Top Sixteen of 2016

16. Turning 30. (July)

15. Buying a new car. (May)

14. Taking on more writing projects at work. (February-December)

13. A Sunday night wedding in Bellingham. (December)

12. The Lumineers concert. (June)

11. A long weekend in Portland exploring and watching Erin marry her love. (August)

10. Celebrating my sister’s 21st birthday in Leavenworth. (January)

9. Hiking old favorites and exploring new trails. (May-November)

8. Moving into our own place in Everett. (March)

7. Finding out that I’m going to be aunt again. (October)

6. Establishing healthier eating habits. (November)

5. Celebrating our first anniversary. (July)

4. A long weekend in New England with my grandparents and dear friends. (October)

3. Girls trip to Austin. (May)

2. Watching my brother and his best friend open their own bar. (February)

1. Finishing the half marathon–and training all summer long with Derek. (September)


Date Night, Episode Two

To celebrate Derek’s last day at Red Robin and to spend a little more time together, he and I recently spent the night in Leavenworth. I think I had driven through the town once several years ago, but I don’t recall doing much exploring. And even if I had, the experience is different now that I can drink.

We left from his parent’s house in Snohomish Sunday morning and got into Leavenworth around 1:30. It was too early to check into our hotel. No problem, we decided, since there are several wine tasting rooms right on the main street.

Several pours later, Derek talked me into playing mini-golf. I’m awful and I generally don’t enjoy the “sport” but I played out the game for his sake. The course was down the hill from the main street and in the space between the road the golf holes, we met two white mountain goats. We named them Gewurztraminer and Hefeweizen.


I think this is Gewurztraminer


A few hours later we had dinner at a charming crepe restaurant. I tried a roasted vegetable crepe with goat cheese and pesto- a little out of my comfort zone. I’m glad I tried it but I couldn’t finish the dish, partly because goat cheese is a little strong for my taste and partly because I was eager to get to dessert. I contemplated the sweets for quite some time before deciding to stick with my true loves, chocolate and ice cream. I had a delicious chocolate gelato crepe covered in dark chocolate sauce with berries, almonds, whipped cream and white chocolate. So good! Derek actually had to pull the plate away from me so that I wouldn’t make myself sick. I wish I had a photo because it was as beautiful as it was tasty. Seriously, you have to eat this if you are ever in Leavenworth. The restaurant name is Pavz and there aren’t many tables, but the crepe would be worth at least an hour wait. It’s really that good.

It turns out Leavenworth doesn’t have much of a night life, especially on a Sunday night, so we ended up going to bed fairly early.

The next day we had plans to go horse-back riding at 2pm so we walked around the town a bit after checking out of the hotel. Somehow we found ourselves tasting wines again. I think we visited 9 or 10 tasting rooms in the two days. Some of it was quite good (according to me, an unsophisticated wine drinker who rarely pays more than $10 for a bottle), but we only ended buying a sweet white for his parents.

A longer-than-expected lunch line made us late for the horseride and Derek had to do some speed-demon driving to get there at a reasonable time. If you’ve ever ridden with Derek you’ll know this is very out of  character. I was really impressed. And fortunately we were the only two scheduled for the afternoon trek so no one was left waiting for us to arrive.

The ranch reminded me of home. I rode a white, older horse named Zipper. He seemed more interested in stealing snacks along the trail than in following the other horses, but we got along just fine. I think Derek’s horse was named Zena or something like that. She just followed the trail guide the entire time; no attitude, no problems. It was a short ride, only about an hour, but we were both saddle-sore by the end. I had low expectations of the ride, having experience with horses of my own at my mom’s house, but it was fun to see Derek try something new and the countryside was pretty.

Derek was sweet enough to drive me back into Leavenworth on the way out of town for one last ice cream cone. “Hi, my name is Arikka and I’m an ice cream addict.”

I slept off my wine buzz on the car ride home and woke up just as we pulled into his parent’s house for a BBQ dinner. After dinner I was very tempted to accept their offer to have me spend the night, but in the end I decided I would get more sleep by driving home that night and leaving for work from my dad’s house. And so our date came to an end.

We had so much fun, I’d have to rate the trip an overall 9.6. Highlights being the chocolate crepe and drinking (just a few too many) glasses of wine both afternoons. Leavenworth was a perfect place for an overnight trip. The distance was right. The price was right. And it was a great place for D and I to indulge our food/wine lover side. I almost forget to mention that the weather was gorgeous the whole time we were there. While it was cloudy and rainy in Seattle, we were treated to sunshine and mid-80s.

We’re trying to fit in another date or two before he leaves for New Hampshire (in only 8 days!!). I think the Seattle Underground tour is on the agenda. We’ll have to see what else we can fit in. Again, feel free to share suggestions of places to see. And if you haven’t visited Leavenworth, you should.

Until next time,


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