Aug 262014

My besties planned my bachelorette party. I had no idea what they were planning. My maid of honor, Rachel, set up a private Facebook account for her and the other ladies involved to discuss and plan in secret. Even when the day finally came, I had NO idea what was planned other than it wasn’t going to be your typical party–doing shots, staying out all night, going to clubs, etc etc. I was a-okay with that. I am getting older and the idea of doing shots sounds awful and even more awful? Trying to stay awake until 2am! Gawd I’m old. I’m not a huge fan of surprises because I am such a control freak, but it was kind of nice not being involved in any of the planning and just anticipating the event. Rachel said it was going to be a “day of shit Lisa loves”.

I did a quick mini workout at the gym Saturday morning, had a small breakfast and Michael drove me downtown to meet up with friends. It was Rachel (maid of honor), the bridesmaids: Erika, Robyn and my cousin Anna, as well my friend Samantha who is doing a reading at the wedding. We all arrived and we got in the tour van for EverGreen Escapes. It was driven by Dylan, who was very fun and nice and a great tour guide! He asked if I wanted to know what the day itinerary was and I said no. It was kind of fun being surprised! We drove towards the Gorge and he told us some historical and ecological things about the area that I hadn’t known before, as well as some of the Native American legends surrounding the “origins” of landmarks. Then we came to our first stop.



It was a view point up by Vista House that I’ver never been to. We all hopped out and he took a few pictures for us then the girls decided it was time to deck me out with my outfit for the day. :)



Then we got back in the van and went by Vista House and then down the old highway to the Bridal Veil post office! Remember, the one I was going to mail my invitations from? It was so cute in person!




After seeing that Dylan drove us down a hidden road and we all got out in the middle of nowhere. It was weird and then he said that Sam had brought a bottle of champagne so she opened that up and he poured glasses for all of us and there were cookies too! Little macaroons. They were so tasty.




We hiked a little ways up a hidden path and then we were at the Bridal Veil Falls. I’m surprised Michael and I haven’t hiked this one before. It was really pretty and quiet.


After that we stopped by another waterfall along the highway and he said the next one was usually Multnomah Falls but we all said to skip it. We’ve all been there and done that and on a weekend in the summer? It’s a nightmare with no parking and too many people. As it was we sat in traffic for a bit trying to get through it all to get past the Falls! So instead he took us to Starvation Creek. Another hike I hadn’t known about!

It was lunch time so we drove to Hood River and stopped at this restaurant/deli. I don’t remember the name of it now but we got everything to go because it was so crowded and loud and Dylan drove us up to a viewpoint in the Fruit Loop. That was a much better idea! We sat outside in the sunshine and had like a picnic lunch, complete with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. There was a gorgeous view of Mount Hood behind us.



When we finished up lunch they asked me if I knew what were doing yet. I said it was probably wine tasting. :) I was right! Dylan drove us to the first winery, Wy’East. It’s in the “Fruit Loop” in Hood River and they have really nice wines. Michael and I have been there once before.



It turned out we had a private tasting and were seated on the patio underneath a big umbrella and vines of wine grapes. They brought out a snack plate of gouda cheese, crackers, toasted hazelnuts and salamis. We did the wine tasting and I really enjoyed all the wines we tried, even the Chardonnay (which I’m not really a fan of normally). I ended up buying a bottle of their Pinot Gris.




I was not a fan of the Port so I poured that into Robyn’s glass. :) We made it work sharing stuff we didn’t like. The patio was so nice and there was a cool breeze. The day was warming up but it was just wonderful drinking wine outside in the sunshine. There were even a few cute winery puppies! Here was one that apparently loved cheese and salami. :)



After Wy’East we went over to Cathedral Ridge, one of my favorites in the Gorge. I was a little worried because the weekends in the summer time are kind of a nightmare for wine tasting. Too crowded, too busy. But we were ushered to a back patio, shaded, for a private tasting!



There was one white wine, that I loved and almost bought a bottle of. The rest of the flight was red wines. This is what happens when you go wine tasting with my cousin Anna:



Usually when Michael and I go wine tasting together we split tastings. It’s more affordable AND I’m a lightweight so I don’t totally sloshed by sharing a tasting. But yeah, this day? I definitely got drunk!



After the wine tasting we had some time before we had to head back to Portland (I am glad we only went to two wineries). Some of the girls pitched in for a bottle of red and we all shared it while we sat on a couch near the gorgeous view.




It was such a gorgeous day! The weather was perfect, the wineries were gorgeous, the food was good. I had so much fun with my ladies and it was definitely something I needed after some of the UBER STRESS I’ve been dealing with lately. There was so much drama and stress and disappointment with a wedding vendor but I was able to completely forget about all that stuff and just enjoy my day. I was grateful I had such wonderful friends to help with that.



And I was grateful that my friends chose the PERFECT day for my bachelorette party. They know me so well. This was a memorable trip and something that I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself. It was out of the ordinary for a bachelorette party and I loved it! Our tour guide, Dylan, was also a rockstar. Great sense of humor, wasn’t freaked out about a bunch of cackling hens drinking a lot of wine. 😉 He drove us back to Portland and dropped us off at Rachel’s hotel downtown and gave us each a big hug and me a congratulations. What a great tour!

Sam had to take off and the rest of us ladies went up to Rachel’s room to freshen up before dinner. We walked a few blocks to Henry’s Tavern where we had reservations. It’s funny, we ran into two other bachelorette party groups. One of them asked to take a picture with me because part of their bachelorette scavenger hunt was to get a pic with another bride to be. 😉 Thank god I didn’t have to do any of that stuff!!! Hahaha!

