Monday, December 13, 2010

Nature Tourism in the Yakima Valley

Nature tourism is defined as the enjoyment of travel through the natural world, its seasonal cycle and events, carried out in a manner that promotes the protection of natural and human communities.

Whether you choose the high desert route (I-82 E) over the sage and grass hilltops to overlook the valley stretching out below, or the route along the Yakima River at the bottom of the canyon, the natural scenery is spectacular. The Yakima River Canyon drive offers opportunities to spot eagles fishing in the winter as well as big horn sheep and mule deer on the cliffs and talus slopes. There are numerous places to pull off the road to view the wildlife and take pictures.

The Oak Creek Wildlife Feeding Station is located off The White Pass Scenic Byway (Hwy 12) Elk migrate from the mountains
when the snow pack gets deep, to the foothills where the station is located. The Rocky Mountain Elk bulls average weight is 450-900 lbs and their antler racks are impressive. During severe winters, as many as 8,000 elk may use feeding areas. The migration affords the opportunity to see these majestic animals up close as they are being fed. You may watch the feeding, which is generally around 1:30 every day and usually the elk stay nearby after the feeding.

Selah Winter Wildlife Tour:
  • The Winter Wildlife Tour is a nature themed getaway on January 22, 2011. You will have a chance to view Bighorn sheep at the Cleman Mountain winter feeding station, where up to 150 sheep congregate during feeding times and the elk that gather at Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Not many have the chance to get this close to the animals for the unique viewing and photographic opportunity. The cost is $45/person and includes breakfast, lunch and transportation. Call 509-698-7300 to reserve your space.

The Yakima Area Wildlife Viewing Guide
is a valuable resource outlining all the Nature tourism areas in the Yakima Valley. This brochure includes a map to all the natural areas and descriptions of the wildlife that one will see. The printed brochure is available at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.

The Wenas Creek Wildlife Area was designated as a bird sanctuary in 1966 in honor of Hazel Wolf, a renown naturalist and Audubon mentor. Every Memorial Weekend, Washington State's Audubon Chapters and their friends gather in the Wenas Valley. There are campfire programs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Field Trips, which include both birding trips and wildflower trips. are scheduled Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This is a free event. The gathering is held in the vicinity of the Larrison Tree along Wenas Creek within the Wenas Creek Campground. The camping is primitive, if you would like to attending the programs and not camp there are many accommodation choices available in Yakima Area . The closest being the North Park Lodge in Selah.
  • The North Park Lodge in Selah is a great place stay with rustic log furniture and over sized rooms, a free continental breakfast, use of arcade, heated indoor pool and evening lounge.
Everyone is welcome to join in this free family friendly outing which is attended each year by around 200 men, women and children.

The Audobon Society produces an excellent series of birding trail maps for all areas in Washington State. The Sun and Sage Loop map features the birds seen in the Yakima Valley Area.

Video update Added 1/2010
Text updated 12/8/2010

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Luminaria Walk at the Arboretum

The 18th Annual Luminaria Walk is a free family event featuring a mile-long candlelit walk through the Arboretum's winter landscape. Follow the pathway lit by luminaria to the 80-foot lighted Norwegian Spruce Christmas Tree, the rose garden gazebo and fountain and more, as you listen to Christmas tunes floating over the landscape. It is a magical experience when the snow is falling.

After your walk, warm up with hot cider, freshly pressed from Johnson Orchards, Christmas carols, local musicians playing favorites and children can make their own Luminaria bags to take home. All this in the Jewett Interpretive Center, December 10th and 11th, 6-9pm.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ski White Pass -Be One of the First on the New Runs

Are you ready for this?
Awesome views of Mt Rainier, back country powder, new runs, new lodge, and new name; Paradise Basin!

O Yeah!

Andy Mahre - First tracks down the brand new terrain at White Pass, WA.

Andy Mahre; Yakima local and acclaimed freelance "extreme" skier whose home mountain is White Pass Washington, makes one of the first runs down the new Coulour Express.

