Showing posts with label Chelan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chelan. Show all posts

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Washington Gems: Lake Chelan’s ‘Ruby’

While we are in a state of transition between life in the cruise ship and The Stone House on the Hill in Greece we are without Wi-Fi so I am going to tell you about a gem of a place back in Central Washington State. . .(I wrote this one before we left, just in case this happened)

If you’ve ever visited Lake Chelan in Central Washington State, you’ve probably walked right past Ruby - you may not have given the old girl a second glance.

It is easy to take priceless parts of a place for granted when you’re en route to somewhere else. Here, in the heart of wine country, it is easy to be distracted by the 55-mile long glacier fed Lake Chelan on which this small town is located.

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That’s the way it has been with us for decades when it comes to Chelan’s Ruby Theatre, located on the Main Drag in The Scout’s hometown. Our visits, like those of so many tourists, are focused on sunshine and the lake and in our case, visiting family and friends.

Frankly, the thought of going to a movie while in town hadn’t even crossed our minds until our last visit. I was there researching an article for The Seattle Times.  I planned to include a mention of the theatre, so we toured the Grand Old Lady with its owner. . .

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Taken from under the balcony section
The theatre opened in the summer of 1914 at its present location, 135 E. Woodin Ave., and is believed to be the oldest continuously running theatre in the State of Washington.  Named after  Ruby Potter, the daughter of the first manager, the theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Over the years a series of managers and owners have been a part of Ruby's history.

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From top left: Concessions, foyer, front row seats and from the back of the theatre
Larry Hibbard, who along with his wife Mary Murphy, bought The Ruby in 2006, took over management of it in 2013.  Hibbard explained that the interior of the theatre is essentially the same as it was when built a century ago. The original pressed tin ceilings, plaster proscenium arch (framing the screen), its horseshoe-shaped balcony and fireproof projection room maintain its historic integrity.

In 2013 a new new concession area was completed, along with a bathroom renovation and installation of new digital projection and sound equipment.  With all that new though, they’ve still kept the old touches in the projection room as well:

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From top left: computerized projection roon, film canisters, projector and Hibbard holding a film reel
We climbed up the stairs and crowded into the tiny projection room as Hibbard showed us both the new digital equipment as well as the film reels, vaults and projector of yesteryear.

Ruby cast her charms during that tour and we vowed, taking in a movie at The Ruby is going to be high on the ‘must do list our next visit The movies shown in this single-screen charmer aren’t first run, but they are pretty darn close.  And the admission is certainly right, as evidenced by the prices posted on the ticket booth window.  And do you like that ticket machine? It was made by a Chelan High School student as a shop class project many decades ago.  But as with all things Ruby, it is also a historical gem!

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Ticket booth at The Ruby Theatre
If You Go:

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Chelan is a 3.5 – 4-hour drive from Seattle. The nearest airport is 30 miles away in Wenatchee (commuter flights from Seattle fly to Wenatchee).
For tourist information and accommodations:
For Ruby Theatre hours and movie times (as well as a bit of history)

Thanks for being with us today.  We hope you’ll come back again soon and appreciate having you part of our travels.  Have you been to The Ruby? Any historical theatres near you? Tell us about them if you have the time. Use the comments below or sent an email.

Today we are linking up with:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chelan ~ A Winter “Wander” Land

Lake Chelan – the 55-mile long glacier fed lake -- in Central Washington State is a magnet for summer fun and sun seekers. But did you know the area is becoming increasingly popular as a winter destination as well?

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Lake Chelan and the North Cascade Mountains

For example, there are six Sno-Parks (parking lots in the wilderness areas where snow  has been groomed into trails for use by snowmobilers), there’s miles of groomed Nordic cross-country ski trails and there’s downhill skiing. . .

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Benson Estate Winery - Chelan, Washington

And of course there is wine – 24 wineries are scattered among vineyards that carpet the surrounding hillsides.  In the winter the vineyards might be bare, but the tasting rooms are often open on weekends or by appointment.

