A Long Weekend in Walla Walla
Average summer high 84
Any place in Washington that receives enough sunshine to properly ripen a Cabernet Sauvignon grape is going to be a decent destination for a sun-starved Seattleite, and that’s certainly true for Walla Walla. And while winery hopping is a mainstay, there are plenty of satisfying activities to fill the remaining daylight hours.
Begin your day by grabbing a strong cup of local coffee and a perfect, flaky-tender croissant at the Colville Street Patisserie (40 S Colville; 509.301.7289; colvillestreetpatisserie.com). The light-filled interior is sunny enough, but for a full blast, move outside to its tiny, southeast-facing patio, strategically located to soak up every morning ray.
The Walla Walla Sweets (named after the famous onion) play amateur league baseball in a season that runs from early June through mid-August. The charming Borleske Stadium (capacity 2,378; 409 E Rees; 509.527.4350; wallawallasweets.com) is an intimate spot to watch collegiate players ply their trade during the off-season. Downing a Walla Walla sweet onion sausage sandwich is a must, as is spending a middle inning or two in the Laht Neppur Brewing Co. beer garden.
If the Sweets are out of town, you can still find Laht Neppur’s terrific brews at the Ale House in town or the Laht Neppur Brewery in Waitsburg (444 Preston Ave.; 509.337.6261; lahtneppur.com). Eschew the faster Highway 12 route and instead take one of the long cuts along Lower Waitsburg or Middle Waitsburg Road. The asphalt seems to be scythed right out of the rolling wheat fields, and if you time your drive just right in late afternoon, you’ll swear the world was painted only with hues of gold and blue.
Once you arrive in sleepy Waitsburg, head straight for Jimgermanbar (119 Main St.; 509.337.6001; jimgermanbar.com), the best bar south of the North Pole. When you arrive, give Jim German a quick nod, but keep walking until you’re out the door again and onto the delightful back patio. The warm air is the perfect pairing for Jim’s ethereal cocktails and partner Claire Johnston’s stratospherically elevated “Etruscan” tapas-style snacks—a reference to the region’s geographic similarity to the ancient civilization that once existed in the hills outside Rome.
No need to drive back to Walla Walla. Instead, stay in one of the Waitsburg Cottages—ThreeMaples, The Teahouse or the dog-friendly Dogwood (waitsburgcottages.com)—which were lovingly renovated by Karen and Paul Gregutt. Paul, who writes for The Seattle Times and Wine Enthusiast, is a fixture in the Washington wine scene, and Karen owns a chocolate shop in town. Paul Zitarelli
Photo: Warm nights are perfect for watching baseball at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla