Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bungalows, Cabins, Wineries & Teepee's

The Yakima Valley offers a variety of choices for your stay, from the scenic to rustic, to the unique. Located within 45 minutes of the Yakima Valley, Washington's wine country, the following lodging facilities offer a great mountain stay experience and are located within the Chinook Scenic Byway. State Route 410, the byway designated as an All American Road, is one of the most beautiful routes in the United States. This high elevation pass offers hiking, climbing, fishing, snowshoeing, skiing, cycling, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, scenic viewpoints opportunities and more.

  • Looking for a relaxing riverside experience complete with hot tub? Whistlin’ Jack Lodge offers cozy cottages and bungalows. In addition, the restaurant at Whistlin’ Jacks offers fine dining and a special Sunday breakfast buffet. The lounge features entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. There are numerous hiking, biking, fishing, scenic views and rides nearby to enjoy.
  • Bethel Ridge Retreat is a beautiful romantic getaway or family vacation rental at the Carmack Creek Lodge and Aspen View Lodge. These lodges are decorated with leather furniture, luxurious bedrooms, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, an outdoor private deck, gas barbeque, and hot tubs. Located in the woods thirty minutes west of Yakima Valley's Wine Country.
Want to stay close to downtown Yakima in the Barge Chestnut historic district surrounded by beautiful homes. Latchwood Cottage, built in the 1930's is a 3 bedroom home with beautiful backyard garden and patios. The perfect place for a relaxing stay. (picture on upper left)

Cowan Winery, Desert Wind Winery and Zillah Lakes offer options to stay in the heart of the Yakima Valley Wine Country. Cowan offers a rental house with vineyard views. Desert Wind in Prosser, WA features a winery stay.
  • Cowan Estates hilltop wine country retreat with views of Mount Adams and Mt Rainier is located in the heart of the Yakima Valley Wine Country, near the city of Grandview. Sitting on 65 acres, overlooking the valley, surrounded by wine grapes, cherry trees, and hops, this 3600 sq ft 4 bedroom home accommodates 8 people comfortably.
  • Desert Wind Winery features well appointed rooms with fireplaces in a winery inspired by the southwest desert climate and rustic Northwest landscape of the Yakima Valley region.
  • Wine Country 2 night Getaway for 4 in brand new Zillah Lakes home. Come and try the Washington Wine Country lifestyle for a weekday ($349.) or weekend($399.). Your package includes; 2 weekend nights in a brand new home (sleeps up to 4 people). Reduced Greens Fees for 2-4 at Mt. Adams golf course (in-season). Wine Goodies Basket, including a Rattlesnakes Hills Wine passport to start you on a wine tour and 1 free bottle of wine from a local winemaker. Discount coupons to discover the area’s rich recreation and entertainment resources.
The Yakima Valley is home to the Yakama Nation Reservation. Experience the West with a stay in a Teepee at Cherry Wood B&B or Yakama Nation RV Park.
  • Cherry Wood Bed, Breakfast & Barn offers posh 20 ft tall teepee's with fluffy down comforters. This B&B is a working western farm with a variety of apples, pears, cherries and grapes. You can horseback ride through the vineyards and orchards to the nearby wineries for wine tasting and sit around the campfire in the evening.
  • Located within walking distance of the Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center, Yakama Nation Museum, theater, restaurant featuring Native American cuisine and Legends Casino. Yakima Nation RV Park rents 14 authentic teepee's which sleep up to 5 people each. The RV park features a swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center, sauna, basketball and volleyball court and children's play area.

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.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mighty Tieton -- A Community for Creativity

Artistsans and craftsmen are finding their way to Mighty Tieton. Located in the rich agricultural region of the Yakima Valley, Tieton is a small community with traditional ties to to regions farming roots.

Mighty Tieton exists away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here you will find contemplation, inspiration and bursts of creativity are common. The quaint city features an old time town square for both artist and community gatherings. The warehouse hosts frequent art shows, exhibits and gatherings.

