Monday, June 23, 2014

Seattle’s Wine Country

by Meghann on June 23, 2014

Wow! What a weekend! After an incredible four days in Seattle, Derek and I on our way back home and there’s so much to share!

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First of all, I need to send lots of love and thanks to Brooks Running for an incredible running-focused weekend. Brooks Running is an amazing company that eats, sleeps, and breathes their slogan “Run Happy.” From the products, to the people, to their goal of constantly improving and elevating the entire running experience – they are the definition of “Run Happy.” I’m honored to be one of their blogger ambassadors and am truly blessed to have been able to work with the company for the last three years.

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Brooks Blogger Ambassadors with CEO Jim Weber

I can’t send enough love and praise to my Brooks Running peeps. I was a fan of the brand before I started working with them and I will stay a fan long after. Group Hug! 

Since I have so much to share about the weekend, I’m going to break the many adventures up into a handful of posts, so please bear with me as I get it all out there.

For now, let’s rewind back to the beginning of the trip, when Derek and I landed in Seattle on Thursday afternoon.

Seattle has been on Derek’s bucket list for a while now, so when I was invited to Seattle, Derek didn’t hesitate to volunteer to join me. We planned to arrive a day early, stay a day later, and make a weekend of it. Derek also rented a car so he could continue to explore while I was at the pre-planned Brooks activities.

I’ve been to Seattle a handful of times over the last couple of years, but have never really had a chance to explore outside of the city. When we booked the trip with the extra night, my only request was that we went outside the city and stay somewhere fun. A friend suggested staying in Woodinville, which is essentially Seattle’s wine country with over 100 tasting rooms in a 3-mile radius – sign me up.

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Once we picked a city, Derek got on Google maps and literally clicked on the first bed & breakfast that popped up in the Woodinville vicinity. The price was right, the photos on the website were great, and a quick glance on Trip Advisor confirmed this was the place for us (probably one of the few places I’ve seen with nearly all 5 star ratings) we immediately booked it.

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We fell in love with Eason Estates Bed & Breakfast as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. It was exactly what we were envisioning – charming garden, beautifully updated early 20th century home, a well stocked pantry and fridge with snacks and drinks after our long day of travel, and the kind couple who runs it.

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The owners had purchased the “main house” in the early 80s, before the surrounding area had really developed and took off. Their house was built in 1915, while the house next door could be traced back to 1906. When the house next door was put up for sale a few years ago, they were fearful a developer would come along and demolish it. To save it, they purchased it themselves and had this crazy dream of eventually turning it into a bed & breakfast.

After thirty years of teaching, the couple retired from the local school district and opened Eason Estates Bed & Breakfast in 2008.

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The couple was very sweet. They immediately made Derek and I feel like family. I think that’s the best part about staying at a Bed & Breakfast – you feel like you’re visiting friends or family instead of some generic hotel.

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After Derek and I dropped off our bags, we were given great directions on where to go and what to see. Basically, we just had to go a mile or so down the road and we’d run smack dab into the middle of wine country. We had big plans of tasting room hopping, but by the time we were finally on our way it was after 3:00pm PST and we’d been up since 3:30am EST. We were hungry and tired, but still happy to be there.

We ended up at Village Wines first since we knew they served food and we needed to get something in our stomachs if we were going to drink. We sat at the bar and immediately ordered a recommended Mark Ryan red blend from the local winery.

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Happy vacation to us!

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The red was really fruity and delicious. It was a perfect complement to the beautiful summer day.

We also ordered the meat & cheese plate and truffle fries to nibble on.

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The combination of meat, cheese, and fries was just what we needed after a long day of travel.

Unfortunately when we asked our server where should we try next, he sadly informed us all the local tasting rooms closed at 5. Rats. It was about a quarter til at that point and we’d missed our window. We asked for other recommendations and he suggested checking out Red Hook Brewery – you didn’t have to tell us twice.

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Red Hook Brewery was actually recommended by several friends and family members when we were planning our trip – I guess I have a reputation for enjoying a good brew. 😉

As expected, Red Hook Brewery was pretty incredible. We had hoped to squeeze in a tour, but the tours had stopped at 5:00. Luckily the bar didn’t close until 10.

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I ordered the KCCO Black Lager, which was dark and smooth, yet light and refreshing. It looks like a porter, but drank like a lager.

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Derek was happy to see a generous selection of “gluten removed” beers and ordered the Omission IPA.

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Have you ever had a gluten free beer? Yeah, they’re kind of awful. They’re usually a lager and very, very bland. But the Omission IPA? It wasn’t half bad. It was nice and hoppy like a good IPA should be and had a bit of a bite to it. We both really liked it.

The secret to Omissions’s delicious gluten free beers is they’re technically not gluten free. They’re really “gluten removed,” which means they brew the beer as normal and then remove the gluten after it’s been brewed. I’m not 100% sure how that works, but it definitely has me intrigued. More info on the gluten removing process can be found here.

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We had planned to splurge on a fancy steak dinner, but we were so full from our appetizers and drinks that neither of us were feeling it. We were also exhausted and could barely keep our eyes open. However, we did want something sweet and dessert sounded good.

Our final stop of the evening was Barking Frog for coffee and dessert.

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I immediately ordered the cappuccino (which barely helped in keeping my eyes open).

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For dessert I ordered the Caramelized Kalamansi Curd/Blueberry Compote (ginger sugar/lemon thyme tapioca/mascarpone ice cream/blueberry meringue)

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It was creative, I’ll give them that, but other than that it was just okay. Not enough flavors and reminded me too much of melted custard.

Derek ordered Spiced Chocolate Cremeux (xocopili cream/flourless chocolate cake/lime sorrel granita/coconut foam/crispy pearls).

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His was interesting. There was layer of chocolate mousse, a lime granita, and coconut cream on top. The flavor combination wasn’t what bothered me – I thought the chocolate and lime worked really well together – it was the juxtaposition of the icee lime and cream chocolate and coconut. The iciness just didn’t work against the creamy textures.

After dessert we headed back to the bed & breakfast and were asleep before 8:30pm. I’m pretty sure it was still light out. We were wiped!

And then we were up wide awake at 4:30am. Stupid body clock.

Coffee was delivered to our door at 7:30am. Fancy, schmancy.

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The night before the owners had asked what time we wanted coffee in our rooms and what time we wanted breakfast. I knew we’d be up early so I requested coffee at 7:30 and breakfast at 8:00. I guess I didn’t realize how super early we’d actually be up. Ha.

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We ended up taking our coffee outside and tossing the ball with the pups. There were two adorable cocker spaniels on property that could play a mean game of fetch. It was an amazing morning to sit outside. I can’t get enough of that cool breeze.

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Breakfast was served in the common space promptly at 8:00am. We were joined by another Florida couple who had flown in the night before. They were on their way to sail with friends off of the Vancouver Islands.

Breakfast was served in two courses. The first was a bowl of yogurt with fresh fruit and almond slivers. The raspberries were picked fresh from the backyard that morning.

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The second course was french toast (I’m not sure what the crunchy stuff was, but it was good) and bacon.

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Everything was delicious. We enjoyed the meal and the company. It was also nice to speak a little more with the owners about the history of Eason Estates. It’s so inspiring how they’re living their dream.

After breakfast we packed up our bags and headed out. We were sent on our way with snacks and bottles of water for the road.

Again, I can’t recommend Eason Estates or the Woodinville area enough. My only regret was that we couldn’t stay longer. We’ll have to return in the future and next time stay at least two nights.

Have you ever stayed in a bed & breakfast before? Which was your favorite?

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