The town of Chelan sits on the banks of beautiful Lake Chelan. The first post office was established in 1890 and much of the little town still holds that historic charm. It’s always been a resort town due to it’s intense beauty. The first resort was built in 1892, but lumber and mining were also economic drivers for the community in those early years. These days Chelan is mostly known for its wineries and water sports, but it has so much more to offer. As much as we enjoy Chelan in the summer, we absolutely love to visit Chelan in the off season. Not only can you find some fantastic deals on lodging, it’s also quiet and relaxing. Most of the wineries remain open and there is plenty to do. We always seem to start our Chelan adventure with a walk around town on their river walk trail. It’s a great place to stretch your legs after the car ride.
Campbell’s Resort is one of our favorite places to stay. The main house was originally built in 1901 and has grown to 170 rooms since its inception. The facility has two pools (open seasonally) and a year round hot tub. You can also have beach fires and the resort supplies the wood. The rooms range from studio to suite depending on which building your room is in.
We’ve done a lot of different excursions over the years. Wine and cider tasting is really fun. If you are looking for the winery with the best view and some nice comfy chairs for lounging visit Benson Winery. There are many, many different wineries to try, but we always try to make a stop at Benson to enjoy the view.
If you are like me and love cheese pairing with your wine. Look no further visit Lake Chelan Winery. They offer cheese pairings with your wine tasting. They also offer some incredible cider tastings.
If you find yourself in Chelan in the dead of winter visit the Echo Valley Family Ski. You can find snow skiing, boarding, and tubing. This is a nonprofit volunteer ran establishment. Everyone is so nice and helpful. We took ski lessons here a few years ago. It’s very reasonably priced in comparison to the larger resorts.
Enjoy the towns many murals and sculptures. Use their Outdoor Gallery Map to guide you around town. You will also many wonderful boutique shops to visit. The best part is most of the businesses in Chelan are still family owned.
Chelan is fantastic at tourism. The town has events going on throughout the year. It’s chamber of commerce does a great job of keeping tourists entertained. Check out the event calendar to see what might be going on during your stay. They have all kinds of interesting events St. Patrick’s Day Dog Parade, ice sculpting, mini hydro races, grape stomps, etc…
Visit the Chelan Museum. It’s located in the old Miners and Merchant Bank building in Chelan’s downtown. The museum holds many displays on local history and Native American arts.
Another interesting excursion is a trip up to Stehekin aboard the Lady of the Lake. Stehekin is a small remote town located 50 miles from Chelan on the other side of the lake. The town can only be reached by float plane, boat or a hike. The name of the town means “the way through.” This is because the Native American’s established a trail through the Cascades at this town. You can still through hike the 36 miles from Stehekin to Rainy Day Pass on the west side. While in Stehekin you can hop on the tour bus, visit their museum, or just meander through the town.
Chelan also has the oldest continuously ran theatre in Washington The Ruby Theatre. It’s a small establishment with only one screen that opened in 1914. At the time it was state of the art. The theatre is named after the original managers daughter, Ruby. I love the way they have maintained the historical look of the theater. One December we visited and enjoyed old Christmas movies from the balcony seats.
Get a massage. The Belamia Spa at Campbell’s is located on site. I’ve had the pleasure of using it and found the services truly relaxing.
If it’s good food you’re looking for you have come to the right place. Here are our top three picks. Start with the best breakfast you have ever had at Blueberry Hills. It is a multi generational family owned and operated farm and restaurant. It’s located outside of Manson, but worth the drive. Our favorites are the biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, and the blueberry blintz. Dress warm and enjoy the outdoor seating that overlooks their berry fields.
For lunch stop at A Shot of Gratitude. This establishment is ran by a co-op and has some wonderful food. My favorite being the nachos. They also make the best bloody Mary. It comes with a grilled cheese sandwich garnish, a truly righteous drink. The restaurant used to be a house and it still holds the same charm and comfort of enjoying a meal at home.
We love getting dinner at Tin Lilly’s. I particularly enjoy the drunken clams and the BBQ wings. Their BBQ sauce is delicious, if you love sweet BBQ sauce this is the place to go. They have some really great salads too and french fries made fresh.
There is plenty more to do in the summer, but the quiet beauty of Chelan in the winter is quite lovely.