Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Make Plans to Come Play in Fresh Air and Sunshine

Many families with children visit the Yakima Valley to enjoy the sunshine, pick farm fresh fruit in the orchards or vegetables for canning or pickling. What could be better than to take a bite of a ripe peach just picked from the tree. Delicious!

Experience the fun educational activities offered at Barretts Orchard. Learn about the growing of cherries through an interpretive walk through the cherry orchards and enjoy the cherry picking festival during the harvest. Pick apples and sample cider in the fall.

Visit Bella Terra Gardens to pick the fresh organic strawberries, black berries, raspberries and blueberries in season. Your children will enjoy the farm animals, goats, babydoll sheep and chickens.

Learn about making cheese at the Darigold Dairy Fair and, better yet, sample the Darigold ice cream.

Visit the Selah Ridge Lavender Farm in July harvest days to gather fresh cut lavender surrounded by their soothing aroma. Photos

These are just a few of the child friendly activities to enjoy. Come play in the fresh air and sunshine and experience Yakima Valley farm fresh fun. Stop at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center for a children's gift packet including color pages like the one below.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Thank you for your interest in the Yakima Valley...

Hello Kirsten,

Thank you for your interest in visiting Yakima Valley Wine country. June is a wonderful time to come wine tasting in the Yakima Valley. The days are warm and, being desert, the evenings can be cool enough for a sweater.

The Yakima Valley is 2 ½ hours from Seattle over Snoqualmie Pass (I-90). You can enter the Yakima Valley by continuing on I-82 East or you may choose to follow the Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway (Hwy. 821) with its beautiful views of the river. The difference in time is about 10 minutes longer but it is certainly worth it for the scenery. Choosing I-82 East, you climb over the tops of the hills and over the last ridge see the Yakima Valley spread out before you.

From your letter, it sounds like Saturday will be your wine touring day. You have a few options, the Rattlesnake Hills offers wineries in the midst of the vineyards approximately 20 minutes south of Yakima. There are about 20 wineries to choose from in this area, from small unique tasting rooms to estate wineries, they are all different. If you are looking for a light lunch, Bonair Winery offers a light $5.00/plate Tapas menu and may even offer live music on Saturday afternoon.

If you choose to continue further down the valley to Prosser, you will find a dozen wineries in a two block area. Seven beautiful big winery buildings, such as Olsen Estates, Airfield Estates, Thurston Wolfe, and Milbrandt to name a few. The other tasting rooms can be found all in one building. On a summer weekend you will find a few will offer a tapas menu for lunch, such as Milbrandt. Prosser is also the home of the original retail store for Chukar Cherries, chocolate covered dried cherries, they usually have samples to enjoy. (Yum) Keep in mind that wineries may be having special events during your weekend stay and you may want to consider this in choosing which you would like to visit.

Slightly south of Prosser is the Red Mountain AVA, consisting of a dozen wineries surrounded by vineyards. Most of them are located on Sunset Road. Taptiel Winery features a beautiful view from the top of the Hill. Many excellent wines to taste here.

There are limo companies that offer tours such as Sunwest Limosine, or A&A Motorcoach which can accommodate any size group from 4 up. There is also Yakima Valley Tours which offers a luxury van tour of the wineries you would choose to visit.

Kirsten, staying in Yakima is a great option because you can enjoy the wineries in the vineyards during the day and then the downtown Yakima night life. The winery tasting rooms in downtown Yakima, stay open later in the evening than the wineries in the vineyards and offer live music, as well as the late night live music offered at the Sportscenter Restaurant, the Seasons Performance Hall, or Capital Theater presentations. If you are choosing this, there are hotels that are within walking distance of these activities, such as the Hilton Garden Inn, in the middle of downtown Yakima, the Red Lion Hotel, 2 blocks to the east, the Holiday Inn DowntownHoward Johnsons Hotel and Holiday Inn Express. Be sure to check our event page at Visityakimavalley.org for an updated list of activities and events offered during your weekend stay. This list is constantly being revised. (Yakima’s newest hotel), a block further would be the

For a special treat before you leave on Sunday, consider a spa treatment at Ummelina’s International Day Spa and Global remedies. They offer a variety of relaxing rejuvenating spa experiences. Ummelina’s is open at 10:00am on Sunday, in time for you to relax before the drive home.

When you arrive please stop at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center, Exit 33a off I-82 E . We will be able to assist you with maps and current event information.

I know you and your friends will enjoy your visit to the Yakima Valley.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yakima Valley Labyrinths

Looking for unusual spaces in the Yakima Valley, spaces and places not on tour maps, well known by locals and those who actively search for the unusual? Labyrinths have existed around the world for thousands of years, used for meditation, spiritual enlightenment, and healing with each turn in the path representing the journeys of life. Walking a labyrinth is said to suspend the left brain activity of logical thought and encourage the right brain activities intuition, creativity, and meditation. Each time one walks the circular turning pathway can be a different experience from a general sense of inner peace or calm, to insights, answers to questions or simply a nice walk.

Labyrinths exist in several places in the Yakima Valley. In front of the the Allied Arts Center at Gilbert Park is the labyrinth, located at 5000 West Lincoln Ave. This is a 45 foot diameter pathway in brick, with a large rock in the center, built in 2001, consisting of 7 adjacent semi-circles. This Classic 7 pattern dates back 3500 years to the Isle of Crete.

If you are visiting with children, the Yakima Greenway labyrinth, built in 2001, at McGuire Playground in Sunrise Rotary Parks. The playground features a large wooden play structure, one can reach by parking at Sarge Hubbard Park and walking north about one mile.

There are two other labyrinths located in the Yakima Valley at Children's Village, 3801 Kern Road, Yakima, and Heritage University, 3240 Fort Road, Toppenish.

Come, walk to the center of a Yakima Valley labyrinth, for a profound experience or a pleasant walk on a sunny day.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Best Place for Steak in the Yakima Valley?

Yakima offers many restaurants to enjoy a good steak. Restaurants, where steak is the specialty to fine dining establishments offering excellent steak dinners for your dining pleasure.

Restaurants specializing in steak:

The Black Angus Steak House, Stuart Anderson's genuine American steakhouse offers Fillet Mignon to Prime rib. Aged Black Angus Beef, grilled over an open flame. The restaurant is western themed with high backed padded booths for privacy.

Tony's Steakhouse, Yakima's newest steakhouse, locally owned in downtown Yakima. You will not be disappointed with the American Kobe Wagyu beef grilled, over an apple wood fire. It is difficult to choose which of the fine sauces to complement your steak.

Outback Steakhouse,
steak the Aussie way. You can count on your steak being cooked to order seasoned, seared, over a red hot grill. Outback features 15 meals for under $15.00, and don't forget that Bloomin' Onion.

Fine Dining Restaurants serving steaks:

The Barrel House in the Historic district offers Flat Iron Steak from 12oz to 20 oz. blackened or broiled with Red Wine Shallot butter or seared with Sauteed Mushroom demi glace. The dry aged New York strip is also served, grilled to perfection.

Zesta Cucina Restaurant specializes in Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon, and Petite Tender steaks, wood stone oven seared. Enjoy your meal in the inviting relaxed casual environment of the remodeled fruit warehouse building.

Whistlin Jacks Lodge located on Hwy 410, enjoy the signature steaks of the lodge, graded USDA top of choice or Prime. Chef Vern Watson will make you a delicious meal to enjoy in the woody ambiance of the lodge.

Updated 1.1.11

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