I definitely did not need any more alcohol but I ended up getting a beer with dinner–Boneyard RPM. I saw my beloved Boneyard on the menu and just HAD to…! Thankfully we’d all been drinking a lot of water all day and I drank like 8 pints with dinner, too!



We all shared an order of Henry’s famous onion rings and I ordered their small burger with a side of Caesar Salad. LOVED their Caesar. It was just a bunch of romaine lettuce that they grilled, drizzled Caesar dressing on and then salted. It had a wonderful salty, smoky flavor.


Dessert was on the house! That was very nice of Henry’s Tavern. Even though I was SO STUFFED I couldn’t think about eating anything more, I ordered the chocolate brownie sundae. It had ice cream, whipped cream and salted caramel. Thankfully everyone helped me eat it!





After that we made a quick trip to the Spartacus store and then back to the hotel. Thankfully I was home and in bed by 10:30. No 3am here! I am really glad we didn’t do something traditional. It was a very long, very wonderful day and I could not wait to go to sleep. :)

Jun 192013

I left off in my story with Pike Place Market and chocolate (yum). After that Rachel and I drove to her friend Phil’s house in Burien. He lives right in the water at Three Trees Pointe with an amazing view of Puget Sound and the Cascades. I would never tire of that view.


We were at Phil’s house to go kayaking. It was my first time and I was so glad I went with experienced kayakers. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what I was doing but my fears were cleared up almost immediately. It was so much fun!


They gave me a mini lesson and then the three of us set off in the Puget Sound. We stayed fairly close to shore and never went deeper than 5 feet or so. I never felt unsafe while I was out there. We paddled down (South of Phil’s house) with the wind at our backs and the water pretty calm. I was starting to get the rhythm and hang of paddling and was actually doing pretty well!


I had no sense of time and no sense of distance while we were out on the Sound. The sun was warm and there was a cool breeze and we just paddled down the coast. After a bit we turned around because the wind was picking up and the water was super choppy.


Any skill I developed on the paddle down, went out the window on the way back. We were paddling into the wind, the water was rough and no matter how hard I paddled, it felt like I was going backwards!! It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound–it was still fun just REALLY HARD WORK. I was getting tired, even though I’m in pretty good shape. The rough waves started splashing into the kayak, the salty sea water drying into salt on my face, hands and legs.

We finally made it back and I let the kayak just drift a little by the shore. I was tired but not ready to quit yet. Two little kids sharing a kayak paddled by me and then we got a visit from two sea lions! They poked their little heads out of the water and looked at us curiously. It was such a cool moment.

Rachel and Phil were still paddling up the shore to meet me so I got out of the kayak and did a little shell collecting while I waited. It turned out we were out on the water for two hours. Longer than we planned or thought we’d do! Rachel got pretty sunburned and I got a little sun burn on my legs. Oooops!

After that we said goodbye to Phil and then went back to the hotel to check into our new and upgraded room to clean up. Our new upgraded room was fantastic!


It was about 3:30 at this point and we had just enough time to go out to Woodinville for some wine tasting. Rachel ordered us a car from Uber — something I’d never heard of before but it turned out to be pretty cool. It’s like a car service you can book on your iPhone app. I’m glad we got a car service to go wine tasting.


Woodinville is a great place for wine tasting because there’s so many wineries and tasting rooms right next to each other. Part of it is very walkable, too, so you don’t need a car once you get out there (which is a good idea). The first place we went to was Mark Ryan and we weren’t huge fans of their wines. Rachel and I split our tastings (also a good idea).


The next place we went to was Village Wines, which turned out to be a wine store and tasting room–which meant they didn’t waive the tasting fee if you bought a bottle and the wines weren’t just from Washington. I liked several of the wines I tried but didn’t end up buying any. I was super surprised that my favorite wine I tasted there was a Merlot (Novelty Hill Merlot). It was rich and smooth with hints of chocolate.


Guess what? You get pretty tipsy when you drink wine after kayaking for 2 hours and skipping lunch! Ooops! We got some food at Village Wines to help with that. We got the hummus and veggie plate and an order of their tortellini. The pasta was cold and seasoned with a lemon aioli sauce. It was my favorite snack! I loved it.


The next place we went to is my favorite winery in Washington. It’s called Brian Carter Cellars and I’ve been there twice now and wish both times that I could buy every single one of their wines.

The first wine we tried was the Oriana (51% Viognier, 35% Roussanne, 14% Riesling). Rachel does not like white wines but even she loved it so much she bought a bottle! That says a lot, I think. I bought a bottle of Oriana because I loved it to so much. It was slightly sweet and very crisp. I tasted pear and melons. It was such a refreshing, light wine on a hot a summer day.


The service is always friendly and like I said, the wines are delicious. Our last stop was to Trust. It was a fun tasting room and I bought a bottle from there, too! I needed more snacks because skipping lunch and having wine instead was a bad idea!


I’m really glad we took a car service. It was easy and made it a much more relaxed experience; no stress! Man, what a busy day! Saturday I worked out, had a great breakfast, checked out Pike Place Market, went kayaking, wine tasting and then back to the room to totally crash!


On Sunday it was much more relaxed. Rachel and I had our free breakfast, went to the Fremont Sunday Market and then to the Ballard Locks.



Rachel and I parted ways and I went to my Grandma’s house to spend some time with her. We went through some of her old photo albums and just hung out. It was so nice to spend some time with her and I wished I had more time.


My Grandma was so glamorous looking!!  After that I had a late lunch with my parents for Father’s Day, had time to get a swim in and then picked up Michael. Okay never-mind, Sunday wasn’t relaxing, it was just as busy as Saturday! We didn’t get home to Portland until 10pm. Exhausting weekend? For sure. But so much fun and definitely an adventure!

QUESTION: Have you ever been kayaking? What was your favorite experience?