Pacific Northwest

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2

Continuing along from part one of this blog post (read here if you haven’t yet), our first stop after waking up on day two of our weekend was J5. No surprise there! Lake Chelan is a gorgeous one-hour drive from Leavenworth, and no road trip can begin without caffeine. We headed over for breakfast and a boat tour departing pretty early. The weather was exactly what you’d want for a day on a pontoon: hot and humid. We were pumped to get on the water.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

We learned a ton about the properties surrounding the lake and history of the area from our tour guide, Mike, the director of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce—not to mention sample some of the area’s delicious wine! There are a ton of wineries in central Washington (I’ll get to that later), and we enjoyed a bottle of summer water, aka rosé, from Rocky Pond Winery. We had a few other bloggers joining us on this trip, and it was so much fun getting to know Style Miss Molly and Postcards to Seattle as well as our tour guides.

After we made it all the way around the lake, our group split up to get lunch or cool down—and Michele and I definitely opted to cool down. We felt like we’d been baking in the noon heat! We rented a couple of paddle boards from one of the places near the boat launch. If you can’t find it, just keep asking people until one of them will guide you to where you need to go! After floating and swimming for an hour or so, ice cream was calling our name. Cones from B.C. MacDonald’s in hand, we strolled the beautiful riverfront and downtown areas before the sun got too hot and we had to find some shade again.

Yes, it really was that hot.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

We decided to head to Siren Song Wines for a relaxing evening, and we had no idea what a treat we were in for. Between the rolling vineyards and sprawling tuscan estate, it felt like we’d walked right into the Italian countryside. If you enter the building and walk past the dining room, you’ll exit into a huge courtyard surrounded by palatial stonework overlooking the lake. I know it sounds crazy, but I was having flashbacks to my day on Lake Como in northern Italy with these views—no kidding.

After tasting a rosé, a white, and a red, we decided to stay for dinner and it was a phenomenal decision. While we were enjoying our mouthwatering caprese bruschetta, the owner of the vineyard himself came over to say hello, welcome us, and tell us a few family stories. It’s definitely a place I’ll stop by again on my next trip to Washington’s Playground. But beyond that, there are seriously dozens of other wineries to try: Tsillan Cellars (pronounced Chelan), Nefarious Cellars, Rocky Pond Winery, Fielding Hills Winery, Mellisoni Vineyards…the list goes on and on.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

It’s so satisfying when a weekend trip feels like you’ve been away much longer. You’ve only been away for two nights, but you feel as if you’ve been relaxing for a week. There was so much to do and see in Leavenworth and Lake Chelan that I felt like that, and couldn’t believe we were headed home Sunday. Before we headed back west, we enjoyed an indulgent breakfast at a local golf course overlooking the green (breakfast and a show!) before playing 18-holes ourselves—on the mini-golf course at Icicle Village Resort before we checked out.

It was a great way to wrap up the trip (okay, we grabbed two more Bavarian pretzels go to…don’t judge, they’re my favorite food!) and I can’t thank the tourism and marketing team behind Washington’s Playground enough. I’ll definitely be planning another trip out there and hope you guys will too! Let me know if you do, and use the hashtag #truetravels on Instagram so I can find your photos!

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 2 | truelane

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELE EQUITZ

Thank you to Washington’s Playground for hosting us.




Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I

For whatever reason, most of my travels take me out of my home state, or even out of the country. But when you live in a state as stunning, adventurous, geographically-varied and exciting as Washington, there's no excuse not to explore your own backyard! Washington's Playground, a pocket of north central Washington that includes Chelan County gems such as Lake Chelan, Wenatchee, and Leavenworth, invited me to spend a weekend experiencing all they have to offer. Unsurprisingly, I was not disappointed.

Our home base for the weekend was Leavenworth, a Bavarian-inspired town tucked away in the Cascade Mountains. After the railroads left town in the early 1900s, the town had to come up with a new idea to keep money coming in, and its quaint, German folktale essence was born around 1960 to entice visitors. It's easily walkable and tourist-friendly with shops and restaurants lining all the main streets, decked out in adorable German decor. Although I was eager to start exploring, after the three-hour drive from Seattle, Michele and I were ready for a refresh with some bubbly and a delightful Italian meal from Sulla Vita

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 1 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 1 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 1 | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part 1 | truelane