White Pass is now one of the largest ski areas in Washington State. Over 30 years of wishing and waiting by local skiers, lots of hard work and litigation by the White Pass organization and interested volunteers have finally doubled the size of the ski area at White Pass. Adding 3 new lifts, 767 acres of terrain and an additional new 5,600-square-foot day lodge.

Places to stay on the mountain are limited, after your day on the slopes head to Downtown Yakima, only 40 minutes away, where there are many hotels to choose from.
Here are a few offering discounts.

Howard Johnson Downtown Yakima offers a "Holiday" rate of $49 though January 31, 2010. Call direct
(509) 452-6511.
Oxford Suites offers a percentage off your ( 1,2 or 3 night) stay through January 7, with newly remodeled rooms, pool and spa area,
includes a full hot breakfast.

Relax with a great dinner at one of the many downtown restaurants and review your day on the mountain with friends.


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Wonder of Christmas in the Valley.

Seeing the wonder of Christmas in the eyes of a child is one of the best gifts of the holiday season. The Yakima Valley offers many unusual opportunities to joyfully celebrate the season with family and friends.

The 10th Annual Downtown Yakima Holiday Light Parade on Yakima Avenue, kicks off the season of festivities, followed by the lighting of the community Christmas Tree in Millennium Plaza. The Stone Church Choir sings carols as Santa Claus gives candy canes to children at the Plaza. Parade starts at 5:30 p.m. on December 5th.

Every weekend in December, until Christmas, children can take a short Caboose ride to the "North Pole" to meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and several elves during The Toy Train Christmas at the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish. Lots of decorated Christmas Trees, model trains running on small and large layouts, free cookies, hot chocolate, tours of the fully restored 1911 historic depot. The children's craft area will allow children to create a keepsake to take home. Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus are available for an additional charge. Admission: $6 adults, $4 kids 12 and under, 10am-4pm.

The 18th Annual Luminaria Walk is a free family event featuring a mile-long candlelit walk through the Arboretum's winter landscape and an 80-foot lighted Norwegian Spruce Christmas Tree. Follow the pathway lit by luminaria and hear Christmas tunes float over the landscape, when snow is falling, it is a magical experience. After the walk, warm up with hot cider and children's activities in the Jewett Interpretive Center, December 10 and 11.

Take the Santa Trolley on December 11 to meet Santa Claus giving out candy canes, partake of refreshments in the powerhouse. Fare for this event is $3.00.

These are just a few of the many holiday family events happening in the Yakima Valley for a more comprehensive listing, visit the event listing page on the Visit Yakima Valley website.

May the wonder of the season, shared with your children, friends and family become cherished Yakima Valley memories.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hotel Deals for Thanksgiving Weekend in WA Wine Country

Thinking about visiting the Yakima Valley, Washington’s Wine Country during Thanksgiving in Wine Country, November 26-28. Over 50 wineries participate, offering wine and food pairings, special pricing on wine, a chance to meet the winemakers and participate in winery tours.

Here are great special rates select hotels are offering for the weekend:

Best Western Ahtanum Inn: Located within walking distance of the Valley Mall for some "Black Friday" shopping before or after your wine tasting experience in Yakima Valley Wine country. You will also find the Outback Steakhouse Restaurant next to your hotel.
  • November 25-28 $119.00+Tax(Standard)/$159.00+Tax(Suite)
  • Enjoy overnight accommodations in one of our standard king or queen sized guestrooms or one of our luxury suites.
  • Package includes a full hot breakfast.
  • A complimentary bottle of wine.
  • Two wine glasses.
  • One Hickory Farms cheese gift box
  • One $25 gift card to the Outback Steakhouse Restaurant.

