Getting settled in Walla Walla, Washington, part 2

The adventure continues. We are a week away from moving into our new house! Looking forward to the start of this next chapter in our lives. And before that happens, we are enjoying the time we have together exploring our new hometown. Last week, I shared our housing situation, the joy of driving in a small town, our search for a church home, faith in Walla Walla, the girl's school, and the return of plastic bag ghosts. Since that post, we have added more experiences to share as we cover: adventures in cuisine, art, nature, antiques, and local events in this week's post. This covers a lot, and this post is filled with pictures. 


Walla Walla Cuisine

First, we begin this read with some tasty bites. We have enjoyed a lot of good food, and there is a lot more to explore. The burgeoning wine industry has helped prop-up growth in other hospitality industries, including restaurants. The following buttons take you to a additional collections of reviews and lists of local eats. 

Maple Counter Cafe, mentioned in my post about our decision to move to Walla Walla. When we hosts guests in the future, we will take them to Maple Counter Cafe for breakfast. The walls are filled with history. Art, decorative plates, tapestry, and historical photos line the walls. Overall the cafe decor and staff attire take you to a farm-house environment. This place has been busy every time we have visited, and the food has always made the wait worth it!

Something I skipped mentioning in that blog post, was that Jennifer and I took a trip to make a final decision on a house in February, 2018. During our trip, we went to  Walla Walla Bread Company with our wonderful realtor, Michele Rennie of Sotheby's Realty. (the video on their homepage is a well-done, drone-view look at Walla Walla!) The active bakery fills the restaurant with wonderful smells. Wood fired pizza's are a speciality. Their bread uses a locally-grown, family farmed wheat. It was at his lunch that we decided to purchase our new home on Caprio Loop. 

During that same trip, Jayne Didario of Sotheby's Realty made us reservations at Passa Tiempo.The food was decadent and delicious. Service was excellent. Jennifer had a dish centered around a fresh buffalo's milk mozzarella. We had eaten so much that day, that we had to take left-overs back to our hotel.

A few other notable mentions. Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, we enjoy a good taqueria, and Walla Walla has not disappointed. Taqueria Mi Pueblito, Taqueria Yungapeti, and La Ramada have all satisfied our Mexican food urges. For sandwiches, Graze is our top favorite for high quality ingredients and interesting sandwiches. Tony's Sub Shop, and Walla Walla Sub Shop also make wonderful sandwiches. Walla Walla Indian Cuisine buffet satisfied our need for curry wonderfully. And, Colville Street Patisserie is a fun stop for a tasty treat and some coffee. That was a month full!

One more food destination before I move on. Jennifer and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary by eating at The Vine @Cameo Heights Mansion. Located in an isolated valley, on a working ranch and orchard. This gorgeous mansion is perched on a hill, and we could see it driving to and from Walla Walla on highway 12. From the first time I saw it, it was added to my list of places to visit. It wasn't until we were pulling into the driveway for our dinner reservations that we realized where we were going. The seven-course meal was amazing and served by the chef. Every bite was scrumptious. I had a Braised Berkshire Pork main course that fell apart as my fork approached the meat. I have a lot to learn about wine and pairing, so we went with the paired wines for our meal. I look foward to developing my wine palate over the years ahead!  

 The view of the valley orchard from our patio seats.

The view of the valley orchard from our patio seats.


Local and Public Art

There a number of local artists and galleries, and many artists have booths at local consignment stores. There will likely be more posts as I discover and explore more of the art community in town. In the two months we have been here, here are some sights we have seen. Small scale, home products like painted word signs, dolls, and baby clothes. 

Many murals downtown, here are a few:

Walla Walla Foundry is a world-renowned foundry. Here is a good article about the foundry and it's current president, Dylan Farnum.  While I have not gone to visit the Foundry yet, there are bronze statues around town. I will make a visit to the Foundry someday, and there will be more posts about the local art scene. 