At this time a dozen independently owned artisan businesses have started or expanded under the Mighty Tieton banner
. Tieton Cider Works is one of the craft businesses operating in the area. The family owned ranch, Harmony Orchards, is on land first homesteaded in the 1930's, where now organic cider apples produce tasty products. Tieton Farm and Creamery produces small batches of high-quality cheeses, such as fresh chevre, feta, provolone and grill-able Halloumi. There is a book bindery, Drachen kite production, co-op Ceramics studio, print shop and several artists studios and workshops. You can visit Mighty Tieton and stay in their small white cabins two blocks from the town square.

Mighty Tietion is virtually at the end of the road, 15 miles west of Yakima and 2 1/2 hours from Seattle. On the other hand, it may be the birthplace of inspiration for you.

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.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Celebrating Beer and Hops in the Yakima Valley!

In Washington State, hops are grown commercially only in the Yakima Valley, which supplies over 75% of the hops in the USA. There are three distinct growing areas; the Moxee Valley, the Yakama Nation Reservation, and the Prosser area.
Located east of the city of Yakima, Moxee farmers grow numerous acres of hops called hop yards, which can be seen while driving along Highway 24 toward Moxee. The Yakima Valley celebrates hops with, "The Moxee Hop Festival" in early August every year. This year, featuring live music, entertainment and a 5K run during the day. Friday and Saturday evenings feature Live music in the Beer Garden from 9-12 , celebrating the product that hops are used for.
In late August, "A Case of the Blues & All That Jazz" features Jazz music
, local food vendors, a silent auction, Yakima Valley wineries and Pacific Northwest micro brews all under tents in the beautiful Sarg Hubbard Park. Bring a lawn chair or purchase a VIP table. Travelers to Yakima for this event enjoy the option of two hotels within walking distance, which are the Oxford Inn and the Oxford Suites. Book early as this event always sells out.

The Annual Fresh Hop Ale Fest
showcases many micro-brews and a competition for beers produced with fresh hops from the Yakima Valley. Every year the event is in front of the historic Capital Theater starting at 6pm. Fresh hop cones grown and harvested in the Yakima Valley, instead of dried and/or pelleted hops, are used by competing brewers to capture the herbal, grassy characteristic only available in a freshly-picked hop. The fresh hop ale’s requirement that Yakima Valley hops must travel from the vine to the brewing vat in less than 24 hours. Sample from the 16 Craft Breweries competing for the Commercial Brewers Fresh Hop Ale Awards, decide which you like best, dance to live music, purchase some dinner (great bratwurst at this event!) and enjoy the
revitalized Downtown Yakima ambiance. All proceeds support the Allied Arts of Yakima Valley’s community arts programs. Hotels within easy walking distance of this event in Downtown Yakima are the Hilton Garden Inn, Red Lion, Holiday Inn at Downtown Yakima Convention Center, Howard Johnsons, Holiday Inn Express, and Cedar Suites.

Make your own Fresh Hop Ale and enter contest. Annual Home Brewing Contest Enter YOUR homebrewed Fresh Hop Ale in the competition for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place homebrew Fresh Hop Ale. The brews will be judged in September and the top 3 winners will be revealed on Saturday night at the festival, where the winners will be recognized!

Hop Harvest Video:

Hop harvest starts in late August and at that time the vine at the base of each plant is cut, then the top of the vine is cut from the 18 foot high wire, falling into the truck at an approximate pace of an acre an hour. The cut vines are brought to the processing facility and lifted onto a series of conveyor belts that separate the hop cones from the leaves and vines.

The cones contain 80 percent water and would rot or mold quickly if they were not spread across a kiln, heated with natural gas burners, and allowed to dry for 10 hours in the huge drying room. After drying, the cones contain about nine percent moisture. They are dumped onto another conveyor belt sending them to a warehouse where they are poured and compressed into 200-pound burlap bags to be ground into powder. The burlap bags are shipped to a processing plant, to be made into pellets, liquid extract, or sold to a broker, who markets the hops to breweries. The process from field to truck takes 24 hours.

Yakima Hops in the news. 

