Finding Inspiration Through Eastern Washington
Updated: Jan 2
Maybe we’re biased, but we feel Eastern Washington is one of the most underrated regions in the country. Beyond the Cascades are towering basalt cliffs, the astonishing Columbia River Gorge, vast country skies, historic establishments that celebrate culture and creativity, and lush soil that grows award-winning produce making this diverse landscape something truly special.
We thought it would be a fun idea to visit some of our favorite Eastern Washington businesses and share why no one should be sleeping on this area! So, we packed our bags, filled the cooler with too many travel snacks, and hit the road for a three-day road trip east.
Being located in the Kittitas Valley, we had to do a little backtracking to get up to Snoqualmie Pass, but it was worth the extra driving time. We couldn’t leave Washington State Ski & Snowboard museum off our Eastern Washington list. This micro-museum that started in the 70’s sits at the top of Snoqualmie Pass, and honors Washington’s ski and snowboard legends, showing off various multi-media exhibits, one-of-a-kind artifacts and educational material to simply inspire the love of snow sports.
The museum is free to visit, and open to the public. “We just love the snowboard culture, and want to share it,” said Bama, Volunteer Coordinator and Operations Manager. Ski it for yourself (pun intended) year round, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12PM to 5PM.
The Tri-Cities area is known to be some of the best wine country there is, and you can bet we put it on the itinerary! We first experienced Chandler Reach Vineyards at their Woodinville, WA tasting room. When we tasted their renowned Monte Regalo red and heard all about their beautiful, Italian estate, located just outside the Tri-Cities, we knew we needed to check it out for ourselves and sample another glass.
Chandler Reach was born from a fateful visit to Tuscany, Italy, and the structure reflects that Tuscan inspiration. We were lucky enough to have founder Len Parris give us the inside scoop on Chandler Reach’s journey and a tour of the winery. We got up close to their imported barrels, their ripening grapes, and got to soak in their amazing vineyard views with a glass in our hand.
We learned that this boutique estate and tasting room is family-owned and operated, and the name comes from the lush region it sits upon and from which the grapes are grown, Chandler Reach ridge. Owned by the family for generations, Chandler Reach Vineyard planted their first grapes on their land in ‘98 and bottled their first wine a few years later. Today, they use imported French wooden barrels to age their wine, and share the flavor at both of their tasting locations.
If you are an aspiring sommelier, bird-watcher, historian, architect, or simply an appreciator of mastered hospitality, then be sure to book your next stay in the Tri-cities at the 4 star Lodge at Columbia Point. Located in Richland, WA, The Lodge sits on the bank of the Columbia River with a breathtaking view of the water. For our first night on the road, we gladly chose the Lodge to be our resting place for the night.
The hotel manager was kind enough to fill us in on the history behind the place, and we learned that every part of this beautiful hotel is a story. Creator Tom Drumhiller selected everything with intention– he carefully picked every book on the shelves, designed the architecture, and choose the displayed artwork. In fact, every hanging piece on the walls comes from his personal collection. This hotel was designed to reflect the most luxurious elements of home, and being located in the heart of wine country, each room is named after a local winery.
During our stay, we enjoyed the sunset while soaking in the spacious pool and hot tub, found some peaceful reading time in the upstairs “study” area, had a dreamy night’s sleep in a soft bed, and ate a delicious breakfast of colorful avocado toast, in the Lodge’s unique dining area. Not only does the Lodge provide impeccable service, comfort, and great food, but if you want to explore Richland, they are only a quick drive from the cute downtown and surrounding wineries.
Embracing the well-earned cliché, the Lodge at Columbia Point truly is a home away from home. This hotel is also about to go through an exciting chapter– their success has allowed the opportunity to do some small reconstruction to expand their kitchen and dining area in 2023! With this renovation, more loyal customers will get to enjoy a Columbia Point dining experience unlike any other.
We understand as well as anyone, that when two creative friends put their heads together, great things come to life! Chelan, WA is always on our getaway list, and if it happens to be on yours for next summer, there are two downtown destinations we recommend visiting– Moonpenny and Goldie's.
Jill Pollard and Elle Manthey are two besties that opened Moonpenny, an Australian-inspired, lifestyle boutique that carries stylish, colorful, and exclusive fashion and goods, many made by Aussie labels, and they carry their own line of accessories!
Browsing this bright, airy shop, with their high ceilings, impressive dried floral bouquets, and high-quality goods, one might find it hard to believe that they are located in the small lake town of Chelan, and not in an artistic district of Seattle. Everything Moonpenny offers is extraordinary and curated. We love that this chic but groovy store has brought some international flare to Eastern Washington.
After purchasing your Moonpenny goodies, be sure to fuel up at Goldie's right next door, also owned by Jill Pollard! Goldie's serves a menu of health bowls and beverages, offering bioavailable, bioactive, sustainable, and locally sourced options, in a space they intentionally created to be inclusive and promote wellness. During Goldie’s open summer season, we highly recommend trying the Dream bowl, Athena bowl, The Flower Child smoothie, or an iced Chagaccino latte!
Outside of their fresh, tasty menu, Goldie's interior and exterior designs are superior! They customized everything from the mosaic-tiled entryway to the pale pink light switch cover in the bathroom. Outside in Goldie’s Backyard are long, modern concrete tables with bohemian pendant lights hanging from thick wooden beams above. Goldie’s Backyard is spacious, perfectly shaded, and a great spot to meet with friends or host a celebratory get together.
After a night of camping, we enjoyed a pastel morning view of Lake Chelan, with cowboy coffee in paper cups, and then hit the road back westward to our most cherished Bavarian town.
Tourism has a special place in our hearts, and we personally adore the adopted Bavarian theme of Leavenworth, WA. We love the downtown energy, the cute little shops, and especially, the brews. In true Bavarian fashion, Leavenworth succeeds in providing some of the best beer you’ve ever tasted.
Blewett Brewing Co. is right up our alley because they are all about creativity. As much as they love a good German beer, they also want to provide more variety for the craft beer lovers that come to town. Their brewers like to have fun with the process and try things outside of the box. They specialize in more funky beer recipes, like their milkshake IPAs and sours. Before it became the establishment it is today, Blewett Brewing began as a pizza place called Idlewild in 2016. Brilliantly, they decided to keep the pizza around.
This brewery is family run, but they also consider the staff and their regulars as a part of the family. Like us, they love their community. Their manager Abbie says, “This is an awesome community. The community is more locally-driven than would be expected, and we appreciate the locals that come in and help us get through the tough parts of the year that don’t have many tourists.”
Next time you make a trip over the Cascades, whether it’s to hike in the alpine wilderness, explore shops where every inch is touched with a sense of local pride, or wander through vast wine country, don’t miss out on these must-stop destinations that embrace the spirit of Eastern Washington, and leave you with the same inspiration that started them.