‘Tiptoeing  through the tulips’ ……in the Scagit Valley, Washington state

11.26pm, Friday 27th March, 8th Ave, Seattle, WA, USA

Evening folks, I’ve just come in from our last event of the three day program for Washington state.

Actually, that’s as far as I got before I dropped off to sleep. So let’s start again.

9.56am, Saturday 28th March, Gate B12, Sea Tac Airport, Seattle, WA, USA

I’m off to San Diego today, and get to play tourist, although we are going to attempt another ‘in the footsteps of Fred Caley Smith’ adventure later on. For those of you who are new to the blog or Yalumba, Fred Caley Smith is our current owners’ second uncle – the elder brother to their grandfather Walter Smith – who ran Yalumba back before World War 1. Any rate – Fred Caley Smith was the Indiana Jones horticulturalist for the family, and was a recognised expert in fruit tree diseases in South Australia. Seeing as Yalumba in those days was a fresh fruit exporter to England, as well as a winemaker, distiller and fruit cannery – Fred was a pretty important part of the machinery. He was sent away to travel on behalf of the family for two years – 1893 & 1894 – to consolidate their traditional export markets in the British Empire, and to open up new arenas of operation in the USA and Canada. Sound familiar? Yep – that’s pretty much been my world for the past 13 years, so at times, even though we’re 120 years apart – it often seems like we’re running on parallel lines. We can compare travel notes though as Fred was an astonishing correspondent – sending 30-50 page hand written reports almost daily to his father – Sidney Smith, son of the founder Samuel Smith. So we often find ourselves doing Yalumba events in exactly the same places where Fred visited – either to promote Yalumba, or look for ways to improve the winery, orchard or canning operations. You should see how excited he gets when he visits the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893, and the ‘new’ thing that is on display that year was electricity!! “The applications” he enthuses – for every part of the business!!

So we’re going to visit the Hotel Del Coronado later on this evening, as Fred stayed there between the 4th and 8th of August 1893 – so wish us luck as we go in search of the ballroom and the original location of the indoor saltwater baths.

But what did we do over the last couple of days? A lot of miles up and down Washington State! Here’s a photo log of some tremendous corners of Washington State – where we’re fortunate to be listed at some pretty fabulous addresses.

On to the ferry from Seattle, and across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island – we chose the warmest and calmest day of the year so far!




Thanks a huge amount to the folks at Town & Country Market – we’re on the shelves there, an easy option with their great soup, chilli and salad bars….and that deli!

Then further north, up the Olympic Peninsula, to Port Hadlock and the legendary Ajax Cafe, right on the beach




They have a fabulous wine dinner schedule each month, and Bill The Rubber Man Wine Guy runs a great show…..




We finished off the very last of the 2010 Signature in the USA with lamb……as you should with Cabernet & shiraz blended together.



There you go, that’s a better photo of the Ajax Cafe Wine Dinner faithful – thanks for coming out in force on a school night!

Then back down to the ferry for the 11.30pm crossing



A few hours sleep – I love that stuff…….

And back up to La Conner and its Historic Waterfront, to see our friends at Nell Conners, right there on the river, just downstream from the Rainbow Bridge



They’ve got our Eden Valley Viognier on, as it goes so well with their crab cakes…..



And their Sockeye Salmon salad….




They’re the local champions of ‘farm to table’ , and we’re thrilled to bits to be on their list


 Now, finally for the tulip bit. Nell Thorn is on the Historical La Conner Waterfront, and they’re smack bang in the middle of the section of the Scagit Valley that’s famous for its tulip fields……and as a stopover point for the Snow Geese on their way to the sprig get together spots further south. This year the tulips are out early, so on the way back to Seattle…… 




There’s just thousands of them!, the Tulip Trail is one of the main tourist seasonal peaks of the La Conner season, and Nell Thorn (Bistro & Pub) had 200 people for lunch on Thursday, and we’re on their way to much the same when we were there yesterday. So thanks again – Holly, Susan & Casey – what a lovely waterside address to be at.

Then it was back to Seattle last night for a blogger interview / food and wine matching session With Jameson (‘Wine without Worry’) 

Finkat the forever fab  Wild Ginger, followed by a trade dinner – same place! 


That brings us to this morning – Goodbye Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Port Hadlock, La Conner, Bow – sorry Tacoma but I’ll see ya next time I’ve already promised Patrick…..

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