The Olympic Peninsula might be best known for its rugged coast, dense rain forests and soaring mountains, but the scenic wonder also holds more civilized charms. Of the 35 wineries located in the Puget Sound region, six stretch from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. Both cities are also home to romantic bed-and-breakfast inns. We’ll stick to the scene around Port Angeles this time.
Camaraderie Cellars comes highly recommended by nearby innkeepers. The winery, which produces only about 1,000 cases annually, focuses on red and white Bordeaux grape varieties. Its goal is to make full-flavored wines to complement food.
Camaraderie is known for its red blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc and a white blend of sauvignon blanc and Semillon. The winery is open weekends from May through September. Details: (360) 417-3564; www.camaraderiecellars.com.
Olympic Cellars sits in a charming, century-old barn with barrel-shaped front doors along Highway 101. The bar inside is also more than 100 years old. Owned and operated by three women, the boutique winery is known for its Working Girl White, a crisp chardonnay and Riesling blend, and its award-winning Dungeness Red, a Beaujolais-style lemberger. Olympic Cellars also produces honey wines. It’s open daily from May through September. Details: (360) 452-0160; www.olympiccellars.com.
Black Diamond Winery rests on 20 acres in a verdant valley in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains just west of Port Angeles. Tumwater Creek flows between the vineyard and orchard, with a picnic table that we enjoyed on a sunny summer visit.
This distinctive place turns out rhubarb and strawberry rhubarb wines from locally grown produce and a shiro plum wine with fruit from its own orchard. It also makes apricot, loganberry and red currant wines as well as a pinot noir, syrah and pinot gris. Black Diamond is open Thursday to Sunday from February through December. Details: (360) 457-0748; http://pages.prodigy.net/ sharonlance/
Colette’s Bed and Breakfast hugs a cliff along the Strait of Juan de Fuca just east of Port Angeles. Lush and colorful gardens and dozens of tall, old rhododendrons fill the 10-acre grounds. The large, luxurious suites offer romance and rest with fireplaces, private patios and two-person Jacuzzi tubs. The CD players are filled with soft music, too.
The innkeepers treat guests to evening wine, which can be sipped inside by the tall living room windows or outside by a fireplace. Colette’s is listed in “Best Places to Kiss in the Pacific Northwest.”
Rates start at $150. Details: (360) 457-9197; www.colettes.com.
Domaine Madeleine B&B is also cited in the “Best Places to Kiss” guide. Sunset magazine named it one of the 20 best seaside getaways on the Pacific Coast. The five acres of grounds are home to ancient trees, abundant gardens and pools of water. Like Colette’s, each suite offers a private entrance, two-person jetted tub, fireplace, CD player and VCR. The inn also looks out on the strait with Victoria, B.C., in view. The breakfast covers five courses.
Summer rates start at $195. Details: (360) 457-4174; www.domainemadeleine.com.
BJ’s Garden Gate B&B matches Colette’s and Domaine Madeleine with its waterfront garden estate. Each large suite also offers panoramic views along with the requisite fireplace, large tub in an oversized bathroom and electronic entertainment. Fine European antiques fill each suite as well.
BJ’s three acres of beautiful English gardens helped the inn win No. 1 Garden B&B in America by Arrington’s B&B Journal for 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Rates start at $125. Details: (800) 880-1332; www.bjgarden.com.
Winery information: www.northsoundwineries.org/
Olympic Peninsula B&B information: www.opbba.com/
Summer airline deals
For those flexible about travel dates and even destinations, Orbitz looked for the best rates from Spokane to more than a dozen popular places this summer.
Here’s what the Internet travel site came up with (all rates are round-trip and include taxes and fees): Denver, $268; Honolulu, $493; Los Angeles, $229; Orlando, $339, Phoenix, $269, Salt Lake City, $200; and San Diego, $239.
Seats are limited and may not be open on all flights. Most are available until early August.
Or head to www.orbitz.com and sign up for e-mail alerts such as this one, which also listed hotel deals. It arrived in my e-mail on July 7, but today is the earliest I could pass this along because of newspaper deadlines for the travel section.
Hood Canal resort reopens
Alderbrook Resort and Spa, located on 88 acres on the shores of Hood Canal in Union, Wash., finished a 12-month reconstruction project last month.
Now most of the 77 luxury guest rooms offer panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and Hood Canal. The resort also sports 15 two-bedroom cottages and a one-bedroom cottage with full kitchens and fireplaces.
The resort, which dates back to 1913, offers a golf course, marina, an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, an exercise room and a full-service spa with steam and sauna facilities. The restaurant features views of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains.
Nearby recreation includes fishing, hiking, trail riding with a backcountry horse group and scuba diving at Octopus Hole on Hood Canal.
Alderbrook is 78 miles from Seattle by car, or take the ferry to Bremerton and drive 26 miles to the resort. Rates start at $160.
Information: (800) 622-9370; www.alderbrookresort.com.
“ Hood River Country Fair, July 28-31, Hood River, Ore. Attractions include carnival rides, musical entertainment, horse and livestock shows, art, food, flowers and other displays. The fairgrounds sit in the scenic Hood River Valley. (541-354-2865; www.hoodriverfair.com)
“ Skyfest Hot Air Balloon Championships, July 29-Aug. 1, Billings. This is Montana’s premier balloon event, with competition, a laser light show, balloon glows and balloon rides. (406-255-0466)
“ A Taste of Edmonds, Aug. 13-15, Edmonds, Wash. This lively event features plenty of food, arts and crafts, children’s area with rides and booths, four entertainment stages, and a beer and wine garden. (425-776-6711; www.edmondswa.com/ Events/Taste/)