Ever since moving to Washington state nearly 2 years ago, it has never ceased to amaze me, and the best part is I haven’t even explored even half of it yet.
Located in Eastern Washington lies the sleepy village that boasts beauty, sunshine and a small town vibe that makes you feel like it’s home. Nestled at the edge of the Cascade Mountains on the shore of beautiful Lake Chelan lays the small town of Chelan. This resort community is just about 4 hours from Seattle and is a trip worth taking.
A few weekends ago, we had the privilege of checking out the unique areas and trying some amazing wine, food and great adventures.
Watson’s Harverene Resort
Tucked away about 15 minutes from the downtown hustle and bustle sits a beautiful low-key family resort. Located on the South Shore of Lake Chelan, Watson’s has been a prime waterfront resort for many generations. Watson’s isn’t your everyday fancy pantsy resort, either. They have a fascinating history that dates back to the late 1800’s. In 1896, the Watson family filed a homestead and in 1902 the resort began development. Many of the cabins and cottages here today were built in the 1930’s and 40’s. However, you wouldn’t guess it if you looked at them. The cabins are kept under pristine care and have been remodeled and renovated over time to make sure each guest is cozy and can make themselves at home.
Each cabin or cottage is a standalone building with the capacity to have the privacy and getaway experience you were looking for without the atmosphere of a busy resort. Each unit has a kitchen, living room area, nice comfortable beds and a generously sized bathroom. Most units fit up to four people, with some allowing more. They also have a large outdoor pool and hot tub located just next to the lake. During the summer, guests can enjoy water rentals and the privacy of the resort’s own lake swimming area.
Watson’s is such an amazing resort, I couldn’t be more tickled that I came across it. To add to the homely charm, most of the furnishings are built by the Watson family themselves. From the dressers to the bed frames, the units are decorated beautifully with rustic touches and a lake view that will make you wish you never had to leave. www.watsonsresort.com
Wine and Dine at Sorrento’s, Tsillan Cellars
When on a lake, dining near the shore is a must, and when in Lake Chelan, Sorrento’s is a must. Sorrento’s Ristorante is an outstanding eatery that is apart of Tsillan Cellars winery. Located right off the lake, nestled on the vineyards of Tsillan Cellars lays a restaurant that has outstanding Italian food and views to remember. Tsillan Cellar’s owner Dr. Bob Fankelson fell in love with the food of Italy before developing his interest in wine. After dozens of teaching trips to Italy, Tsillan Cellar’s was born, and soon after, Sorrento’s Ristorante followed.
The property has stunning views of Lake Chelan and an admirable architecture both inside and outside the open air restaurant. However, the views aren’t only the reason people keep coming back. Being Italian, I enjoy a good Italian meal, and I can be pretty picky. Everything from the bread to the dessert left me wanting more. Each bite felt worthwhile and was so delectable. We started out our meal with some of Tsillan Cellar’s Estate Syrah, with some homemade bread dipped in aged parmesan butter. Our meals consisted of a juicy flavorful steak served alongside a bed of fresh vegetables and grilled chicken fettuccine. For dessert, we enjoyed a chocolate lava cake and their signature item, a salted caramel butterscotch budino. Sorrento’s at Tsillan Cellars was named OpenTable Top 100 Scenic Restaurants in America in 2014 for the views, service, food and wine. We second that vote! www.tsillancellars.com
Lake Chelan Helicopters
Dale at Lake Chelan Helicopters knows his stuff. He also knows how to give you a good time while offering an amazing view of Lake Chelan from the air. For those wishing for an adventure or just a unique activity, Lake Chelan Helicopters has you covered. With a variety of flight options to choose from such as a simple half hour flight of the Chelan / Manson area, or for a more extensive tour you can fly up to the Stehekin Valley Ranch and enjoy dinner and a guided drive to Rainbow Falls.
