Think of the last time you were walking along the Sammamish Trail. Perhaps you looked over towards the old Red Hook Brewery location and saw people seemingly walking in the air. Perhaps they were on a wood platform, or a ladder, or a row of tires, or even a tight rope.
One way or another you wondered “what is that place?” with the thought of checking it out soon.
I’m here to report that the place is the Adventura Aerial Adventure Park, and they’ve been thrilling folks for 15 years in Woodinville.
Recently, Scott Chreist, CEO for Adventura, invited me out for a “Playday” to check it out for myself. Admittedly, I hesitated and informed him that I was in my 50’s, and I wasn’t a ninja. He assured me that “No ninja skills are required.”
“Ninja skills” may not be required, but you definitely want to be in relatively good shape and ready to relive some of the fun you had as a child on that jungle gym on the school playground.
I was booked on the 9 a.m. start and was told to plan on two and a half hours for the playday. There were 12 people in our group, and as I looked around I felt more at ease as there were definitely a few others in their 50’s. I chatted with a guy about my age, and he told me that he was there for his father’s day present with his teenage daughter.
We started with staff introductions and a safety and equipment review. The guides were very patient and thorough while helping us get set up with our gear. Then we went to a practice area to learn the correct way to stay on the course … i.e. remain attached to it via your climbing equipment.
Next we set off for the course, which starts at the 50-foot cargo net wall that is the point of access for all of the above ground obstacles. The course, as it was pointed out was a spoke and wheel design, so you are welcome to do as little or as much as you’d like within your comfort level. A couple staff members helped us climb the rope one by one to reach the first platform. The other staff positioned themselves at various points on the course to assist as needed. With the exception of the initial net wall, the entire course is 50 feet above the ground.
I chose to go last while I gathered my courage to get clipped into the elaborate harness system and climb up the net wall. When I reached the first platform, I happily hung out for a while deciding which direction to go on which obstacle. My choices were a log bridge, swinging rope, or a flat “staircase” with a lot of air between each step. I was there with a few other gals that were also gathering their courage and after they both crossed the log bridge, I decided that should be my path as well.
My trailblazer gals next attempted the double ladder so again I chose to follow them. They were definitely feeding my sense of adventure and giving me a dose of courage.
I must admit that the staff was amazing through all of this. I never felt pressured to try anything outside my comfort level, and when I did venture on an obstacle, they were all very encouraging.
Overall, I had a great time and as I zipped down the final obstacle to the ground, I had a profound sense of accomplishment for overcoming a few fears.
“The playday is geared towards adults,” Chreist said. It’s for people that want to do something really unique and different. Children, of course, can participate but must be with an adult. My thought was what a great bachelorette party this would make by adding a luncheon or wine tasting following the adventure.
Adventura also organizes team building corporate events that are custom designed with your goals and objectives in mind whether for recreation or development.
Check out all the options at www.AdventuraPlay.com.
I was invited to an event recently to check out a new product called the Savor Seattle Wine Passport. Those who know me know I like wine, and I enjoy going to a tasting occasionally so it sounded like it was right up my alley.
The event was at the Woodhouse Wine Estate Venue right off of Woodinville-Redmond Road in Woodinville. I must say that I really liked the place! It’s essentially a warehouse that has been dolled up with elegant chandeliers that provide a bit of ambiance. There is a long bar to collect your beverage (we particularly liked the Kennedy Shah Reserve Riesling) and the overall feel to the place is spacious and comfortable. Luckily, it was also a nice evening. The garage door was open to the parking lot/patio area complete with bistro tables where I met up with our event host.
Angela Shen, CEO of Savor Seattle, was clearly pleased with the turnout and happy to give me a few minutes of her time to talk about the Savor Seattle Wine Passport.
The passport is a phone app that is something of a “wine tasting assistant” that according to Shen,“ takes the guesswork out of choosing which wineries to visit.”
According to Shen after careful research, 25 of the best wineries in Woodinville and Seattle were selected to be a part of this project. These include some of the most iconic wineries as well as a few specialty ones that are a real treat once discovered. As Shen says, “The passport covers the gamut [of wineries].”
Your wine passport allows you tasting access to 10 of those wineries plus $50 in Lyft credit if you want to have someone else do the chauffeuring. The cost of the passport is $59.99. Considering most wineries presently charge at least $10 for a tasting this is a really good deal especially with the added Lyft credits.
The passport can be used over the course of a year. “We are giving people flexibility to visit wineries at their own pace and schedule,” Shen added.
