What Mt. Rainier failed to give us in scenic views, Yakima Valley made up for. Jacob and I headed there - the "Palm Springs of Washington" - to get a taste of Washington state's version of wine country.
I knew from the online research we'd done before we got there that a Yakima wine tour wasn't going to be like the movie Sideways or at all like the few California wineries I'd been to. To start, there weren't a lot of accommodations. Or restaurants.
Luckily Jacob found Candace - a nice, older hippie with a guest room (complete with a compost toilet) behind her garage she rents out through Airbnb.com. When we got there and asked Candace where we could find somewhere to eat, she recommended a sports bar that was across the street from a Target, and our suspicions were confirmed: Yakima "wine country" is more like Yakima "farm country." No fancy limo tours, no decked out tasting rooms - we instead sampled wines in winemakers' basements and garages.
It was rustic, and not exactly the wine-tasting experience I'd hoped for - but that didn't stop us from eagerly sampling and eventually buying 10 bottles of wine from the wineries we visited. Since we returned to Atlanta to enjoy our souvenirs, however, we've been less than impressed without purchases, asking each other more than once, "What were we thinking when we bought this? Were we drunk?"
We have to believe our taste buds were playing tricks on us, or we were caught up in a vacation moment, or, more simply, that it's quite difficult to look the actual farmer/winemaker in the face after he's given you a taste of his product and decline his offer to buy it.
The wines aren't bad - most are just sweeter than we're used to, and not really our favorite. It was part of the experience, but for our next wine tasting tour, we've vowed to be a bit more selective. (The sparkling rose from Treveri Cellars is amazing, though - we're looking into buying a case.)
But the views - especially from Candace's property - were magnificent, and they, along with a birthday dinner at Gasperetti's, capped off an awesome week in the Pacific Northwest.
Speaking of magnificent views - check out this perfect little baby. This is my niece, Katherine "Gray" - born Monday, November 19th at 5:55pm. To say that I'm obsessed would be an understatement.
Much more on this nugget to come . . . Have a great weekend!