Plan a visit to Walla Walla, Washington, in the heart of wine country
By Marguerite Cleveland
Nestled in the heart of Washington’s wine country, Walla Walla is a darling small town that is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Stroll the charming downtown area with wine tasting rooms galore, unique shops and a vibrant culinary scene. In the winter months, visitors will find it less crowded. Try to visit in February for Restaurant Month. Find deals on lodging and a variety of prix fixe menu offerings from local restaurants, curated wine pairings and flights, and even take-home meal kits.
Where to Stay
The Eritage Resort is nestled in a bucolic 300-acre setting of vineyards and wheat fields surrounding the lovely Lake Sienna. It is the epitome of luxury with unparalleled service and opulent amenities. For the ultimate in privacy and romance, book a bungalow suite, where the floor-to-ceiling windows open up to sweeping views of the lake and vineyards. L’Occitane bath products add a spa experience to your daily rituals. At least one of your meals during your visit should be at the on-site restaurant, where Executive Chef Arturo Tello Jr. utilizes open-fire cooking techniques with locally sourced ingredients. Inspired by his mother’s cooking and his Latin heritage, he crafts some pretty incredible meals.
Plan to spend some time at the resort to enjoy the outdoor saltwater swimming pool, or take out one of the cruisers or mountain bikes to explore the vineyards and resort property. An early morning paddle board as the sun rises is a perfect way to start the day. Eritage wines are available exclusively on-site, so add a tasting to your itinerary. For special occasions, add a romance package, which includes a dozen red roses, a bottle of sparkling wine and artisan chocolate arranged in your room prior to arrival.
Where to Eat
There is such a variety of places to dine in the Walla Walla area. Many wineries have great restaurants to try, and downtown has an eclectic dining scene. Brasserie Four is a classic French-style country restaurant with simple food that is so satisfying. Make sure to try the Pommes-Frites with mayo. It is hard to believe French fries can taste so good. The Vichyssoise, a potato leek soup, is a showstopper—especially when sopped up with a slice of baguette and paired with a good glass of white wine. Each day there are daily specials that highlight fresh local ingredients such as the recent heirloom tomato salad.
The Waterbrook Winery and Tasting Room is outside of town and makes a good spot for lunch and touring the other wineries in the area. Chef Sarah Perry works her magic incorporating farm fresh produce from the on-site garden and local farms into her cuisine. Try the Chef’s Board and other shareables with a flight of wine that allows guests to experience different flavor profiles. The menu also offers a flight of house-made sauces, which is a nice addition to any of the sides.
What to Do
Walkable downtown Walla Walla has plenty of shops and boutiques to explore. Don’t miss the Showroom at Colville, which is like stepping into foodie heaven. Marguerite offers a variety of gourmet foods from France and Italy. Cookbooks and home décor round out the offerings. Stop for a tasting at the Bergevin Lane Vineyards tasting room to try any of the Passion Project Collection, a limited case production of small-batch wines. These big, bold reds have a cult following. Insider Tip: In the alley behind the showroom is a speakeasy culinary shop. Look for the door, as there is no sign for Foodscape, which offers fresh local produce, seafood, cheese, charcuterie and gourmet groceries.
For those seeking outdoor adventure, head out to Ski Bluewood, a popular ski and snowboard resort about an hour from Walla Walla that has undergone recent updates. Waitsburg and Dayton are two darling small towns worth a visit. Take a stroll through Pioneer Park, the oldest in town established in 1902. Walking paths will take you past large shade trees and beautiful ponds, in-season flower gardens and an outdoor aviary.Nothing says romance like sparkling wine. Winemaker George-Anne Robertson leads the sparkling wine program at the Yellowhawk Resort and Sparkling House. This 84-acre hilltop retreat is just gorgeous. Keep an eye out for the namesake hawks as you drive onto this pastoral property. For a fun activity, book an “Experience the Art of Sparkling Wine Disgorgement and Dosage.” This hands-on experience will have guests learn about creating sparkling wine and then have the opportunity to disgorge their own bottle of sparkling wine. Super fun activity!
Where to Stay
Eritage Resort - EritageResort.com
Where to Eat
Brasserie Four - BrasserieFour.com
Waterbrook Winery and Tasting Room - Waterbrook.com
What to Do
Marguerite - MargueriteWallaWalla.com
Bergevin Lane Vineyards - BergevinLane.com
Foodscape - FoodscapeWW.com
Ski Bluewood - Bluewood.com
Yellowhawk Resort and Sparkling House - YellowhawkResort.com