The Bells Go To Washington

August 10, 2018 Lynne No comments exist

NIck had a surprise picked out for our next location…wine country!!  We arrived at the Wine Country RV Park in Prosser, Washington for a  five day stay.  

Checking in at the office at the RV park. Yes, Pot is legal here.

I was shocked to see that the eastern part of Washington is a desert.  The forecast for our stay was hot and then hotter.  The campground didn’t have a lot of mature trees or shady spots, but we managed to get a semi-shady spot near a large tree.  

Our front lawn

Arvie is a champ on the road, but her air-conditioning struggles to keep up parked in full sun on very hot days.  Shade is our number one priority, when choosing a site in hot weather The site had a large grassy area to lounge in, shaded by that lovely tree.    As a bonus, it was on the very end of the row, overlooking a small field of cattle, for Miss Bella’s entertainment.  

Bella was obsessed with the cattle

We didn’t have to go far to find wine.  Just an eighth of a mile down the road was the Vintner’s Village, a collection of about 12 tasting rooms, plus a few restaurants.  Vintner’s Village is a work in progress.  Each tasting room has it’s own unique style and the grounds and gardens are beautifully landscaped and well-tended.

Me (and faithful Bella) after an afternoon of wine-tasting

On our first day, we started with a visit to the Gingko Forest tasting room.  The young man pouring our wines was knowledgeable and charming, and we left with several bottles of wine.  A little tipsy and very hungry, we stopped at the County Line tasting room for lunch and another wine tasting.  County Line is a joint tasting room featuring wines from Smasne and 2dor wineries.  It should come as no surprise that we bought a few bottles of each.

The Ginkgo Forest tasting room patio reminded us of Italy

The tasting rooms were lovely, fun and easy to get to. But there’s nothing like going to an actual vineyard.  The RV park offered shuttle service to anyplace within 25 miles, so we booked a visit to Col Solare.  Col Solare had been recommended to us by a friend.  The vineyard is a joint venture between Tuscany’s Marchesi Antinori and Washington State’s Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The Col Solare Vineyard on Red Mountain

It was a half hour drive through wine country to the vineyard.  Luanne, the manager of the RV park and our driver for the day answered all our questions about Prosser and the local vineyards.  Before we arrived at Col Solare, Nick and I agreed that we would under NO CIRCUMSTANCES buy any more wine.


Col Solare

The view from Red Mountain, was gorgeous.  It felt as if we had been transported to another place and time.  We admired the view and the vines before climbing up the staircase to the tasting room.

The Col Solare tasting room

Sometimes we share a tasting, to pace ourselves if we plan to visit more than one winery.  But today Col Solare we had a feeling it was going to be spectacular.  There would be no sharing today.

We couldn’t resist buying some of these excellent wines

As we worked our way through the tasting, we were blown away by the red wines.  Our silly vow not to buy any wine was quickly forgotten, as Nick whipped out his wallet to buy several bottles.  Our wine collection was growing.

Don’t skip this one if you go to Prosser

We finished the day with a walk to Vintner’s Village and a visit to the Milbrandt tasting room.  MIlbrandt had recently been recognized for their cabernets as having an excellent quality to price ratio.  We each ordered a tasting and left with several more bottles of wine.  

Milbrandt wines are delicious and affordable

We needed a day off from wine tasting.  Clearly we couldn’t be trusted not to buy more wine, so our strategy for the day was to avoid the tasting rooms  It was the perfect opportunity to explore downtown Prosser.

The Yakima River flows through Prosser. You can see the evidence of a recent wildfire on the mountain.

Prosser’s a small town with no big-box stores or chain restaurants.  We couldn’t resist trying a local IPA at the Horse Heaven Saloon.  The food looked delicious, but we had plans to eat out that night, so we managed to resist.

The front doors of The Horse Heaven Saloon

That evening, we walked to Vintner’s Village for dinner at Wine O’Clock.  We’d been told that the food was excellent, and we’d ignored the advice to make a reservation.  So we shouldn’t have been surprised when the hostess balked at our request for a table.  We ended up being seated at a small bar overlooking the kitchen, usually reserved for wine club members.

