Just a few hours and what seems a world away from Seattle is a little piece of paradise, where the sun (almost) always shines, the grapes always grow, and the tacos will make you swear you've been catapulted south of the border without a moment’s notice. The destination? Sleepy little Quincy, Wash., home to The Gorge Amphitheatre and last time anyone checked just more than 6,000 residents — it's perfect for a one-day getaway.
Start at Cave B Estate Winery, which is just outside of Quincy and perched 900 feet above the Columbia River with jaw-dropping views of the gorge below, which is the home of The Gorge Amphitheatre. Neurosurgeon and owner Vincent Bryan II jokingly describes giving directions to his winery as, "Just take I-90 out of Seattle, head east, when you see the sun, turn left, and when you're directly under it, you've arrived!"
The 205 days a year of sun aren't the only things that make this winery such a worthy destination. The 100 acres of Cave B vineyards reflect tremendously varied soil micro-zones, allowing winemaker Alfredo "Freddy" Arredondo to make an incredibly broad array of wines, including merlots, cabernet sauvignons, syrahs, chardonnays, and rieslings. The secret of this magical wine country has finally been shared, with the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley viticultural area’s recent official designation by the federal government as an American Viticultural Area, the 13th AVA in Washington State.
The nearby Gorge Amphitheatre seats 20,000 and has hosted everyone from Rod Stewart to Chuck Berry, sip some extraordinary wines while taking in the terrain and tunes. The winery also has its own restaurant, Tendrils, which pairs wines with a seasonally changing menu.
In contrast to the grandeur of Cave B Winery, a short drive into modest Quincy is worth it for Tacos Mi Pueblo, a humble eatery that consistently puts out truly exceptional Mexican fare. While the chicken tortilla soup is the standout, there is nothing better than the tacos al pastor, marinated pork tacos reminiscent of those found on the streets of Mexico.
Before heading back to the mist of Seattle’s Puget Sound, stop at local favorite The Tav in Ellensburg, an hour southwest of Quincy. A bit gruff-looking on the outside, inside you’ll find friendly locals, a hearty selection of beers on tap, and a burger that will keep you full all the way back to Seattle.
Erina Malarkey is the Seattle Travel City Editor for The Daily Meal.