Complete Guide to Visiting Woodinville

Where to go, what to do, and where to dine in Seattle’s next-door wine-tasting enclave.

By Allison Williams Published in the Fall 2020 issue of Seattle Met

A savory spread from the PicNic Table. Photograph by Brandon Hill

Eat / Play / Stay

Takeout Gone Tasteful

Wine and vacation both beg for an outdoor meal, and Italian-born Danilo Amato delivers at The PicNic Table, stocking “baskets” full of Mediterranean eats (BYO actual wicker hamper). The smallest has nine different bites, from chicken pate to smoked salmon deviled eggs; larger versions include a charcuterie and cheese plate, flavors that pair well with just about any Washington wine you purchased in the heat of tastings. The city has a few parks that make for DIY alfresco eateries—Amato also likes Saint Edward State Park just west of town—but Woodinville’s best picnic spot is the lawn at Matthews Winery, where red chairs and big umbrellas sit on lush green grass. 

The Herbfarm: Like a fairy tale, but with less cursed produce.

Feast for the Ages

Lights, camera, dinner: Every meal is a production at the longtime fine-dining staple The Herbfarm, a cozy cottage that looks like an extension of the garden and farm that fuel its themed meals. Expect a salute to Copper River salmon or a meditation on Northwest mushrooms. Born an actual herb stand that grew into nine-course single-seating banquets (with at least five paired wines), the restaurant includes a tour and intro to house pigs Basil and Borage with each reservation. Pageantry aside, the meals themselves are worth the ovation that usually concludes each night’s presentation. 

Eat / Play / Stay

Tour de Sammamish.

Pour by Pedal

Despite the broad, paved Sammamish River Trail that bisects the valley, Woodinville is a bit short on bike rental shops (unless you want to group pedal on Party Cycle NW’s big rigs). But the next town over is home to Redmond Cycle, which does rentals, and after 50 years can claim to be the premier two-wheel outfit east of Lake Washington. Redmond’s Edge and Spoke, much newer, includes e-bikes in its fleet. Point your handlebars toward the excellent Sammamish River route for easy pedaling and a wide-open view of the region’s agrarian calm. Wilmot Gateway Park, in the center of Woodinville, makes for a good break spot. 

Nature Nurture

As a counterbalance to Woodinville’s busy, urban verve, Paradise Valley Conservation Area is an aptly named oasis, with nearly 800 acres of nature-trail calm. The property was a homestead dating back to the 1800s before the parcel became public land in the 2000s. The Bear Creek wetlands are now protected, and the area’s trails offer wildlife viewing, especially of the bird variety. Don’t be surprised to see local horseback riders out for an equine spin. 

Eat / Play / Stay

My Own Private Hidey-Hole

Just as the Herbfarm takes dining to ridiculous heights next door, the Willows Lodge turns the relaxation dial to 11. The whole hotel feels like a fancy spa, from the manicured landscaping to the wood and stone lobby, though technically only part of the grounds are dedicated to luxe Lomi Lomi massages and an outdoor soaking pool. Rooms open to private patios or balconies, with giant tubs and sliding doors that allow for a mid-soak view of a fireplace. The hotel sits between a busy road, several restaurants, and a couple wineries, but you’d never know it until you snag a free loaner bicycle and head beyond its boundaries. 

Couch envy at Holly Creek Bed and Breakfast.

Farm Fresh

The wine-tasting catch-22: The more you like to drink, the less able you are to drive to new wineries, what with that whole alcohol thing. The dilemma is near-solved at the Holly Creek Bed and Breakfast, an easy stroll from several tasting rooms and a brisk walk from the biggies like Chateau Ste. Michelle and Novelty Hill-Januik. The newest iteration of a 1930s farmhouse that once presided over a mink farm—how’s that for industries of yore—the recently renovated four-room home skips the usual B&B chintz. Rent the whole house for a truly distanced experience. 

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