A Pacific Northwest Bachelorette Party

I just returned home from a memorable weekend in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, celebrating my sister, Katie, who is getting married in just a few short weeks.  Four years ago she, as my Maid of Honor, planned the most unforgettable and fun-filled bachelorette weekend for me: San Francisco and Sonoma Bachelorette, and now it was my turn to do the same for her!  We gathered together a group of twelve women from Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Manchester, Santa Fe, Denver, and Seattle to celebrate the Bride to Be.  I wanted to have some organized, pre-planned group activities, but also plenty of down time for games, lounging, and drinking wine.  While we wanted most of the weekend to be spent at a cozy cabin overlooking the serene water of Puget Sound, we wanted one exciting night out on the town, and I think we achieved that balance.  Here's the breakdown of our weekend events:

1)  Night Out in Capitol Hill
We arrived in Seattle on Thursday and checked into the Silver Cloud Hotel on Broadway.  The rooms were spacious, the staff was accommodating, and the hotel itself was located in a central location for our plans in Seattle's Capitol Hill that evening.  After a hilly stroll around Capitol Hill and a late lunch, it was time to get ready for a night on the town!  The wedding is going to be in New Orleans, so the first night of the Bachelorette Party was a "Mardi Gras" theme, complete with feather boas, colorful wigs, gold temporary tattoos, and Mardi Gras beads (that I saved from the real Mardi Gras a few years ago).  After a some champagne and group photos at the hotel, we had dinner at a nearby French restaurant, Café Presse, which featured excellent options for vegetarians and meat-etarians alike (ragout aux lentilles, steak-frites, assiette de fromages to share, and a cotes-du-Rhone), followed by karaoke at Rock Box.  The best part of karaoke was being able to rent our own private room, so we had plenty of opportunities to belt out the tunes of our choice with a welcoming and supportive audience!  (After the third round of jello shots, the night became a little foggy, but I recall a few Broadway tunes and plenty of 90s flashbacks.) Our night out in Seattle was a fun and exciting way to kick off our fun weekend together.
In addition to the beads, boas, and temporary tattoos, party favors also included these cute drink coozies from Etsy: Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler coozies


Katie's Krewe

The Krewe, ready for a Mardi Gras-themed night on the town


2)  Travel to Whidbey Island
On Friday morning after some bagels and coffee from Eltana (plus a few Ibuprofen), we checked out of the hotel and carpooled to Whidbey Island, where we would spend the remainder of the weekend.  We had a vacation home reserved on the southern part of the island, so the most direct way to travel was by ferry.  (It is also possible to drive to Whidbey Island by looping around to the north.)  The concept of driving onto a ferry was entirely foreign to me, but it was very self-explanatory once we got to the station in Mukilteo.  It was a quick ride across to Clinton, but we still had a few minutes to get out of the car and take some group photos on the ferry.  Before checking into the vacation home, we did some exploring and shopping in Langley, a quaint and charming town with art galleries, gift shops, book stores, and a variety of restaurants.  We ate lunch at Village Pizzeria (where we sat by the window and attempted unsuccessfully to spot whales in the Sound), shopped for unique gifts and housewares at the Star Store, and perused the Moonraker bookstore.  I cannot say enough good things about this adorable bookstore, which had many of the latest books of a variety of genres, excellent recommendations from staff, and a section of local children's books.  The woman who was working was friendly and knowledgeable, and even had some stories to share about her memories of Santa Fe.  Before leaving Langley we just had to enjoy some chocolate at Sweet Mona's, where we met the enthusiastic and gregarious Mona herself.  The weather was overcast but thankfully we avoided any heavy rain.  

Later that afternoon we checked into our beachfront vacation home off of Bell's Beach Road in Langley.  The cottage was cozy, yet spacious enough for twelve people, and had plenty of room for lounging.  We even had a large hot tub and a patio.  After naps and afternoon drinks it was time for dinner.  I discovered the farm-to-table restaurant Roaming Radish by accident during my online searches, and I truly believe that this little gem is the best-kept secret on Whidbey.  Nestled in the woods off a small and bumpy road, Roaming Radish offers a warm atmosphere, funky décor, impeccable service, outstanding food (small plates and entrees alike), good cocktails and local wines, and a truly memorable dining experience.  The manager, Hannah, and head chef, Jess, greeted our table warmly, and they even prepared a personalized cake for our group.  We loved our experience, and if I ever get back to Whidbey, Roaming Radish is a must on my itinerary.


