Cel­e­brate Wash­ing­ton at Tri-Cities Lodge at Columbia Point | HO­TEL

at Columbia Point

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - | By Nancy Zaf­faro

With more than 200 winer­ies within a one hour’s drive of Rich­land, Pasco and Ken­newick, to­gether known as the Tri-Cities, the time is right to visit this Eastern Wash­ing­ton State re­gion for a wine tast­ing hol­i­day. And the Lodge at Columbia Point, a bou­tique wine ho­tel that opened in May of 2017, is the per­fect home base while you sip, dine and ex­plore the area.

While wet and wily Western Wash­ing­ton sees 35-38 inches of rain an­nu­ally, Eastern Wash­ing­ton re­ceives only about eight — and en­joys 300 days of sun­shine. This dry and fer­tile re­gion grows an in­cred­i­ble bounty of crops, in­clud­ing wine grapes that be­come world-class wines.

The Tri-Cities are well-sit­u­ated for vis­it­ing some of Columbia Val­ley AVA’s top winer­ies, in­clud­ing those in the sub-AVA’s of Red Moun­tain, Horse Heaven Hills Rat­tlesnake Hills, Yakima Val­ley, and Walla Walla Val­ley.

Em­brac­ing its agri­cul­tural roots and thriv­ing busi­nesses has also meant be­com­ing a hub of fab­u­lous wine es­tate tast­ing rooms, chef-driven, farm-fresh cui­sine, and a host of ac­tiv­i­ties for vis­i­tors.

THE LODGE AT COLUMBIA POINT

With a serene view of the Columbia River and Columbia Point Har­bor, a trip is only ac­cen­tu­ated with a stay at The Lodge at Columbia Point. The ho­tel part­ners with some of the AVA’s best winer­ies. Each of the rooms and suites is named for one of these 82 wine part­ners. The 62,777 square feet ho­tel in­cludes a res­tau­rant, wine bar, pool, hot tub, ex­er­cise room, and a mas­sage spa, as well as nu­mer­ous guest spaces in which to re­lax with a glass of wine.

The same large Douglas Fir nat­u­ral beams and tres­tles that greet you just out­side the Lodge’s en­trance ex­tend to the Lodge’s in­te­rior. The stairs lead­ing to the sec­ond floor res­tau­rant use re­claimed wood and fea­ture a hand-blown glass chan­de­lier.

The Lodge is a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of hand­crafted con­struc­tion that blends into the sun-kissed land­scape. El­e­gant yet ca­sual, the em­pha­sis is on re­lax­ation — and on the award-win­ning wines that so de­fine the re­gion.

THE LODGE LIV­ING ROOM

For me, the heart of the Lodge is the main floor liv­ing room. This wel­com­ing gath­er­ing space is invit­ing and com­fort­able. En­joy the li­brary and open gas fire­places. Comfy so­fas, club chairs and table light­ing en­cour­age you to settle in. It’s here that wine part­ners take turns host­ing so­cial hours that in­clude their wines, along with some nib­bles. Dur­ing my stay, I en­joyed tast­ings both evenings, with wines from Drumheller Wines and Alexan­dria Nicole Cel­lars. Check with the ho­tel for the sched­ule.

Just off the Liv­ing Room is the out­door river view deck. Sit­ting around the wel­com­ing out­door fire pit presents just an­other op­tion to re­lax with a glass of wine.

FOOD AND DRINK AT THE LODGE

In the morn­ing, there’s a com­pli­men­tary break­fast in Drumheller’s, the Lodge’s sec­ond floor res­tau­rant. Floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows face the water­front and start your day out right. The break­fast spread of­fers fresh-baked bak­ery items, sal­ads, hot dishes, fresh and dried fruits, a yo­gurt bar, and Chef Pauline Garza’s home­made gra­nola.

Vine Wine and Craft Bar is a great spot to stop for a glass of re­gional wine or a craft cock­tail. Order bites from Chef Pauline’s small plates menu. Try this young and tal­ented chef ’s coun­try-fried oys­ters and the ex­cel­lent char­cu­terie board. (Don’t miss the pecan pra­lines and pick­led grapes.) Get wine rec­om­men­da­tions from Rod, the ho­tel’s som­me­lier; yet an­other op­por­tu­nity to learn more about the area’s wines. The same com­mit­ment to fresh, re­gional cui­sine goes into the dishes on Drumheller’s din­ner menu. Roasted veg­eta­bles and pan-seared Chi­nook sal­mon are two items you may find on the sea­sonal menu.

