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Tucked away on the Eastern, and less populous, slopes of the Cascades is a long and narrow lake whose shores are mountains and where wine flows straight off the vine. Chelan began as a pioneering town, reliant on natural resources and the whims of the early American economy. Even in those days, though, C.C. Campbell recognized the area’s potential and opened the first hotel in 1898, The Chelan Hotel, which is still operating today under the name Campbell’s Resort. It was the first among many to follow, cementing Chelan as a summertime favorite in Washington, especially for those looking to escape the dreary rain on the western side of the Cascades. Chelan’s downtown association has ensured historical preservation alongside innovation, creating a walkable area that features mom and pop shops and the quaint and historic Ruby Theater.
By far, the largest attraction in the city of Chelan is the lake of the same name. Did you know you can parasail in Washington state? Chelan is the place to go. The lake is over 50 miles long so there’s plenty of room to rent your own watercraft and take off for the day. If you want a more leisurely sightseeing adventure, hop on board the Lady of the Lake make a day trip to Stehekin — a small unincorporated and isolated community on the far side of the lake where you can stop and grab a bite to eat or have a picnic on the shore with spectacular views over the water and up the steep slopes of the mountains that cradle its depths. Upon returning from your sojourn, head to a local vineyard, one of the 38 in the greater Chelan area, and enjoy the finest products of the local viticulture paired expertly with cheese and local produce. Perhaps the best part is that all of this majesty still maintains a feeling of being undiscovered — so make it your own and don’t forget the sunblock.