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel: This hotel is located in Downtown Yakima, within walking distance of many restaurants and wineries. Tasting rooms Kana Winery, Gilbert Cellars, Tim's offer live music in the evening as well as the Sportscenter.
  • Special Rate $49.00+Tax
  • Call 509.452.6511- Ask for "Holiday Rate"
  • Rate offered through January

Best Western The Inn at Horse Heaven, Prosser, WA: This hotel is within walking distance of a dozen wineries, located within two blocks of each other in Vintners Village, as well as more than a dozen wineries within a few miles. To book your package call 800-688-2193. Ask for booking code, "Thanksgiving Wine Package."
  • November 25-28 $135.00+Tax (Standard / $160.00 + Tax (Suite)
  • Enjoy overnight accommodations in one of our standard king or queen sized guestrooms or one of our luxury suites.
  • Package includes a full hot breakfast, a complimentary bottle of wine, two wine glasses
  • $20 gift certificate to Wine O"clock Wine Bar.
Thanksgiving Weekend is a great time to find your holiday wine for those special meals. Add your special touch to holiday wine gifts, exclusively tasted and chosen at the source: The Yakima Valley, Washington's Wine Country.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

2.6.2011 Superbowl Sunday!

Looking for a place to cheer your favorite Superbowl team? The 2nd Street Grill in Downtown Yakima offers multiple TV's for viewing at the center island bar, micro-brews from all over the world, specialty drinks, martinis and local and regional wines. If you would enjoy the ambiance of a living room and the comfort of club chairs by the fireplace, then this is the place for you. Deli fresh, grilled sandwiches, burgers, steaks, salmon and Asian inspired appetizers are all on the menu.

Seagalley Shipwreck Lounge: Big screen TV’s, sports, food, pulltabs. refreshing drinks in the cozy, comfortable lounge. Offering an extensive appetizer menu and Happy Hour from 4-6pm daily. (PS. For the 12th woman the Valley Mall is within walking distance to pick up a few last minute gifts.)

Bob's Burgers and Brew: comfortable seating in the bar area, as well as the dining area by the fireplace to watch the games. Did I mention the delicious burgers. (PS. the fresh mushroom burger is unforgettable and the nachos are great!)

Looking for a big screen projection TV? Jackson's Sports Bar is the place to go, offering all the traditional pub fare. Join other sports fans for camaraderie in cheering on your team during the Superbowl.

Bills Place: The tavern the locals frequent, is having a Superbowl Party with Happy Hour all day and free hot wings and nachos while they last.

The Yakima Valley blog articles feature members of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau. If you would like to receive information regarding membership, Click here, or to request a membership application, please contact Michele Hopkins at (509) 575-3010.

NFL Schedule

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holiday Open House & Tweet-up at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. To celebrate join us at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center, Thursday, November 18th 4-7 pm. for an Open House. Learn about the many events coming this holiday season, enjoy scrumptious catered food and beverages. Try out our new wine tasting dispenser plus get 25% off pre-made git baskets or orders placed that night! And for you Twitter fans, the VIC is now Wi-Fi so come and tweet about the festivities.

We'll be offering tastings of Kana, Gilbert Cellars, Knight Hill and Milbrandt Winery varietals. The wineries will have representatives available and/or tasting notes for each wine offered for tasting.

Catering Creations by Toni, “the best little secret in our valley,” will be catering this event with appetizers that pair well with the wine selections.
Non Alcoholic beverages will be available

Let us know if you are planing on attending the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center Holiday Open House & Tweetup. Click here!

Wines offered for tasting and purchase:

Kana Winery: Scarlett Fire / Katie Mae. Katherine Goodson- Kana Tasting Room Manager will be available to answer questions.

Gilbert Cellars: 2007 Left Bank Red Blend / Unoaked Chardonnay -Tasting notes available.

Knight Hill Winery: Mourvedre / Sauvignon Blanc. Terry Harrison - Knight Hill winery owner will be available to answer questions.

Milbrandt Winery: 2007 Syrah / 2008 Riesling. Tasting notes available.

Attendees will be able to purchase a branded go-vino stemless glass for $4.00 and receive one taste free. Each additional taste will cost $1.00. Wines being offered for tasting plus a selection of other wines from the Yakima Valley wineries will be available to purchase by the bottle at winery prices in the gift shop.

