One Tank Trips: Wowed by Woodinville

by Lara Dunning

“Head to Woodinville,” they said. “Drive a new 2019 Honda Passport Sport and stay overnight at the Willows Lodge.” As these words whirled around my mind, I immediately started thinking about all of the fun things in Woodinville, like the aerial adventure park, a cirque cabaret show, and relaxing at one of Washington’s premier luxury hotels. Oh, and let’s not forget the wine! With an assignment like that, how could I not have a grand time in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country?

They handed me the keys to this great little Honda Passport Sport and told me to have fun! So off to Woodinville I drove.

The navigation and entertainment features of my ride made it feel more like I was in the cockpit of an airplane than a Honda Passport!

Thanks to Western Washington Honda Dealers One Tank Trips Sweepstakes, I had the opportunity to check out the 2019 Honda Passport Sport—which happened to earn the Best Midsize Two-Row SUV by Car and Driver—and cruise to Woodinville.

When I picked up the 2019 Honda Passport Sport at Rairdon’s Honda of Marysville, it only had 10 miles on the odometer! When I returned it, it had 77 miles. Having driven most of those miles on the Interstate, I appreciated the navigation system and cruise control. Other amenities like the multiple seating arrangements, lots of cargo room, a wireless phone charger, numerous USB ports, and a tri-zone climate system to regulate the temperature for all passengers in the car, make it an excellent ride for any road trip.

For a memory-making road trip, here are four Woodinville experiences all within walking distance of my destination—the Willows Lodge.

Built with leisure in mind, the 84-room Willows Lodge is an oasis in the heart of Woodinville’s Hollywood District. At check-in, I’m presented with a sample of red wine, which I sip while admiring the warmth and artistry of the lobby. On the way to my guestroom, I pass open courtyards with unique sculptures and soothing water features, and in my luxury accommodations is a large soaking tub, private balcony, custom pillow menu, a gas fireplace, and a fully-stocked mini-bar. Everywhere I look, it says, “Relax.”

When I realize my arrival happens to be on the same day as the annual Spa Bash, I opt not to venture too far and join other attendees as they make their way through the mini-spa treatments, all while sampling cocktails, savory hors d’oeuvres and gelato. Two blissful hours later, the aches in my muscles have melted away, and my face glows from the facials.

It’s a little after lunchtime, and I am standing at the base of Adventura, an aerial adventure park a short walk from the Willows Lodge. My eyes fix 50 feet up in the air, which is where I’ll spend the next two hours. I’d like to say I wasn’t nervous, but I was. Seriously, nervous.

Thankfully, the in-depth ground lesson about the aerial course helped settle the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. When they let us loose, I scramble up the 45-degree cargo net to the top of the course. Right from the start, my heart pounds in my chest, and my hands become a bit shaky. Each time I approach the next course, I try not to let my apprehension take over and about half-way through, the tension drops away and turns into excitement. When it comes time to zip line down, I don’t want to leave.

As I walk inside the colorful Teatro Zinzanni tent, I feel like I’ve entered another universe, one where magical things are at play. Tented long drapery cascades across the ceiling to the floor and a creamy white carousel horse greets visitors at the bar. In the gift shop, smiling women try on sparkly feathered masks, and nearby a lounge with antique furniture is reminiscent of a Parisian parlor room.  

After snapping a few photos, I’m officially led inside the circular room with my guide. We skirt tables set in the middle and around the perimeter of the main stage in the center. Actors in character roam the pathways showcasing the show to come.

At my seat, a scrumptious appetizer awaits and soon after a refreshing tequila cocktail arrives. When the show officially begins, its mix of comedy, cabaret, and cirque have me laughing one moment to being awestruck the next. Nothing about the evening is rushed, and during each act change, a new mouth-watering dish curated by James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson is set in front of me. When the show ends, it is only a two-minute walk to the Willows Lodge. (Photos above ©Teatro Zinzanni)

Fantastic food and wine go hand in Woodinville, and I find my next stop, Barking Frog, within skipping distance of the lodge. I opt for the four-course tasting menu with delicious creations by Chef Bobby More and wine pairings chosen by Wine Director and Sommelier, Tyler Alden. Why would I not want to try a little bit of everything?

Bread, including gluten-free wildflower slices, is served alongside sparkling wines. Next, a vibrant beet salad with orange-honey vinaigrette and pistachio dust (I didn’t even know this dust existed!). Then my octopus arrives, delicate and flavorful, followed by a juicy ribeye with a veal demi-glace and blue cheese gnudi. With each course, Tyler hand-picks wines based on my tastes. Each pair well with the dish and some I like more than others, like the Long Shadows Pedestal merlot. The evening ends with a decadent, yet light, steamed pudding with a huckleberry crisp and thyme crème fraiche.

Thanks to Western Washington Honda Dealers One Tank Trips Sweepstakes my Woodinville adventure became an unforgettable experience. Enter the Western Washington Honda Dealers Honda “One Tank Trips” Challenge today for your chance to win a 3-year lease on a 2019 Honda HR-V, one of four fabulous 2-day getaways to great Washington destinations or one of 10 weekly prizes. CLICK HERE to enter today!