vineyard 16x9 
Every year I’ve been in Seattle I’ve come to appreciate more and more what a spectacular part of the country we live in.  It’s not just because Frasier took place here, or because we have such a great baseball team – it’s because of our proximity to such excellent landscape, such wonderful natural resources, and such good people.  A recent trip to Lake Chelan, a small town about 4 hours outside of Seattle, cemented my beliefs all the more.  From the orchard- and vineyard-covered rolling hills, to the deep, serene lake, I’d highly recommend Chelan for a peaceful weekend getaway.  And, since everyone likes a list, here’s my top 10.

1.  Rent a house.  There are charming hotels and B&Bs scattered throughout the town, but there are also a wonderful private homes for rent.  Renting a house has a few advantages, particularly if you’re traveling with friends.  Look for a house right on the water – the view doesn’t get any better.  Also, try to find a house with a hot tub, if that’s your thing.  You’ll want to soak your feet after a long day of wine tasting, and a Jacuzzi overlooking the lake brings any day to a tranquil end.

2. Wake up early to go fishing.  Fishing may not necessarily be your thing, but I can’t think of a better way to relax than at the end of a dock early in the morning.  Plus, if you’re lucky, you’ll be serving fresh trout omelets – yum!

3. Visit the Blueberry Hills Farm for breakfast.  You’ll need to start your day off right, and their blueberry blintzes hit the spot.  Be forewarned, though: that $3.50 side of bacon only comes with two slices!

4. Enjoy a tasting at Wapato Point Cellars.  They have a beautiful tasting room and gift shop, and the onsite staff is friendly and knowledgable.  I enjoyed their 2006 Malbec enough to walk off with a bottle.

5. Stop for lunch (and another tasting) at the Vin du Lac Winery.  In addition to some very respectable wines, they offer an excellent light lunch menu.  We gathered around an outdoor table overlooking the lake and for a leisurely lunch that hit the spot exactly. 

6. Head to the South side of the lake for a tractor ride around Tsillan Cellars (pronounced “Chelan”).  This was by far my favorite winery in Chelan, and not just ‘cause I’m a sucker for tractor rides.  Their award winning wines stood up to the hype – particularly their 2006 Estate Riesling, which was very well balanced and not overly sweet. 

7. Just down the road is the Sunshine Farm Market, a great roadside market with fresh produce (and goats!).  Pick up a few Washington apples to take back home for a tarte tatin. 

8. Once you’re ready for dinner, I highly recommend visiting Lake Chelan Winery for their evening barbeque.  Starting at 4:00, you’ll be able to order a glass of wine to accompany killer, fall-off-the-bone ribs and soul-warming baked beans in their permanent tent behind the gift shop.  If you thought wine and chocolate pairings were good, just try wine and ribs.

View my Windows Live Maps Collection of this tour

Arial Tour of Chelan Wineries