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. Escape Anacortes, Deception Distilling, Anacortes Brewery, Anacortes Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Bar, and Johnny Picasso’s offer ways to explore your island getaway with the senses and an 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 since 1994 and is the 10th oldest continuously producing brewery in the state. Head brewer Shannon Vincent and her team produce 1300 barrels a year with around 40 different styles, including seasonal brews. If they are brewing and available, they are happy to give walk-ins a tour. Arrangements can be made ahead of time too, especially for groups as space is limited. Sometimes samples are available during the tour, and you can always buy a frosty pint at their companion businesses the Rockfish Grill or H2O. The local favorite is the IPA and they have seasonal award-winning brews like Whistle Lake Weizen, Old Sebastes Barleywine, and several aged barrels.
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, Milanese gremolata, and walnut. Plus five ultra-premium oils that follow the seasonal crushes. Create your perfect taste with a piece of bread or strait up. Bottle prices range from $10 to $62, plus a $5 travel size. The store also has specialty gourmet items like herbs, rubs, sea salts, soups, teas, barbeque and cocktail sauces, and pastas, including a new very popular vacuum-sealed pasta. Be sure to ask Kriena about how to create her latest recipe discovery.
Make Your Memento
Johnny Picasso’s is an art cafe that serves locally made coffee, delicious lunches, has artistic merchandise like Slow Loris clothing, and 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 breakfast, lunch or a Juice Plus+ smoothie and nurture your Picasso-side.
Solve Clues to Escape
Do you like gathering clues, putting the puzzle pieces together and solving a mystery? At Escape Anacortes you can do all three in their escape rooms. Each room, Violet’s Escape and The Smuggler, comes with their own storyline and difficulty level. Guests are introduced to the character’s story and sequestered in a decorated room full of puzzles to solve. The question is, can you work through the clues, solve the mystery and create a way to escape the room in sixty minutes? This puzzle solving fun is a great way to connect with friends and family, and children 12 and older are welcome. Plus, a new escape room, Burrows Lighthouse, is in the works.
- 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
- Escape Anacortes, 1010 34th Anacortes, WA 98221 (503) 765-6259
Another great thing about purchases is that most of these businesses are happy to ship it in a flat rate box so it arrives safely home.
by Lara Dunning June 2016, updated July 2018