2015 Favorites

On this last day of 2015 and you look back on the year, what was your favorite part of it?  Was it a vacation or trip?  A new person (or pet) in your life?  A chance at a new career path?  Did you run your first half marathon?  Spent more time outdoors in nature?

As I update my 2016 calendar for the new year ~ Question: what was my favorite experience of 2015?  Answer: in May… a 5-night trip to Las Vegas.  We did it up VERY well!!!

My Top 16 list of other 2015 outings (in no particular order) are:

  1. Spending the final day of the US Open at Chambers Bay golf course with my dad and husband
  2. Drinking some very fine wine
  3. Enjoying theater.  Favorite: Phantom of the Opera or Mamma Mia
  4. Enjoying concerts.  Favorite Indoor Concert: Candlebox or Muse. Favorite Outdoor Concert: Afrodisiacs at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
  5. Taking the Victoria Clipper for a weekend to Oak Bay/Victoria BC to catch up with friends
  6. Road trip to Ocean Shores
  7. Road trip to Leavenworth
  8. Flight to Dallas, TX for the Seahawks/Cowboys game and to meet up with my brother/family.  AT&T Stadium is amazing. Pecan Lodge. Iron Cactus.
  9. A dinner boat cruise on the waters of the Anacortes/San Juan Islands area via Mystic Sea Charters and Hellam’s Vineyard
  10. Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square … finding new shops (like Watson Kennedy, Clementines, Fleurt, Timothy De Clue) and restaurants (like London Plane) nearby
  11. Snoqualmie Falls #optoutside adventure
  12. Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass along with dinner at Sky City and taking in the Puget Sound views via the Space Needle
  13. Tailgating and attending Seattle Seahawks games.  Go Hawks!
  14. Attending a day full of action of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament at Key Arena
  15. Road trip in a Mercedes-Benz convertible to get a pedicure at Tip Top Nails in North Bend
  16. Taste ~ Road trip to visit a friend and check out Dirty Oscar’s Annex and Corina in Tacoma. Honorable mention: Vista Lago Restaurant in Kirkland

And being thankful for other places and people not mentioned here.

What is on your list for 2016?

August 2nd – Summer Winemaker Dinner Cruise

Looking for an ideal Pacific Northwest experience?  After a visit to the Anacortes Arts Festival http://www.anacortesartsfestival.com, cap off the day with a winemaker dinner cruise on Saturday, August 2nd.

A chartered bus will pick you up at Hellams Vineyard in La Conner at 5 p.m. (please check in to the shop no later than 4:15 p.m.).  You’ll head over to Mystic Sea Charters in Anacortes http://mysticseacharters.com/, boarding and departing at 6 p.m.  The boat will return to dock at 9 p.m. and you’ll then be chartered back to La Conner.

The cruise will take you through the San Juan Islands, heading from Anacortes northbound to the mystical Mermaid Rocks and the Cone Islands, venturing on to Toehead Pass and Obstruction Pass off of Orcas Island, continuing onward to Thatcher Pass, Lopez Spit, Decatur Island and Lopez Pass, and the Marine Sanctuary off of Bird Rocks – then homeward bound.  This is a fantastic scenic cruise abundant with eagles, seals, and spectacular scenery.

The cruise will feature three Walla Walla wineries – Five Star Cellars, Bunchgrass and Kontos.  The winemakers/owners will be able to answer any questions and offer tastings of great Washington State wine celebrating the season and their work – what a treat!   The cruise will also feature a fully catered dinner of appetizers, salmon, prime rib, side dishes and dessert.  Cost is $130 per person (+tax).  To reserve  your spot, call Hellams Vineyard at 360-466-1758.  http://hellamsvineyard.com/  It just may be the highlight of your summer!

 

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Saturday, July 19th – Winemaker Cruise

Looking for an ideal Pacific Northwest experience?  Postpone whatever you might have planned and take a winemaker dinner cruise this coming Saturday, July 19th.

A chartered bus will pick you up at Hellams Vineyard in La Conner at 5 p.m. (please check in to the shop no later than 4:15 p.m.).  You’ll head over to Mystic Sea Charters in Anacortes http://mysticseacharters.com/, boarding and departing at 6 p.m.  The boat will return to dock at 9 p.m. and you’ll then be chartered back to La Conner.

The cruise will take you through the San Juan Islands, heading from Anacortes northbound to the mystical Mermaid Rocks and the Cone Islands, venturing on to Toehead Pass and Obstruction Pass off of Orcas Island, continuing onward to Thatcher Pass, Lopez Spit, Decatur Island and Lopez Pass, and the Marine Sanctuary off of Bird Rocks – then homeward bound.  This is a fantastic scenic cruise abundant with eagles, seals, and spectacular scenery.

