The third stop on our PNW series was Walla Walla! It was another WA destination I had managed to miss my entire life until just year and a half ago. I was there for a friend’s wedding, so there wasn’t much time to explore or go to wineries, and I couldn’t wait to get back and see everything!
Usually I start with where to eat/drink, ’cause let’s face it, those are the priorities. But this time, I’m going to first tell you where to stay because it really was the highlight of the trip.
The Barn B&B – This place is truly something special. I almost think it deserves it’s own blog post, but I’ll try to keep my fawning condensed, while hopefully convincing you to book a stay here immediately.
In the age of Airbnb (and VRBO, etc.), the term “B&B” has gotten a little lost in the shuffle. And what is the difference exactly between staying at a B&B and just staying at a hotel? Well, I will tell you: it’s Naina and Anand, owners of The Barn.
Both in the hospitality business for over 40 years, they’ve lived in 9 different countries, most recently Thailand, and they read in an article that Walla Walla was considered a top place to retire, so they visited, fell in love, and built their dream.
The Barn consists of 6 rooms, each with their own outdoor entrance (and outdoor shower out the back door of the bathroom), plus The Granary, which is their large suite. There is also a separate community space with an outdoor patio overlooking the rolling hills of Walla Walla, where you can hear almost nothing but the birds and your own thoughts.
Naina and Anand are 100% about hospitality and togetherness. If you’re there on a Monday or Thursday, they make “family dinner”, where all the guests sit in the dining room in the main building for a home cooked meal. Every Friday, they host a happy hour at 5, and every morning, there is a home cooked breakfast that will hold a spot on the list of top 10 meals of my life for the rest of time.
Aside from the food, they are two of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met. They instantly make you feel like you’re a part of their family, and I could’ve sat and listened to the stories of their lives and all the places they’ve seen forever. I will tell everyone I come across who might be going to Walla Walla to stay at the The Barn with Naina and Anand. I can’t wait to go back.
Where to Eat: (if you must leave The Barn…)
Crossbuck Brewing: This is a great stop for dinner! Crossbuck Brewing is in the old train depot, and there are still some original elements throughout the restaurant – I love a good modern structure with some historical preservation. We started with the Brussels sprouts and I ordered the steak salad. Would order both again!
Andrae’s Kitchen: Don’t be put off by the fact that this spot is inside a gas station! Andrae’s was just written up in Travel + Leisure, and I will 100% be going back every time I’m in Walla Walla to try something new from the menu. What started as a food truck is now a local hot spot, featuring food from all over, with an emphasis on Mexican cuisine. We had the Tinga, short rib, and brisket tacos, as well as the voodoo fries (which includes cajun spice, pulled pork, pickled peppers, hot sauce, and aioli; need I say more).
What To Do:
Wander Main Street: there are tons of little boutiques all over, plus so many tasting rooms from a bunch of the wineries throughout the valley.
Historic Marcus Whitman Hotel: Beautiful (historic) hotel in the middle of downtown. It’s definitely worth a visit even just to walk through the lobby. It feels a little bit like you’ve been transported to Charleston!
Whitman Campus: I have a thing for college campuses. This one in particular is unique, with historic buildings now used for dorms, plus a few modern structures scattered throughout. Not to mention the rolling green grass and creek that runs through the middle of campus.
And then what you’re probably all here for: The Wineries.
Where to Drink:
Doubleback Winery: owned by former NFL quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, he “doubled back” and returned home to the Walla Walla Valley to make world class wine. Doubleback felt like a special place – tastings by appointment only (which is nice for a one on one experience to learn about the history and the wine), the space is beautiful and inviting, and the view out the huge windows almost makes you feel like you’re in the country in Montana.
Waterbrook Winery: We were lucky enough to be in town for Waterbrook’s annual Rosé Partay, and when we found that out, we knew we had to go. It was a beautiful (not too cold) spring evening and on the back patio of the winery there was a live band, snacks, a beautiful view of the pond, and rosés from all over the valley to taste until your heart’s content.
Our new favorite people, Naina and Anand, happened to be going as well, so we sipped rosé, sat by the fire chatting until it got dark, and Naina even dragged me up on the dance floor for a couple songs.
Aside from the rosé party, they said Waterbrook was one of their go-to’s for evenings on the back patio under the lights.
I felt like I just scratched the surface of Walla Walla and I already have a list of wineries I want to visit next time I go! But you know where I’ll be staying…