A winter weekend in Chelan

by Elizabeth Griffin
( December 31st, 2013 )

Winter in Chelan

Chelan is best known for its beautiful lake that attracts summer vacationers, but it also has a lot to offer in winter. When there is snow, the hills around the town are great for sledding, snow shoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. For true cold weather enthusiasts, there are many options for hunting and outdoor recreation.

shopping in Manson

Two friends and I just spent a girls getaway weekend in Chelan and we had a great time shopping (photos of Allison’s and Fromaggio Bistro in Manson above) and eating out. Along with the shops in Manson and Chelan, here is a brief description of the spots we visited:

Blueberry Hill in Manson, WA

Blueberry Hill in Manson (the town next to Chelan):  This place is really incredible, even in winter when the blueberry bushes are stripped bare. The restaurant was started a couple generations ago and has been a family venture ever since. Apparently, the granddaughter of the original owners spent months going through her grandfather’s keepsakes after he died. Instead of tossing the items, she created art from them and it became the decor of the restaurant. It’s really fun to go there just for this—many of the tables are made of those old drawers that have lots of tiny compartments, and each one holds a treasure. Looking up, there are chandeliers of elk horns, wrapping paper tubes and eyeglasses. A cupboard holds all of grandmas cosmetics and lotions. Memorabilia goes on and on. The staff is warm and friendly and the food is home cooking at its very best! We had a delicious egg scramble and blintzes! Yummy! They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. (photos to the right)

Sorrentos and Tsillan Cellars WinerySorrento’s Ristorante at Tsillan Cellars: On a cold winter night, this Italian restaurant is warm and inviting. It has a beautiful wood interior with a river rock fireplace and live piano music. What a perfect romantic evening! It’s no wonder they host weddings there year round. The food is fabulous and the wine straight from the vineyards surrounding the restaurant. This photo (left) shows the inner courtyard and pool. We ate tomato bisque and two pasta dishes—chicken marsala and prawns with pesto. Delish!

Local Myth Pizza downtown Chelan: This funky pizza place has THE BEST PIZZA AND SALAD EVER (photo right)!

Local Myth Pizza in ChelanSeriously packed with flavor that will wow your taste buds. And it’s healthy—whole wheat thin crust, house-made pesto and organic veggies and chicken.  The Greek salad we split three ways was so so sooooo delicious! I loved every bite and would have gone back if we had more time in town. From the looks of it, Local Myth also has a great selection of wine and beer. The atmosphere has a lot of character—a red door is used as a room partition with bent pizza trays for holding menus, stainless steel colanders work as lamp shades that cast spotted light on the walls—it is a definite spot to check out.

Campbell’s Veranda and Pub: One of the oldest resorts in Chelan, Campbell’s is located in the heart of town on the edge of the lake. The veranda was closed in a couple years ago to offer more table space with windows that look out over town. Inside of that brightly lit space is a cozy pub-like atmosphere with a fireplace and big-screen televisions for game watching. It’s nice to have choices! We had lunch at Campbell’s and it was fabulous—I had a chicken ranch burger on a brioche bun (soft and so much better than regular buns) and fries. The fries are those really crispy thin kind (that I love). The waitress was darling and brought us about six different dips to use—the restaurant has about 20 kinds of dressings and dips, all house-made. It was really tasty!Campbells sign in ice

Chelan Lanes and The Vogue

The Vogue … A Liquid Lounge: I didn’t think that Chelan would have much of a nightlife, but it does. This place has live music on the weekends and is well supported—as in, packed! They serve wine and other alcohol as well as teas and coffees, along with an array of specialty desserts. It’s a fun place to hang out with friends, listen to some live music, and relax (photo left). We really enjoyed it.

Chelan Lanes: Okay, who doesn’t like bowling? Chelan Lanes is a darling six-lane bowling alley that was hopping on the Friday night we went there. The photo to the far left shows that it offers moonlight/disco bowling :). Lots of fun, and it’s open during the day too. In addition to the lanes, the place has a large restaurant with big-screen televisions. Very family friendly and no yucky smoke smell that bowling alleys often have.

Chelan Resort Suites: We stayed at this resort that has four floors of privately-owned condos. Our unit had two bedrooms and a view of the lake with a beach not far away. There was a hide-a-bed in the living room, so we each had our own sleeping space, two bathrooms, a kitchen and dining area, televisions in each room, and a gas fireplace in the living room. It was nice and cozy and the management was very responsive when we asked for more blankets. I liked the underground parking that kept our car safe from weather. We enjoyed the saltwater swimming pool immensely, as well as the Jacuzzi. Chelan Resort Suites is on the lake on your way into town. It’s close to everything and I would stay there again.

