Walla Walla is a place so nice they named it twice! I’ve also been here twice, always looking forward to the next time! You think Washington state, you think Seattle, but what you may not know, is that over the mountains is a wealth of agriculture and yes, all the WINE!
Last month was our first visit to wine country as a family of 4. We braved the Northwest’s Cabernet country with a girl of 4 (and a half years old) and a boy who turned 3 months while on our visit and it couldn’t be more perfect. First of all, Walla Walla has been nominated as America’s Best Wine Region by USA today, 2 years in a row. If you must know, but we discovered the wines from this area about 5 years ago and we can’t stop, won’t stop coming.
Not only is this place kid friendly, you can easily slide activities to keep the kids entertained throughout the day.
We started by checking in to Eritage Resort, a beautiful estate nestled in to 300 acres in the rolling fields of wheat and vineyards of Washington wine country, but only minutes away from downtown and truly the perfect place to relax.
We took a ride up through the vineyards, held and ate some grapes while we learned from all about when grapes are ready for harvest from the vineyard manager. Then we checked into our room with a beautiful lake view where you can paddle board or just sit with a nice glass of wine overlooking these vines.
Pretty amazing location, not to mention the cocktail hour with appetizers made by the resident chef who did not disappoint. Beauty and taste!
They also have a fancy breakfast buffet so you never have to leave the resort if you’re looking for a secluded retreat. Of course when in Walla Walla, you must. But you don’t have to!
I even enjoyed some yoga and mediation with Katie from Kaleidoscope Studios while overlooking the beautiful vineyards – Namaste.
Let’s get to what you can do outside of beautiful Eritage.
Definitely get dinner at TMACS – Chef’s farm to table culinary experience shines with every plate. Craft cocktails and even their own label of wine is guarantee of a VERY good time and happy bellies all around. This place is such a vibe!
VISIT: Frog Hollow Farms
If you have kids (me) or just love to see where things grow locally (also me), be sure to check out Frog Hollow Farms. I was impressed with the 25 year old farm manager, Noah who runs this place and who’s passion for what he does is evident.
There we ate tomatoes right out of the tree, picked out some beautiful flowers and fed the pigs (unclear who had more fun, me or Little Miss, but I think we know the answer).
Eats: AK Mercado
Be sure to indulge by having lunch at AK’s Mercado, where I’ve been before when it was still located at a working gas station.
Chef Andrae graduated into a downtown establishment which is just a staple when you visit Walla Walla.
I had 8 tacos. The Caesar’s salad is also something to write home about, and of course any of their cocktails. I wish it was Sunday so I could have the beignets. This place is so good, seriously.
Wine with a Purpose: Vital
We stopped by Vital Wines no tasting room which not only has delicious pours, but they have the best mission.
100% of their profits are dedicated to ensuring vineyard and winery workers have access to healthcare and resources.
Maddie, the tasting room manager made Little Miss Sandee feel at home as well, and kept her entertained drawing and coloring. This is such a special mission, it really needs to be highlighted. And did I mention their wines are Delicious?
Wine: Caprio Cellars
Caprio Cellars was next, and can I just say, what an atmosphere. This is a 360 degree view of Walla Walla Valley, but walking in, you feel you this warm and cozy “home” sensation, which may or may not be heightened by the welcome glass of sparkling.
The wine tasting is accompanied by “small plates” which are really small mind blowing meals that pair perfectly with their big reds. We were in heaven! Also because they have the most comfortable couches where you can spread (yes, if you have kids, this is such a treat) because you literally get to enjoy the wine tasting experience in many levels.
We were lucky enough to run into the winemaker who was an absolute gem. It is such a treat to taste the wine with the person who created this feat!
EATS: Crossbuck Brewery
Another wonderful place to eat is Crossbuck brewery, which is a tap room (yes, I had beer in wine country, and I liked it!) that shares a menu with the sister steakhouse next door and are both amazing!
This place is a show stopper as it is located in a a historic train depot and it is just beautiful. The food is also exquisite. Eat here!
EATS: Walla Walla Bread Co.
Walla Walla Bread Co. is a personal favorite. I had been here before but now it has definitely left its mark. It has changed and definitely for the better!
The pastry Chef Michele Pompei gave us a private pastry decorating class and I left there in amazement. Not only by my performance (haha, ok… that’s a joke) but by how everything I tasted was absolutely delicious.
Seriously, feast your eyes. And when you’re in Walla Walla, at least stop by to pick out several pastries and take it to go. It is out of this world.
PLAY: Walla Walla Children’s Museum
Next stop was all about Little Miss. This hidden gem we ran into was the Walla Walla Children’s Museum. It was clean, safe and provided the best environment for learning and playing.
They even have a retired fire truck in the back with a hose! Little miss had a blast, and again, so did I. Make this a stop if you have littles. It will brighten their day and they’ll be so happy you took the time.
EATS: Yellowhawk Lunch and Bubbles
If you’re a bubbles enthusiast, you need to check out Yellowhawk Lunch and bubbles. No one else is doing this here, so please go pair lunch with this sparkling winery and tasting room featuring farm to table dining. This is a beautiful estate and you can walk the vineyards as well.
Winemaker George-Anne Robertson is such a presence, she just makes you smile with her descriptions of each bubble and it’s like having a private winemaker class. We enjoyed her so much! I’m hoping to return and stay here as I hear it will be an amazing resort!
If you’re into history, check out the Whitman Mission National Historic Site.
Wine: Tranche Cellars
Tranche Cellars made this experience for us, yet again. There is something special about harvest season, and we were here for it!! We walked in and got the harvest tour, even tasting the “Pre-wine” stage where it is simply grape juice.
Talked to various wine makers along the way, asked all the questions, and let me tell you, Little Miss was very interested in the barrels.
The best part however was the ATV ride through the wineries (yes, with the kids!) and the tasting of the wine right at the foothills of where the grapes were harvested.
This is SO special, and an experience every wine lover should be lucky enough to live. Finished with a little picnic style dinner with the kiddos and celebrated Little Mr. Sandee’s 3 month birthday. What a perfect day!
A Sweet Finish
Finished the day at Pine Cone Creamery. Calling all the ice cream lovers to theis locally owned, premium hand crafted ice cream made in small batches. Taste test them all! They also make amazing affogato. I needed a hit of caffeine to finish such an amazing stay!
Walla Walla is the family friendly, gastronomic wine country little piece of heaven you need to know about it!
I’ve been twice and planning the third trip because well, it had captured our hearts, and stomachs.
Walla Walla is less than an hour flight from SeaTac (Seattle/Tacoma international airport) so a quick hop will get you hear and you won’t be sorry to see the other side of Washington state!
Xo, Ana – I’ll be back!