Gourmandly designs food and wine tours for hungry and curious travelers. They call Bainbridge, WA their home, and this team is obsessed with cultivating a unique and hands-on experience, whether it’s a float plane to Orcas Island or a sailing trip off the coast of Croatia. Trips vary in length and distance but adventurers will feel closer to the producers, makers and guides as they become an integral participant to their experience.
With Puget Sound aerial views and never-ending seafood, this is Gourmandly’s guide to traveling well in the Evergreen State.
Cross the Puget Sound by seaplane
Rise early in Seattle and head to Lake Union, alive with morning kayakers and historic steamers. Climb aboard a charming seaplane, with seats for ten. Take off and peer down at your new view of the city. Fly far from the bustle, heading northwest toward the natural and mystical San Juan Islands. Among the archipelago is Orcas Island – your oasis for the day.
Settle into island time
Land with a splash in Orcas Island’s East Sound waters and head to a local shellfish farm. Meet the family on their gorgeous waterfront property and take their lead, relaxing into the slower pace of the island. They’ll tell you all about their generations-owned family business. Tour their grounds for an insider’s look at oyster and clam harvesting and crab catching. Sip on mimosas, taste fresh Pacific oysters, and nibble on smoked salmon and cod on artisan crackers.
Savor a brunch of locally-sourced shellfish
Let your guide lead you from gorgeous waterfront views to a new beauty: your delicious brunch spread on a rustic table. Just-caught Dungeness crab, watermelon salad, Oysters Rockefeller, quinoa salad, and warm, fresh bread with butter. Let your hunger subside like the sea.
Search for whales on steel blue waters
Sit back while you’re transported to Deer Harbor on the west side of the island for an aquatic adventure. Board a whale watching vessel with your fellow travelers to see the graceful giants of these open waters. Cruise between smaller islands, keeping your eyes peeled for movement. Finally you spot them – a pair of Humpback whales. Search for more while snacking on Pacific Northwest treats: dried Rainier cherries covered with amaretto dark chocolate, fresh peaches from Yakima Valley, and smoked salmon jerky from Anacortes.
Sit down for a gourmet banquet
Head to a historic farm, orchard, and restaurant, specializing in elevated farm-to-table cuisine. Enjoy a private wine tasting, organized by your guide, while dinner is being prepared. The feast is served at an expertly dressed long dining table. Join around and swirl more wine while diving into course after course of artistry.
Local chevre, salami, olives, and peppers
Panzanella salad with arugula
Roasted cauliflower with capers and smoked sea salt
Potato salad with gorgonzola & rosemary
Grilled lamb leg with sumac aioli
Glazed Yukon River Sockeye Salmon
Blackberry crumble with ice cream
Jump into chilly water for a race
After a dinner full of conversation and laughter, journey to the West Sound Dock to await your seaplane. Decide it’s a fine time for a dip in the water. Even better, decide a contest is necessary and challenge your companions at a race to nearby Picnic Island. Your guide will meet you at the dock with towels.
Head back for a sunset view of Seattle’s skyline
Depart from magnificent Orcas Island and enjoy one more event of the day: the view of Seattle just before sunset. Fly high over the sound and head toward Lake Union with the late sun reflecting orange off Seattle’s glassy skyline. Looking south, gaze at the small, white disk of the ferris wheel. Even further south, the lofty Mount Rainier shows itself proudly. What a day.