Unpacking? Or Exploring Chelan? No Contest!
More unpacking into Little House? Or exploring Chelan with The Cousins? No Contest, it’s an easy choice. I’m always up for a trip. Unpacking can wait a day or three. Chelan it is. Wine tasting. Lady of the Lake. Campbell’s Resort. Decision made. Off we went for 3 days of exploring Chelan and the surrounding area.Chelan it is. Wine tasting. Lady of the Lake. Campbell's Resort. #chelanfun #winemecca… Click To Tweet
Several routes can be followed to get from Spokane to Chelan, WA. All are two lane roads. Taking one route on the trip to Chelan and another on the return allowed us to see parts of WA State we had not seen for multiple years.
Harvest Dominated The Landscape
Our route to Chelan was Highway 2 to Coulee City, Hwy 17 North to Hwy 172 and then McNeil Canyon Road to Chelan. In each direction wheat harvest dominated the landscape.
So Many Of These Tiny Towns Across The U.S.
The tiny town of Mansfield sits alone among the wheat fields and is kept alive largely because of the grain industry. With a population of less than 350 people it’s history dates back to the late 1800’s.
Just think how many tiny towns like this criss cross our nation, filled with long histories of farm families. Each with their own untold story. How interesting it would be to delve into some of those stories.
We didn’t linger long in Mansfield as there were cousins and wine tasting waiting in Chelan. The Husband was astonished last week that (a) I’d never tasted Krispy Kreme donuts (he made sure I got initiated) and (b) that I’d never experienced a wine tasting. Guess I’ve lived some sheltered life??
A Wine Lovers Mecca!
Chelan is a mecca for wine lovers. Vineyards cover the hillsides and the list of local wineries is extensive.
The Cousins had chosen Benson’s Vineyard and Estate Winery for our wine tasting and what a good choice!! Greeted and served by friendly, knowledgable staff, we sampled numerous options before making our choices. Once a choice was made we moved to the outdoor seating to relax and enjoy the wine and our family.
The agenda for Day Two in Chelan was a trip to the head of the lake on Lady of the Lake. The scenery on this trip was breathtaking.
Let’s Go To The Head Of Lake Chelan!
Due to mechanical issues Lady of the Lake wasn’t running the day we were scheduled to ride her. We were instead put on Lady Express. Although faster, this is a much smaller boat. Temperatures ranged between 95-100° all day. Our experience with the boat ride was not something I’ll care to repeat.
With insufficient seating both inside and out, we were crowded even before the boat stopped at Lucerne and picked up additional passengers. Only two small windows on the lower level were capable of being opened and none on the upper level opened. No fans. No air movement. For a 4 hour ride!!
Once at the head of the lake some passengers headed to the bus that would transport them to Rainbow Loop, Stehekin and the trail head to the North Cascades. Others grabbed their bags and headed to the North Cascades Lodge where they planned to spend a couple days. Many, who, like us, were hot and tired after multiple hours on the boat in crowded, hot, uncomfortable conditions, headed to the Lodge at Stehekin Restaurant where cooling shade was provided by deck umbrellas and large old shade trees.
A Brief Layover At The Head Of The Lake
A cool glass of ice water and a light lunch was the choice of our group. Knowing we only had a brief layover before the return trip in that same overcrowded, stiflingly hot ferry we just couldn’t face the thought of climbing on the bus that headed to Stehekin proper.
Campbell’s Resort, Another First For Me
Day Three we decided, before heading home, to have lunch at Campbell’s Resort. Another place I’d never been even though I’ve lived in WA State most of my life. Family owned and operated (now 5th generation), Campbell’s know good food and good service. Lunch was delicious and affordable. Served by a friendly knowledgable wait staff it is a place we’ll return to again and again.
Walking back to The Cousins’ condo after lunch The Husband couldn’t resist a little fun with the crosswalk flags.
All New Views With A Different Route Home
Our trip home was via Hwy 97 North to Pateros, Brewster, Okanogan and Omak.
The orchards and vineyards lining the banks of the Columbia River make this drive particularly lovely in late summer. Brewster and Bridgeport lie just downriver of Chief Joseph Dam, the second largest hydropower producing dam in the United States.
We stopped briefly at Okanogan WA to check out the fall sales at Rawson’s Department Store. Then it was on to get a few shots of a couple beautiful old local buildings.
Originally built in 1914 with the addition (on the right) added in 1950 this beautiful building houses the Okanogan County Courthouse.
We Avoided Road Construction But Not Accident Scenes
We then turned onto Hwy #155 to Nespelem and Grand Coulee where we found road construction and changed our plan. Taking the Almira Grade Road and Bagdad Road to Hwy 174 we managed to avoid all the new chip sealing but were stopped instead for an emergency scene.
And then we were back to unpacking boxes and Little House. Always good to be home but also so good to go on adventures. Thanks for joining us as we explore new places and see new things. We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave comments in the comment section below and share our blog. Have a great week. Links to more information about the Chelan area are at the bottom of this article.
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More about Chelan and the Lake Chelan area:
Hiking Info: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3791142.pdf
Holden Village: http://www.holdenvillage.org
City of Chelan: https://cityofchelan.us
Lake Chelan: http://www.lakechelan.com
Lady of the Lake: http://ladyofthelake.com
Campbell’s Resort: https://campbellsresort.com