Weekend in Walla Walla, Wash., one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.
Trip tips: Walla Walla (Many Waters to early inhabitants) is set in Walla Walla Valley at the foot of the colorful Blue Mountains where the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers meet. The city has an international reputation for its superb winemaking. The revitalized downtown is often recognized as having one of the best small-town Main Streets in the country with restored 19th-century buildings, restaurants, galleries and wine-tasting rooms. For more, visit www.wallawalla.org.
Getting there: Alaska/Delta serves Walla Walla Airport (ALW) with round-trip rates from $555 (via Seattle; a 21-day advance required). Frontier offers rates from $320 to Spokane, Wash. (via Denver), a three-hour drive.
Stay: Walla Faces Inns at Historic Downtown is just two blocks from Whitman College, wine tasting rooms and restaurants. The Downtown Suite 3 is a studio with a fireplace, mini fridge, coffee maker, a walk-in shower and a separate Jacuzzi tub. Tall arched windows face Main Street. From $100 Sunday-Thursday; $125 weekends. 214 E. Main St. 1-877-301-1181, www.wallafaces.com.
Eat: Graze features the best-quality deli sandwiches (Pastrami Bomb, $10.95) and paninis ($7.50) in town, along with soups and salads. 5 S. Colville St. 509-522-9991, www.grazeevents.com.
Experience: Winemakers provide samples of their future releases — straight from the barrel — during the holiday barrel tasting, Dec. 6-8. Each winery participates in its own unique way, offering a variety of events including art, music and more; www.wallawallawine.com. The Whitman Mission National Historic Site is worth a detour on any wine country outing. The site, on the historical Lewis and Clark trail, has a tiny museum and a paved path that passes an old wagon and leads to a hilltop for wonderful valley views. Early pioneer days weren’t pretty. This national site is where in 1847 the Cayuse tribe of the valley shot Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa Whitman, and 11 others — mission residents and pioneers who played a role in establishing the Oregon Trail. Free. 328 Whitman Mission Road. 509-529-2761, www.nps.gov/whmi.
Stay: Green Gables Inn, a 1909 Craftsman mansion, is set along the serene tree-lined streets of a historic neighborhood and a short walk to the fine dining and quaint shops of Main Street. The inn features historic exposed beams, period antiques and guest rooms named after locations in the novel “Anne of Green Gables.” Stays include a full gourmet breakfast prepared by the in-house chef. From $135. 922 Bonsella St. 509-876-4373, http://greengablesinn.com.
Eat: The pantry at T. Maccarone’s is sourced from locally grown organic produce to regionally raised game and meats. Rabbit ragu with huckleberries, currants and pappardelle pasta, $26; Columbia River king salmon with blood orange glaze, white miso risotto cake and basil gremolata, $28. 4 N. Colville St. 509-522-4776, http://tmaccarones.com.
Experience: Learn about pioneer settlements, agriculture and military involvement in the area at the Fort Walla Walla Museum, an attraction that features 17 pioneer cabins, a schoolhouse and livery stable. Walla Walla has 600 acres of public parks to explore, featuring many miles of hiking and biking trails. Cycle in town or through the vineyards just south of town with rentals from Allegro Cyclery. A basic road bike is $25 half-day; $45 for a full-day hybrid rental or half-day electric bike. 200 E. Main St. 509-525-4949, www.allegrocyclery.com. The city website details cycle routes and lanes (http://wallawalla.org).
Stay: A newly renovated 1893 grand Victorian home, Vine and Roses, is adjacent to the majestic Pioneer Park and its magnificent 100-year-old native trees. The inn is located within walking distance of Whitman College, award-winning Main Street and the historic downtown. From $215. 516 S. Division St. 509-876-2113, www.vineandroses.com.
Eat: The chef at the informal Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen is a five-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef in the Northwest.” Leg of lamb, tartare of lamb and beef, octopus to duck entrees from $24-$27. 125 W. Alder St. 509-525-2112, www.saffronmediterraneankitchen.com.
Experience: With more than 100 wineries and 1,200 acres of vineyards, the Walla Walla Valley prides itself on having the second-highest concentration of vineyards and wineries in Washington. Visit up to five wineries on a six-hour custom tour. The $99 cost includes pickup/drop-off, tasting fees, a gourmet lunch and more. 509-593-5262, www.imbibewinetours.com.
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Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.