Great for just a weekend getaway with family or friends, Chelan hosts an annual Lake Chelan Winterfest on January 10-12 and 17-19. The town all comes out to put on a great party with shops serving beverages and snacks, live music all weekend long, a beach bonfire, polar bear splash, fireworks and incredible ice sculptures like the one shown below.

Winterfest in Chelan



Photos taken by Elizabeth Griffin except for ice sculptures, lake view and Sorrento’s courtesy of Chelan Chamber of Commerce.

This trip was provided by Chelan Chamber of Commerce members.


From our partners

Handel’s Messiah, upclose and personal

by Elizabeth Griffin
( December 19th, 2013 )

Inverse Opera poster

I attended a unique and marvelous rendition of Handel’s Messiah last weekend. Instead of the usual choir of 100-plus voices, The Inverse Opera performed it with 12. It was done without props or costumes, in a black box theatre at Taproot Theatre’s new Kendall Center.

Can Handel’s magnificent Messiah be adequately performed by one dozen voices? The Inverse Opera thought so. Instead of a faceless multitude in a cavernous hall, the group believed that in taking away the crowd, one can hear the voices – and each voice has a story. Directors Robert Scherzer and Michael Nutting emphasized the text of the Messiah, compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, to celebrate the journey of each soloist, or character, it portrays.

“I’m so excited that we are able to be the first to perform in Taproot Theatre’s Kendall Center with this particular piece. It’s almost poetic to be in an entirely brand new space, performing one of the most familiar pieces of all time,” said Jadd Davis, co-founder of The Inverse Opera. “People often pay an arm and a leg to hear Messiah sung in a large commercial house, but we are making this experience accessible to every member of the community. We are creating something that is grand and inspiring, yet intimate and welcoming. It’s the perfect combination for a holiday production.”

The soloists in The Inverse Opera's Messiah

I have to agree. If you love Messiah, you will love this production. If you’ve heard it dozens of times, it will be a new experience—I promise. And if you’ve never heard it before, now is the time to do so.

The Inverse Opera chorus, along with soloists shown above—Erica Row (Vashon Opera, Village Theatre, Opera on Tap), Sonia Perez (Seattle Opera, Brooklyn Opera Orchestra), John Coons (Seattle Opera, Boston Symphony Pops) and Daniel Oakden (Seattle Opera, 5th Avenue Theatre)—bring the story to life, and the venue at Taproot Theatre brings the audience into the action.

The Inverse Opera’s Messiah will be performed two more times at the Taproot Theatre Kendall Center, on Friday and Saturday, December 20 and 21 at 8 pm. Tickets ($15-$25) are available at www.taproottheatre.org or by calling 206-781-9707.



Photos courtesy of The Inverse Opera.


From our partners

Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre’s “Oliver!” hits the mark for Christmas delight

by Elizabeth Griffin
( December 16th, 2013 )

Jack Fleischmann as Oliver Twist at 5th Avenue.

True to it’s usual holiday musical schedule, The 5th Avenue Theatre production of Oliver! is absolutely delightful! It is so much fun to see a classic production at this time of year, and Dickens always provides a redemptive conclusion that satisfies.

The cast, which has 48 children in it, is astounding. Oliver Twist is played by Jeffrey Weber and Jack Fleischmann at alternating performances. I saw Fleischmann (pictured above) and he was the personification of a winsome little boy who just wants love.

David Pichette as Fagin in 5th Avenue Oliver!  Merideth Kaye Clark as Nancy in 5th Avenue Oliver!

David Pichette, who never fails to delight, is a wonderful Fagin with not a mean bone in his body; and Merideth Kaye Clark portrays a saucy yet vulnerable Nancy.

Lionel Bart’s beloved classic hasn’t been at 5th Avenue for 20 years. I hadn’t seen it since I was a child, but I still remember most of the songs: “Where is Love?”, “Who Will Buy?”, “I’d Do Anything,” and “As Long As He Needs Me” among them.

David Armstrong’s direction brings out the energy and joy in a story that really has a lot of tragedy in it. His light-hearted touch makes it doable for kids despite some of the subject matter. I recommend bringing the family.

Grayson Smith is the Artful Dodger in 5th Avenue's Oliver!

Grayson Smith is marvelous as the Artful Dodger.

Oliver! runs through December 31 with varying performance times. The 5th Avenue Theater is located at  1308 5th Avenue in Seattle. Park on the other side of the block in the Hilton parking lot on 6th (only $6) and take the elevator to the concourse for easy access.

For single tickets (starting at $29) and information, go to www.5thavenue.org or call the Box Office at (206) 625-1900. Tickets may also
be purchased at (888) 5TH-4TIX.

The cast on stage in Oliver!

Photos by Mark Kitaoka and Tracy Martin.

Elizabeth Griffin attended Oliver! as a member of the press.

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