Day Trip from Seattle: Wine Tour on the Olympic Peninsula

March 31st, 2013

Are you visiting Seattle soon? Do yourself a favor and spend a day on the stunningly beautiful Olympic Peninsula, a scenic ferry ride and one hour drive from downtown Seattle.

A great way to see the peninsula and view the scenery is by taking a wine tour. We have eight member wineries on the peninsula. You can see them all during one full day of touring the Peninsula! Note: Make sure to check winery listings for when you can stop by or make an appointment for a tasting!

First Stop: FinnRiver Farm and Cidery in Chimacum

Once you’ve crossed the Hood Canal Bridge, head about 10 miles further until you see Center-Sr 104 loop and take a right. Take an immediate right into Center Rd. Four miles later, turn on Country Meadow Rd. About a quarter mile down, take a right on Barn Swallow Rd. This brings you to Finnriver Farm and Cidery, at 62 Barn Swallow Road in Chimacum.

Second Stop: FairWinds Winery in Port Townsend

This is a fun route through the back roads to the adorable town of Port Townsend.

Eaglemount Wine and Cider in Port Townsend

Head south on Barn Swallow Rd., back the way you came in. Take a left on Country Meadow Rd and then take a right to get back on Center Rd. Head about two and a half miles and take a left on Rhody Dr. Three miles later continue onto Airport Cutoff Rd. This will bring you to Rte. 20 E. Drive about two miles down and take a left on S. Jacob Miller Rd. Two more miles and take a right on Hastings Ave West. FairWinds Winery will be on the left, at 1984 Hastings Ave W.

Third Stop: Eaglemount Winery in Port Townsend

If you leave Seattle around 9 a.m. it will probably be about lunch time when you leave FairWinds. Head into Port Townsend to get a bite before getting back on the road.

Get back on Rte. 20 heading West. Six miles down, take a left on Eaglemount Rd. Eaglemount Wine and Cider will be about two miles down, at 2530 Eaglemount Rd. Cider is a nice, light way to start a day of tastings!

Check back soon to see the rest of our Olympic Peninsula Wine Tour Routes!

Olympic Peninsula Hot Springs

March 16th, 2013

Looking for a great weekend getaway this spring? Come to the Olympic Peninsula! Along with charming waterfront communities and beautiful landscapes, we also have natural hot springs.

There are two different places where you can bathe in Hot Springs on the Peninsula. One is easily accessed and built up into a resort style destination. The other requires about a two mile hike into the woods and is significantly more rustic.

Sol Duc Hot Springs

Sol Duc Hot Springs offers three mineral hot spring soaking pools and one freshwater pool. Temperatures vary between the pools, so you can find the perfect one for you preferences. Relax and soak in the hot mineral baths, then jump into the cool freshwater pool for an exhilarating experience!

Each mineral pool is closed twice daily to allow for a ‘resting period’. During this time the pool is being tested to ensure health and safety requirements are met. All of the mineral hot springs are drained nightly, cleaned and then fill again naturally.

Olympic Hot Springs

One of the ‘abandoned’ Olympic Hot Springs

Note: These pools frequently fail water quality standards for public bathing, so use them at your own risk. That said, I’ve bathed in them, enjoyed it and I’m still here, no worse for the wear.

There was once a hot spring resort tucked deep in the Olympic Mountains. It burned to the ground in 1940, but of course the springs remain. The road that led to the resort is now a pleasant 2 + mile hike.

The Olympic Hot Springs consist of 21 seeps on the bank of Boulder Creek, a tributary of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. Water temperatures vary from lukewarm to 138 degrees. Most of the springs have been modified by bathers in some way – lined with stones to help collect water into deeper pools, or dug out a bit to let you soak more of yourself in the waters.

You know what else is Relaxing? A Glass of Wine

Hot springs were heralded as healing places at the turn of the 19th century. Many still believe they hold curing properties. But what we know for sure about natural hot springs is that they are relaxing.

