exploring the Hallmarks of Washington

april, 2017

You won't get bored in the State of Washington.

We have family that lives in different regions of Washington State so every few years we fly out for a long weekend and see something different every time.  This trip was all about steel head trout fishing, the Museum of Glass and seeing if I could catch a fish at the Public Market.  Of course we had to make time for one winery because, come on.....it's Washington!  

It was two long days of fishing for some of the family; David, Nicole, Steve, Grant and Terry.  They were often cold and rained on but enjoyed every hour of being together.  Two shoreline lunches over a fire helped warm them up and dry their gloves out.  The best advice is connect with a fishing guide who will have all the equipment needed, know how to navigate the water and where to go, and maybe more importantly coordinate pole placement so no tangled fish lines! 

The Museum of Glass is an afternoon well spent.  I was surprised that most of the finished sculptures were not behind glass; even the most intricate fragile pieces are highly accessible for viewing and taking pictures.  In the huge art studio which is housed inside a 90-foot stainless steel cone, is the 'Hot Shop' side.  'Hot' as in kilns, molten glass, torches and sweaty bodies.  Some of the world's best glass blowers come to Tacoma to use this space.

Featured Artisan John Miller and Crew Leader

Featured Artisan John Miller and Crew Leader

The team of glass blowers designed and formed a giant glass of Guinness including the use of white powder to represent the beer foam.  Notice how the top is always kept heated so it stays pliable.  If the glass cools too much, slicing off the top to create the wide open mouth of the glass would result in the whole piece of art shattered.  

Welcome to Stottle

If you enjoy wine, a stop for wine tasting is a given in this beautiful state.  Visiting Stottle was less than a two hour visit including travel time from Lacey.  The business is primarily the dream to reality and hard work of Winemaker Josh Stottlemyer.   After leaving web development and internet marketing, Josh along with his wife Amy, ventured into the wine making business.  Tasting Room Coordinator, Lucy, was so welcoming and jovial I didn't want to leave our conversation.  

"Josh and Amy bought the winery in Yakima Valley specifically for the exceptional grapes nearby.  Yakima Valley is east of the Cascades which is significant to winemakers on the western coast.  The damp winds are blocked by the Cascade Mountain Range to the east which assists with keeping the vines drier and the sun warmer.  Some grapes like cooler temperatures but too much moisture and inadequate sun is definitely not good for grapes."
~ Lucy

I tried a combination flight of reds and whites.  A personal favorite is The Lucille Late Harvest, a dessert wine named after a grandmother on Amy's side of the family.  A little bubble wrap and I brought five bottles of wine home in my checked luggage.  That trick works every time. 

Stottle's retail space and tasting room is part of the Urban Winery Movement, keeping access close to buyers and tasters.  The store is tucked into an industrial area rather than more traditional wineries on a winding road in a rural setting.  The Urban Winery strategy caters to wine lovers that work and live in Puget Sound.....or in my case, a girl out for a drive looking to experience local flavor.


Pause long enough to enjoy a State Park

Seattle’s hustle and bustle is a big draw for visitors.  However, you can move ever so slightly in any direction from the big city and you will find Washington’s abundant beauty.  The obvious choices are to go to a mountain range and climb parts of Mt Olypus or Mt Rainier.  I love every minute we can get near a mountain side.  Yet the lush forest greens and rolling lake waves have a particular pull for me. 

I have to balance any trip with time in nature.  With more than 100 state parks it is easy to find a place to slow down and savor quiet time.

Saltwater State Park is located in King County.  I found it by googling ‘parks’ because I wanted to have a solo adventure but only had a couple hours available for a respite.  Since we were staying in Auburn, WA, Saltwater State Park popped up as the closest destination.  I didn’t have time to explore much of the park’s 87.4 acres but it was satisfying enough to walk a trail and wander down to the shore.  I finally shut off my phone, parked it on a log and just listened.


Recommendations for a day trip:  Dress in layers because within any given hour it can be sunny, rainy, warm and chilly, especially near the water and changing altitudes; take a kite to run along a beach; bring a camera so you can revisit the remarkable views; pack a picnic of fruit, cheese and crackers to go with one of Washington’s exceptional wines.

Iconic Seattle Public Market

Aren't outdoor markets energizing?  Between the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables and flowers and the unique handcrafted tee shirts to cutting boards there is, in fact, something for everyone.  I am partial to the street musicians.   

If you get to Pike Place Fish Market we highly recommend asking if you can catch a fish.  .Just ask for one of the fishmongers that has the best quarterback arm and Bam! you can catch a salmon thrown from 25 feet away.   

Thanks to Jaison Scott for having a great arm and not throwing THAT at me!


Till next time, Washington.  We love ya!