Between Here and There
I arrived in Walla Walla this evening after nearly 4 days in the extended Yakima Valley (that’s what I will call everything from Yakima to the Tri-Cities). Can you believe it? 4 whole days! Most calls that I receive for travel planning assistance are from people who are Walla Walla-bound. Some are returning for a 2nd or 3rd time, but have yet to stop in the Yakima Valley. Why?
Even locals admit the extended Yakima Valley lacks some of the tourism infrastructure that beckons people to Walla Walla – particularly destination restaurants and noteworthy accommodations. This is one of the reasons I started WAW9 – to help visitors overcome the current set of obstacles. The Yakima Valley is waiting for you, it just helps to know the area to be able to piece it together.
Driving east from Yakima, you pass through Zillah, Prosser, Red Mountain, and Richland, all with significant clusters of wineries and/or
tasting rooms. There are “extracurricular activities” (if the curriculum is wine tasting) going on all the time in these parts because the winery owners, restaurateurs and innkeepers want you to visit! Here are just a few that occur regularly throughout the high season…
Horseback Winery Tours: have you ever? Cherrywood Bed Breakfast and Barn hosts these rides through the vineyards in Zillah with stops at various wineries and a picnic lunch along the way. What better way to soak up the sun?
Sunday Supper at Wine o’Clock: Located in Prosser, Wine o’Clock serves seasonal, local fare for lunch all week long, but once a month they host family-style dinners on Sunday night. More food for all! (and at Wine o’Clock, the more the better!)
Vineyard Tour at Terra Blanca: each weekend Terra Blanca Winery hosts three 90 minute walking tours through their estate vineyard, offering participants a brief education in viticulture, Red Mountain geology, winemaking and more. (Yes, wine tasting is included.) In addition to all that you’ll learn, you’ll see their unique wine cave, too.
Live Music at J Bookwalter: 4 nights a week, J Bookwalter in Richland hosts local musicians – on their outdoor patio, weather permitting -
and serves a selection of charcuterie, cheese and wine, of course. It is a place where locals and visitors come together and, as I’ve seen before, share a dance!
Maybe you spend the weekend in the Yakima Valley, maybe it’s just a stop. But don’t forget about it. It’s the real deal – an authentic experience full of people who are passionate about what they’re doing. It’s pretty inspirational.
Stay tuned for my first day in Walla Walla tomorrow…