The bustling summertime port city of Seattle offers an incredible range of sights and sounds, but if you’re set to sample the feast of Alaska cruising and looking for a pre-cruise appetizer or a post-cruise dessert, place your order for the off-the-menu town of Walla Walla, Washington.
It’s no secret to locals, but this under-the-radar destination has everything that one could hope for in leisure decompression. The name “Walla Walla” comes from the local Native American language and translates to “place of many waters”. However, in contrast to describing the infamous liquid sunshine of Seattle, the double moniker refers to the area’s abundant rivers and streams. Located in the southeast corner of the state and situated on the dry side of the Cascade Mountains, it is annually blessed with 260 days of sunshine, making it the perfect venue for outdoor activities in pristine surroundings.
Take A Hike
The abundance of trails in the Umatilla National Forest supplies the agelessly active with opportunities to hike or bike. Leisure seekers will enjoy the city’s over 600 acres of recreational bliss in 17 parks, home to over 300 species of birds. The area’s rivers and streams are a natural magnet for anglers and the 52-acre Bennington Lake is perfect for a stand-up paddleboarding adventure. Walla Walla puts a check on golfers’ wish lists as home to one of the state’s best public courses, the Wine Valley Golf Club. And speaking of wine …
Wine Me Up in Walla Walla
Walla Walla straddles the very same latitude line that passes between the Burgundy and Bordeaux wine regions of France, so it’s no wonder this is the unofficial capital of Washington wine country. With more than 120 wineries dotting the valley, a fun day partaking in wine tastings seems inevitable. Over 2,800 acres of grapes supply enthusiasts with highly respected cabernet sauvignons, Syrahs, and merlots.
Long Shadows Vintners has contributed significantly to the respect garnered by Washington wines. Recruiting some of the world’s finest winemakers, providing them with the best grapes, and utilizing proven techniques has resulted in highly acclaimed vintages year after year.
Located just four miles east of Walla Walla in a fully restored, century-old farmstead, the Abeja Winery exudes….
By Bill Panoff
Photo: Walla Walla