A little wine while cooking dinner, after a hard day at work or while socializing with friends is also a lovely way to relax. We hope when you visit the Olympic Peninsula, you will stop by one of our fine wineries and bring some Washington wine home with you.


Charter Washington Wine Tasting Tours

March 6th, 2013

The Olympic Peninsula is blessed with eight great wineries. You can visit all of them on a fun-filled day that takes you from Port Angeles to Port Townsend and back. Or, depending on where your starting point is, you can use our suggested wine tour route to plan your day.

Do It Yourself Driving Tour

If you are coming from the East (Seattle, Bainbridge, Pudget Sound) go west on Washington Hwy 101 just a couple of miles past Port Angeles to Harbinger Winery. Located in a chic, sheet metal facility right on Washington Highway 101, you can’t miss it! Next stop is the beautiful grounds of Camaraderie Cellars, just one mile east on Benson Road.  Continue back to the east on  Hwy 101 through Port Angeles to Olympic Cellars, housed in a beautiful historic barn on the highway about half-way between Sequim and Port Angeles.

Continue on Hwy 101 east to Sequim and visit the Olympic Peninsula’s newest winery, Wind Rose Cellars, located in downtown Sequim.  Continue on HWY 101 east to Discovery Bay and the turnoff to Hwy 20 north. Eaglmount Wine & Cider’s woodland tasting room is just 3 miles away.

Berries at the Finnriver Farm and Cidery

Travel north on Hwy 20, turn off to FairWinds Winery’s country setting just a little further north.  On your return to Hwy 101, travel south on Route 19 towards Chimacum.  The last stop on your Olympic Peninsula Winery journey is Finnriver Ciderand sustainable farm, located off Center Road. Or, take the pressure off everyone and charter a tour.

Chartered Wine Tours

All Points Charters & Tours is a full-service tour and company located on the northern Olympic Peninsula. Willie Nelson, owner, has more than 15 years experience in providing the best in tour and charter services. He hosts a great full-day wine tour on Saturday. The tour costs only $85 per person, including lunch in Port Townsend and tasting fees. Please make reservations by calling (360) 565-1139 or (360) 460-7131. Sit back and enjoy the scenery between stops and don’t worry about your driving ability!

Cape Flattery & the Makah Reservation

February 20th, 2013

If you are feeling ambitious, head for the northwestern most point of the Continental United States: Cape Flattery. From Cape Flattery you can look out over the rocky cliffs and can see the Tatoosh lighthouse on Tatoosh Island. It continues to mark the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. These desolate, rocky shores can be deadly for unawares seamen. It is a view that infuses you with the power of the mighty Pacific Ocean.

The Makah Tribe

The Makah tribe made this corner of the world home for several thousand years.

Cape Flattery

A Makah settlement circa 1900

The Makah Cultural Center and Museum is a fascinating glimpse into these hardy people’s history. Many of the artifacts are displayed in ways that tell the story of their approximate 4,000-year-old existence.

Makah National Fish Hatchery

If you are a seafood lover, than you already know the Olympic Peninsula has unparalleled bounty. One variety in particular, Salmon, is a favorite of mine and also lovely to pair with many Olympic Peninsula white wines, like the Aligote from Fairwinds winery. If you have an interest in the fascinating life cycle of salmon (and you are already up near Neah Bay) visit the Makah National Fish Hatchery.

View Chinook salmon as they make their way over fish ladders to the hatchery’s spawning area. Spawning months are October and November, and the salmon are released in late April. Smaller numbers of coho, chum salmon and steelhead trout also populate the hatchery. From Neah Bay, follow signs south for 7 mi.

Pick Up Some Washington Wine for Your Seafood Dinner!

On your way back from Cape Flattery, stop at an Olympic Peninsula winery and pick up a bottle of Washington wine to have with dinner. Camaraderie Cellars in Port Angeles makes wines are known for balance and complexity that complement a wide range of foods. Camaraderie winemakers focus on Bordeaux grape varieties both red and white. Sauvignon Blanc co-fermented with Semillion is blended with barrel-fermented viognier to produce a fresh, fruity white wine to complement area seafood.

