Day 1: Late summer is the perfect time to visit this Western town in the Methow Valley. Get an early-morning lay of the land with Morning Glory Balloon Tours(balloonwinthrop.com, 509-997-1700), before tapping into the history of the area at the Shafer Museum(shafermuseum.com, 509-996-2712). Come back to the present with a homemade meal from the friendly folks at the Rocking Horse Bakery(rockinghorsebakery.com, 509-996-4241) followed by ice cream from Sheri’s Sweet Shop(509-996-3834), just next door. Cruise the boardwalk and shop the seemingly unchanged Old West storefronts. Be sure to stop in the Iron Horse, which everything from leather goods to iron works, to hats and apparel. Wrap it up with an evening at Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon(3fingeredjacks.com, 509-996-2411), Washington’s oldest, legal saloon.
Day 2:The best way to see a new place is through the ears of a horse, so if you’re traveling with your mount, hit the many horse-friendly trails and campsites. Otherwise, get horseback for the day with Chewack River Guest Ranch(chewackranch.com, 509-996-2497). For a backcountry experience, Cascade Wilderness Outfitters(cascadewildernessoutfitters.com, 509-322-3809) can accommodate pack trips, drop camps, and hunting trips. And, if you’re in town Labor Day Weekend, get your cowboy fill at the Methow Valley Rodeo(methowvalleyrodeo.com). Either way, wash down the dust with a Rendezvous Porter from the Old Schoolhouse Brewery(oldschoolhousebrewery.com, 509-996-3183), where award-winning brews are poured and the music is live.
Day 3: Head for the hills and explore the beauty of North Cascades National Park(nps.goc/noca). To gear up for the journey, stop at TheMazama Store(themazamastore.com, 509-996-2855) for any food and other supplies you may have forgotten. This store is well stocked with locally made goods, so you might walk out the door with things you didn’t know you needed. After venturing down countless park trails, enjoy a unique dining experience with Winthrop Tipi Dinners(winthroptipidinners.com, 509-429-1516), which offers a full-course meal around a fire in a well-decorated and authentic tipi.
Hotel Rio Vista Book a few nights at this charming accommodation located right in downtown Winthrop. Dining, shopping, and galleries are all within walking distance and the river is right out the back door.