Hot-air balloons score the best Mount Rainier views in the valley.

Given Woodinville’s inescapable wine scene, it’s hard to remember that the first winemaker didn’t put down roots (or decorative vines) here until the late 1970s. The town has long felt far from the Seattle and Bellevue bustle, despite sitting just a few miles inland, and the green Sammamish Valley practically demands you move at a relaxed pace.

Tour de Sammamish.

Biking

Despite the broad, paved Sammamish River Trail that runs through 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 Woodinville Bicycle has a small fleet of demo cycles available for 24-hour rentals, all high-end models. Redmond’s Edge and Spoke, in the next town over, 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.

Hiking

As a counterbalance to Woodinville’s busy, bachelorette-party 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. 

Hot-Air Ballooning

While the takeoff point for hot-air balloon rides from Over the Rainbow is usually in Woodinville, the landing spot depends on the wind. Some breezes can float the basket toward Lake Washington with the Seattle skyline in the distance, while others bring the Cascade foothills even closer. A chase car brings everyone back to Woodinville no matter where you end up. Wine (for sunset flights) or champagne toasts (at sunrise) are included.

Woodinville Whiskey offers a pour for the wine averse.

Distillery Tastings

Wine may reign supreme in the pastoral Woodinville countryside, but other alcohol makers have sprouted between wineries, delivering options for the grape-averse. Woodinville Whiskey Company uses grain from Quincy in Central Washington for small-batch bourbons and ryes, pouring samples in a tasting room lined with wood like a whiskey barrel. On the northwestern end of town, Puget Sound Rum Company's Rum 47 is named for the latitude line that bisects Washington, and the distillers add local honey to their Comb and Cane version.

One green is almost an island at Golf Club at Echo Falls.

Golf

Kids, beginners, nonmembers: Everyone is welcome at the Golf Club at Echo Falls just northeast of Woodinville. Even the dress code is low-key; please wear a shirt, but no poofy pants or polo shirts required. The par-70 course finishes with a dramatic water shot to a green that's almost an island. Strikers' Bar and Grille overlooks that picturesque 18th hole, so expect an audience. Tee times must be booked seven days in advance.

The spa at Willows Lodge specializes in high-end relaxation.

Spa

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 is dedicated to luxe Lomi Lomi massages and Turkish scrubs. Customers get access to a soaking pool and a private outdoor sauna.

 

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