Winter Escape to Walla Walla
Feeling a bit bored by Pacific Northwest winters? Get out of the rain! A good weekend getaway is exactly what you need, and Walla Walla is exactly the place you need to escape to. Assuming you love wine, food, and checking out a culture that is entirely its own, Walla Walla is a great weekend destination. This is the mid-winter edition of what I love most in Walla Walla, and focuses mostly on being downtown, especially because it’s cold and not very nice outside. I will post a spring itinerary in a couple of months, just when the hills start to turn vivid green and the late afternoon light fades to brilliant pinks and purples at sunset. For now though, it is a great time to visit. The restaurants are up and running after having taken their much-needed vacations, wineries love to have visitors, and hotels are much less expensive at this time of year. If you are the outdoorsy type, bring your snowshoes and enjoy being in a place where you can not see a another person for miles (unlike Cabin Creek!). Come visit us! Now, for the itinerary:
Welcome to Walla Walla! Roll into town and enjoy late night appetizers and cocktails or wine at Marcy’s Bar. Their cocktails are delicious, and the wine list consists mostly of Walla Walla wineries. The food is a blend of bar munchies, salads, and tasty burgers, and they serve at least until 11p, making it easy for you to find good food and drink even if you’re driving into town from the west side.
Saturday! Perfect Saturday breakfast begins with Maple Counter Cafe. A quirky old-fashioned restaurant in downtown Walla Walla, this quaint place features amazing food, fashionably kitschy decor, and cute waitresses. Whether you love a stack of fluffy, golden pancakes (I don’t even like pancakes but regularly eat theirs) or perfectly cooked omelettes, scrambles, or benedicts, you will not be disappointed in their food and service. Since you won’t be hungry for quite awhile with Maple Counter under your belt, it must be time to wine taste. One winery definitely worth visiting is Rotie, winemaker Sean Boyd’s project focusing on Rhone varietals that are incredibly well done (I particularly love the Northern Blend). Try to make an appointment with Drew Bledsoe’s winery, Doubleback, to taste their Cabernet Sauvignon, made by winemaker Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellars and Figgins Estate fame. Other great downtown wineries are Spring Valley, Walla Walla Village Winery, Cadaretta, and Otis Kenyon, to name a few.
Just about the time your breakfast has worn off and that you are probably a little grouchy from hunger, wine tasting, looking at the plethora of public artwork littering downtown, and poking into the independent shops (like DeBouché, an ode to all things Mid-Century Modern and adorable Studio Opal) that are scattered on Main Street you’ll be wanting some nibbles. Pop into Vintage Cellars for a beer (for a change of pace, if needed) or more of that delicious Walla Walla wine and a cheese plate. The lively mix of local banter will make you feel like an insider in no time. Once you’re ready to move onto dinner, Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen offers beautiful food in a great atmosphere. James Beard Award Nominee Chris Ainsworth slings hash like no one else. The beef cheeks (Guancia di Manzo) continue to amaze me and the flatbreads are always delicious and innovative. Be prepared for a blustering dining room, cozy atmosphere, and your taste buds to be completely satiated. If, after your wining and dining, you are not ready to call it a night quite yet, curl up by the fire with a martini or aperitif at the Vineyard Lounge at the Marcus Whitman Hotel. Industry people love to hang out here, and most would love to talk your ear off about wine, Walla Walla, and probably compare outdoor adventures.
I love the Colville Street Patisserie for their truly delicious espresso, pastries, and laid-back vibe. Once you’re nicely caffeinated hit the road to a few of Walla Walla’s winery gems. Obviously I think you need to stop by Reininger to taste our latest releases and convince one of the girls to make you one of our scratch made flatbreads (do I seem food-obsessed?). After you leave us, check out Long Shadows, L’Ecole 41, and Woodward Canyon for high-quality wines and a piece of Walla Walla’s wine valley history.
If you have any questions about where to stay or just need some help, we are always here for you. Please feel free to call the winery at 509.520.1994 or shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the unique beauty of winter!