The Yakima Valley Information Center features a gift shop with made in the Yakima Valley products such as Chukar Cherries, Micks Pepper Jelly, It's All About The Pretzels, Rills Gourmet Soups, as well as jewelry, handbags, scarves, t –shirts and other Holiday gift items.

The Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center is a Wi-Fi hotspot for tweeters and travelers. The hashtag for this event is #YakimaVIC, if you would like to follow along or comment on Twitter.

Come taste and tweet.

Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center
101 North Fair Avenue
Yakima, WA 98901

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wine Dispenser in Yakima Valley Visitor Info. Center

The Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center is a Tuscan inspired building, located in Washington's Wine Country in Central Washington. The center features a changing selection of Yakima Valley wines in the state of the art wine tasting machine. Purchase your "govino" , Yakima Valley branded, stemless polymer wine glass ($5.00) and receive free tasting of four Yakima Valley Wines. The center offers these wines for tasting if you don't have time to visit the winery as well as a great selection of other Yakima Valley wines for sale at winery prices.

In the gift shop you will find made in the Yakima Valley products such as Chukar Cherries, Micks Pepper Jelly, Folklore Soda's, It's All About the Pretzels and an ever changing selection of unique gift items from jewelry to handbags.

The Yakima Valley Visitor Center provides information on events and maps of the Yakima Valley as well as most cities in Washington State. There is also information on on Idaho, Oregon, Montana, The Columbia River Gorge and Canada. This is the stop to make, whether visiting for a few days or picking up information on your way elsewhere, you will find what you need to plan your trip.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dia De los Muertos - A Celebration of the Eternal Cycle of Life

Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a traditional Latino celebration, where private altars honoring the deceased are built using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. This celebrations takes place at the end of October and beginning of November.
In the Yakima Valley, the celebration of Dia de los Muertos is a community event hosted by the Yakima - Morelia Sister City Association. Latino traditional celebrations, which include the traditional dances and foods of Mexico, have been incorporated into the Yakima Valley lifestyle, lending colorful, cultural diversity to the area. The main feature of the celebration includes over 30 individual unique alters (2009 pics) created by local businesses, individuals, organizations and schools. This exhibit is located at 317 East Yakima Avenue, in downtown Yakima. This main alter exhibit is free and open for viewing daily from noon until 6:00pm from Sunday October 31st through Sunday November 7th. Businesses in Yakima will feature alters at the Market Place Deli, Essencia Bakery, Ron's Coin & Book, Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center, Santiogo’s Restaurant, Yakima Valley Library.
The Mighty Tieton artist community celebrates the Day of the Dead at the Warehouse with a four day event from October 28- 31.
Oct. 28-29th: Sandpainting with Fulgencio Lazo. Oct. 30th - Sandpainting on view in the Warehouse Gallery. Oct. 31st - Sunday brunch potluck at noon in the warehouse.
The Seasons Performance Hall celebrates the Day of the Dead with Yakima Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Concert #2
Dia de los Muertos with Lawrence Golan, Conductor on October 30 at 7:30pm.

Downtown Yakima businesses participate in the celebrations by featuring alters.

2010 Yakima Dia de los Muertos Business Altar Walk Participants:

Capital Theatre 302 E. Yakima Ave.

Committee for Downtown 115 No. 3rd St.

Downtown Yakima Library 102 No. 3rd St.

Essencia Bakery 4 No.3rd St.

Gilbert Cellars Winery 5 No. Front St.

Kana Winery 10 No. 2nd St.

KYVE TV 12 So. 2nd St.

Liberty Building Offices 30 No. 3rd St.

Le Chateau 15 No. Naches Ave.

Market Place Deli 304 E. Yakima Ave.

Ron’s Coin & Books 6 No. 3rd St.

Soul Seekers 104 So. 3rd St.

Stems 399 E. Yakima Ave Suite 180

The Seasons 101 No. Naches Ave.

The Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center 101 No. Fair Ave.

Ummelina Yakima Valley Spa Retreat 399 E. Yakima Ave Suite 183

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