Nature and Open Space

There are so many parks around town. The city website states that there are 17 public parks sprinkled throughout the city, with 600 acres of recreation area. We have visited a few, and look forward to spending time in each one of them. Pioneer park was established in 1904, the Walla Walla podcast has an episode about the history of the park.  The park is also home to a large aviary. It's like having a public free zoo. Listening to the episode I learned that Pioneer park has some of the largest trees in the country of certain species. The hosts were not sure which trees they are, which leaves a mystery to be solved!

There are numerous hiking, biking, and walking trails go throughout the town. I have created a file folder with maps of all the local trails. There are a couple historical walking trails that visit the numerous historical houses and buildings around town. 

Lake Bennington is a flood management project built by the Army Corps of Engineers and completed in 1942. The park is beautiful with over 9 miles of trails accessible to walking, biking, and horses. The lake can be enjoyed with any non-gas powered craft, and the lake has trout, bass, and carp fishing. This location is just a couple miles from our house, so it makes it nice for quick trips. Smiley, my dog, really enjoys the lake because he can be off-leash and there is plenty of space to run like the wind!


Antiques

We have made an effort to visit every antique store in Walla Walla. We have covered a lot of ground. Once we get settled into the house, Jennifer an dI are going to enjoy treasure hunting for decorations. Shady Lawn Antiques holds a lot of local history. It is located in the historic Shady Lawn Creamery Building in Walla Walla which dates to the 1870's! There are many artifacts and pictures from the early operations of the creamery. As we visit the shops, we often think of my mother. She was an avid visitor of garage sales and had collected a lot of antique things. She also worked at the post office, and we have found a couple old POBOXes and the mail artifacts I am sure she would have taken home with her. If she were alive today, I know we would have enjoyed going visiting all the stores. And we would be finding ways to ship all kinds of things back to her house in California. 


Local Events

There has not been a shortage of events to participate in. We have missed a few from being so tired from our adventures. What a good problem to have. As with the antique stores, there are a bunch of junk and antique events and flea markets. We found lots of treasures at our first junk event, "Love of Junk." It was a good time with food trucks and local musicians a wide-open space in the farmland on the outskirts of Walla Walla. 

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The first weekend as residents happened to be Jennifer's birthday. Experiences are her preferred gift. Like concert tickets, date night, etc... On this particular celebration of the completion of one solar orbit, s a family Walla Walla Sweets Roller Girls. We all had such a great time. The sport is an interesting one, and takes some time to understand what is happening, and how the points are scored. I am still not an expert, but it reminds me of a version of bowling. Where there are two teams of human bowling balls and pins. The bowling ball, or Jammer, tries to break through the opposing teams human pins. These pins do everything they can to keep the Jammer from getting trough. We went to our second Roller Derby match this last weekend. The girls have their favorite derby girls, Jacky-O, Trixie, and Lolly Pop-ya. Jennifer is going to try out for the team next month, and ZoĆ« is considering joining the junior team!

The Duck Derby happens annually as a town festival and fundraising event. We had lots of fun visiting the booths, playing games, eating fair food, and watching the rubber ducks race down Mill Creek. 

As this post started with food, it will also close with food. The Farmer's Market and berry picking. Jennifer makes homemade jam. Leaving our small backyard orchard in Sunnyvale, it was wonderful to find Bills' Berries u-pick. The farm was fun weekend events with BBQ and fresh donuts. Our first trip was at one of the events. We picked some of the best strawberries I have had. Our second trip was last week, and we picked a combined 46 pounds of cherries, blueberries, and raspberries. The cupboards are full of jam now! The local farmers market is fun, with a mix of displays, entertainment, art, local food and produce. The downtown transit center has a permanent shade structure installed for the farmer's market. 

Thank you for joining me on another story of our adventures in search of Ecotopia. Stay tuned next week as the journey continues. Also, connect with me on social media and subscribe to my occasional newsletter on my contact page. Have a great week!

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