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5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

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Minneapolis...
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5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Dear Seattle TA experts,

Wife and I are spending our anniversary in area for 5 nights. We are in our early 40s and it will be her first time. LOVE seafood, wine,and water. So i am thinking of the following.

1. a night in Yakima valley wine tasting; the wife absolutely loves Napa and reviews here seem to be all over the board. Somewhat afraid that she would be disappointed. She loves the "feel/ambience" of old rural wineries, down home feel.

2. Chateau St. Michelle seems like a good stop.

3. day out kayaking the San Juan islands, whale watching, season?

4. Crab and seafood reccomendations?

Anything else worthwhile in that somewhat limited timeframe? Thanks!!

seattle
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1. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

it would be most useful if you gave some time frame for this adventure? as in time of yr?

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Off the top, Seattle - Yakima, Seattle - San Juans, and activities in Seattle is a lot for 5 days. Lots of time in transit, as the two destinations atlre distant from Seattle and from each other.

The Yakima valley is a fantastic wine producing region, but is anything but a scenic 'old town' wine village, rather is is an agricultural area of vast scale. One can drive for hours at highway speeds past endless orchards, vineyards, and fields. There are dozens of grape teroirs here, and it is interesting to the wine aficionado, but less so to the picture-postcard scenic wine country tourist.

A day spent at Chateau Ste. Michelle, and the other wineries in Woodinville, will expose you to world-class wines without the very long drive to eastern Washington. The grounds and facility at Ste. Michelle are beautiful.

Kayaking in the San Juans is in potentially strong currents and winds. You will need to go out in a tour unless you are an experienced, and fit, ocean kayaker.

Half the seafood consumed in the U.S. moves through Seattle. We also produce 12% of the oysters consumed in the world. Literally hundreds of restaurants serve outstanding seafood in a dozens of cuisines. We tend to think of seafood in 'seasons' and tend to be very picky about dining on seafood at its peak.

When do you plan on visiting, and what types of cuisine are your favorites?

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Sorry, forgot dates! Mid october

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Mid-October is a time of dramatic change in the Northwest. The days are rapidly shortening, the weather can be clear and mild with golden sunshine, or stormy with rain driven by impressive winds. We pray for the former and prepare for the latter when venturing out in mid-October. (The 1962 Columbus Day storm is still the benchmark for extra-tropical cyclones. Anyone living here at the time can tell you exactly where they were on that day.)

If Yakima is in your plans, check out the Birchfield Manor. Founded by the former dean of Seattle Central College's highly respected culinary institute, this county inn is a romantic B&B with an outstanding dining room and an award-winning wine cellar. Two seatings for dinner. If you arrive early for dinner, you may wish to ask the congenial host to escort you to the wine cellar to poke around. There always seems to be interesting bottles 'off list' laying around. The usual route to Yakima from Seattle is via I-90 east to Ellensburg then I-82/Highway 97 south. As a scenic alternate turn off I-82 at the Yakima Canyon Road (highway 821) and drive its gorgeous length to Yakima. This will add about 30 minutes to your drive, but may be the best 1/2 hour of your trip! A stop at the Umtanum recreation area for a stroll across the river on the only bridge in the canyon is a great place to stretch your legs.

The San Juan Islands are a great get-away. There's lots of guidance on TA for where to go and what to do. As for Kayaking, I'd definitely play it by ear in October, letting the weather, and a professional guide, be your guides.

Needless to say, seafood rules the Seattle dining scene. There are so many great seafood restaurants, and restaurants with excellent seafood dishes on their menu here, its hard to know where to start.

Two local items that must be sampled here to truly appreciate are Dungeness crab, and Pacific oysters. The latter are most commonly served raw (and aficionados will maintain this is the only way to eat them). The cooler weather of October starts to bring these delacies to their peak.

Salmon is in abundance here, both farm raised and wild. Many restaurants quietly serve the former with its somewhat bland flavor boosted by rich fattiness. Purists will insist on the more gamey flavor of wild caught Salmon, especially from the cold Alaskan fisheries, but the Washington coastal fisheries do quite well as well. On most menus King salmon is king, but don't overlook the 'lesser species'. I tend to prefer Sockeye, and you will see Silver (Coho), and occasionally Pink (Humpback) salmon. For a while the local restaurant craze was to serve Ketna (Chum) salmon, that surely had our Alaskan friends scratching their heads or laughing hysterically. Chum is generally frozen, then chopped up and fed to sled dogs. A testiment to local chefs' creativity were some excellent dishes created with this 'trash' fish.