We were picked up on a beautiful sunny day in May from the Tsillan Cellar’s landing area. Dale was quick to give us some safety tips and took us aboard. The helicopter had a comfy seats and headphones to speak to each other and listen to Dale as he shared interesting facts about the town as we flew. He kept us entertained, engaged and made us feel safe as we flew over Lake Chelan and over the towns of Mason and Chelan. Our quick but enjoyable ride went by very quickly, but really got our adrenaline pumping and gave me the ability to check ‘rode on a helicopter’ off my bucket list. www.lakechelanhelicopters.com
Even Keel Roadhouse & Lakeside Limo Wine Tours
Owned by the wonderful couple Ronnie and Karrie Khel, the Even Keel Roadhouse has been in operation for about 2 years and Lakeside Limo Wine Tours for about 5. For the joy of keeping things both fun and unique, this couple is the prime duo for bringing you entertainment in Chelan. A few years ago they realized two things: 1) the wine business in Chelan is booming and 2) most tasting rooms close before dark. These two things made this successful husband and wife team form Lakeside Limo Wine Tours and Even Keel Roadhouse.
Lakeside Limo Wine Tours was born in 2004 and now serves Chelan and Mason County for limousine wine tours. One thing I personally love about wine tasting is it is fun to go around tasting wine and getting a bit tipsy to relax and unwind — it especially feels super good when on vacation. However, the downside is that one of us has to be cautious, especially if visiting several wineries because of having to drive from one to the other. How about not having to worry about driving and let your own chauffeur take you from winery to winery? That’s exactly what Lakeside Limo offers. As you can probably assume, this service is incredibly popular for parties, groups, and honeymoons. I personally couldn’t count how many times I had to cancel a wine tasting stop because I needed to be sure I was sober, and yes I know they have the spit bucket, but I somehow feel that’s a bit of a waste of my money.
The limousines are in fabulous condition and our chauffeur, Tim, was impeccable. He greeted us with the utmost respect, and he had a great sense of humor. The limo has all the up to date technology and a full bar area with wine glasses and tubs of water for those needing a fresh drink after all that wine tasting. This is a brilliant idea and something I definitely want to come back and bring a few of my friends to join the ride.
Even Keel Roadhouse was born in 2017 and is the hit spot for locals and visitors to grab some local beverages such as beer and wine. Even Keel provides you with a quiet spot right off the main strip to relax, watch the game, and enjoy some tastings. Unlike most of the tasting rooms in the area, Even Keel has extended hours and food options giving it a tasting room feel but resturant-like hours. www.chelanlimo.com
The Roadhouse has a very nice homey feel without the bar atmosphere. There is a huge selection of wine and beer options, with flights available for purchase as well. Sitting with Ronnie for a few minutes seeing him greet each new and regular customer with a smile really made me appreciate this business. This local family owned operation is truly a success, and both Ronnie and Carrie are doubtless to make sure each customer leaves happy. www.evenkeelroadhouse.com
Lake Chelan Cheese
Lastly, I want to share with you a cute story about another local family owned business right on Lake Chelan. In 2010 when wine country Chelan really starting making its debut, Scott and Stacy Meyers realized something was missing… cheese. So, when Scott’s longtime friend offered them a spot in the Lake Chelan Winery, the Meyers decided to take the leap and open Lake Chelan Cheese. Scott and Stacy both know a lot about wine and a lot about cheese, working in the wine industry for years before opening Lake Chelan Cheese. They got a feel for what people enjoy, and truly this place has a little something for everyone. They carry a wide variety of domestic and imported cheeses from all over the world, and offer complimentary samples.
When we first got up to the cheese counter there was such a wide selection available, but Scott took us by the hand and give us the run down on his favorites and customer favorites. We tried about 10 different types of cheese samples and boy were all of them delicious. Our favorite was a spicy cheddar cheese, we enjoyed it so much we ordered a half pound to take home with us. On the weekends we enjoy some of this cheese on our scrambled eggs, it also goes amazing on sandwiches. It has a unique flavor, a bit spicy with a queso-like taste. The prices are affordable and they even have a cheese club for those die-hard cheese lovers. ww.lakechelancheese.com
So, what did I tell you? Lake Chelan is a little slice of heaven. With views, sunshine, family-style lodging, award winning food and wine and even cheese to look forward to why aren’t you already planning your next trip to Lake Chelan? I know I am!