We spent a couple of days east of the mountains in wine country a.k.a. Walla Walla, Washington. The drive over is long, about 5 hours but through the Snoqualmie Pass corridor the beautiful red and orange fall colors kept us distracted and then on both sides of Cle Elum brilliant yellows, I love fall!
We lunched in Yakima at a Cowiche Canyon Kitchen, a gorgeous new building with a great menu, we arrived just as they opened and by the time we left the restaurant was full, very popular place and I can see why – the food was delicious.
Our last trip to eastern Washington was in the spring and all the fields and hills were green, it was beautiful; this time of year brown is the color and it gets tiresome so we were happy to roll into town and check into our hotel – the Marcus Whitman with its congenial staff, elegant lobby, 5-star restaurant and down-home friendliness I can’t think of a better place to stay in Walla Walla.
We’ve come to taste wine, of course, but our main reason for this visit is the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. Friends will be arriving and our plan is to meet later for drinks and dinner so, after checking into our room, we head out for a little walk to work out the kinks before what I know will be a scrumptious dinner.
For hot air balloons you get up early because they go up soon after the sun. It was fun to watch the flurry of activity as the balloons were unfurled, the baskets readied, the balloons filled with air standing at attention before gently lifting off one by one; such a beautiful sight against the clear blue sky.
As the balloons disappeared across the tree tops we went back to the hotel for breakfast then spent the afternoon doing a little wine tasting, a must in Walla Walla with tasting rooms tripping over each other. We opted for a late lunch instead of dinner, trying a new-to-us restaurant Public House 124. It was awesome; we had the very best Reuben sandwich ever! In fact, we both ordered one big mistake, the sandwiches are huge and ooey gooey good; we both only ate half and brought the leftovers back to the hotel. Not one morsel went to waste. The pub itself is a nice place to spend a little time and we will return.
That evening we returned to the park for the “night glow” and this time the park was packed with people, roads closed it was difficult to find a parking spot but we did and then managed to find a good spot to stand and wait for the “glow”. We enjoyed watching the little kids get so excited with each balloon; it was beautiful and worth the wait even though this event seemed a bit disorganized.
After joining our friends for breakfast we headed home; it was a fun getaway.