The cruise this Saturday will feature Barrister Winery  http://barristerwinery.com/, with owner/winemakers Greg and Mike on board pouring their special wines and a couple winery only wines.  The cruise is also a Dungeness Crab Feed which also includes several side dishes and dessert. Cost is $140 per person (+tax).  To reserve  your spot, call Hellams Vineyard at 360-466-1758.  http://hellamsvineyard.com/  It just may be the highlight of your summer!

 

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Whale Watching in Washington

Whale Watching in Washington State – an all-day adventure!  Whale Watching is a great way to get out on the water, view beautiful scenery, meet new people, see something that not too many people get to, and participate in nature.  On this day, towards the end of the whale watching season, we were fortunate enough to indeed see a number of Orcas. The season typically runs mid-April to the beginning of October.  Go with a friend or make it a family affair.  We booked our trip through Mystic Sea Charters out of Anacortes, WA.  We were familiar with this company through the wine and dinner cruises via Hellams Vineyard in La Conner.  So, we said… why not?  There are other departing cities as well, depending on the company you choose.

The 100 ft. Mystic Sea leaves Anacortes around 11 am and returns to dock between 4-5 pm.  The route taken will depend on where the whales are spotted, but almost all go somewhere through the San Juan Islands chain.  We got the full tour as the pods were up north in the waters around Canada (British Columbia) and the San Juan Islands.  Juveniles played and enjoyed catching salmon.  The whale fin might remind you of a shark fin at times especially as it approaches a boat. Dun um, dun um, dun um, du da (for you Jaws fans out there).

What to expect?  You’ll take a trip there and back, ours was two hours each way.   There is indoor seating or enjoy the up close and personal viewing experience out on the deck.  Bring playing cards, visit with your neighbor, or grab a bite to eat.  Bring your own picnic or purchase food and drink there…chili, sandwiches, candy bars, chips, and the like.  Grab a map and follow along as the captain will provide information…. history, facts, geographical.  The boat will move to various spots within the waters for prime viewing.  There are other boats in the area as well.  Bring or wear layers as it will probably get chilly.  Also, if photography is a hobby and you would like to record the event, a DSLR camera with appropriate lens is recommended.  I brought a point-and-shoot camera with a pretty good zoom and was satisfied with some of the photos, but a larger lens would have really got the job done.  You might need to jump from one side of the boat to the other for the optimum viewing experience but do be courteous of the other passengers as everyone wants to get the best shot.

Come aboard and see the many treasures this experience has to offer!

http://mysticseacharters.com/index.php

Mystic Sea Charters… cruise in the Northwest

Hi!  This has got to be one of the best Northwest experiences ever!  Hellams Vineyard in La Conner, WA hosts 2-3 wine and dinner cruises each summer.  This cruise was on a beautiful evening in July with the pouring of Barrister Winery wines.  Mystic Sea Charters takes us on a tour via the vessel Mystic Sea http://mysticseacharters.com/index.php  So fabulous!  The cruise started out in La Conner, moving down the Swinomish Channel to Saratoga Passage, Deception Pass, and then a stop in the waters of Bowman Bay for dinner.  Have you had the opportunity of boating under the Deception Pass bridge?  Give it a try.  This particular tour was approximately three hours in length.  Enjoy the outside deck or choose the protection of the elements inside.  Beauty abounds!  Glistening waters, tree-lined rocky cliffs, beaches, bald eagles, and sea lions were seen.  The hunt was on at one point with a bald eagle chasing a seagull… he was ready for dinner.  A sunset was observed.  The crew is great and the captain has a fun sense of humor.  Make new friends.  The Mystic Sea is based out of Anacortes and is known for their whale watching excursions.  Book a custom trip or join in on an already scheduled charter.  Check out the Mystic Sea Charters website for more information or the Hellams Vineyard site for their wine cruise schedule. http://hellamsvineyard.com/  When the weather is this flawless, this experience is one of the best out there! 

A few notes on the wine being served – Barrister Winery is located in a 100 year-old brick building on West Railroad Ave in Spokane, WA (in the Davenport Arts District).  The winemakers, Michael and Greg specialize in making limited edition red wines.  On the boat cruise, the guests enjoyed some of these limited varieties as they are sold mainly at the winery and specialty wine shops – these include Sauvignon Blanc from Klipsun Vineyard, Merlot, and the very limited Cabernet Sauvignon from Bacchus Vineyard.  These along with the award-winning Cabernet Franc and Rough Justice were served.  Do you see the law theme here?  http://www.barristerwinery.com/index.asp

On a side note, I wanted to mention Morgan and Deena at the La Conner Channel Lodge for their tried and true hospitality.  The Channel Lodge is a beautiful place to stay right on the water in downtown La Conner. http://www.laconnerlodging.com/.