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Flying High

May 12, 2008 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent

Washington State’s attractions provide the ideal backdrop for airplane buffs and wine aficionados

Those enamored of the wild blue yonder will want to check out two new opportunities in Washington State. The Flying Heritage Collection opens June 6, in Paine Field in Everett, WA, which is 30 minutes north of downtown Seattle and two hours south of Vancouver, Canada. The collection is an assembly of 15 rare World War II-era military aircraft owned by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen, and we’re told that each has been painstakingly restored to flyable condition.

vintage world war ii planes

Vintage World War II planes will be on view at the new Flying Heritage collection in Everett, WA.

The planes were built between 1935 and 1945 and hail from five of the participants in World War II: the United States, Britain, Russia, Germany and Japan. Highlights include the Messerschmitt BF 109E, the P-40C Tomahawk, the Hawker Hurricane MK.II B, the Supermarine Spitfire MK.VC, the Polikarpov U2/PO-2 and the F6F-5 Hellcat. All are housed in a new 51,000 square foot exhibition facility, which also serves as an active hangar. Admission will be $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 6-15. Tickets will be available online on May 22.

Allen, who is often cited as one of the richest people in the world, also owns two other Pacific Northwest attractions, the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. Those traveling to downtown Seattle can also visit some of Allen’s other philanthropic contributions to the region: the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum, both of which are housed in architect Frank Gehry’s landmark building at the base of the Space Needle. Some attractions at the Science Fiction Museum include Captain Kirk’s command chair from Star Trek, the B9 robot from Lost in Space and the dome from the film Silent Running. The Experience Music Project, meanwhile, houses interactive exhibitions that explore both the the roots of rock ‘n’ roll and the music forms it has influenced, such as hip-hop, punk and other genres. General adult admission to both Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (EMP|SFM) is $15.

flights of fancy seattle

Clients can enjoy a biplane tour of Puget Sound by purchasing the "Flights of Fancy" package at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center.

To continue the aviation-themed vacation, why not recommend a stay at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, which has created a “Flights of Fancy” package that takes clients on a helicopter flight over Mt. Rainier National Park and a biplane tour of Puget Sound and the city of Seattle. Also covered are a night’s suite accommodations and dinner for two with wine, for $1,500 for two (plus tax and tip), valid until December 31. The hotel is located across from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and we hear it is often rated as one of Hilton’s Top Performing Hotels for delivering outstanding customer service.

Into Wine Country
From Seattle, visitors can take a two-hour trip over the Cascade Mountains to the Yakima and Columbia Valleys, which lie in the heart of Washington’s Wine Country. The two valleys are the primary source of the state’s top varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. One recommendation for accommodations is the bed-and-breakfast-style Sunset House Inn in Prosser, where there are 35 wineries alone. To get your clients into the newest vineyard attractions, suggest they visit Milbrandt Vineyards Winery, which just opened in April, and Mercer Estates Winery, which debuts later this summer.

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