There’s a lot to do and see in Chelan during the cold, crisp winter months.  The lead story in the Seattle Times travel section yesterday tells you about its eateries, stores, and outdoor activities.  There’s a ton to do there; take my word for it.  . .I wrote the article! And I was on the road and didn't even see it until tonight. So take a look and be sure to click through the 30-photos that accompany the story on line!

Check it out by clicking this link:
and then think Chelan for a winter getaway!

Thanks for the time you spent with us – hope to see you back again later this week!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

WAWeekend: Chelan ~ The Land of Lakes

We visit  Lake Chelan, that 55-mile long glacier-fed lake stretching from the North Cascade Mountains to the small town down lake of the same name, often. It’s The Scout’s hometown. Like thousands of others who visit each year we marvel at the beauty of the lake. . .postcard perfect from any angle.

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Lake Chelan and the North Cascade Mountains

We’ve become complacent with the views of that lake – lazy, one might say -- and have not gotten out to enjoy the other lakes that dot the nearby Central Washington State countryside.

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Vineyard and orchards border Lake Chelan, WA
But a couple weeks ago we set off to visit a couple of those other lakes. . .did you even know there are other lakes? There are – and not that far from Lake Chelan’s shore!

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We headed inland from Manson, the small town at the road’s end on the lake’s northern shore. A narrow, paved road led us through vineyards and orchards, past farms and homes. Willow trees, like those in the left center of this photo, soon gave way to pine trees and the pavement gave way to a somewhat dusty dirt surface.

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Then a mere five miles north of Manson we arrived at Antilon Lake, a secluded 96-acre reservoir with a campground,  bike/hiking trails and a Sno-Park for winter fun. From the lake there are views of Fourth of July Mountain.

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Antilon Lake

We had the place to ourselves on this mid-weekday afternoon. The only sound was of the wind stirring the branches; the crunch of pine needles under our feet.

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Returning to Manson we stopped three miles out of town at the sprawling Wapato Lake.  This lake, covers 216 surface acres with a maximum depth of 68 feet, and has two campgrounds on its western shore. Fishermen might hook small-mouth bass, crappie, bluegill and rainbow trout at this lake.

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Wapato Lake
There’s a boat launch at the small Roses Lake tucked just a mile away amid orchards and vineyards in the hills north of Manson. Anglers will find crappie, trout, catfish and large-mouth bass here.  This is a popular winter ice fishing spot as well.

If You Go:

Driving from Seattle: Depending on road construction and weather, the drive will take between three and four hours.

Flying: The nearest airport is Pangborn in Wenatchee, about 40 miles away and is served by Horizon/Alaska from Sea-Tac, near Seattle.


Antilon Lake Location: 5 Miles North of Manson on Grade Creek Rd. No water, fire rings or picnic tables are provided. Fishermen will find brown trout here.
Wapato Lake Location: 3 Miles North of Manson on Wapato Lake Rd.
Roses Lake Location: 1 Mile North of Manson on Roses Ave.

For fishing license information visit Washington State’s link:

That’s it for WAWeekend – make the most of yours and we’ll see you back here next week. Thanks for stopping by today! Check out Noel Morata's TravelPhotoDiscovery on Monday - this post will be appearing there.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

WAWeekend: Getting High at Lake Chelan

It’s called “The Butte”. No fancy names. Not a lot of tourist-hype. Looking somewhat like a resting elephant, its highest point rises 3,835 feet (1,168 meters) to the south of  the town of Chelan and Lake


The Scout, born and raised in this Eastern Washington town, has ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to The Butte.  Maybe that is why, despite several visits a year there over the course of three decades, we’d never taken the time to explore it until a couple years ago.


The Chelan Butte Unit, as it is called in Washington State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife covers some 9,097 acres, stretching from Lake Chelan to the Columbia River.  It’s home to wildlife (including big horn sheep) to wildflowers (some more than 5-feet tall as  I illustrate above), with a few snakes and other critters thrown as well.