Less than a week until the Red Wine and Chocolate Tour!

February 6th, 2013

The Red Wine and Chocolate tours are taking place the next two weekends of the month: February 9 & 10 and 16 & 17. We are so excited for this fun annual event! If you haven’t made plans for a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend, we would like to invite you to the Olympic Peninsula to taste some fine Washington Wine and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of our corner of the nation.

Tickets may be purchased at participating wineries during the event. The $30 ticket and glass package entitles you to a special commemorative wine glass, complimentary wine tasting and delectable samples of chocolate at each winery during the Red Wine & Chocolate Weekends. Note: this event does not take place at one location, but at each individual winery, so you can visit those you are interested in exploring.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Red Wine and Chocolate.

Tickets are not required to attend this event. A $5.00 wine tasting fee will be charged at each winery for non-ticketed visitors.

Here are some of the fun pairings you can look forward to experiencing during your Washington Wine and Chocolate Tour:

Fairwinds Winery: Experience the tallest chocolate fountain on the Peninsula – back by popular demand – with a delicious assortment of fruits and sweets for dipping. The rich dark chocolate pairs exceptionally well with Fairwinds’ Port O’ Call, a mellow port wine. Visitors can also taste the latest vintages of Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, and taste barrel samples of the soon to be released 2005 Champeaux Vineyards Cabernet and a 2005 Merlot.

Harbinger Winery: This year Harbinger Winery is thinking outside the box! Sample some out-of-this-world chocolate desserts with new releases and old favorites. Experience the “other taste” – umami – a Japanese word for savory, with the winery’s holy trinity sample, the award-winning Dynamo Red paired with Harbingers’ own chocolate potato chip creation. Afterwards, taste the Petit Sarah-infused “chocolate rocket,” and share your “dirty little wine secrets” in the “Confession Room” while trying a secret bonus pairing that inspires one to be a better wine drinker! Bar Hop Brewery, co-located at the winery, will treat beer lovers to their annual Venezuelan Chocolate Porter.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


Olympic Peninsula Tours: Hoh Rainforest & Rialto Beach

January 22nd, 2013

If you want to experience the isolated and dramatic Olympic Mountains, your visit will be incomplete without a visit to the remarkable and rare Hoh rainforest.

On the west slopes of the Olympic Mountains lies a misty and moist landscape of giant, big leaf maples, and a vast variety of shrubs and flowers. The weather systems coming out of the Pacific Ocean make this area a temperate rainforest. In the summer months of July and August and into September, little moisture is available for this dense forest. The Hoh forest receives the bulk of its moisture in the winter months, with constant rain and thick mists –up to 140 or more inches a year.

These conditions are ideal for Douglas fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce.

Olympic Peninsula tours

This could be you!

Within a fairly narrow range of the rain forest, the largest recorded of these and other species exist. Their size is often exaggerated by heavy club mosses hanging in festoons from branches high above the forest floor. While it is certainly wetter here during the winter and spring months, it is no less impressive. You just need to wear boots and a rain jacket!

If you are leaving from Sequim, we recommend you get an early start – head towards Forks by 8:o0 a.m. and you will get to the Hoh by 11 a.m., or before. Take a walk on the deep forest trail: “Hall of Mosses.” With the exception of a short steep bit at the beginning, this is an easy walk with a number of stops along the way.

Pack a picnic lunch, or stop in Forks for a burger or something of the like before heading towards the coast and Rialto Beach. It will take you about 1.5 hours to drive there from Forks. Rialto Beach is just north of the mouth of the Sol Duc River and               Quilleute Indian Reservation. Do some beach combing or sit on a beached log and contemplate the Universe.

After a big trip like that, some wine tasting on the way home will be the perfect way to end an exhilarating day on the stunning Olympic Peninsula!


Red Wine & Chocolate in Washington State

January 7th, 2013

Next month is our big red wine and chocolate tour!

