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Willows Lodge

With so many wineries, a visit to Woodinville is a must for wine loving Seattleites looking to escape the city. And, with so many wineries that welcome dogs, bringing your four-legged friend is also a must, especially when you stay at Willows Lodge, a dog-friendly, luxury resort located in the heart of Woodinville’s wine tasting circuit.
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photos by Amy Soper + Julie Clegg
Upon arrival at Willows Lodge, we are greeted by the friendly staff who fawn over Thya and Ziggy like the V.I.P.s they are (Very Important Pets). The pampering continues when we arrive at our room. The Willows Very Important Pet Program features amenities for our four-legged friends that include a doggie room service menu specially prepared by The Dining Dog Café, map and directions for pet and owner walks and bottled water. Addressed to Thya and Ziggy is a welcome card and treats plus a fleece doggie bed complete with turn down service.

Each year, Willows Lodge sees about 600 canine guests at their property—a testament to how dog friendly they truly are—so dog friendly in fact, they have a special room service menu just for dogs that includes yummy items like Hungry Mongrel Steak (broiled beef strips with brown rice and carrots) or Chick, Chick, Chicken (chicken loaf, broccoli and carrots).

While Thya and Ziggy feast on their room service delicacies, we check out the amenities included for the lodge’s two-legged guests. In addition to two queen sized beds with down duvets and Italian linens, there is a stone hearth with gas fireplace, comfy seating area, and a spa tub with separate walk-in shower, both featuring London’s Moulton & Brown bath goodies. There is also a 40” flat screen HDTV, complimentary wireless Internet access, fully stocked refrigerator with snacks and beverages for purchase, Keurig coffee-maker, as well as a selection of herbal and black teas, plus terrycloth robes and spa slippers.

All of the lodge’s 14 dog friendly rooms are located on the ground floor, with a garden patio and sliding door for easy access to the outdoors, where a network of trails for exploring awaits. And, there is much to explore. Follow the trail south along the Sammamish River and you will find the lovely Herbfarm Garden, home to potbellied pigs Borage and Basil, who are seemingly unfazed by Thya and Ziggy’s obvious curiosity. While I’m sure Borage and Basil have met many dogs, the reverse is a first for Thya and Ziggy!

Further exploration of the gardens reveals a bounty of herbs and edible plants that will eventually be used in dishes at the world renowned Herbfarm restaurant, located on the property.

Heading north along the lodge’s trail system reveals even more hidden treasures. A small stone building that looks like it could be on the set of Lord of the Rings houses a bronze sculpture of a killer whale spirit. Further north you’ll find the Spirit of Haida Gwaii, two large bronze heads cast from the original work of Haida artist Bill Reid. Also nearby is the Fireside Garden, where we take a break from our wanderings to enjoy a glass of wine. While dogs are not allowed on the fireside patio (thanks to health department rules), we relax in Adirondack chairs on the adjacent grassy area, where dogs are warmly welcome—the lodge is happy to provide a water bowl for your thirsty pooch. As we sit back and take in our surroundings, I can’t help but think, today is a good day. And, it’s about to get even better!

The proverbial dinner bell has rung and it’s time to enjoy one of my favorite restaurants, the Barking Frog. The warm and bistro-like restaurant embodies the same rustic and refined feel of the lodge and the menu embodies all that is marvelous about the Pacific Northwest. Our first course includes oysters on the half shell with a champagne mignonette and penn cove mussels in a coconut-curry broth.

Next on the list is a beet salad, with endive, arugula, pistachio, confit orange syrup and warm goat cheese puree. And, while Julie orders scallops, with quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado-tomatillo salsa, spiced mango and candied jalapeno , I cannot resist the ribeye, with hand cut fries, aioli, thyme butter and veal demi glace. All of this is complemented by a bottle of Woodinville’s own Efeste Final Final.

Feeling like gluttons (not really), we head back to the room for some rest and relaxation, because the next day holds more adventure—wine venture to be exact!

The following morning, we have some time to kill, so we check out the Burke-Gilman Trail. This scenic 26-mile trail borders the lodge and runs all the way to Seattle. The Sammamish River Trail segment of the Burke-Gilman Trail, which is next to Willows Lodge, parallels the Sammamish River for 10 miles to Redmond—if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can end your walk at Marymoor Park, home to a 48-acre off-leash dog park. Alas, we are simply out to enjoy a leisurely stroll, meandering along the wooded path north of the lodge.

Back at the lodge, we grab a quick bite to eat on the lovely outdoor patio at Barking Frog. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the patio (again, thanks to the health department). Here, we enjoy one of the restaurant’s more popular items, Grand Marnier Prawns, accompanied by a glass of DeLille Cellar’s white wines.

Speaking of DeLille Cellars, this is our next stop, but this time with dogs in tow.

Yes, DeLille Cellars is dog friendly—clarification, the tasting room at DeLille Cellars’ Carriage House is dog friendly. The winery also includes DeLille Cellars’ Chateau, located 1/4 mile south. While dogs are not allowed on a regular basis, the Chateau will make an exception for special occasions such as a wedding. Alas, we are here strictly to taste wine, so we head to the Carriage House’s gorgeous outdoor patio to do just that, starting with a beautiful Doyenne 2013 Rosé (out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning of “doyenne” and interestingly, it means “a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field”). Nice!

DeLille Cellars’ tasting flight features four wines and costs $15 and the wines change based on availability. Best of all, the tasting fee is waived if you purchase two bottles or more, which we are sure you will, because they are all yummy!

Located next door to DeLille Cellars is Brian Carter Cellars, where you and your pooch are invited to enjoy their “little yellow tasting room.” The patio offers the perfect place to sample wines—in fact, Brian Carter Cellars is hosting Puppies on the Patio in August (turn to the next page for more information). In addition to DeLille Cellars and Brian Carter Cellars, there is a whole host of dog friendly wineries in Woodinville and we’ve compiled a handy checklist on the following pages.

Whether you’re visiting Willows Lodge as part of a wine tasting excursion, or simply to enjoy some rest and relaxation (the lodge also features a full service spa), with his/her own special doggie room service menu, bedtime turn down service complete with treats, and plenty of places to explore, your four-legged travel companion will love it as much as you do (or maybe even more)!

Rates start at $229, depending on the season. There is a $35 pet fee charged per stay with a portion donated to Homeward Pet Adoption Center.

More Information

Willows Lodge
14580 NE 145th Street
Woodinville, Wash.
Phone: 425.424.3900
willowslodge.com

DeLille Cellars
14421 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE
Woodinville, Wash.
Phone: 425.877.9472
delillecellars.com

{For more dog-friendly wineries in Woodinville, click here.} 
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