Spring officially arrived sometime around 4 a.m. PDT on Wednesday in the Pacific Northwest. It blew in on a cold, windy day, prompting us to take an armchair spring trip to Washington’s Wine Country:
In fairness, the 'wine road' leads many directions throughout our Evergreen State with 'wine country' stretching from our southern neighbor Oregon north to Canada. We headed to Chelan, Washington; a town that wraps itself around the base of the 55-mile long glacier-fed Lake Chelan (that's just a small section in the photo above). Those snow-covered peaks in the background are the North Cascades Mountain Range.
For decades Chelan’s hillsides were carpeted with orchards. Today the orchard is giving way to the vineyard.
In addition to being a popular part of wine country and a favorite destination for water- and outdoor-enthusiasts, this north central Washington town is also The Scout’s hometown.
Designated as an official American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 2009, this Lake Chelan area is home to more than 20 wineries.
A number of the wineries have views of the lake, but one of our favorites is the 28-acre Benson Estate Vineyards and Winery where the photos above were taken last April.
Spring -- before the summer's warm temperatures draw hordes of tourists to the hotels, condos, and timeshares that dot the shoreline, – is our favorite time to visit this small town of 3,945 residents.
Although wine grape growing is the hot new agricultural pursuit here, there are still plenty of orchards intermixed with the vineyards – producing apples, pears, and cherries. Their blooms announce spring's arrival.
We are ending our armchair outing with a photo taken in the summer to show you how the vineyards will look only a few months from now.
This photo was taken at Chelan’s Nefarious Winery. Its vineyard behind me replaced a long-time orchard; one that belonged to The Scout’s family. For year's as we'd arrive in town, he'd point to it, noting, “I helped plant that orchard.”
We visit the 'old orchard' when we get back to Chelan, and as we've sipped wine on this patio, we've toasted The Scout's past. But, if we were there today, we'd offer a toast to spring and the promise it holds: “To Spring! May yours be filled with travel adventures!”
It is Travel Photo Thursday, so be sure to stop by Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travel via photos.
If You Go:
For information on wineries, accommodations and events: www.lakechelan.com