Liven up your winter with an amazing trip to the Olympic Peninsula for a weekend of delicious wines and creamy chocolate.

Featuring a host of unique sweet and savory combinations, the Red Wine & Chocolate Tour takes place two weekends in February,  Feb. 9-10 and Feb. 16-18 (Presidents’ Day Weekend) from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Of course, this is a wonderful event for couples to share. Take a weekend to relax on the scenic Olympic Peninsula and enjoy trying some award-winning Washington wines. Meet the vintners and other wine lovers. Have a unique, romantic Valentine’s weekend.

Tickets may be purchased at participating wineries during the event or beforehand on the Olympic Peninsula Wineries website.  The $30 ticket and glass package entitles you to a special commemorative wine glass, complimentary wine tasting and delectable samples of chocolate at each winery during the Red Wine & Chocolate Weekends.

washington wine tours

The 2012 Red Wine & Chocolate tour featured a chocolate fountain at Fair Winds Winery in Port Townsend.

Highlights from Red Wine and Chocolate Tour 2012

Fair Winds Winery: Last year, Fair Winds released their latest vintages of its Gewürztraminer, Port O’ Call and a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. Guests experienced the tallest chocolate fountain on the Peninsula with an assortment of fruits and sweets to dip in the rich dark chocolate. Patrons had the opportunity to tour the winery and its operations, with occasional barrel tastings.

Camaraderie Cellars: Featured a Syrah, paired with a cocoa spice-rubbed pulled pork, cooked on site in the winery’s wood-fired oven. The winery debuted the 2009 Syrah, along with some red blends and the ever popular Cabernet and Merlot varietals. Last year marked Camaraderie Cellar’s 20th year and special taste treats included Molly Baby chocolate shortbread cookies, Equal Exchange Fair Trade chocolate bars and a savory chocolate bruschetta. Special pricing for the event weekends should help you stock your red wine supply.


Olympic Peninsula Tours: Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge

December 24th, 2012

The Olympic Peninsula is a visually stunning place with large areas of wilderness. This makes it an amazing place to visit.

There is a lot to see and for someone that doesn’t know where to start, a tour can be a great way to see the Peninsula. We will use some of our winter posts to write about our favorite itineraries for touring the Olympic Peninsula.

Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge

Explore some of the finest examples of the marvelous Peninsula ecosystem on a day tour to Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls, and Hurricane Ridge.

Lake Crescent is a deep, blue lake carved out by glaciers 15,000 years ago. From the visitors center take an easy walk through a tall and verdant forest to Marymere Falls, a lovely cascade steeped in moss and ferns.

Head back through town and up to the Heart O’ the Hills and wind your way up to the spectacular view from Hurricane Ridge, easily one of the most famous vistas in Washington. By the time you reach the top, you will have traversed from sea level to sub-alpine forest. From Hurricane Ridge, looking across the valley of the Elwha, far below, one can gaze upon the many snow-capped peaks of the Olympics, cloaked in glaciers.

Olympic Peninsula Tours

Sunny, snowy, Hurricane Ridge.

Wineries on your Route:

Black Diamond Winery: Hours ~ October, November, December: Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m. Closed in January, February & March. Address ~ 2976 Black Diamond Rd. Port Angeles.

Camaraderie Cellars: Hours ~ May through September, Friday-Saturday-Sunday  11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open on event weekends. Appointments invited at other times. Address ~ 334 Benson Rd. Port Angeles

Harbinger Winery: Hours ~ Open Daily from 11a.m.- 6 p.m. Sunday ~ 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Or by special appointment. Address ~ 2358 Hwy 101 West.

Stop by on your way there or back to warm up in the tasting room with some delicious Washington wine, created in one of the most beautiful places in the nation!



Great Wine Lover Gift: 2013 Red Wine & Chocolate Tour

December 13th, 2012

While you may still be finishing up your holiday shopping, we have a great gift idea for the wine or chocolate lover in your life. Why not buy them tickets for our annual Red Wine and Chocolate tour?

