The older I get, the less exciting my birthday becomes – I know, wiser and deeper and yada yada yada, but really, I wouldn’t mind staying in my early thirties for a few more years. So when I saw my 35th looming on the calendar, my first inclination was to keep it fanfare-free – maybe just go out for pizza and then come home to put on my stretchy pants and crack open a pint of ice cream. That felt like a missed opportunity to do something special in such a lovely time of year, though, so Shane booked us a last-minute rental in Yakima and we set out on Friday for a weekend celebration in wine country.
We arrived a couple of hours before we could check into our house, so we spent some time strolling along the Cowiche Canyon Trail, peeling off our sweatshirts as the sun blazed overhead.
No golden oak trees or bright orange maples here, but these scrubby fall colors were beautiful in their own right.
We arrived at our Airbnb mid-afternoon and were greeted with this stunning view from the front porch. Well done, Shane.
We ate dinner Friday night at Cowiche Canyon in “downtown” Yakima. I slurped down one of the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted and Juliette’s chicken and rice came with an unexpected side of french fries, so we both left there very happy.
Shane went for a run on Saturday morning while Juliette and I stayed back at the house and enjoyed the view of that hazy early sunlight grazing the treetops.
We grabbed breakfast and beverages at North Town Coffee…
And then got on with the day’s main business: WINE! Yakima is chock-full of wineries and we kicked things off at VanArman Vineyards with sunshine, a glass of Merlot, and a hammock – SO GOOD.
I wasn’t quite sure how we’d manage wine-tasting with a three year old in tow, but with lawn games and wide open spaces like this, it’s actually pretty grand!
These rows between the vines were the perfect racetrack.
Seriously, SO GOOD!
Our second stop was Dineen Vineyards – I was worried we wouldn’t find another place nearly as kid-friendly as VanArman, but when I spotted this swing, I figured we’d be welcome to hang here awhile.
Another bonus? Wood-fired pizzas served right next to the tasting room.
This might be one of my all-time favorites:
We were closing in on naptime and wanted to check out one more place, so we zipped over to Bonair Winery for a final taste. No brick ovens or soccer balls, but this place had ducks!
And all the grapes a girl could eat.
I could have happily done another few rounds, but…
So we headed back to the house to cozy up on the couch and doze a little.
A snack with a view…
We ate dinner at a small Mexican joint and spent the rest of the evening at the house listening to the Giants game. They didn’t come through like we’d hoped, but still, it had been a perfect day.
Sunday was my birthday, which meant I was free to linger in bed as long as I pleased while Shane took Jules-duty.
I eventually rallied, though, eager to do a little more exploring before heading back to Seattle. We snapped a couple of last pics from the porch and set out for the day.
Our first stop was the Yakima Farmers Market, for fresh-picked apples. And Kettle corn.
We ate a hearty diner breakfast and drove toward the mountains, stopping a couple of times along the Naches River to take in the fall colors.
We had hoped to do some hiking up at the pass, but as soon as the road climbed upward, the skies turned gray and the rain started to fall. So rather than mountaineering, we pushed through to Seattle and settled for a stroll at the Arboretum.
Not a bad back-up plan!
This little pond is one of our favorite spots, and I’ve never seen it look lovelier.
Juliette drew pictures in the water with her walking stick while I sat back and counted all the different shades of green.
We capped off the day with cocktails, chicken wings, and coconut sticky rice at Soi. Happy hour, indeed.
Cheers to a very promising start to year 35!