The exclusive winery partners include: Alexandria Nicole, Basel Cellars, Charles Smith, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Cloudlift Cellars, Columbia Winery, Cougar Crest Winery, DeLille Carriage House, Fidelitas, Full Pull, J Bookwalter, Market Vineyards, Martedi Winery, Novelty Hill Januik, Obelisco Winery, Patterson Cellars, Sous Sol, Sparkman Cellars, Structure Cellars, Tertulia Cellars, Tsillan Cellars, Warr-King Wines, White Heron, Wilridge Winery/Sky River, and of course our gracious host venue Woodhouse Wine Estates.
This is the first of three tasting passports that Savor Seattle is planning to launch in 2018.
The Wine Passport isn’t Savor Seattle’s first product. According to Shen, they have been in business for 11 years with upwards of 35 employees during the busy season. The company got its start by offering guided food, wine and tasting tours for small groups. A signature tour they offer is to Pike Place Market that involves a tour, tasting and learning about the history and culture that is the Market.
Shen said, “If you are a foodie, you will love our tours.” In addition to the Pike Place tour, she referenced their gourmet tours in the city and an awesome getaway they offer to San Juan Island with kayaking. The nine-day Heart of Italy Tour sounded like one that would be right up my alley!
To learn more about the Savor Seattle Wine Passport or the Food Tours, visit savorseattletours.com.
When Jake Leland graduated from Cedarcrest High School in 2008, I doubt he ever envisioned embarking on the greatest motoring adventure on the planet touted as the Mongol Rally. But…that is just what he is doing next month with his bride, Madison, and his younger brother, Jaren, who is graduating from Cedarcrest this month.
After Jake graduated from Gonzaga and Madison from Washington State, they started their careers in Chicago. He has been working for United Airlines while volunteering for a program that helps homeless youth in the city. Madison settled in the corporate environment working for a law firm and on her MBA but they felt as though something was missing.
They’ve been in the city for five years and although they embraced volunteerism, they wanted to do something different, something more to give back.
They were wed last fall and as Jake explained, “we planned to leave our jobs and do a stint of traveling.” Then a friend tagged Madison in a Facebook post about The Mongol Rally. She did a little research and when Jake arrived home later that day she announced, “I’m going to Mongolia.”
It was a bit impulsive but as they learned more about the rally, they decided it would be a great adventure for both of them.
Founded by The Adventurists out of the United Kingdom, this will be the 11th annual event. The Mongol Rally starts July 15 at a secret location 30 minutes west of Prague in the Czech Republic. The route is 10,000 miles across the mountains, desert and steppe of Europe and Asia. There’s no backup, no support and no set route. You are on your own with your crew and a tiny 1000cc car.
The team (Jake, Madison and Jaren) will be driving a 20-year-old Ford Fiesta that they bought from someone on Facebook for $100.
The best part about the adventure is that participants in the rally are all raising money for charity. Each team must raise a minimum of $1000. $500 of that automatically goes to Cool Earth, the main charity of the event itself. Cool Earth is an environmental charity that works in partnership with indigenous communities. The charity protects rainforests that without intervention will be destroyed within the next 18 months.
Jake and Madison chose Smile Train as their personal charity. Smile Train is an international children’s charity that provides 100 percent free cleft lip and palate corrective surgeries for children in 85+ developing countries. This cause is special to them because Jake was born with a cleft lip and palate. They will donate the remaining $500 and any additional donations they receive to Smile Train. They are hoping to raise $5,000 total for the charity, which would pay for 20 surgeries.
They are personally paying for all of the other expenses on the trip that includes many of the typical travel and supply expenses you’d think plus a whole host of other expenses including eight visas.
While on the trip, they are hoping to visit some of the hospitals that Smile Train performs surgeries in such as Mongolia, Bulgaria, and Kyrgystan.
Jake and Madison are currently traveling, and I spoke to them from Nepal. They’ve been on the road since January and have also visited Sri Lanka, Maldives, Malaysia, and plan to go to India at the end of the trip.
Then the twosome will head to the United Kingdom (UK) and Jaren will be flying out from Washington state to meet them there on his 18th birthday. He’ll be part of the team for about a month then he has to fly home prior to staring school at Washington State in Pullman.
The trip is Jaren’s graduation present from Jake and Madison. “An awesome adventure before he starts college,” as Jake said. I asked what his mother thought of the “adventure” and he admitted it took a bit of convincing but agreed nonetheless.
From the UK, the trio heads to Germany to pick up their beater car then to Prague by July 15 for the start of the rally. From there who knows until they get to the finish line in the Russian town of Ulan-Ude (which is about 400 miles due north of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the original finish line). The finish opens August 10 and teams have until September 10 to cross the line. Of course it’s still called the Mongol Rally but the organizers moved the finish in 2015 to save each team about £1000.