I loved the charred Caesar salad that we had with our dinner at Wine O’ Clock

It was fun watching the chef and his staff prepare meals.  When he had a moment, the chef explained that they were working with a new menu, which made it more challenging than usual.  Old episodes of the The French Chef with Julia Child played on a TV in the dining room, and Nick and I had fun remembering the episodes as they aired.  It was lovely to have an evening out dining at a nice restaurant with Julia.

Dinner with Julia

On our last full day in Prosser, we once again biked downtown for the weekly farmers’ market.  We stopped to talk to the Methodist women and buy their muffins and raffle tickets, in honor of my Methodist Mom.  We left with bags of produce and an appreciation for the quality of life in this small town.

Flowers at the farmers market

We finished up the day with an ambitious bike ride to the 14 Hands tasting room on the far side of town.  We’re not even huge fans of 14 Hands, but I really wanted to see their tasting room.  We left this tasting room empty handed.  After all, we can purchase 14 Hands at home, and for a better price than offered at the tasting room.  


The !4 Hands tasting room

The next morning, we hit the road and headed towards Seattle. We’ve stayed in urban campgrounds and also suburban campgrounds a short Uber ride away from the city center.  Seattle didn’t seem to have either of those.  I suspect that the tech boom has made land too valuable.  Even finding an available site was a challenge, because so many people live full-time in their RVs due to the cost of houses and apartments.

Bella and I would miss our early morning walks in Vintner’s Village 

We ended up camping about 30 miles outside of Seattle.  The campground was relatively expensive and we didn’t have an easy way to get to Seattle.  We ended up taking a $45 half-hour Uber ride to the nearest mass transit station, about 15 miles away.  From there, we took a 45 minute bus ride downtown.

The buses and trains in Seattle ran on the same tracks

The bus dropped us off just a few blocks from Pike Place Market and the Piers.  We headed straight for the water, anxious to taste fresh oysters and seafood.  

The Big Wheel

Right next to The Great Wheel (a ferris wheel we had no desire to ride) was The Crab Pot.  Diners at this busy restaurant were enjoying buckets of steamed shrimp, crabs, clams and mussels.  We opted out of the seafood feasts and ordered a dozen oysters on the half-shell, Nick ordered crablegs and I ordered my go-to crab-cakes.  We were both a little disappointed in the oysters and our meals.  It was such a let-down, because we’d so looked forward to eating oysters in Seattle.


Crab at the Crab Pot

As we left The Crab Pot, Nick spotted Elliott’s Oyster house.  Literally right next store to where we JUST at a huge lunch.  He grabbed my hand and excitedly led me in, where we ordered another two dozen oysters and two glasses of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  

We had front row seats 

Elliott’s is a true oyster house with a variety of oysters to choose from.  We sat at the bar and watched the two shuckers prepare oysters non-stop.

NIck in a happy place!

If you’ve never tried to shuck an oyster, let me tell you that it isn’t easy.  There’s a lot of technique involved in opening the shell cleanly, without getting pieces of it mixed up with the oyster.  These shuckers were profossionals.

So fresh!

What a zoo.  Every tourist in town was crowded into the market and spilling out onto the streets around it.  The famous fish market was surrounded by people just watching the fish guys do their show.  No one was actually buying anything, they were just there for the show.  We got out of there as quickly as we could.

Pike Place Market was packed with tourists

Feeling guilty about leaving Bella in the (air-conditioned) RV all day, I googled “pet store” and we headed that way.  After picking up 5 substantial pigs ears, we followed the signs to The Space Needle.

The Space Needle and I are about the same age

Nick decided to skip the long line to go to the top.  I purchased my ticket and got in line. Did I mention it was a long line?  Finally, it was my turn to enter the elevator with what felt like 100 other people.  We all poured out onto the observation deck when the doors opened at the top.  The views were fantastic, but I couldn’t help but wish Nick was there with me.  I soaked up the views before getting into a much shorter line for the trip down the elevator.

I was glad I went up to the top

We took the monorail back to the bus station and made our way back home.  Bella was deliriously happy to see us.  She quickly forgave us for leaving her all day when offered a crunchy pigs ear.

Good-bye Seattle!

We had a great time in Seattle and saw everything  that was on our list.  Our experience with the public transportation was interesting, too.  It was one of those times that I’m glad we don’t have a car, because it gave us an opportunity to have a different kind of experience.

Next stop, Oregon!


Lynne, Nick and Bella













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