On the ferry to Whidbey Island

Admiring the spring blooms in Langley

Home for the weekend

Beachfront backyard

Pausing for pics at Roaming Radish

The group at Roaming Radish, getting ready to enjoy Katie's mocha cake with buttercream frosting!


3) Hiking & Whidbey Wine Tour

Saturday morning began with a group hike (small group, however, as most party attendees took advantage of some extra Zzzzs) at the Putney Woods County Park, a wooded trail system that was just a few minutes away from our vacation home.  Whenever I visit the Pacific Northwest I am always in awe of the lush greenery and abundant moss, which gave so much life and rich beauty to the hiking trails.  Although our time was limited that morning, I enjoyed getting out in nature and enjoying Whidbey Island's natural beauty.

The main event on Saturday was a tour of the Whidbey Island wineries, and there were certainly a lot to choose from!  In the interest of time, we decided to just hit a few of the highlights on the southern part of the island.  My sister-in-law found these hilarious accessories for us all to wear on our wine adventures: Wine Cork Willy.  The most challenging logistical part of planning the wine tour was to find transportation for twelve people.  I struggled to find a local limousine service on the island, so I ended up booking a 12-passenger van through Price4Limo, which may have been more expensive than other options but worked fine for our purposes.  Our first stop was Holmes Harbor Cellars in Greenbank, which features several uniquely crafted wines and has received several awards.  The owner of the winery, Greg, was knowledgeable and welcoming.  We could have stayed all afternoon chatting with him and learning about the grapes.  Stop number two on the tour Dancing Fish Vineyards, located in a charming barn surrounded by vineyards.  There is a patio area as well as a large picnic table near the vineyard, which was perfect for our group.  At this stop we decided to purchase three bottles for the group instead of doing the complete 6-course wine tasting.  This was another beautiful spot on this sunny afternoon, and we could have relaxed there all day!  Our final stop of the day was the Spoiled Dog Winery, which ended up being my favorite.  The owner was hospitable and friendly to our group, inviting us to enjoy the outdoor space overlooking the vineyards while she served us the tastings, and we even got to meet the "spoiled dog!"  While the different wines sort of blend together at this point in the afternoon (no pun intended), I really enjoyed the reds at Spoiled Dog, especially their Penn Cove blend.  Before we knew it, it was time to board the bus and head back to the house for some afternoon hot tubbing and naps.  We made dinner at the house that night, followed by cocktails, games and gifts, and it was the perfect final night together before we departed in the morning.  As a few special add-ons to the weekend, I had created some wedding-themed Mad Libs and also compiled a book of memories for the Bride to Be, which included stories from some of her girls who were unable to attend the Bachelorette festivities.  I loved this gold shimmery banner I found on Etsy: Bachelorette Banner

Morning hike

Holmes Harbor Cellars

Enjoying the sunshine at Dancing Fish

Beautiful day at Dancing Fish
Favorite stop: Spoiled Dog



Spoiled Dog Winery

Meeting the famous Spoiled Dog
Katie's Krewe


4)  Au Revoir 
On Sunday morning (which happened to be Easter Sunday), we were blessed with clear skies and unobstructed views of the Cascade Mountains and Mt. Baker to the east.  The early-birds of the group enjoyed a cozy morning of curling up on the porch with coffee, blankets and books to enjoy our last morning on Whidbey.  I would have loved one additional day to explore some of the other towns on the island, do a longer hike at one of the state parks, and visit Greenbank Farms and other well-known attractions, but alas our weekend had to come to an end.  We checked out of the vacation home at 10:00 to make our way back to Seattle.  A small group of us had a couple extra hours for a walk in the city on this beautiful, sunny afternoon, and enjoyed sushi for lunch before I had to leave for the airport.  As a perfect wrap-up to the weekend, we were lucky enough to view Mt. Rainier in the distance during our drive to the airport.  So long Seattle, and we hope to see you again soon!



Morning view of the Cascades from the Bells Beach Vacation Home



The weekend was memorable and full of laughter (and alcohol), and I would love to return to Whidbey and the town of Langley again on my Pacific Northwest travels.  This region is truly one of the most beautiful places in the country, and the hospitality and charm we experienced made the trip even more special.

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