The deep-green hues of summertime in Walla Walla vineyards, surrounding farmlands, and postcard-perfect foothills, not to mention its bustling and charming downtown, offer a reminder of why so many have long flocked to Washington wine country in the summer. But Walla Walla remains just far enough off the beaten path to keep the summer crowds at bay and its friendly small-town charm alive and well.
Recently named one of Travel + Leisure’s “50 Best Places to Travel in 2018” and Travelocity’s top pick for a small-town road trip, Walla Walla is hardly a secret. With more than 120 wineries and deep agricultural roots fostering a true farm-to-table culinary scene, Walla Walla has become a mecca for wine lovers and foodies alike.
A summer trip to Walla Walla brings its own special rewards. The wine, food, and friendliness of Walla Walla are heightened by clear, sun-drenched days, outdoor events, adventures, and festivals, highly acclaimed golf, cultural events, baseball, and farmers markets.
“The energy of Walla Walla’s summer can be felt all around town by residents and visitors alike,” said Ron Williams, executive director of Visit Walla Walla.
The wineries and restaurants buzz with energy. It’s a time when the winemakers, farmers and chefs put their best foot forward. Still, visitors will discover a wine country that, even in summer, feels easy and relaxing. That is what makes Walla Walla truly unique among wine country destinations.”
Few Walla Walla itineraries feel complete without an exploration of Walla Walla’s intimate downtown tasting rooms, or the estate vineyards and wineries; sometimes understated, sometimes spectacular, and always unique. And visitors need not leave the kids at home. Many of Walla Walla’s tasting rooms are themselves family-friendly, some with outdoor spaces for the kids to roam.
The summer invites all to explore Walla Walla’s agricultural roots through its culinary scene. Walla Walla’s charming downtown — featuring restaurants with renowned chefs who prepare dishes using fresh ingredients grown locally — is the center of Walla Walla’s farm-to-table movement. Venture beyond downtown the first Monday of each month through October for Walla Walla Food Truck Night, an outside festival-like setting at Burwood Brewing in the historic Walla Walla Airport District.
The Downtown Walla Walla Farmers Market is a community gathering spot and is considered to be among the great farmer’s markets in the West. The region’s farms are in full bloom, inviting visitors to tour rolling farmland and roadside farm stands, including Blue Mountain Lavender Farm, Klicker Berries and Antiques,Lampson Blueberries, Monteillet Fromagerie, Welcome Table Farm, and Old Homestead Alpaca Farms, just to name a few.
Those rolling hills that nourish Walla Walla’s vineyards and farms also shape Wine Valley Golf Club, one of three championship golf courses in Walla Walla and among the must-play golf courses in Washington. The Walla Walla Sweets have become a favorite local pastime, too. With 30 West Coast Baseball League games played each summer in historic Borleske Stadium, the Sweets offer a nostalgic trip for baseball fans and inexpensive entertainment for families.
Cyclists will discover a road-biking mecca. Outdoor adventurists are drawn to the terrain of the surrounding Blue Mountains, and birders are lured by the more than 300 bird species that call the area home.
In Walla Walla, the outdoors bring culture, too. Celebrating its 11th year from June 7-30, the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival will once again bring to life the works of Beethoven, Mozart, and more with performances and live rehearsals set in unique and interesting venues throughout the valley.
“The region offers so many diverse things to do during the summer — whether it be a hike, a bike ride, a baseball game, a glass of wine, a great meal, or a music festival — that both locals and visitors are drawn to together to share in all the fun opportunities,” Williams said. “No season brings out more of what makes Walla Walla special than summer.”
An easy and scenic four-hour drive from Seattle, Portland, or Boise, Walla Walla can also be accessed via Alaska Airlines daily non-stop flights from Seattle.
Walla Walla offers so much to experience. For more information on planning a trip, go to visitwallawalla.com.