The 4.5 mile distance from town to the summit is paved for the first 1.2 miles. It becomes a narrow, dirt road which is rutted and rocky – and muddy in inclement weather, and many  leave their vehicles at lower elevations. Even in good weather an SUV would be better than a conventional car, although our Camry made the drive, albeit very slowly.


Currently it’s a favorite among hikers who want to explore the trails that lead to old abandoned mines, bikers and in winter, snowshoe enthusiasts. There’s also a hang gliding group or two that use its upper peak for projecting themselves out over the Columbia River Gorge.


We had the place to ourselves the day we drove to the end of the road; the communication towers on the uppermost ridge. Parking there is off-road; no formal lots. Then it was time to enjoy the views:


To the south – the Columbia River Gorge, in both the photo above and below.

And to the north over the 55-mile long, glacier fed lake to the North Cascades Mountain range in the distance.

We told ourselves we won’t wait another decade or so to make a  return visit to “The Butte”.

For You History Buffs:

The 1938 fire lookout tower that was once atop The Butte was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and in 1996 moved to the Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center, just down the road in Entiat.

And did you know there was a Gold Rush on Chelan Butte in 1907? Take a look at this link – it’s mighty interesting!

If You Go:
Follow Highway 97A and at Millard Street in Chelan (between milepost 232 and 233) turn south.
Note: Parking at The Butte now requires a Washington State Discover Pass ($10 a day/or $30 annually).
For more information visit:
See you back here soon – we hope!  Sign up to receive our posts in your inbox at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Springtime in Washington's Wine Country

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:

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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.

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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.

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Designated as an official American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 2009, this Lake Chelan area is home to more than 20 wineries.

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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.

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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.

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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:
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Chelan is about three and a half hours drive from Seattle. The nearest airport is in Wenatchee, about 45 minutes away.
For information on wineries, accommodations and events:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

WAWeekend: Girls, Guys, Getaways

We're taking a break from our ‘tales’ to suggest a few travel ‘tips’ because Spring’s arrival in the Pacific Northwest is filling our inbox with great getaway ideas.

Here are four that will shake awake the travel bug from his winter’s hibernation:

Easter 'Chicks' Night Out in Seattle (or Portland) 

CashmereVictoriaBC 263Thinking about a Girls Getaway? Then take a “Peep” at this sweet package at the Hotel Vintage Park* in downtown Seattle.

(Note: It’s good only March 28 – April 2, 2013, so don’t ponder this one too long.)

The deal:
· 15% off their Best Available Rate
· Valet Parking
· Box of ‘Peeps’ Marshmallow candies
· Complimentary nightly wine hour, where local wine makers pour their favorite bottles

Rate code: PPEEPS

CashmereVictoriaBC 261*(the deal isn’t limited to girls and can be had at the  Monaco and Alexis hotels in Seattle and Vintage Plaza, Monaco Portland and RiverPlace in Portland)

Another Girls Getaway . . .

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 114The spa at Alderbrook Inn and Spa on Hood Canal is having a Girls Night Out - an evening of food, wine and pampering - Friday, March 22nd at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $60 and include 2 petit treatments (Express Skin Refining Glow, Clarisonic Facial Cleanse, Petit Facial Exfoliation or Clarisonic Back Cleanse), wine and light spa snacks.

Space is limited, so call 360.898.5520 to reserve your ticket today!

See What’s Cookin’ in the Yakima Valley this Spring. . .

Thanks to our friends at the Yakima Valley Visitor’s and Convention Bureau who tipped us off to this one:

The Yakima Valley's  La Maison’ Exceptional Cooking Experiences. The French-style home, on a hill overlooking the Naches Valley, is where the culinary classes – each limited to 12 guests – are held.

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The menus are varied and always include wine and food pairings, as well as extra cooking tips.   Don’t like those hands-on classes? No problem! These are so relaxed that you can participate in the preparations or just sit back and enjoy the wine and ambiance.

Among the classes this spring are: a  Japanese menu on April 12, and Mexican Cinco de Mayo menu on May 10, all menus paired with wines from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

Haven’t been to Naches?  High time you visited that area just northwest of Yakima.  Head to Naches Heights where you’ll find  Naches Heights Vineyards and Tasting Room Yakima.

