Get Hands on in Anacortes
Vacations are all about discovering the spirit of a location. Sometimes that means a trip to the museum, staying at a historic bed and breakfast, or dining where the locals eat. But, sometimes the best memories are the ones we create with hands-on experiences. Deception Distilling, Anacortes Brewery, Anacortes Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar, Johnny Picasso’s and Anacortes Candles offer five ways to explore your island getaway with the senses and artistic flare.
Taste the Spirit of Anacortes
The handcrafted spirits of Deception Distilling packs a distillery lover punch. Stop by their classy tasting room Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a free sample of their smooth and mellow vodka, gin, and moonshines. Kids and pets are welcome and there is plenty of seating with a view of the distillery and their German-built Arnold Holstein still. Bottles can be purchased on site, including the new travel pint size of the Skagit Moon Apple Pie, and in almost 100 locations in Washington State, including local restaurants, bars, and grocery stores. Be sure to grab one of their handy cocktail recipe cards with drinks like Cucumber Fresh, Lavender and Lace and Grapefruit Geyser to impress your friends back home.
Anacortes Brewery has been brewing beer for 22 years. Master brewer Kevin Pierce and his team produce 1300 barrels a year with around 34 beers, including seasonal brews. If they are brewing and available, they are happy to give walk-ins a tour of the brewery and arrangements can be made ahead of time too. It’s important to note their seven barrel brewery is in tight quarters and they can only take groups up to 12 people. There are no samples during the tour, but next door at the Rockfish Grill or H2O, you can buy a frosty pint. The local favorite is the IPA and they have seasonal award-winning brews like Pumpkin ale, Mai Oh Maibock, and their sour beers.
Feed Your Inner Foodie
Find new ways to flavor salads, pastas and meats with oils and vinegar at the Anacortes Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar. The tasting is free and there are dozens to try, like balsamics dark espresso, Blenheim apricot, and champagne, and olive oils like black truffle, fennel, and walnut. Plus six ultra-premium oils that follow the seasonal crushes. Tastes can be made with a piece of bread or strait up. Bottle prices range from $10 to $25, with a new smaller travel size. The store also sells specialty gourmet items like pastas, herbs and sea salts. Be sure to ask Kriena about her latest recipe discovery.
Make Your Memento
Johnny Picasso’s is an art cafe that serves locally made coffee, delicious lunches, handmade chocolates, and has a rotating selection of pottery pieces to paint, like mugs, bowls and figurines. Prices range from $10 to $20, and paint, pens, glazing and firing is included in the price. If fused glass is more your style unleash your artistic side with the creative process of fused glass and bring home a colorful coaster or fanciful plate. Walk-ins are always welcome, and they’ll arrange private classes for four or more. It’s easy to make a day of it by grabbing a bite to eat and nurturing your Picasso-side.
Did you cliff jump at Whistle Lake, buy herbs at the Anacortes Farmers Market or ride bikes on the Tommy Thompson trail? Recreate that experience with an environmental friendly soy candle by Anacortes Candles. Candle making sessions can be arranged before you arrive or while you are here. Prices are $20 and $30, and if you buy two you get one free. Each candle purchase supports ShelterBox, an organization that brings shelter to families affected by natural disasters. If you’d rather buy a candle they are available at several locations in town including Donatello’s Flowers & Gifts, Watermark Book Company, and Tides of Anacortes, as well as, a small store above Elizabeth’s Cottage By the Sea. If you purchase a candle the prices range from $10 to $25. They have 19 candle themes to create like Deception Pass, Island Time, and Anacortes Rain, or you can pick your favorite aromas, add a little sand, shells, and unicorn poop and make a new scented creation to remind you of your time on Fidalgo Island.
Another great thing about these experiences is that most of these businesses are happy to ship your purchase or creation in a flat rate box so it arrives safely home.
- Deception Distilling, 9946 Padilla Heights Rd. Anacortes WA. 98221 (360)588.1000
- Anacortes Brewery, 320 Commercial Ave. Anacortes, WA. 98221 (360)588-1720
- Anacortes Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar, 704 Commercial Ave. Anacortes, WA. 98221 (360)293-6410
- Johnny Picasso’s, 501 Commercial Ave. Anacortes, WA. 98221 (360)299-2755
- Anacortes Candles, PO Box 713 Anacortes, WA. (360)836-1103
by Lara Dunning