Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
The Herbfarm Restaurant Pet Pigs
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. Those are, in fact, two 60-pound potbelly pigs on leashes being taken for a walk. Owned by the five-diamond restaurant, they’re perhaps two of the luckiest pet brothers in the world; in addition to their regular walks, they’re also fed scraps from the dinner menu.
Mark Ryan Winery
If only beer or liquor comes to mind when you think motorcycles and rock music, then you need to make a visit to this tasting room. The winery’s signature deep and heavy reds come presented in an open-garage-inspired tasting room that features gleaming Triumph motorcycles and a playlist and rock poster collection that features Queens of the Stone Age and Pearl Jam.
Running some 20 miles along a historic railroad bed, this paved bike trail is a direct line from Woodinville to Seattle, taking you passed major landmarks like Ballard Locks (linking the saltwater of Puget Sound to freshwater Lake Washington) and the Aurora Bridge (guarded by an 18-foot urban troll sculpture). Borrow a bike from Willows’s front desk, and hit the trail located right behind the lodge.
Woodinville isn’t just wine country; it’s basset country. Every August since 1984, as part of the Celebrate Woodinville festival, hundreds of basset hounds and their owners from across the Pacific Northwest come together for what’s known as the “Basset Bash” parade, marching costumed pooches down the streets of Woodinville.
Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Summer Concerts
The iconic Woodinville winery may be known for some of Washington’s best wine, but it also gets you up close and personal with famous national music acts. Taking place on the estate’s rolling lawn, this concert series has hosted the likes of James Taylor, John Legend, and Crosby Stills & Nash – all for the fraction of your typical concert ticket price.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
Feature Adventure: Volunteer as a Winemaker
If there’s one thing small-time winemakers aren’t afraid of, it’s to ask for help during crush season. In fact, starting around Labor Day, many local Woodinville wineries put out pleas for volunteers on their websites, including DeLille Cellars, Chatter Creek Winery, and JM Cellars, to name a few. While you won’t be stomping fruit in a vat (they have crusher machines for that), wineries need the most help simply fishing out stems or leaves left over after the crusher does its job. It certainly isn’t easy work, but several grape stains in your clothes later, you’ll leave with a firsthand look at how wine gets made.
Paddle the Sammamish River | Outdoor Adventure Center
A Relaxing Kayak Adventure
Launch from the shore of Lake Sammamish on an hour-and-a-half paddle north, passed wrens and ripe blackberries. Your final destination will be Redhook Brewery, because after a long day of paddling, nothing compares to an ice-cold beer.
Hot-Air Balloon Tours | Over the Rainbow Hot Air Balloon Rides
Beauty from a whole new perspective
Look out over Woodinville, the Seattle skyline, and Mount Rainier on an hour-long hot-air balloon tour that reaches up to 4,000 feet. Scared of heights? No problem! At Rainbow Hot Air Balloon Rides, you can rest easy knowing that pilots have more than 25 years of experience.
Ropes Course for Adults | Adventura Aerial Park
Your party, Our park.
Located adjacent to Willows Lodge, Adventura Aerial Park is calling you. Like a playground for adults, the park comes equipped with 50-foot cargo nets, rope loop bridges, zip lines, and a host of other aerial obstacles.
How to spend 36 hours in Woodinville, with Willows Lodge as your base camp.
6 p.m. | Live Music in Fireside
After getting settled in your room in this posh Northwest-style lodge, wander downstairs for a pre-dinner drink and some of the best live music in Woodinville at Fireside lounge. Every Tuesday through Saturday, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., local artists take to the bar’s corner stage or outdoor patio (weather depending). Pair it with the popular Grand Marnier Prawns.
8 p.m. | Dinner at Barking Frog
Make a reservation at The Herbfarm (located on property) through the concierge for Saturday night, then head to Barking Frog tonight. You’ll be greeted with the same rustic-meets-refined feel of the lodge, a 10-page wine list that draws heavily on local vintages, and a seasonal menu that features local farmers, food artisans, and foragers crafted by longtime and legendary Executive Chef Bobby Moore.