Continue with your research and please post back when you have more questions.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Washington has a world class wine industry. In fact it is the second largest wine region in the US after California. There are more than 800 wineries and somewhere around 350 vineyards totaling more than 50,000 acres. Annual production is somewhere around 12-13 million cases. Interestingly the latitude is similar to that of Bordeaux. They are at 44.8. By comparison the southern most appellations in WA like Walla Walla are at about 46. The more northern appellations like Lake Chelan are at more like 47.8 The dry climate (shrub-steppe, high desert) and long daylight hours during the growing season make the climate ideal for wine grapes.

In the stretch south of 90 more or less along the Rt 82 corridor (from Yakima to Tri Cities and including parts of the Columbia Valley AVA plus the Yakima Valley, Snipes Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills & Red Mountain AVAs) there are bigger cities like Yakima and Tri-Cities. If you want to drink great wine you can do that. There are a lot of beautiful vineyards. But these towns has the sort of great year wine country tourist infrastructure to compete with an area like Napa or Sonoma.

There is no place in Washington that is like Napa. The closest experience would be Walla Walla which combines a charming small town with hotels, good restaurants, wine bars, etc, beautiful surrounding country, and a large number of high quality wineries. But Walla Walla is 4+ hours from Seattle and nearly as long a trip from Portland.

Woodinville is an area of many excellent wineries but predominantly they are housed in warehouse spaces. They are not surrounded by vineyards. All of the real, serious production vineyards are in Eastern WA. Teh winemakers either own their own vineyards in E.Wa or they contract with vineyards. They work with the vineyard managers and when they get the call (when the brix, TA and pH are in range) they drive over and load up the grapes and bring them back to Seattle for crush. By the way you will be here during crush so most wineries will be busy with the new vintage.

If you want to visit Woodinville there are a couple distinct advantages. Instead of driving miles between tastings you can visit many wineries sometimes in the same warehouse park. Of course there are also some that have very nice tasting rooms and even attractive grounds. Often the winemakers are around and like I said you will see crush in progress. The wineries -- though much smaller than the large production facilities you may have visited before -- still have all of the same component parts -- sorting table or conveyer, destemmer/crusher, fermentation bins or tanks, a lab, a press, barrels, and bottling equipment. And the wineries are often very small production so you are almost guaranteed to take home wines that your friends back home will not have had.

I would caution that although Columbia is a good place to go for an overview tour it is one of the biggest operations in Washington. The wine is available around the country. If you have been to wineries before you will likely not see anything you have not seen before. I would visit a couple boutique wineries instead.

Minneapolis...
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6. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Thanks for all the info! having just 5 days, spending 3 in seattle and 2 on San Juan island sounds like it would make for a resonable and most enjoyable trip! Now off to the SJI forum for lodging research!

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

That will give you a great city/country variety while minimizing the time in transit.

Have you decided where you are staying in Seattle?

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

Ray S, the thought was to stay 2 nights in Downtown and take in Pike Place, seafood, etc. Since we'll most likely be spending some $$$ on SJI, I was thinking of rolling the dice through Priceline to get a place at the $100 mark or less.

Seem reasonable? Any other ideas?

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

You might find a place... but at that price it's going to be on the sketchy edge of downtown (along Aurora Ave.), or out of downtown at best. You really want to stay in or near the downtown core, no further north of town than Lower Queen Anne/Seattle Center neighborhood. You might want to try Hotels.com instead of Priceline so you have some control over where you end up. Hotels are expensive in Seattle. I'd budget 175.00 / night and shoot for someplace like:

(Lower Queen Anne)

The Inn at Queen Anne

The Marqueen

Mediterranean Inn

(Downtown)

Sheraton

Renaissance

Houston
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10. Re: 5 day trip in Seattle and beyond

We are vacationing in Seattle later this month (September) to rest and look over the older neighborhoods where my grandmother was born. We have reservations at a wonderful B&B Cedar Cove Inn which had availability 5 of the 6 nights we are staying, so we had need for a place for the 6th night. We discovered The Moore Hotel on a search on Yelp.com. It is an old hotel 2 minutes from Pike's Market and some of the rooms have private baths and some shared, European style. The prices are very low for downtown, I don't know about the neighborhood, but since it is a 2 minute walk to the Market we are fine with it even though the only availability for our night is a shared bathroom. We decided to be adventurous. The cost is around $100 and that includes taxes.

http://www.moorehotel.com