Kris and I joined the Gingerich family for an extended weekend vacation, visiting Jenn’s parents in Yakima.
Yakima bills itself as “The Palm Springs of Washington”. I’m not sure that’s apt — how often does Palm Springs get snow? Yakima is located in central Washington, and is surrounded by low mountains; its climate is ideal for growing fruit. Apple orchards and pear orchards and cherry orchards abound. There’s even a small wine industry.
The last time we visited Yakima with the Gingeriches was three years ago in April. It was a shorter visit, and there was no snow on the ground. This time we stayed for three-and-a-half days, and there was plenty of snow.
On Saturday, I joined the women for a quick trip to Value Village. I picked up three t-shirts (including a real prize: an orange t-shirt with the puzzling slogan: “I agree with Tyler and Pete”) and, at the prompting of Kris and Jenn, two sweaters.
Jeremy wanted to go wine-tasting in the afternoon. I was reluctant at first, but had a lot more fun than I’d expected. We only visited three vineyards, but the wine was good, and, because of my reduced calorie intake, it didn’t take much tasting for me to get a little tipsy. I bought several bottles, including two of a black Muscat from Hyatt Vineyards. It’s a pleasant strawberry-tinted summer dessert wine — not too sweet. (I also picked up some cheese-stuffed kalamata olives soaked in garlic!) At Bonair Winery, the owners’ son waited upon us. He poured wine and chatted until we found ourselves late for our dinner reservations. Jeremy bought a case of wine from him, and I bought a couple of bottles of mead, a drink made from honey instead of grapes. “The beverage of Chaucer and Beowulf” — it’s great stuff!. We tried a fantastic chili mead ‐ mead with a single chili pepper soaking in the bottle — but Bonair had none to sell us. Jeremy and I hope to send Jenn’s parents up for a case of the stuff when it’s bottled again next summer.
(Also: Bonair Winery featured a display of small, over-priced quilts. Some of them were quite beautiful, it’s true, but the prices seemed outlandish (several hundred dollars each). My favorite part of the display were the signs next to the quilts: “Please do not touch art”. HA! “Please do not touch art” sounds like an admonition you’d give a child: “Art is to be viewed, not touched.”)
We eventually made it to dinner at Birchfield Manor only a few minutes late. We had a fine meal and pleasant conversation before retiring to the house for cigars and a dip in the hot tub.
On Sunday we drove north to see the elk-feeding. We were more excited by the birds. There were several eagles soaring around a nearby hill, and one which seemed to be feeding on a dead elk. Jenn’s parents are avid birders (they just returned from a birding trip in the Caribbean), and had brought their birding binoculars with them. After we watched the elk (and the eagles), we stopped at another location to look at big-horned sheep. There, we also saw several deer and some larger elk.
There was a bit of snowfall Sunday morning, but we woke to several inches on Monday. After the kids finished watching The Pink Panther (which they love), we spent some time sledding down the backyard slope. Because of my knee, I was reluctant to join, but once I did, I had a blast.
Other highlights from the weekend include: crab and roast for dinner, playing UNO with the kids, ripping CDs from Bruce and Janet’s collection, watching the second and third chapters of Undersea Kingdom with Hank, helping Bruce learn to edit home movies on his computer, making monochromatic photographs, and driving back over a snowy pass last night.
It was a relaxing weekend for everyone I think, even Jeremy (though his idea of relaxation involves things like clearing all the snow from the driveway). Kris and I are thankful to Jeremy and Jennifer for inviting us to join them, and to Bruce and Janet for their wonderful hospitality.
On 03 February 2004 (09:34 AM),
On 03 February 2004 (01:50 PM),
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On 03 February 2004 (03:52 PM),