12 p.m. | Wine Venture Tour
Book the lodge’s Wine Venture van, which runs every Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. to three wineries of your choosing. Start with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington's oldest and most acclaimed winery, then head to the cluster of 55 trendy boutique wineries in the Warehouse District north of downtown. End the tour in the Hollywood Wine District at the red-walled Gorman Winery Tasting Room, previously named “one of the ten rising stars in American winemaking” by Wine Spectator.
4 p.m. | Quick Bite at The Bistro
Since you’re less than a half-mile from the lodge, have the driver leave you here in the Hollywood Wine District. Head across the street to the Hollywood Schoolhouse – the historic brick 1912 schoolhouse for which this district is named – for the Croque Monsieur and Tomato Soup at the intimate eatery of The Bistro.
4:30 p.m. | Apple Farm Village
Before walking back to the lodge, stop at this quaint shopping center housed in a collection of lovingly restored cottages connected by garden walking paths. Several wine retail stores make their home here and the range of tasting rooms range from Lauren Ashton to Guardian Cellars and Obelisco Estate Winery toTorii Mor Winery.
7 p.m. | Dinner at The Herbfarm
Florid baroque decor, a Chilean guitarist, and a nine-course dinner – these are just a few of the details that have made this bucolic culinary retreat the apex of Northwest cuisine. Menus are based on weekly themes but are not actually finalized until a few hours prior (!) to the meal to best represent the supply coming from The Herbfarm’s own gardens and neighboring growers, foragers, and butchers.
10 a.m. | Willows Lodge Garden Walk
Pick up a property map at the front desk, and do a self-guided tour through the property’s five acres of gardens, lovingly maintained by Willows head gardener Teresa Sciglibaglio. You’ll see Paperbark Maple, known for its papery peeling bark; Giant Gunnera, also known as “dinosaur food” for its giant prehistoric-looking leaves; and Weeping Sequoia, a towering evergreen that often resembles an old man bent over in back pain.
12 p.m. | VISIT CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE
Built in 1976, Chateau Ste. Michelle was not just Woodinville’s first winery, but the one that put this quiet Seattle suburb on the wine country map. Therefore, a visit to Woodinville wouldn’t be complete without a stop at this landmark location which premiered a newly renovated visitor center in summer of 2017. Open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the new 22,731-square-foot space features complimentary tours and tastings every 30 minutes, as well as specialty tastings in the four new salons, an interactive blending room, and a daily food menu.
Off the Branch Farm
This orchard may not offer a pick-your-own experience, but customers still come from as far away as Olympia for what’s deemed the best cider in the Pacific Northwest. Just pay close attention on the way there; with subtle signage, it’s easy to miss the 90-year-old-barn-turned–country store – and its six apple cider varieties made from a century-old cider press.
This nonprofit farm and education center, teaching classes about how to grow food, eat well, and live sustainably, is also home to a small year-round farm market. But they don’t sell just anything; the emphasis is on only pesticide-free organic farm products made in the state. Expect fresh eggs, milk, and cheese, dried goods, and homemade breads.
Woodinville Whiskey Co.
Craft. Artisan. Small batch. Boutique. These are all commonly used words in Woodinville. But they were never used in reference to liquor spirits until this distillery opened in 2010. Making bourbon, rye whiskey, and vodka, the establishment offers tours and five generation samples for $10 (put toward your purchase if you buy a spirit).
The Cake Pop Lady
You’ve probably had a cake pop. But what about a pie pop? Made by Woodinville mother-of-three, Sarah Brittingham, these mini-pies on a stick come bursting with fruit and jam from local farmers’ markets. Of course, if you’re partial to the cake version, she also makes this trendy dessert in a rainbow of flavors, from red velvet and chocolate peanut butter to lemon and pumpkin. Sign up for one of her Basic Cake Pop Classes and leave with 12 cake pops of your own design.
- Like a LocalQuirky, below-the-radar highlights only a local could recommendRead More
- The WeekenderHow to spend 36 hours here, with the resort as your basecamp.Read More
A Gemstone Collection Hotel
Willows Lodge, 14580 NE 145th Street, Woodinville, WA 98072 P: (425) 424-3900 Toll Free Reservations: (877) 424-3930