The Orchard Inn Bed and Breakfast in the area is rated the number one B and B in Yakima by

Take the Washington Wine Road to Chelan . . .

Chelan Nouveau – Two weekends, April 20 - 21 AND  April 27 – 28, 2013 - mark your calendars!


The Lake Chelan Wine Valley’s 20 wineries will celebrate the release of "nouveau" white and rose wines. On the weekends listed noted above, you can sip and purchase the first of the spring releases including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir Rose, Viognier and Riesling.

To view a complete list of wineries, wine releases, tasting room hours and special event activities planned at each winery click this link to Lake Chelan Wine Valley.

That’s it for this WAWeekend!  Let us know if you have been tempted by any of the four outings above. And if these types of ideas are helpful, let us know, and we will keep them coming. Come back soon for another Tuesday Travel Classic.

Have a great weekend – happy travels!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

WAWeekend: Breakfast Thrills at Blueberry Hills

ChelanManson 013While ‘thrills’ might be a tad bit dramatic for our favorite breakfast stop east of Washington State’s Cascade Mountains, it is a place not to be missed.  (And get there early or prepare for lines like this one!)

The quality -- and quantity -- of food, the views and its location, just outside Manson on Lake Chelan put Blueberry Hills on our recommended list and keep it there year after year.

ChelanManson 006Set back a couple miles from the lake shore and surrounded by orchards and vineyards, this eatery overlooking 10 acres of some 3,000 blueberry bushes, packs them in each morning come rain or shine.

ChelanManson 008Arrive early to nab a table on the outside deck in summer months at this family-owned operation.  Sitting there, you can watch others in the ‘you pick’ field or enjoy the view of  the area’s well-known, Slide Ridge, pictured here.

ChelanManson 011 And take note dog lovers:  they’ve got a special gate on the deck, just for four-legged furry ones.

Owners Roger and Linda Sorensen converted the family’s homestead and apple orchard to blueberries in 1999.  They’d originally planned to operate a fruit stand, but one thing led to another and the restaurant serving ‘down home scratch country cooking’ evolved.

ChelanManson 004You'll serve yourself beverages here and pick up your flatware as well. And then – if you didn’t nab an outside table, you settle in at a table amid a most eclectic collection of memorabilia to await the arrival of the food you ordered at the counter when you arrived.

ChelanManson 015Finally, when you reluctantly push yourself away from the table (some chairs have had rollers added to ease that effort), don't forget to buy a piece of berry pie (or a whole one) to take with you or, in season, the berries themselves.

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If you go: 
Blueberry Hills is at 1315 Washington Street, Manson, 98831, 509-687-2329,
Overnight accommodations are available both in nearby Manson, or Chelan just a bit further away.  For lodging information contact the Lake Chelan Visitors Center.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travel Tip Tuesday: Got Reservations? Maybe; Maybe Not

Sometimes our travels go as planned – other times they don’t. And when they don’t,  it’s because of a screw-up somewhere, like last week. . .

. . .when we were reminded of the importance of assuming nothing when planning a trip – no matter how short a getaway it might be.

DSCF0586We’d decided last Sunday to head to Stehekin, that remote little hamlet on the head of Washington State’s Lake Chelan for a couple of nights.  Our destination the North Cascades Lodge, (formerly The Stehekin Landing Resort). Its water views (like pictured above) makes it our favorite among the half dozen rental properties available in this pristine gateway to the North Cascades.

DSCF0615Stehekin can only be reached by float plane or boat (okay,you can also hike in but in 100-degree temperatures that didn’t appeal.)

When no one answered the reservation line phone Sunday afternoon, we used the Lodge’s computerized on-line system. Two nights in Room 16, lake view, $150 a night, beginning Tuesday. The computer-generated message told us a confirmation was forthcoming.

