Monday, September 1, 2014

walla walla :: part 1

A few months ago me and Pat met his parents in Walla Walla, Washington to explore the wine region. This is something we had been wanting to do for several years now, and since Bend is much closer to Southeastern Washington than Corvallis was, we figured we might as well seize the opportunity. It was a really fun weekend in a beautiful area, and of course, the wine was amazing.

thursday (6/26) :: night 1
We left Bend Thursday evening after work and began the 5 hour drive to the to Southeastern Washington town of Walla Walla, which is right over the border of Oregon. The drive was a bit tedious, but it was beautiful. We got to go through nearly endless farm lands, small towns that looked like they were frozen in time, and drive along the Columbia River Gorge with views of wind turbines in the distance (I love wind turbines because they remind me of California), before passing through Pendelton, and finally entering Washington around 9:00pm. Pat's dad had rented a home/small startup winery just outside of town where we stayed for the weekend. The location ended up being very private and a great central location to almost all of the wineries we wanted to explore. Once we arrived we sat on the deck while enjoying a glass of wine, and then went to bed early in preparation for a long day.

[[ driving through the oregon countryside. rainbow! small towns. nearly endless stretches of road. the gorge. the sunset. almost there. ]]

friday (6/27) :: day 1
After breakfast we gathered our things and headed out for a little drive through the beautiful countryside before going to the airport area, which interestingly enough contains several tasting rooms in a small radius. We got off to a bit of a rough start at CAVU Cellars, which was simply not good, but made up for it on our next stop at Russell Creek Winery, which was delicious. We ended up purchasing some bottles there. Next we went up the street to Dunham Cellars Winery, which ended up being one of my favorites, both in terms of their wine, and the overall experience. Though it was simply a tasting room, the outside area was lovely and they had a huge barn type of space in the back with very eclectic decorations that was perfect to hang out in while tasting. There were even some delicious sample pairings out like bread and various olive oils and balsamic vinaigrettes, as well as chocolate, so I mean, I really had everything I needed there. Because Pat's dad is a wine member we got to go in the back and pick out some reserves as well, and ended up taking home a fancy bottle that we are saving for our anniversary next year.

[[ the grounds at our vacation rental. wild bunnies everywhere! a drive through the country. endless fields of wheat. dunham cellars. ]]

After Dunham we went to K Vintners, which was hands down my favorite of the trip. K was much different than any winery I have ever experienced. Not only was the wine delicious, but the whole aesthetic was very "rock n' roll". I don't know how else to describe it. I mean... there was a vintage motorcycle in the back and drippy gothic candles on old wine bottles lit the room. (Not to mention that the owner looks a bit like the lead singer from Coheed and Cambria). I also loved the design of their labels, often centered around grungy lettering and insane illustrations incorporating owner Charles Smith. The location was excellent also, tucked back in the country on the owners family's old farmhouse estate, and tastings were offered in a white washed barn.

[[ the grounds. barn tasting room. an old portrait of the owner's parents. exploring the back room. tasting flight. fancy magnums in the back. drippy gothic candles. the best wine label ever (we went home with one of these)! overall sweet design aesthetic. motorcycle. wall of fame. reenactment picture (like the one i took in nola). crazy fruit. guard dogs. ]]

Once we had tasted everything we could get our hands on at K, and explored the back room for special bottles, the four of us headed to Walla Walla's quiet little downtown for some lunch. We went to the French themed Brasserie Four where we sat outside shared a flatbread, mussels, and prosecco. We had just finished eating the delicious food when it started pouring down rain. Pat and his dad sought refuge in a few of the downtown tasting rooms, while me and his step mom went for the antique stores. Once the storm calmed down we went back to the house to rest up and change for dinner.

[[ lunch at brasserie four. the storm rolling in. antiquing in downtown walla walla. ]]

Since Pat's dad and step mom had been to Walla Walla several times, we left all of the planning up to them. For our first night they made reservations at Whitehouse Crawford, which was situated in an old mill and seemed very colonial to me. We had a drink before dinner and then not surprisingly, more wine with our meals. I ordered the halibut and it was delicious. After dinner we walked down the street to the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel which pats step mom wanted to show us. We spent a bit of time exploring the grand rooms and then had a night cap before heading back to the house for bed.

[[ dinner at whitehouse crawford. my halibut. the interior. strange artifacts in the waiting area (the dollar reads something about japanese currency and lists one peso as the tender). exploring the marcus whitman. ]]

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

my week in pictures 66
my birthday

monday 6/18 - sunday 8/24

Last week was a bit of a recovery from all of the Brewfest madness the week before, so as you can imagine, my birthday weekend was much more mellow in comparison. I made it through my work week, bowled with some friends on Wednesday, went to a little "girls night" on Friday and then celebrated a bit Saturday and Sunday.

[[ bowling with the dinans - i am terrible, but definitely had the best bowling ball ever, which was way too heavy for me. sweet new workout pants. ice cream! pretty little heirloom tomatoes. ]]

On Saturday me and Pat tried brunch at Jackson's Corner and then headed to the Farmers Market at NWX, which was admittedly smaller than I anticipated, but I still got to try the ice cream truck I have been stalking online called Addy Mac's. They make everything from scratch using as many local ingredients as possible and have really unique flavors, often incorporating some of the brews from around here. I ended up getting a waffle cone of their coffee ice cream and it was by far the best I have ever had. Ice cream = happy Jenn. After that we sat outside of a little wine bar for a glass, went home and relaxed on the hammock, went for a walk around our hood, made a delicious scallop dinner, and drank some wine while we watched movies. Super relaxing Saturday.

