Like much of our vacation, this trip was mostly unplanned. We decided to wander a bit with no agenda. The first day was a late start on a drive on Highway 20 through the mountains. The photo is from the one stop we made along the way. Our arrival in Winthrop was in the early evening. Upon a recommendation from our host at the Chewuch Bed and Breakfast (we rented a cabin with a kitchenette), we went into Twisp to dine at the Twisp River Pub. The dinner was really good, but sadly, as with many places, there was too much food, so we packed it before heading home. We strolled through downtown Winthrop before heading back to the B&B.
The next day, after a good breakfast, we drove back through Twisp along Highway 20. It was a pleasant, if grey, morning. We passed through Okanogan and went into Omak. It was there that the co-signer's library fetish kicked in. She wanted a picture. I wanted a bathroom. As it turned out a restaurant that I had read the menu from at the B&B that morning was across the street from the library. The Breadline Cafe is a kitschy sort of place from the decor. The building it is rather large and it needs to be in order to house the kitchen, the bar, the dining room, and the bakery (not to mention all of the nostalgic items placed everywhere). We stopped in to look, but rather than eat (still full from breakfast) we headed up Highway 20/97 to Tonasket (another library stop) and Oroville.
We stopped in Oroville to snap another library picture. Across the street from the library is a wine tasting room for Okanogan Estates winery. Our pourer knew the basics about the wines, but not a whole lot more. Luckily, the wines spoke for themselves. There were a couple that were quite good. We grabbed a bottle each of their Gewurztraminer and Bench Rock (Bordeaux blend). Not much further down the road was Lake Crest Winery's tasting room. We weren't as thrilled with most of their wines, but they had an outstanding Syrah Ice Wine. I don't normally go for the dessert wines, but this one was very good. The flavors of the syrah grapes really tamed the sugars of the ice wine style. Very nice.
Our visit to Oroville's lake side park was cut brief by some rain falling. We did stop and would have gotten a picture, but there was too much rain and fog for it. Before we left for the holiday I had gone looking for my birth certificate in order to cross into Canada (damn, stupid, idiotic Fatherland Security regulations). Unfortunately, I couldn't locate it anywhere. It wasn't in the place I normally keep it. This was particularly distressful since I was planning on applying for a passport soon. Since I didn't have my documentation, the co-signer didn't bring hers either. We discussed going across the border with the owner of Lake Crest Winery (she cursed the regulations as well noting that she's known some of the border guards her entire life and they still are required to ask her "Where do you live?"), but ultimately decided not to chance it. That turned out to be rather fortuitous.
Instead we drove north and west through the country side on the Loomis-Oroville road. After passing through Nighthawk we drove south along the same road. The country is gorgeous here. Golden Rolling hills and jagged peaks, green patches where farming takes place along a riverside. Eventually, we pulled off to the side of the road at the north end of Palmer Lake. Here we enjoyed a picnic lunch of cheese and crackers and snapped a few pictures. We then drove to the south end where there's a park and snapped a few more pictures. We drove through Loomis south along the Sinlahekin Road into National forest land. Along the way we saw lots of pheasants and some wild turkeys (sadly, no mountain goats, which were hoping to come across). Of course, we saw deer as well, but that was a common site around Twisp and Winthrop, so we were less awed by that. We eventually came upon Forde Lake which is a gorgeous little spot along a dirt road. There was little to no traffic on the road at this time, so we had the place to ourselves. It was lovely and quiet.
Eventually we passed through the resort area of Conconully. A few cabins, but not much else to see here. The lake looks nice, but compared to where we came from, it also looked crowded. By this point we needed gas so we took the Conconully Road back to Highway 20 and Omak. We stopped off at the Breadline Cafe for our dinner that evening. The co-signer enjoyed a rather tasty pear cider with her meal. The breads were delish. My shrimp jambalaya could have been spicier, but it was still tasty. We shared a brandied bread pudding for dessert and it was very good. After dinner we headed back to our base in Winthrop. We stopped at Hank's along the way to pick up some coffee (for me) and tea with the idea that we'd stay up and watch the VP debate. However, we missed the circus.
The next day was also quite nice. We stopped for coffee at The Local 98856 (a really nice spot...the decor isn't what makes it, but rather that you can buy local, organic products here from chevre, to milk and eggs, to sanwiches, flour, honey, and more). I'ld link, but they don't appear to have a site. Saveur rated them highly recently. We then walked around Twisp, stopping at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery (where we bought some yummy fresh baked bread and brownies) and the Glover Street Market (natural food store where I bought some flour - no linkage available). We shot some photos and headed on home along Highway 20 again. I took a bit of a detour on the way home and drove south through Darington along the Mountain Loop "Highway". That led to some more lovely scenery as we eventually made our way along some 1 lane roads through the Mount Baker forest and ended up connecting to the Mountain Loop "Highway" again heading into Granite Falls.
All in all, a lovely and leisurely holiday.