I’ve lived in the Puget Sound my entire life. As thus, I have stereotypes of many places around the state of Washington. Forks is wet. Sequim is full of old people and sunshine. Pullman is a college party town. Wenatchee is hot, dry and industrial.
It turns out I have a lot to learn about this state, especially Wenatchee. In gathering information for an upcoming article covering Mission Ridge’s Ski Patrol in Washington Magazine, I was hosted by the folks of Wenatchee Valley Visitors Bureau for a quick overnight in the city before heading to the slopes. Honestly, I thought I’d be put up in a Best Western. I mean, Leavenworth, just 25 minutes away, is the cute, charming gem of the area with romantic inns, riverside B&Bs and enough cuteness to make a basket of kittens jealous.
First surprise; Huckleberry Haven B&B. The directions placed this B&B in a residential area of town, away from the bustle of the strips malls, auto shops and fast food joints. +1 for the HHB&B. Easy to find if you know it’s there, the B&B is taken care of by Ian and Rush Leslie, quintessential hosts radiating warmth and a welcoming smile. If you have run the B&B circuit in any part of the US, you get to know who absolutely loves their job and who kinda likes it. Ruth and Ian love their small, three unit B&B and it shows. They also seem nuts about bears, tea and huckleberries.
The Saddlerock Suite, our room for the night, is a home away from home. A full kitchen and bath give this one room accommodation all that is needed to hole up for a night or a week. The queen sized bed is complimented with a pull out sofa, making it work for families of four or a pair of couples traveling the wine country together. A roll-a-way is also available if siblings just can’t share. Head to a local grocery store and stock up the full sized fridge as the kitchen is fully equipped. There is even a washer and dryer in room to refresh your laundry before heading out.
The room is comfy in a woodsy type of way; stuffed bears nestle into the reading nook and are painted above the kitchen sink, an electric fireplace, while nothing like the real thing, gives a cabin feel and the view from the wide, private deck across the neighboring orchard and valley is becalming. All the B&B niceties are including as well as huckleberry chapstick (this IS the dry side of the state, after all). And don’t worry, the rooms have satellite TV and WIFI to help keep you connected if that’s your thing.
Breakfast; scrumptious. I’m no food critic, I just know what I like. And I loved the huckleberry muffins. As we were the only guests this morning, we had our pick of options. Ian and Ruth present a fine meal and asked about dietary restrictions beforehand, customizing the meal as needed. The dining also doubles as a tea room during the day (the couple hosts a number of tea parties for those young and old in town) and, for those into the tea scene, is ultra cute. It’s not my normal gig, the cute tea room, but Sabrina loved it and wants to go back just for a high tea. By that measure, the decor is a success.
Dinner the night before was just a mile away at McGlinn’s Public House. Walking in the front door and onto ancient hardwood floors made me feel instantly at home. We could have been at Diamond Knot Brewery in Mukilteo or Kells in Seattle. It had that feel. Brick walls, a styled bar and tasteful knickknacks all over the place. A town favorite, the room was packed with locals. Wood is everywhere; the floors, tables, ceiling, bar. I love wood. A brick pizza oven sits at the back of the establishment under a full sized streetlight. Service was quick, non-hurried and helpful. Sabrina scarfed down her mac and cheese and my chicken Caesar salad was not an anomaly on the well balanced menu. And dessert; chocolate!
Appetizer, entrees, dessert, a glass of wine, tax and tip = $45. Our room at the Huckleberry Haven lists for $150 double occupancy.
I also received a big packet of info on the whole Wenatchee Valley from the Visitors Bureau, describing more than I ever knew about this dry side of the state. Check out their website for a long list of wineries, bike routes, history, skiing, museums, hiking, offroading, snowmobiling, farmers markets and other activities that make this mistakenly stereotyped industrial town a worthwhile drive from Seattle.