[[ farmers market. finally getting my ice cream on!! ]]

We were a bit more ambitious on Sunday, which was my actual birthday. In the morning Pat let me sleep in, made me macadamia nut waffles (yum!), and then we walked to Pilot Butte and did the full hike, which is exactly what I wanted. We stayed at the top a bit longer than usual soaking up the sun and then made our way back down to get ready for the day. Pat had made dinner reservations at Pine Marten Lodge on top of Mt. Bachelor, but we had a little time (and were both getting a bit hangry), so we ran by Boneyard to get our free birthday hats, and then to Crux for a beer and some lunch.

[[ friday night's scallop dinner. bday breakfast! pilot butte hike. beautiful wildflowers. the city. my free birthday hat! ]]

Afterward we drove up to Bachelor and I experienced my first ski lift ride to get to the lodge. I, disliking ferris wheels for their height, was totally freaked out, but it was actually a really fun experience. At the top we grabbed drinks and then met our friends to take some pictures before dinner. The dinner was so so, as expected, but the uniqueness of the evening was worth every penny. After watching an amazing sunset and finishing our meals we called it a night and headed back down the lift. Despite it being August it was absolutely FREEZING at this point and I was thankful that they gave out blankets for the dark ride down. I am also thankful that the ride down was completely dark, because despite that adding a bit more of a fear factor, I was unable to see the 40ft drop directly below us, and the much larger one in the distance. Plus, nighttime lift rides are kinda romantical. Kuddos to Pat for planning out the night! I had an awesome time!

[[ the ski lift. scurred selfies during the ride. views of the sisters and broken top from the lodge. cheesing it up. reflection shots. the amazing and unobstructed sunset from 7,775 feet. my dinner. goodnight. ]]

Here is a little video I took of the ride up before my phone was too full. Pat took a really funny one also of me kind of freaking out (with excellent commentary by the way), but I don't have it in a high enough quality to post right now. You can find it on Facebook though.


Oh yea, I also ate ice cream almost every single day this week. I am not sure if that is winning or loosing, but I think I'm ok with it! Ok, ok, I have eaten it several days this week too... This is why I NEVER have ice cream cartons at my house! Way too tempting.

Friday, August 22, 2014

my week in pictures 65
pat's bday // brewfest weekend

monday 8/11 - sunday 8/17

Last week was all about Pat, and beer... lots of beer in honor of his birthday. 

We basically started off Pat's bday week on Wednesday with the IPA Wars at 10 Barrel, which was a blind tasting to rate the best IPAs by region. Central Oregon won, followed by Washington, the rest of Oregon, and lastly California. While we were there we bumped in to the owners of Pfriem in Hood River and Pat showed them that he was wearing his Pfriem shirt, so they ended up taking a picture of us and putting it on their Instagram. Pat was pretty excited. One kind of crummy thing about the week was that it was pretty much all rain and thunder/lightening storms, so while we were tasting various IPAs we were getting soaked! I have never seen it rain that hard over here. Thank goodness for our Columbia rain jackets, but my poor boots got soaked through! I guess I put a hole in them at Smith Rock while we were taking our engagement pictures... oops.

On Thursday we went to day 1 of Brewfest for a bit in the evening with Hayden, Maggie, and Sam who were in town for the festivities, and then bumped in to Braydon and Rory before Tony and Alex showed up later. It was still damp and pretty cold out, but at least there was no torrential downpour while we were out this time. Later that night Sam brought her puppy Rogue over to our place, so we got some puppy play time in too!

[[ weekly storms. downpour at 10 barrel. we're famous! ipa wars. brewfest night 1. silly group shot fails. puppy play time! ]]

Friday we packed up and got ready to move in to the vacation rental that we had booked for our large incoming group. We had not necessarily planned on making it to Brewfest that day, but we had about an hour to kill, so we showed up for a little bit to experience day 2 before getting back to the house before everyone started showing up. Throughout the rest of the night, our group of 21 arrived and we just hung at the rental, which ended up being perfect for everyone. Luckily the rain had stopped also and we got awesome weather all day Friday and Saturday.

[[ brewfest day 2: live art. custom mustache mugs. the biggest moth ever. we're awesome. ]]

Saturday was Pat's actual birthday (Happy Birthday babe!!!) so we all rolled to Brewfest day 3 with the most ridiculous set up ever. We seriously established a compound with our own corn hole set, lawn chairs, blankets, hydroflasks filled with ice water, and even a quick shade. It was awesome. We were in the amphitheater almost until closing playing games, tasting everything we could get our hands on, and sampling some food cart goodness. Finally we gathered everyone and cabbed it back to the house for the night. When we got back me and Megan put our cupcake plan in to action and presented Pat with some pretty sweet superhero cupcakes (if I do say so myself), and then, as you can imagine, the rest of the evening was a blur of Cards Against Humanity, hot tubbing, drinks, etc. before we all went to bed. I had also made Pat a sweet bday shirt (as requested by him) for Saturday that said "It's My Birthday Pour Big" and I was told it actually worked a few times! 

[[ brewfest day 3: pat & his bday shirt! corn hole. bros. bff. group shot attempts. a weird selfie of the random guys taking the pictures for us. group shot wins minus a few people. epic superhero cupcakes! ]]

On Sunday we all packed up/cleaned up and then headed to breakfast before most of the group split for home. We had a few stragglers so we decided to go float the Deschutes and then had a BBQ at our place while the sun set. Sunday night there was a massive storm over Bend and I stood outside for about an hour filming the sky to catch some sweet lightening shots. I got a ton, but the one below was definitely the best! Thanks to Alex for standing outside and staring at a blank sky with me for so long.

[[ floating with friends. yes, i wore this pirate hat ALL DAY LONG. ]]

And check out the sweet video below of the lightening storm!!! If you turn up your volume you can hear the thunder roar in too. So pumped I caught this one as it snaked across the sky. I shot this from our driveway.