Our first and only other visit to Walla Walla was just a teaser but we knew it was well worth a return visit. The last time we arrived on “Parents’ Weekend” and there was not a hotel room to be had . . . except one. Our hotel and I use the term loosely was more like motel hell and we took it only because we were too tired to go back on the road to look for a campsite. This time we planned ahead and booked a room at the Marcus Whitman, an elegant old hotel right in the middle of downtown and the only “high rise” in town, all 11 floors.
The lobby is quite elegant and it felt a little strange to be wheeling our dirty bicycles through but the staff assured us it was no problem and after having them stolen at a hotel in California we no longer take chances. They were safely locked away in the bellman’s closet for the duration of our stay.
A quick walk through town to reorient ourselves and then we had a light “happy hour” dinner in the bar – the food was fantastic, chorizo stuffed mushrooms and fish tacos skillfully prepared, delish!
After dinner we settled in for a relaxing evening followed by a delightfully comfortable sleep.
Breakfast, included with the room, was standard fare or so we thought until we tasted it. Everything was fresh and delicious, the eggs (real eggs not powdered) were perfect, the potatoes were flavorful, the fruit ripe and that was only what we ate.
Bellies full we went off to explore the city covering most of the downtown area, walking through a beautiful residential area with lovingly restored Victorian homes, through Whitman campus and finally a lovely shady park with enormous old trees providing cool relief from the heat of the midday sun.
Afternoon was devoted to wine tasting and we started right in the hotel lobby where there are three tasting rooms, how convenient. What we quickly came to realize is that most of the wines made here are reds and George drinks white so we had a challenge but were not disappointed. One of the first we tasted was the Sauvignon Blanc at Lodmell Cellars and it ended up being my favorite from the trip.
The tasting rooms are all within an easy walk of each other, we tried one more, having difficulty finding whites to taste but it was fun and very quiet, not many tourists around this visit. The college term had just ended so most of the students had already left town and the summer festivities had not yet begun so we felt like the town was ours, no waits, no lines in the restaurants, what a difference from last time.
For dinner, George’s belated birthday dinner, we chose the hotel restaurant, it has an award winning chef and judging from our appetizers last night and breakfast this morning the food is excellent. Dinner did not disappoint, I started with a spring arugula salad and George the Pacific NW seafood chowder. For the entre the paella stuffed tomato with peppers, fennel, tomato, fava beans, artichokes and kalamata olives for me, and grilled asparagus and halibut cheeks for George. It was the perfect end to an enjoyable day in Walla Walla.
Tomorrow from glamping back to camping.