Lodge Ameni­ties

The Lodge’s Wood­ward Canyon Spa fea­tures a tran­quil hand-painted can­vas wall. The Spa uses doTERRA prod­ucts that will leave you re­freshed for the du­ra­tion of your trav­els. An ex­er­cise room is avail­able. The open air

pool and hot tub of­fers water­front views and com­fort­able seat­ing around a roar­ing fire­place.

CA­SU­ALLY LUX­U­RI­OUS ROOMS

Spa­cious and well-ap­pointed, my river­front room in­cludes a king-sized bed with ex­cel­lent top-qual­ity pil­lows and bed­ding, gas fire­place, and kitch­enette with re­frig­er­a­tor, mi­crowave, bar sink, cof­feemaker, pre­mium cof­fee and teas. The kitch­enette is stocked with cof­fee mugs, stemware, sil­ver­ware, ice bucket, wine opener, and pro­vides am­ple counter space for a snack when you re­lax with a bot­tle of wine. I stayed in the Feléc­i­tas Room; Feléc­i­tas is one of the ex­cel­lent wines in the nearby Red Moun­tain AVA.

Small de­tails mat­ter. I ap­pre­ci­ated the bed­side charg­ing sta­tions and bath­room light­ing that could be dimmed, mak­ing those nigh-time and morn­ing tran­si­tions com­fort­able. The spa­cious bath­room fea­tures a large walkin rain shower that thought­fully place the faucets at the shower’s en­try rather than near the show­er­head so wa­ter tem­per­a­ture can be ad­justed with­out get­ting soaked. (It surprises me how rarely this is done.)

WINE TAST­ING

En­joy nearby din­ing op­tions in Rich­land, in­clud­ing Fic­tion @ J. Book­wal­ter Win­ery, LuLu Craft Bar and Kitchen, and The Kitchen at Barnard Grif­fin Win­ery. (Don’t miss a stop into the tast­ing room and the art glass stu­dio at Barnard Grif­fin, where you can make your own art glass piece.)

Your big­gest chal­lenge will be in de­cid­ing which winer­ies to visit. Here again, the ho­tel’s som­me­lier can help. In­ter­ested in a wine tast­ing that in­cludes food pair­ings, or a horse­back ride or wagon ride through the vine­yards? Those op­tions are avail­able. You may also want to visit the Wal­ter Clore Wine and Culi­nary Cen­ter for a unique wine ex­pe­ri­ence. Here, taste re­gional wines and en­joy ed­u­ca­tional ex­hibits, classes and at­tend events. The Cen­ter

is named for Wal­ter Clore, of­ten called the “fa­ther of Wash­ing­ton wine.” Come away with even more knowl­edge about the di­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton’s wine and ter­roir.

EX­PLORE THE TRI-CITIES AREA

Be­sides wine tast­ing and fab­u­lous lo­cal cui­sine, the area of­fers much in the way of out­door ex­plo­ration. Three rivers in the area — the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers — of­fer scenic boat­ing and pad­dling and there are miles of trails of hik­ing and eques­trian trails.

Ex­plor­ing the Tri-Cities can be­gin just out­side the ho­tel’s river­front pa­tio. Stroll along some or all of the paved Rich­land River­front Trail that be­gins just at the Columbia Point Ma­rina. The walk­ing and bik­ing trail is seven miles long. The trail is part of the ex­ten­sive 23-mile Sa­ca­jawea Her­itage Trail con­nect­ing Rich­land and Pasco, and across the Blue Bridge over to the Ken­newick side of the river. For golfers, the Columbia Point Golf Course is just across from the ho­tel.

The Lodge at Columbia Point is an ex­cel­lent lodging choice at which to base your stay while ex­plor­ing the wines, cui­sine and out­doors of the Columbia Val­ley AVA. And tak­ing home your fa­vorite wines finds will re­vive some great mem­o­ries each time you open a bot­tle.

For More In­for­ma­tion:

• The Lodge at Columbia Point, http://lodgeat­columbi­a­point.com/

• Visit Tri-Cities, http://www.visit­tri-cities.com/

• The Tri-Cities are a three-and-a-half hour drive from ei­ther Seat­tle or Port­land. Or fly in to the Tri-Cities air­port in Pasco, the state’s third largest air­port.

• Trav­el­ing with your pet? Pet-friendly rooms are avail­able at the Lodge at

Columbia Point.

• In­sider Tip: If you’re fly­ing Alaska Air, the air­lines al­lows each per­son to check a case of wine free of charge. Of course, the winer­ies are also happy to ship your pur­chases.

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