After picking up iced lattes at the best shop in town, J5, we started off the next day bright and early with a hike on a nearby trail. There are dozens of state park trails just a few minutes outside of town—some of them are off of dirt roads and require a fee, so make sure you're informed about the trail you pick before you head out. I can guarantee any of them will be absolutely gorgeous! I'm usually more of a beach and ocean girl, but there's something to be said for a clear mountain lake or a river rushing through the trees. It was blisteringly hot—the middle of July is like that in Chelan County—that Michele and I wanted to jump right in.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane

Although there’s something to be said for spontaneous travel, I ended up being pretty glad that our itinerary was planned out in advance. Right when we got back from our hike, we were on the schedule for massages at our resort. The Alpine Spa at Icicle Village is a cozy day spa that makes you feel right at home when you walk in, down to the robe and slippers. I opted for a coconut oil aromatherapy massage, which was ideal for treating the constant tightness I have in my neck and shoulders from working at a computer all day…but especially for relaxing after spending our energy hiking.

Since we had a light breakfast, after our spa treatments Michele and I were ready to eat again. Experiencing new foods and restaurants is my favorite thing to do when I travel, and honestly—German food is one of my favorite things to eat, mostly because of pretzels. We were spoiled for choice in Leavenworth! The most popular spot in town is called München Haus, where thankfully, a vegan bratwurst is on the menu which I enjoyed with three kinds of mustard out of the available sixteen.

Yeah, I was in heaven.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane

Walking off lunch, we popped into a few of the shops that are sprinkled across several blocks. Although there are lots of German-themed places for tschotskes and souvenirs, there are also a few shops that carry independent retailers you’d find at boutiques in the city. There’s something for everyone, even very aesthetic Pacific Northwest gear, incense holders, jewelry and natural beauty products. One of the places we spent the most time in was Obertal Mall, which has a gallery and a few shops…and is all air-conditioned!

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane

By the time we were done shopping, we were ready for happy hour drinks at the best Mexican restaurant in town—South. I was surprised by how lengthy and unique their menu was…so much so that we ordered four or five appetizers between the two of us. Their specialty margaritas added a great touch as well—I went with the blueberry and Michele got the basil. Ceviche, stuffed peppers, street corn, and guacamole also appeared on the table, and we loved it all.

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane

Taking a stroll to walk off dinner, we stumbled upon the stunning and new Posthotel, which is now at the top of my list to stay at next time I visit the area! We were able to get a tour and enjoy stargazing on the pool deck on a cozy patio sofa, which was the perfect nighttime activity to cap off our busy day.

Since Washington’s Playground is such a large area to cover, I’ll be sharing the rest of our stay in part two of this blog post: a day trip to Chelan, wineries, boating on the lake…all the details coming soon!

Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane
Weekend in Leavenworth: Part I | truelane

Photography by Michele Equitz

Thank you to Washington’s Playground for hosting us.




Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat

I've been around boats my whole life. Looking at them, sailing on them, paddling them, jumping off them...you name it. A few years back, it occurred to me that a boat might actually make a great home for a nomadic and independent individual like myself, and since then, I've been eager to test out the liveaboard life. Thanks to Airbnb, I found the perfect little slip on Lake Union housing the Little Betty, an adorable houseboat just a couple miles between downtown Seattle and my house.

Walking the docks instead of residential, asphalt streets made for the most romantic neighborhood. Although I only stayed for one night and met only one of my "neighbors," the liveaboard community is quite friendly due to the unique camaraderie they share. I've done some reading on what it's like to live in a boat community, and you kind of have to be friends with your neighbors. There are a lot of technical elements to living on a boat, and whether you're a seasoned expert or in your first year on the water, you're bound to need help with something. 

But as a guest? Let's just say I spent my time focusing on reading during my wine & cheese hour.

Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane
Seattle Staycation: Lake Union House Boat | truelane

 

Photography by Michele Equitz

During my stay I posted a ton on Instagram and got so many questions about the place, so I'm excited to be able to share pictures and details today. For the record, houseboats are much cheaper in the off season than in the summer, but you want to be able to soak up all of that outdoor time, so it's really worth the extra cost. I ran into a rainstorm late morning after I'd walked down the street for my morning coffee, but I'd brought a book to read so it made posting up in the large and comfy loft bed that much cozier. 

Staying on a boat is such a unique experience in Seattle & other coastal cities. Although I'm partial to the Pacific Northwest, now that I've stayed on a boat I imagine it'd be a really cool way to experience other cities on both the east and west coasts. There's really something to be said for bobbing away on your rooftop patio, hot coffee in hand, watching the world go by on the water. It turns even your average Monday into nothing less than a dream.