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10th anniversary (take two)
posted by John : October 23-25, 2009

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Is that a blue sky?

For our 10th anniversary we painted the house. Well, parts of the house. Mostly the inside parts of the downstairs. Nonetheless, it wasn't exactly the magical 10th anniversary celebration. So even though this was anniversary number 11 we decided to treat it like it was 10. Off to Prosser!

(Prosser? Really? What happened to Mexico or Hawaii?)

We'd heard really good things about Prosser from friends and even got a good recommendation for a B&B. We left only a little later than we wanted to on Friday morning and rolled into Prosser around 4pm. Just in time to check in. We were met by our host, Kerry, and found our room to be just about perfect. The only minor issue (which we knew about beforehand) was that our bathroom was down the hall a bit. We were the last to reserve so we got the least desirable, but otherwise it was great. (Amy longed for the pool to be open, but at least the hot tub was.)

We had only one priority for Friday night and that was to get Amy to a massage at 5:30. I spent my time at Starbucks while she relaxed. Afterward we hit the CG Bistro for dinner. (Pretty good, pretty cheap, a winner.) We wrapped up the evening warming up in the hot tub and then watching a movie in our room. We had only met the other three rooms' occupants in passing, but came to learn it was a couple that ran a wine distribution business in the midwest and two of their customers. They were touring wineries.

(Hey, good idea. Maybe we should visit some wineries.)

The next morning I woke up too early and rather than start the day off by waking Amy up I snuck out for a quick hike. Nothing special, but it got the blood going.

After breakfast (and coffee) we started touring.

Winery #1: Vineheart. It was way out in the fields and the only winery we'd visit that really felt like they grew all their grapes there and then made the wine.

Just off the freeway is a little industrial park that hosts a bundle of wineries. There are perhaps eight of them. Most have their own facility with visitor areas and a some looked like they actually made wine there. There was also a space where a bunch of little wineries had mini tasting rooms.

Winery #2: Milbrandt. Compared to Vineheart it was... um... rather yuppy. But in a nice way. The wines were pretty decent. At least Amy said they where. I wasn't exactly interested in tasting whites. She took one for the collective team. We need something to cook with after all.

Winery #3: Gamache. After the novelty of the fancy facility of Milbrandt another fancy tasting facility wasn't that interesting. The wines were ok. By this time my nose was starting to tingle which means either I'm about to head to the North Pole or the alcohol was getting to me. Either way, GV left us flat. (It was the first time we used the escape statement, "Are you open tomorrow? Oh, we'll definitely be back." We're so sly.)

Winery #4: Plaza Winery. This was one of the wineries with a tiny tasting room in a shared facility. Nothing special. (And their web site appears to be defunct.)

Winery #5: Apex Winery. We'd been warned they were kind of snooty. I'm not saying they were, but I'd also hate to contradict what anybody else has said. They also had freaky extra people selling their own stuff in the tasting room.

Winery #6: Thurston Wolfe Winery. Slightly more industrial in architecture, but really, really good wines. Very spicy for their heavy reds. We'd been using the escape statement a bunch and out of habit used it again as we walked out. However, we quickly walked back in and loaded up. (They gave us a box.)

Winery #7: Bunnell Family Cellars. After six wineries I was walking a little sideways (but still no merlot!) and it was lunch time anyway. While we were waiting to order at Wine O Clock (yes, a real restaurant) we tasted wine from the Bunnell Family. Nothing special, but the food was really good. Amy had a freaky pizza (grapes? really?) while I had gumbo. Gumbo was good. Pizza was good, so claims Amy.

So what now? I'd been hiking, we'd tasted wine, and Amy'd been to a quilt shop. Could we go home now? No, of course not. There's another quilt store in town. And this one was a claustrophobe's worst nightmare. Every room in the tiny house was packed solid with fabric. Amy was in heaven. I was sure we were all going to die. I would have pulled Amy to safety except the fire station was right next door. She claims we bought stuff for projects she's already running, but I think there might be some that came home just to live with us.

We returned to the B&B for a while and then resolved to head back out. The morning had been full of wine, but we had an inside line to a twice-yearly tasting at tiny winery up in the hills.

Winery #8: Daven Lore Winery. Imagine if your slightly off friend was making really good wine in his house on the hill overlooking the valley. Twice a year the house is opened and you can go in to taste wine (paired with little hors d'oeuvres). We got to see them punch down a vat and Gord climb all over the barrels. We bought a bunch and tried to sneak out, but he saw us and complained he didn't even get to talk with us. In the end we felt really comfortable there and if we were closer we'd be visiting him weekly at the farmer's market.

Our plans were to finish up the day by going to the wineries a bit east of town. Turns out they're pretty lame. Most are a bunch of little strip-mall type tasting rooms. We laughed at the "Our wines are pure joy!" banner on the Snoqualmie Winery building, but didn't bother to go in. We had ben told we'd have to go to Kestrel so...

Winery #9: Kestrel Winery. Kestrel was another weird one. We didn't really dislike their wines (especially not after a full day of tasting), but they weren't anything special. Plus the hosts were pretty uninterested. We used our escape statement and headed back to the B&B.

Nine wineries with an average of three wines per winery so... wow. Too much wine to do math. Better get some dinner. We considered a couple of places that looked somewhat promising, but in the end decided to make the most of not having kids with us. Not needing to set a good example we went to the drive-in and got ice cream. After demonstrating my considerable lack of self-photographing skill we retreated back to the B&B to watch the sun set (it's called the Sunset House, after all) and then retreated further into the house because it was getting chilly.

We hung out in the room for a while, but then relocated to the common area. Everyone else was outside so we read for a bit, but then one of the wine distributors came in. Turns out he was originally from around the area, went to WSU, and then wound up in in the midwest with his wife importing wines. He was clearly a lover of good wines and this night he'd already had... a few. He proceeded to talk to us for the next 30 minutes in spite of what we felt were pretty obvious attempts to get back to our books and encourage him to go outside. No luck. When three of their other friends showed up (dressed for a Halloween party) we returned to our room. Thankfully, they headed out and it was suddenly quiet again.

At least until 1am when somebody was having a fight in a room very close to ours. We never figured out what it was about, but I would guess it had to do with behavior at the party by a certain Coug. That died down after about 30 minutes, but we were awakened again at about 5am as they prepared to leave. Gotta love rolling suitcases and hard heels (high or not) on tile. One of them didn't manage to wake on time so then there was all of that. Finally, by 6:00 they were gone and we drifted back to sleep for a few more hours. I think we just managed to get out of bed and dressed by 9am for breakfast.

We didn't do any more wine tasting (it was Sunday after all... and we were wined out) and headed home when we were able to get it together enough to get out of the house. The weather had shifted a bit and it was cloudier than the pure blue of the two previous days. We picked up the kids and NanaPapa's and tried to re-establish some semblance of normalcy around the house, but probably failed at that.

At least we had a great time and we're both looking forward to our 21st anniversary, though hopefully it won't be that long before we get away again.

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