One way or another, they are definitely in for an adventure. Madison said, “We are nervous but really excited…we’re not sure what we are getting ourselves into.”
If you’d like to follow Jake and Madison on their adventures, visit https://www.facebook.com/mjroam/
To donate to Jake and Madison’s Smile Train charity for the event, visit https://my.smiletrain.org/fundraiser/mjroam
To learn more about the Mongol Rally, visit http://www.theadventurists.com/mongol-rally/
At first glance you’d think Kristin Jarvis Adams was your typical Eastside mom with two kids, a lovely home with a proverbial white picket fence, and a side business. That is what you may think but you’d be wrong.
Adams and her family survived one of the most gut wrenching and emotional ordeals over a 10-year period and luckily for all those who follow, she’s written a book to tell her story.
The book, “The Chicken Who Saved Us: The Remarkable Story of Andrew and Frightful”, is receiving rave reviews from parents and doctors alike. After reading it myself, I can only join in the accolades.
Adams grew up on the Eastside and attended Woodinville High School in the 80’s. She attended the University of Washington and graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design. She married her high school sweetheart, Jon Adams, in 1990 and they started their family. Andrew was first then three years later Hannah joined the family.
“Andrew is autistic and didn’t utter a word until he was four,” according to Adams. From there he spoke in riddles and the family was always struggling to decode his language. When Andrew was 8 years old and Hannah was 5, the family went to DeYoung’s Feed Store for the annual Chick Fest. Andrew discovered a bin of baby chickens on the far side of the room. They were Araucana hens and Tony the store clerk told him that they lay beautiful blue eggs.
A few minutes later, Andrew approached his parents gently cupping a splotchy brown and black chick in his hands and announced, “She is my new friend. I’d like to bring her home with me.” Adams said that she was astonished he had spoken so clearly. That sentence along with the children’s pleas were all they needed and next thing you know they are heading home with six chicks and all the items needed to raise them.
Andrew told his parents her name was Frightful. When asked why he called her Frightful he replied, “Because she told me that was her name.” When pressed he added “She will be brave for me. Frightful will save me.”
Frightful was not only Andrew’s best friend but his confident as well with him admitting to her one summer afternoon “I think my body is trying to kill me.”
Adams admitted, “Andrew was sick pretty much his entire childhood. It became critical when he was 16 years old.”
In and out of doctor’s offices, hospital emergency rooms, then eventually moving into to the hospital at 16 years old, Andrew was in constant excruciating pain. When he was finally diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, the doctors were then baffled as to how to cure him or at least help lesson the pain.
Hannah adored her brother and throughout it all stayed strong and seemed to understand her role in the family, eventually saving Andrew’s life.
Frightful of course couldn’t visit at the hospital but stayed ever vigilant to her best friend at home on her perch by the window and via technology at the hospital.
Adams and her husband did what they could to save their son and keep their heads above water for what seemed like eternity. They are forever grateful for friends and family that stepped in and up so that they could focus on Andrew.
While reading her story, there were moments where I laughed out loud and other moments where I quietly sobbed. Adams captured the truism to dealing with a child’s life-threatening illness within a family unit and at the hospital surrounded by other parents and caregivers. “There is a whole world going on inside these [hospital] walls,” she said.
When asked why she decided to relive the ordeal and tell her story she said, “I felt the need and wanted people to know that you are not alone.” I am confident that anyone who is a parent or caregiver would benefit by reading her book.
Adams admits that many people have reached out with thanks and the book has touched people in different ways. One man wrote to her and said, “Oh my God you absolutely changed how I looked at my family’s situation.” Adams said, “He was the Hannah in the story.”
Frightful lived to the ripe old age of 10…just long enough to see her friend Andrew come home from the hospital. Adams said that the phrase “Chick, chick, chickadee” became one that she knows had a bit of magic in it. Andrew would likely say to this day “Frightful saved my life.”
Andrew is now 25 years old and doing well. He was able to graduate from high school and worked for the past three years as a prep chef. He is now thinking of his next step and as a family they are feeling things through and trying things on for size.
I asked Adams her advice for other parents faced with a life threatening illness. She said “As a mama bear you protect your young over anything. That was the biggest thing for many years for my husband and I. When the illness blossomed like a mushroom cloud, it took over our lives. We tried to suck it up. Eventually I just called the church and asked for help.” The church responded by offering support to the family in every way possible. When Adams first shared her story, the pastor said, “We’ve got this and we’ll hold the story for you.” From there she learned it is so important to share/tell your story so others can “hold it” for you. Be connected to community…they can help.
“The Chicken Who Saved Us: The Remarkable Story of Andrew and Frightful” has won the Gold IPPY Award. It is available wherever books are sold and at the Woodinville Barnes and Noble.