By Board VP, Wendy Peloquin
When you are summoned by a woman you greatly admire and given a task to help an agency you have supported for nearly 30 years, you take it seriously. Earlier this spring, Barbara Barger, DAHLIA's esteemed founder (who has been beset by health issues) asked me to stop by and told me she had a mission for me. She wanted me to visit Westport Winery and ask them to donate to DAHLIA's auction.
At the time, I had heard of Westport Winery (WW), but really knew nothing about it. Barb (who you'll recall is an avid gardener - we changed our name to DAHLIA in her honor after all) painted a vivid picture of gardens and sculptures - with delicious food and wine to boot. It really wasn't too tough for her to twist my arm.
I reached out to WW's owner, Kim Roberts and asked to meet with her. At first, she was a bit reluctant - they give and give and give - but to local Grays Harbor organizations. But persistence paid off and I convinced her that I just needed a few minutes of her time.
Sandy Wood, a long time DAHLIA supporter and auction attendee, was easily persuaded to make the journey with me. On a glorious sunny day we arrived to irises blooming everywhere! A sea of purple, yellow and white (any Dawg fans out there?).
Our first stop was the Sea Glass Grill where we enjoyed wine flights of our choosing - they have a ridiculous number of varieties - all sourced from the best vineyards in the state. (We learned later that the soil and weather in Westport isn't conducive to high quality wines - so they make the wine there, but ship in the highest quality grapes.) And, feasted on lobster rolls and homemade clam chowder. Yum.
Then it was my time to share. I told her about Barb and her daughter Beth and how DAHLIA came to be. I told her how Barb had sent me on this mission to a place she wished she could visit again, but her health prevented it (I showed her Barb's Facebook page - and all the WW posts she shares) and how I couldn't say no to such an inspirational woman who had done so much for so many. I told her about our agency and the care and sense of family that still exists today after nearly 45 years. That we still have a few - if dwindling - number of original residents. She was truly touched.
Now, WW is an organization that truly believes in giving back...and to the community in which they live. If you have lived in Washington for any length of time, you know how hard the coastal towns have been hit economically. WW has made it their mission to make a difference locally and they are succeeding. I came away so impressed with their establishment and their hearts.
That said, she was so honored by Barb's request, she made an exception to their charitable policy. Barb had seen a special decanter and thought it would make a great DAHLIA auction item. Kim agreed to donate that - filled with their highly unusual, but delicious "Float" wine and more. I'm not going to spoil the surprise because we're putting together a basket of fun and fabulous coastal items for the auction that we'll reveal later in the summer...but I'm hoping there will be a frenzy to purchase! (You know you can buy your auction tickets online now! October 19th at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue!)
From there, Sandy and I strolled the gardens and marveled at the sculptures.
Shopaholics both of us, we ended our stay in the gift shop. I bought a beautiful - and very reasonably priced - glass bird bath as well as a yellow fuchsia plant - I had never seen a yellow one before! Kim said they pride themselves on finding out-of-the-ordinary plants.
We had an amazing day at a spectacular place. If you find yourself near Westport, I strongly recommend you stop by...stroll through the gardens, eat a bite, shop a little and taste some fabulous wine. And, if you get a chance, thank these wonderful people for their generous hearts and donation to DAHLIA Living.