn features country suites and a sophisticated foodie scene.
The cooking school operates out of an open-plan kitchen with a wraparound chopping block. With this getaway, you get to take one hands-on class on classic French fare, which runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Up to 12 students learn to craft a three-course meal that might center on crepes suzettes, leek-stuffed salmon, or chicken cordon bleu as well as desserts such as crème brûlée or chocolate mousse. For the dinner that follows, each person is allowed to bring one bottle of wine.
The attached bed and breakfast shows a similar indebtedness to French culture—the rooms feature antique French furnishings and country-floral prints. But there's also a general homey feel to the place. There are extra pajamas in the dresser and spare toothbrushes in the bathroom. The studio suite comes with a book collection and decorative china, and the honeymoon suite boasts a wood-burning fireplace, a private veranda, and an elegant vanity set. Every morning, there's a petit déjeuner spread that includes french pastries and housemade jam.
Woodinville Valley, Washington: Wineries and Breweries Minutes from Seattle
Located about 25 miles northeast of Seattle, the Woodinville Valley features dozens of boutique wineries. Wine-tasting tours are understandably popular here, but it's also worth looking into the region's microbreweries, which supply many of the craft IPAs that are a hit among Seattleites.
Outside the realm of grapevines, there are some lovely parks in the area. Along the banks of Lake Washington, the 316-acre Saint Edward State Park shelters bald eagles and otters. Marymoor Park borders Lake Sammamish and has its own velodrome, an angled racetrack that was built for bicyclists and to prop up coffee tables with missing legs.