A Surprising Little Weekend In Wenatchee, WA

It’s mid September and the weekends are slowing down. Somewhat spontaneously my man proposes a road trip to Wenatchee, WA. I’m all for it. I crave road trips and he knows it. I’m all for getting out of town for a few days with my husband.

It’s late Friday evening and all is well. I pack a small bag. He is packed and we head out. Todd (my guy) takes the lead and we drive for 3 1/2 hours. It’s a great start and we are having fun. By the time it’s midnight we pull into Wenatchee. The bell tolls and we check in to our hotel and stay in bed until 11:00 am the next day. A good road trip always does me wonders. Now, it feels good to rest and lounge for as long as I can but certainly leaving the hotel room to explore is part of the plan.

The need you get to eat gives Todd and I plenty of motivation to step outside the room and explore the street below.  And as it happens, for our Saturday in this eastern Washington town with it’s agricultural slant, an “End of Harvest” festival is in process. We are greeted by a cool little celebration among fruit and vegetables stands smack in the middle of the main street. A battle of the bands competition is under way as well as a wine tasting event and many arts and craft tents! There is plenty to sample and do once we get out traversing. The festival is delightful and stretches about four blocks out. Such is the character of Eastern Washington for me.

The festivities boast a robust farmers market. I must tell you the veggies and fruit were big, beautiful and low cost. I stock up on heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, winter white nectarines and a few other bountiful juicy fruits of the harvest season. The farmers I come across are a kick. I asked one how big his farm is and he replies, “big enough.”I may have hit a nerve.

From his reaction, I gather it ain’t ok to ask farmers, grape growers and  the like: how big is your patch of dirt? The region is known for its produce and orchards and in the past ten years for its vineyards and wines. I was just a little too curious I guess. The crafts and store fronts in and along the street are quaint and honest, rather regionally sincere… regular folks with works of creativity. It all feels and looks good, but nothing catches my attention like the fruit and vegetables.

The best surprise of my day after the farmers market is how good the music in the battle of the bands competition turns out to be. I meet a group of young fellows who are very educated musicians and seasoned performers. The group, lead by Steev Turner, wins runner up in the competition but I believe they should take it home. Perhaps because these young guys have grown up in the area they are to local for the judges to hear their music straight anymore.  I find out at one time all the guys had gone to high school together in the little town of Cashmere, WA right next to Wenatchee.

In talking a bit with Turner, he tells me he is thinking of heading back to school for a master degree in composition. The core of his group is made up of two brothers and himself. They have been playing together a long time now.  The music is very hip, tight and sophisticated with its blend and layering of rhythm and sound. Turner plays a very good vibraphone and is a graduate of the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Jazz. I was a student in that program once myself. I gather his contact information and hope to stay in touch. This group has the whole Rasta hair and irreverence thing working for them too.

Later after our day of kicking it around the festival, eating a fat Gyro and drinking several small sips of varied red wines, I enjoy a hot tub outside. The night is gentle and the wind is light. The next day -Sunday- is lovely and slow. We take our time heading home, deciding to stop on the Wenatchee River in a town 10 miles west of our weekend called, Leavenworth. After that the rest of the trip is just the drive back with no surprises.

My cravings and desires fulfilled, my weekend road trip was a joyful unforeseen delight of the senses. I thought it was to be an idle little weekend for us  sitting around and enjoy the sun. And that could have been enough but it turned out to have included more. How fun to find the best of Wenatchee and just go with it. I posted a few photos of our adventure below.