Walla Walla Things to Do Tips by karenincalifornia
Walla Walla Things to Do: 19 reviews and 38 photos
aMaurice Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington
After leaving the drunken SUV revelers at Walla Walla Vintners, we went next door to aMaurice cellars. What a calming change of pace! The winemaker, Anna, was pouring the wine, and she was delightful. We learned much about their wines and her experience as we were sampling aMaurice's wonderful selection. The wines were excellent. We noticed later that they were available at the best Walla Walla restaurants.
Directions: East of Walla Walla, off Mill Creek.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site
The Whitman Mission National Historic Site is a moving memorial of the life of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman from the time they established a mission in 1836 to the time they were killed by the Cayuse tribe members in 1847. They arrived with what they considered good intentions - help improve the lives of the natives and help settlers moving west along the Oregon Trail. In 1836, the first year the Whitmans established their home here, there were 25 settlers passing through. By 1847, the number reached 5000 in one year.
Along with the settlers came diseases, for which the native Cayuse had no natural immunities. In the last year, a measles outbreak killed many of them including children. The Cayuse couldn't understand why the settlers seemed to fight off the disease, but the measles killed their children. Certain that the Whitmans were poisoning the Cayuse, tribe members murdered the Whitmans on Novemer 29, 1847.
The Mission has an indoor museum and an outdoor exhibit. All the original mission buildings are gone, but you can walk along a pathway, see the outlines of the buildings in the ground and read short descriptions of the key events. The memorial to the Whitmans is located on a hill which can be visited by a short walk and climb.
Directions: A couple of miles to the west of Walla Walla, on Highway 12.
Basel Cellars Estate, Walla Walla, WA
The tasting rooms at the wineries in Walla Walla run the gamut in terms of money that is put into them. Some are simple huts, while some like Basel Cellars are elaborate estates exuding great wealth. Whether or not you are into wines, just visiting this winery is a trip. It is located in a former mansion of a wireless telecommunications executive. The grounds are gorgeous with sweeping views from the tasting room. The wines are good, too!
Directions: The winery is located in the cluster of wineries to the south of Walla Walla, very near the Oregon border.
Zerba Cellars, Oregon
Zerba has received quite a few accolades, so we dropped in for a taste (or two). The accolades were well earned. The wines were very good and Zerba makes a number of varietals. We met the owner and she let us taste most of what they had. They soon will be opening up their cute little log cabin tasting room. Look for it just south of the border.
Directions: Highway 125, just south of the Washington/Oregon border
Barbed wire exhibit at Fort Walla Walla Museium
Fort Walla Walla isn't really a Fort. It's a museum of the history of Walla Walla. It's actually a good little museum with a lot of artifacts and antiques from Walla Walla going back about 200 years. The amount of care and attention to detail is quite impressive. It also contained a "village" - small buildings from an era long past - preserved and moved to this location. Visitors will definitely get a good idea of life in Walla Walla from its birth in the mid 1800's to the beginning of its second century in the mid 1900's.
Being a farming community, one would not be surprised that many of the exhibits center around farming. There is even a barbed wire exhibit. I've never seen a barbed wire exhibit before. I also had no idea that several patents were granted on different kinds of barbed wire. Up until now, I always considered barbed wire as being a nuisance that prevented me from exploring a part of the world on a hike.
Directions: West Walla Walla.
Mansion in Walla Walla, WA
In 1800's, Walla Walla became the largest city in the Washington Territory. It experienced substantial growth during the gold rush era, then later in the latter 1800s, through the turn of the century and into the early part of the 20th century. During this time, many large homes and mansions were built in Walla Walla's mansion district to the southeast of downtown. Many of the mansions, which are former homes of Walla Walla wheat barons, have been restored.
The Chamber of Commerce has a walking tour brochure with the location and some details of these beautiful homes. Most are on Palouse Street and a few more are on Catherine Street.
Stop by the Chamber on 29 East Sumach street for the guide. The hotels and B&Bs should carry the guide as well.
See my travelogue for more photos of the mansions on the tour.
Wine tasters at Pepper Bridge
Pepper Bridge Winery is just south of Walla Walla - not quite in Oregon. Its reds are very good and have won a lot of awards. The winery itself is in a scenic location with rolling hills covered by vineyards. Exactly what you would expect to find in the wine country.
Walla Walla Vintners
First things first. As soon as we got into town, we hit a winery. We drove all the way to the east side, against the hills, to visit Walla Walla Vintners. I had heard excellent things about their wines so I was eager to sample them. Not to mention we had just spent 5 hours on the plane and 1 hours on the road to get there.
What should have been a pleasant experience was not. I had heard that the tasting rooms were low key and empty. We might be the only tasters. Not so, not at the precise moment we arrived at WWV. The place was bedlam - full of drunken noisy revelers who arrived in huge SUVs. I could hardly hear a thing. We just wanted to taste our wine and get out.
It was great wine, but a less than pleasant tasting room. Might have been bad timing. This is worth a visit because the surroundings are so beautiful. I just wish we had been there before or after the drunken SUV crowd.
Directions: East of Walla Walla on Mill Creek
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