Even before I went there, I knew I would be enchanted by Walla Walla. And so I was. My visit fell on a Monday, so the main bustle: fourteen wine tasting rooms having downtown storefronts, was missing. Never mind that, though. Walla Walla is a sweet place far away from anything. It’s astonishing how it maintains a sort of cosmopolitan feel, even in the off-season. The food and wine culture lends a polish to this university town long known for its agricultural endowments that have produced the delicious Walla Walla sweet onion, and wheat, and more recently, wine, as well as for the state penitentiary that has presided here since 1887. Notorious!
We stayed at the venerable Mark Whitman hotel which towers over the town, thirteen stories high. Coffee, lunch, browsing well within walking distance. I loved it all, but especially some of the cheerful yellow doors.
Cayuse Vineyards, 17 East Main Street, Walla Walla, Washington. Pretty, but not usually open to the public.
Whitehouse-Crawford restaurant, 55 West Cherry Street, Walla Walla. A former planing mill and furniture factory, circa 1904. We had a memorable meal here, and the urban-chic restaurant was lively even on a Sunday night.
Lots of yellow doors on a Whitman College campus building. The entire campus and its surrounds are dreamily picturesque.
Garage doors at Corliss Estates winery, 511 North 2nd Avenue, Walla Walla. It’s repurposed warehouse is impressive.
Mill Creek burbles along an engineered course right through the heart of downtown Walla Walla.
Vixxa, she and her owners, long time residents, evidence of USA Today’s 2011 distinction: Walla Walla, USA’s friendliest small town.