The Willows Lodge in Woodinville (top), Snug Harbor Resort on San Juan Island (left), Waterfront Inn in Gig Harbor (center), and Alderbrook Resort and Spa on Hood Canal (right) are all part of the fun you can win by entering the Honda One Tank Trip Sweepstakes.

Our One Tank Trip to Woodinville's Willows Lodge

Lunch meetings, office retreats, happy hour gatherings … all good ways to get to know a co-worker. Want a better one? Take a road trip. That’s what Scenic WA’s Jennifer Coleman and I did on leg three of our One Tank Trips Sweepstakes series for Western Washington Honda Dealers. Our destination? Willows Lodge in Woodinville wine country, one of four road-trip-worthy destinations in Honda’s One Tank sweepstakes.

If you’ve been following along, you know Scenic WA is on a quest to visit each of the resorts and to test Honda’s promise that you can get there and back on a tank of gas. The suspense is long over and Honda’s right! You can easily get to any of their featured Western Washington getaways on a single tank. We learned that on our first trip to Alderbrook Resort and again when we zipped over to the Waterfront Inn in Gig Harbor. We’re no longer watching the gas tank. Our focus is firmly on enjoying the drive and the destination.

Willows Lodge’s landscaped 5-acre property subtly blends the relaxing heritage of a cozy country home and modern, sophisticated culture."

Jennifer and I are all set for the Honda Challenge... a one-tank trip to Woodinville's Willows Lodge.

Jennifer easily set up the hands-free link to her phone, activated the navigation system and and we were ready to hit the road.

This time, it was an easy 1/4-tank journey from Bellingham with Jennifer behind the wheel of a sleek 2018 Honda Accord Touring Edition on loan from our local Western Washington Honda dealer. The Accord’s seat coolers (That’s right: seat coolers!) were a plus on a hot August day. The navigation system’s confident commands smoothly guided us through I-5 traffic, leaving us to ponder important matters like: Why is the movie “San Andreas” on TV all the time and why do we keep watching it? Discovering we both get a kick out of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? And “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “My Cousin Vinny?” Yes, yes. We agree. Great movies! These are most definitely co-worker bonding moments. 

A slight detour to Chateau Ste. Michelle

We were early for our lunch meeting with Rhanda Rosselot and Janene Varden of Willows Lodge, so we stopped just down the road at historic Chateau Ste. Michelle. Jennifer had been here a few weeks before with her book club for one of the legendary outdoor concerts on the winery’s lawn. She described their picnic dinner under a summer sky, drinking wine and listening to Jackson Browne sing. It’s fitting that friends and family continue to gather here.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is built on the 1912 estate owned by Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson. The Stimsons and other prominent families once had country homes in this valley 25 miles outside of downtown Seattle.

We arrive at Willows Lodge

The lobby of the Willows Lodge has a true northwest feel of homey comfort.

Rhanda Rosselot and Janene Varden of Willows Lodge were gracious hosts for our visit.

This stone hut is one of the unique features of the beautiful gardens at the Willows Lodge.

On our tour of Willows Lodge’s landscaped 5-acre property, we saw how the lodge subtly blends the relaxing heritage of a country home—great dining, warm fires (each of the 84 guest rooms and suites has a fireplace)—with modern refinements such as soaking tubs, heated towel racks and 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.

Look for reclaimed materials throughout the eco-conscious lodge, including tavern billiard tables repurposed as in-room countertops. With Coast Salish and Asian influences throughout, Willows Lodge’s secluded courtyards, pathways and water features encourage relaxation. The Lodge is popular for girlfriends’ getaways and couples’ retreats. “In the fall and winter, we see more (couples with) dogs than (families with) kids,” Rosselot says.

The pool and spa were tempting us, but we just didn't have time today; next time for sure.

Enjoy a refreshing cocktail on the outdoor patio.

Lunch at the Barking Frog was spectacular in taste, service and presentation.

We discovered this unique and ornate fireplace mantel at the Herbfarm.

We found plenty of reasons to never leave the lodge itself: its recently renovated spa, the oasis of the heated relaxation pool, a craft cocktail and live music at the Fireside Lounge, and a stroll through The Herbfarm’s kitchen garden. The Herbfarm, an internationally known farm-to-table restaurant, is steps away.

Over lunch at Willows Lodge’s excellent Barking Frog restaurant (the special was grilled halibut over couscous and huckleberry beurre blanc sauce), Varden said that Teatro ZinZanni was moving in to the former Red Hook Brewery next door. Delille Cellars and Sparkman Cellars will share the massive space.

The new complex is one more reason to stick close to Willows Lodge. But there’s plenty to explore just beyond. Borrow a complimentary bike to pedal the Sammamish River Trail. Or ask the concierge about tours of nearby Woodinville wineries.

Our wine guide Max is sharing some options with Jennifer that she may enjoy. He must have hit the mark because we came home with three bottles!

A chalk art map in the Ryan Patrick tasting room gives visitors a sense of where the grapes used in their wines are grown.

We stopped at the Ryan Patrick tasting room in the nearby Hollywood District before heading north. Our host Max was only five days on the job but ably guided us through a tasting.  Jen and I left with bottles of rosé for weekend dinner parties.

FINAL NUMBERS...  208 miles, 33.4 mpg, ¼ tank of gas, three bottles of wine, three new friends, and one absolutely confirmed co-worker bond.

ENTER TO WIN a 3-year lease on a Honda HR-V or Civic PLUS Weekly Prizes and Weekend Trips to one of our four featured destinations!

Western Washington Honda Dealer’s One Tank Trips Sweepstakes continues through Sept. 3. Enter for a chance to win a three-year lease on a 2018 HR-V or Civic plus weekly prizes and weekend trips to Alderbrook Resort & SpaSnug Harbor ResortWillows Lodge or the Waterfront Inn. See the website for contest rules.