We are hosting two fun weekends of sweet decadence and lush wine on Feb. 9-10 and Feb. 16-18 (Presidents’ Day Weekend) from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Washington wine events

Treat yourself to something sweet as we wait for Spring! Olympic Peninsula Red Wine and Chocolate Tour. February 9, 10 and 16, 17, and 18, 2013

Olympic Peninsula Winery Assoc. president Vicki Corson says, “the wineries would like to extend a special invitation to anyone who has not participated in our Red Wine & Chocolate tour in the past to come out and join us for a perfect Valentine’s or Presidents’ Weekend getaway! Participants who visit all eight of our wineries will be entered into a drawing for an elegant wine-themed gift basket.”

Tickets may be purchased at participating wineries during the event. The $30 ticket and glass package entitles you to a special commemorative wine glass, complimentary wine tasting and delectable samples of chocolate at each winery during the Red Wine & Chocolate Weekends.

Travel from winery to winery on the majestic Olympic Peninsula, visiting each unique property and explore both Washington wine and the Olympic Peninsula. Tickets are not required to attend this event, however, a $5.00 wine tasting fee will be charged at each winery for non-ticketed visitors. You must be 21 or over to purchase tickets and/or participate in wine tasting.

Washington Red Wine & Chocolate 2012

Here’s a peak at the happenings from last year’s Red Wine & Chocolate so you can get a feel for the event:

  • Wind Rose Cellars of Sequim made it’s debut at Red Wine & Chocolate last year, featuring its newly released 2010 Dolcetto. Wind Rose’s wines are made with Italian grape varieties grown in Washington State. These award-winning wines were paired with delicious chocolates crafted by Linda Moates of Sequim’s Cocoa d’Amici. Chocolates samples included Hazel Nut Crunch, Pistachio Fig and Ginger Cinnamon.


Port Angeles Events for December

November 18th, 2012

Port Angeles, the largest town on the Olympic Peninsula, has a couple events taking place next month you may want to attend.

Port Angeles Farmer’s Market

Attending the Farmer’s market in the morning is a great way to start the day. Buy a steaming hot cup of coffee, peruse the different food stuffs for sale from local farms and artisans. Pick out something delicious to for dinner and surprise your family. Then, stop by one of our member wineries for some Washington wine to complement the meal.


Veggies from local producer Nash’s Farm. Photo courtesy of Devon Beck.

The market takes place from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. every Saturday, year round. Other items for sale include Fair Trade organic coffee, organic bread, produce, eggs, jams and honey, unique handcrafted candles, soaps, hats, baskets, pottery, scarfs, tie-dye.

Second Weekend Art Event

For a small and somewhat remote town, Port Angeles has its fair share of artists.  On the second Friday of every month, the galleries hold openings and shows to kick off another weekend of art events.

Saturday morning take a walk with artists Bob Stokes, Harry von Stark and others to learn more about artists’ media, methods and inspirations. Meet at the Landing Mall on Railroad the Second Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m.

Galleries in Port Angeles

Landings Art Gallery – Located inside the Landing Mall at 115 Railroad Ave., the work of local artists is on display and for sale. Many of these same artists work in the gallery as volunteers rather than paying a large membership fee. Showing now are artists from Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend, Port Ludlow, Shelton and Burlington. Paintings, jewelry, metalwork and woodwork are some of the media for sale.

Studio Bob – Located at 118 1/2 E Front St., Studio Bob is an active participant in Second Weekend events. Stop by Friday night for a new art opening promoting different groups of artists.

Waterfront Art Gallery – This space is a cooperative gallery of local artists and quality crafts people. Located at 120 W. First St., Waterfront Gallery displays watercolors, oil, pastel, wood block, glass, photography, jewelry, pottery, magnets and cards.

Do you know what goes perfect with art? Wine. That’s why they serve it at every opening! Learn about how wineries on the Olympic Peninsula use the best grapes from all over the state when making their products.

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