Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | August 17, 2016

A Long Overdue Adventure: #3

Well, I’m writing this a little early today, before dinner instead of after, because we’ve got an early day tomorrow. Robyn heads home tomorrow morning on a ten o’clock flight and has to catch an early train to make sure she leaves enough time for customs (two hours is a minimum!) and I am going on a whale watching adventure and need to be at the boat by about 7:15. Since we’re eating a bit late in the day again, I figured I’d do both she and I a favour and not leave the writing until the end of the day.


Today’s beautiful coffee creation.

Today was a little lower key than yesterday, though my credit card is still seeing a workout. We did manager to cool the room down, though, by hanging out with the door to the hallway open a while, and between that and the sleep aid, I got enough rest.  Robyn got ready a little earlier than I did so made her way to a bakery in the market for a fresh pastry for breakfast, while I just grabbed a coffee (a Mexican Mocha) and a loaf slice of some sort from downstairs.

Today’s adventure featured a tour we’d booked on Viator, to two wineries, the Snoqualmie Falls, and then a chocolate shop. It was a good tour, for sure, but a little on the expensive side, given the wine tastings are not included in the cost, nor is lunch. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good time, but I would have liked to see the day extended so we had more time to wander the locations and didn’t spend so much money for a lot of time on the bus. On the plus side, it was very neat to go outside of Seattle.

After picking up all the passengers (and passing Bill Gates’ giant estate), our first stop was the Goose Ridge winery. The grapes are not actually grown and processed where we tasted, however.  The vines grow about three hours away. Since most aren’t willing to drive that distance, the wine producers have these places closer to Seattle.  The Goose Ridge’s tasting fee is $10 for six different types to taste, and it is waved if you purchase a $25 of wine. Which both Robyn and I did.  We each chose the bottle of a red blend they call First Flight. Not only was it delicious, it’s also neat because it is a newer wine.  I like the novelty.


At the second winery!

The next stop was the Chateau Ste. Michelle Estate, which is bigger and produces more wine.  Both Robyn and I started with the $10 Riesling flight taster, which was six different wines, each increasingly sweet.  We both also ended up purchasing a bottle of the sweetest wine, even though it was not cheap because it just had something special to it. We’ll both probably take a while to savour it – it is so sweet, with notes of honey to the point of being nearly a mead, that I think just a small portion will do as dessert.  I’m definitely been on a bit of spending spree, though.  The lack of holiday in such a long time makes me more liberal with my money, I think, which is a shame considering the dollar is not doing so hot at the moment.

We also decided to do a second tasting. I did the $15 Estate Flight, because it had a variety and how often do I get to taste five kinds of moderate- to uber-expensive wine? There was too much cabernet sauvignon on the list for Robyn’s liking (it’s not her favourite) so she had a $10 red wine flight. We also got to taste each other’s that way, so that was rice.  The second flight of wine may have made buying that $40 bottle of wine go a little easier, but I regret nothing.

After that, we climbed onto the bus to eat our lunch, sandwiches and salad from a place called Purple. We only had an hour at the Chateau Ste. Michelle and it was busy enough that we didn’t get a lot of attention from the sommelier, so we didn’t really have time to picnic on the estate, which is why I wish it could be a bit longer. The salad was greens with a great thick balsamic based dressing on the side, and the sandwich was so good.  Thick, salty bacon, avocado, greens, mayonnaise, tomato. Super wonderful.


Snoqualmie Falls

Next it was over to the Snoqualmie Falls, where again I wished I’d had more time to spend, as we only stopped a half hour, which doesn’t leave much time for Falls-gazing when you factor in time spent grabbing a much-needed coffee (I may have fallen asleep on the bus) and a bathroom break. This also has the honour of being the place with the single most cold toilet seat I have ever plunked my bottom on, and may I remind you I live in northern Canada. Metal toilet and air conditioning gives quite the chill!

The Falls were really beautiful. It was hot, so Robyn and I did have to seek out shadier spots, but we would have loved more time to just sit on the lush grass under the trees.



Swirling designs on cherry chocolate.

Instead, we went back to the bus to get to our last stop, a chocolate factory.  It is called Boehm’s, and it was so neat to see the different kinds of chocolate being made. The tastings were also included in this one, so that was very nice. We got to see the machinery they use to melt and churn the chocolate (which they import from local producers as well as Belgium, I think they said) using Swiss recipes. We saw where they did caramel flattening and even hand dipped truffles, swirling patterns on it. It’s rare, apparently, to have someone who can do it by hand, and Bohm’s has two people who do so.  By hand means they can tell if the temperature is just right as well, and prevent cocoa bloom, which makes for grittier texture to the chocolate.


Robyn models the cute hat you have to wear in the chocolate factory.

I bought myself some chocolate for tonight and tomorrow (no preservatives or wax, and since no fridge in the room I know I won’t take it home to eat), and then it was back on the bus to the hotel. It was super nice and convenient to get dropped off right outside though, I must say. I needed some down time, so I stuck around the hotel and did postcards. Robyn went out exploring – she wanted to go to take a boat at least once. So she went out and took a water taxi, went to a beach, almost missed the shuttle back… but now she is back and we’re heading to dinner. So I’ll sign off, with more tomorrow, my day in Seattle before heading back to Vancouver, complete with whale watching and Friday Harbour.


  1. Wow!!

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