The Seattle Times July 20, 2011 "Sniffing out Yakima Valley hops, beer lovers can hail plant that flavors ale" by Jackie Smith

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A Scenic Drive on The Road Less Traveled

Travel scenic country roads on this circular route, from the beautiful manicured grounds of the Yakima Area Arboretum, through the hop fields of Moxee, over Konnowac Pass southwest through the Yakima Valley. Scenic views of Yakima Valley fruit orchards beautiful in the spring when the fruit trees are blossoming, the summer when the foliage is a vibrant green and the fall, when the angle of the sun uniquely illuminates the leaves changing colors. Discover four winerys, two of which are in historic buildings.
Starting at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center, turn left out of parking lot and access the I-82 East freeway. Continue to Exit 34 (Nob Hill Blvd). Turn left and then another left at the light. (If you are bicycling the Konnowac Pass, you may leave you vehicle at the Greenway parking lot which at Sherman Park- this ride is about 27 miles. The pass is a moderate climb of more than two miles and a couple of short (1/4 mile) steep climbs to the top, down the other side, with the rest of the route being nearly level. Pavement quality is good and traffic generally light. Pleasant ride for Motorcyclists). The Arboretum Road to the interpretive center of the Yakima Area Arboretum and Botanical Garden is on the left. This 40-acre “tree museum” features self-guided tours, (map available), a Japanese Garden, gift shop, Jewett Pond Fountain and endless photo opportunities.

As you leave the Arboretum turn right at the light heading east on Highway 24 toward Moxee City. (Bicyclists-There is a well marked wide shoulder; traffic speed is 55mph, turn off is approximately 3.5 miles).

Moxee is from the Native American word for “whirlwinds”. In the early 1880’s the Thorp Family settled the Moxee Valley, later Alexander Graham Bell and his wife’s family invested in a large farming operation. The Moxee Land Company sold 20-acre lots in the 1890’s to recruit settlers. Hops first grown here in 1877, grew so well in this climate and soil that Moxee City, platted in 1910, became the Hop Capitol of the world. The Moxee Land Company sold 20-acre lots in the 1890’s to recruit settlers. At hop picking time, hundreds used to camp and harvest the hops by hand culminating in a “hop festival”. Moxee still celebrates this distinction as a hop growing region with the
Moxee Hop Festival annually, the first weekend in August.
Currently the Yakima Valley supplies over 75% of the Hops used in United States breweries and overseas markets.

Turn right on LaFramboise Road, left on Robillard Road and right on Konnowac Road. Hop fields, recognizable by the tall poles used to support the vines, reach the tops of the poles in summer.

At the Konnowac Pass Y, turn right. Konnowac Pass, through the Rattlesnake Ridge, was an old Native American trail connecting both ends of the Yakima Valley. Reaching the top of the small pass you will see the agriculture of the Yakima Valley stretched out below in a patchwork of white and pink as the cherry and apple trees blossom in spring.

Parker Heights Road, further down the pass, is on the right, just after a bend in the road. As you ride along this road surrounded by orchards, you will see Mt Adams and the distinctive old wooden Hop Kiln in the distance.

Continue on Parker Heights until the bridge over the irrigation canal. For a closer look at the old hop kiln and to visit the winery with the hop kiln pictured on its label, turn left over the bridge to the Yakima Valley Highway, after a short ride turn right to the Piety Flats Winery and Tasting Room.
The tasting room, in a 1911 Mercantile Building with old country store charm, offers unique gifts, gourmet food items, delectable wines, and picnicking in the shade. The Old Hop Kiln on Piety Flats wine labels can be seen near the winery

Returning back to the Yakima Valley Highway, turn left, going back over the small irrigation canal bridge and continue on this road which parallels the Yakima Valley highway along the irrigation canal. Take the road going up the hill to Windy Point Winery. This boutique winery’s tasting room reflects the Frank Lloyd Wright style, designed and built to showcase Windy Point’s breathtaking views of the Yakima Valley.
When leaving, turn right at the end of the driveway and continue along the road under the freeway where you will see a small park at the Sunnyside Diversion Dam. a roadside marker tells the history of the site in a small park with picnic tables, overlooking the site of an ancient Native American fishery called – Ahwahtun, “deep water”.

Continuing under the freeway proceed up the hill to
Thorp Road to Birchfield Road. To return to downtown Yakima turn right onto Highway 24, (Bicyclists-If you have left your car at the Greenway. Greenway is on the right side of the road at the light after the bridge over the Yakima River.) Take I-82 West to Exit 33 (Yakima Avenue). This will bring you directly to Downtown Yakima to experience wine tasting, art galleries, dining choices and entertainment.

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.

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