We –lDSCF0570uckily – decided not to buy tickets on-line for the Lady of the Lake ($60 p/p, round-trip), the only public boat serving Stehekin, until after we arrived in Chelan on Monday. It’s the town from which you depart for Stehekin and where we planned to stay that night for our early morning Tuesday departure.

10 a.m. Monday, with our bags in the car, and no confirmation  in the inbox, I decided before starting the three-hour drive to Chelan, to check emails one final time for that confirmation and not finding it, I called the reservation line again. 

DSCF0616“Would that be a reservation for Joel Smith? I’ve got it right here,” said a perky voice on the other end.  “But. . . we have a problem. The computer seems to have double booked that room and the other people booked before you.”

Oh, she said, they’d had that same problem with the computerized system before but thought it was fixed. She offered  two other rooms at about $50 more each night or one at a $129 nightly with no lake view.  Neither option appealed.

We still wonder if, or when, we might have been told about the ‘problem’ had I not called.  At check in, perhaps?

Travel Tip:  The tip embedded in this post is: If you haven’t received a confirmation of a computer generated reservation – double check with the resort or hotel. 

(Our practice is to arrive at a hotel with a printed copy of the reservation confirmation, or at least a confirmation number,name of the person who made the reservation and the time it was made with us.)

Photos:  Probably don’t need to tell you these Stehekin photos were taken during our last stay at The Landing Resort

Have you ever had a problem with a computer-made reservation?  When and how did you discover it?  Any tips?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Chelan

Years ago this small town at the foot of Lake Chelan was known for its orchards.  Then a decade ago acres of those orchards gave way to vineyards. Chelan is now one of the newest AVA's in Washington Wine Country.

You might call it ‘the’ destination on one of the state’s newest wine roads. We call it Joel’s hometown, so that makes it even more fun to write about:

Chelan, a town of under 4,000 residents, wraps itself around the foot of 55-mile long glacier-fed lake of the same name. Chelan -- along with its neighbor, Manson, a yet smaller town two miles down the road on the north side of the lake -- is home to more than a dozen wineries and half dozen wine tasting rooms.

Among our favorites, (starting on the lake’s south side):

moocards 022 *Nefarious Cellars, (495 S. Lakeshore Rd., 509-682-9505), tops our list because its tasting room and vineyard are on the property that was once the Smith family's orchard – Joel and his dad tended apples trees on that same land, so we have a homecoming of sorts each time we visit. (Sentimentality aside, we also love their white wine, Consequence).

A couple miles beyond Nefarious is Karma Vineyards (1681 S. Lakeshore Rd., 509-682-5538).  Their restaurant, 18 Brix, is where we had one of the best meals we can recall eating in a long time. In good weather you can dine on their landscaped patio or sit inside by the fireplace when temperatures turn chilly.

On the other side (north side) of the lake, heading toward Manson from Chelan:

In one of the most picturesque settings – one that pays tribute to both the orchards and vineyards of the area – Vin du Lac, (105 Highway 150, Chelan, 509-682-2882) offers French bistro fare and glasses (bottles, too!) of its award-winning wines.  With the old-farm-house-turned-tasting room painted Provence yellow and surrounded by rose beds and lavender plants, we find it difficult to leave the garden setting but you can’t miss. . .

washington wednesdays 003 Benson Vineyards (754 Winesap Ave., Manson, 509-687-0313).  It's just a couple miles beyond Vin du Lac. Even if you don’t drink wine, you can drink in the spectacular lake views from this tasting room and manicured grounds set high on a hill.  (Try their Rose, it’s a dry French-style  – nothing better to sip on one of Chelan’s hot summer/fall days).

If you go:

Getting there:  Chelan is about 3.5 hours from Seattle by car. The nearest airport is 35 miles away in Wenatchee.  Horizon Airlines flies there from Seattle.

Accommodations/tourist attractions: Chelan Chamber of Commerce,  has information about hotels, motels and restaurants. (Or send an email and we'll make some recommendations).

Have you a favorite winery in Lake Chelan? Recommendations for visitors? If so, please leave a comment below.


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