I’m frequently asked to share my favorite Seattle area escapes. There are so many great luxury hotels in Seattle, but one of my favorite romantic getaways in Seattle is just a short 30 min drive to Willows Lodge in beautiful Woodinville Wine Country. Last month, my husband and I left the kids withgrandma and escaped for a romantic Valentines Day weekend at Willows Lodge. You don’t need Valentine’s day to schedule an escape with your husband or wife – we call it our “quarterly offsite.”

Willows Lodge feels like home. Each time we return, we find new things we love – new food, new wineries and a renewed sense of connection. Willows Lodge was also home to HipTravelMama’s innagural Mamacation event, so I absolutely adore the staff at Willows, who go above and beyond to make your stay comfortable and relaxing.

Parents Time Out

Even parents need a time out. After an evening and dinner with friends, we awoke to a yummy relaxing breakfast at Barking Frog and then headed over to the Spa at Willows. We soaked for a bit in the outdoor hot tub and then we indulged in a relaxing massage. My favorite treatment: The hot stone massage.

Explore Woodinville Wine Country

Did you know that Woodinville Wine Country is home to more than 70 wineries less than 30 minutes from downtown Seattle? I challenge you to try to see them all in a weekend – it’s impossible – which is good news, because you can visit again. Thanks to the helpful staff at Willows, we were armed with both a walking map to Woodinville wineries as well as driving directions to the cluster of tasting rooms known as the ‘warehouse district.” My husband and I set off on a rainy Saturday to explore the many boutique wineries in our own backyard. For Valentine’s Day weekend, the wineries were celebrating Valentines Day with wine and chocolate tastings (heavenly).

Photo: William Church Winery

William Church Winery

Our first stop on our wine tour was at William Church Winery for Wine and Chocolate Tasting. We love William Church and their Bishop’s Blend is a standing favorite in our house. On this visit, we had a chance to taste the 2008 Malbec. One word to describe this amazing wine: YUM. The 2008 Malbec received the GOLD MEDAL 2010 Seattle Wine Awards and was voted 2010 “Wine to Watch” Washington Wine Report Readers Survey. We also really enjoyed our conversation with owner Leslie Balsley, who is a mom and one of the wonderful women of Washington wine. To plan a visit, make sure to check out their events calendar.

Wellington Chocolates

I love discovering new small businesses that have found their passion. One great discovery at William Church Winery was Wellington Chocolates. Owner Julie Berg has found her passion in chocolate making and it shows. Her chocolates are delicious and beautifully made. My favorite:  her dark chocolate salted caramels.

Passport to Woodinville

Looking for an excuse to escape to Woodinville Wine Country? Don’t miss the 2011 Passport to Woodinville. It kicks off the weekend of April 16-17 and is one of the most popular wine events of the year. This year to give wine enthusiasts more time and flexibility to enjoy Woodinville’s increasing number of wineries and tasting rooms, they are extending the time your passport will be valid. You now have six weeks to explore Woodinville wineries, from April 16 – May 31, and will include special offerings such as appetizers and music at select wineries during the kick-off weekend only April 16 – 17. You can purchase your tickets here.

Tip: email info@woodinvillewinecountry.com and ask to be added to their events calendar email to keep up on the latest wine country events.

Cost: Passports are $65 per person if purchased between February 15th and March 15th. Tickets purchased between March 16th and April 16th will be $75 per person. No passports will be sold after April 16th.

A Romantic Dinner at Barking Frog

Have you dined at Barking Frog lately? Executive Chef, Bobby Moore brings an amazing energy to one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the Northwest and the wine list is second to none. Even after a late afternoon power outage, Bobby and his team presented an extraordinary evening and romantic dinner for us and a full house of couples celebrating Valentines day. The Aphrodisiac Tasting Menu included a six-course meal of delectible bites and perfect wine pairings. Bobby is the ultimate culinary host and stopped periodically to share details about the ingredients and how the course was prepared. Spend some time at Barking Frog and get to know Chef Bobby Moore - your taste buds will thank you!

Do you have a favorite winery in Woodinville? Share it with us in the comments!

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