Washington State Trip

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Allan Pannizzo
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Washington State Trip

#1 Post by Allan Pannizzo » October 9th, 2019, 12:43 pm

Hello Everybody.

My wife and I are planning a Trip for four days and three nights to Washington State Wine region in March-April time frame. My wife was gifted this from her Boss for a Retirement Gift. Is there any Recommendations for a Region we should go to? What wineries offer the Best Experience, Places to eat etc. Also where should we stay Accommodation wise. Lots of Questions I know, but Having only been to Napa, any and all Recommendations would be appreciated.

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GregT
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Re: Washington State Trip

#2 Post by GregT » October 9th, 2019, 1:02 pm

No clue about accommodations or experiences, as that's not what I'm usually interested in. But a lot depends on what you specifically want. There are a number of tasting rooms in both Spokane and in Seattle. Plenty of choices for food and accommodations in those cities. If you want to go out to the wineries themselves, they're much more spread out than Napa and you'll end up doing a lot of driving. I'd go to the Walla Walla region, just because I like those wines. Have a good time!


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Allan Pannizzo
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Re: Washington State Trip

#3 Post by Allan Pannizzo » October 9th, 2019, 1:26 pm

In doing some research, I am finding no Direct Flights from NY to Washington other than landing in Seattle. Would hate to do a Stopover flight so I might be limited to Wine regions close to Seattle unless we want to Drive longer distances!

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Re: Washington State Trip

#4 Post by Ron Slye » October 9th, 2019, 1:29 pm

Yes it really does depend on what you want. I would say that the three major choices are (in no particular order): 1. Woodinville area; 2) Yakima area; and 3) Walla Walla. Woodinville probably has the largest number of tasting rooms of the three -- and the advantage that they are all relatively close together. There are some good restaurants in the area -- from good entry level stuff to pretty fancy. You are also not too far from the "East Side" -- Bellevue etc,. -- and Seattle if you want to spend some time in either of those places -- and both of course have some really great restaurants. Yakima is probably the least developed, but parts of it are up and coming. If you are looking to try wines that are under the radar here but that are increasing in quality, it is worth considering. It would be more affordable than the other two in terms of accommodation and food. There is some really great food but not would I would consider much in the way of high end fine dining. Finally, Walla Walla is where some of the best wines from WA are produced. (Note that many, though not all, of the wineries in Walla Walla have tasting rooms in Woodinville -- but the grapes are usually grown in Walla Walla (or other areas, i.e. Red Mountain) and made in Walla Walla. There are some beautiful places to stay -- both in town and out near the wineries. There are some great restaurants in Walla Walla as well. One final note, the first weekend in April is Cayuse weekend. This is on the one hand a good time to go -- even if you can't get into Cayuse, most of the wineries have extended hours and events because of all of the people who come in for Cayuse weekend. On the other hand, it also means that Walla Walla is quite crowded that weekend -- and accommodations are a bit more expensive. If you go some other weekend (or if you go that weekend but stay a few days after) you are more likely to have a more leisurely time with fewer crowds in the tasting rooms.

Good luck -- no matter what you choose, you should have a great time!

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Re: Washington State Trip

#5 Post by Ron Slye » October 9th, 2019, 1:30 pm

On driving -- Woodinville is maybe 30-40 minutes from Seattle. Very doable. Yakima is about an hour or so. Walla Walla is about 4 - 4.5 hours (depending on how fast you drive!).

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Re: Washington State Trip

#6 Post by Andrew M » October 9th, 2019, 1:37 pm

Have done a couple trips in the last couple years. If you're doing it just for the wine, head straight for Walla Walla. We had excellent tastings at Rasa and Garrison Creek, which stand out among 6-7 other visits. K Vintners (Charles Smith) also has a fun tasting room in town with some good QPR Syrah. Enjoyed Leonetti and wish we'd had time to go to Doubleback. Good restaurants in WW too. And if you're up for a detour on your way out of Seattle, Quilceda Creek is worth it.

If you want to mix in some scenery, I recommend staying a night in the Columbia Valley region. Lesser quality wine but some breathtaking landscapes. Drive up to Lake Chelan and try the Syrah at Tunnel Hill. Or, stay a night at Cave B Resort in Quincy, overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, and visit Jones of Washington, Rio Vista, and Beaumont Cellars on your way out.

We also made a couple stops around the Tri-Cities and Red Mountain AVA, like Col Solare and Kiona, but I would have been fine without them.

Disclaimer - this is a lot of driving, probably too much to do in 4 days. I did Columbia Valley as part of a trip to the Gorge Amphitheater. Another trip, we stayed at Cave B only as a place to crash on our way to Walla Walla. If you'd rather minimize driving, you'd find a lot of Walla Walla wineries with tasting rooms in Woodinville, and Yakima/Tri-Cities is only half as far from Seattle as Walla Walla.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#7 Post by terrance.c » October 9th, 2019, 3:00 pm

Yakima in 1 hour? How fast you driving Ron? :D

I agree with what has been said by everybody, and just add that if you're going to Washington for your first time and want to experience the Washington wine scene, then I think the 1hr connection flight from Seattle to Walla Walla would be well worth it and the way to go. It's a great town with a great range of wineries, tasting rooms, vineyards, hotels/AirBnB and restaurants to see and explore. There are other great locations in Washington for sure, but for the first time, Walla Walla would be my pick no doubt.

(Doesn't Alaska Air let you check a case of wine for free too when leaving Walla Walla? Maybe some others would know how that works.)
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Re: Washington State Trip

#8 Post by Ron Slye » October 9th, 2019, 4:27 pm

Laughing -- yes, I think Yakima is closer to two hours. Sorry!

I am pretty sure that Alaska does allow you to check a case -- you should be able to see on their website. I do think this all depends on how much you like to drive. Some of the trip from Seattle to WW is quite beautiful. But it is at least 4 hours (and of course longer if you stop along the way). You will need a car in WW to get to the different wineries. But of course you can rent one there instead of driving from Seattle.

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Re: Washington State Trip

#9 Post by GregT » October 9th, 2019, 4:32 pm

I came back from Spokane about two months ago and then Sonoma a couple weeks after that and yes, you can check a case of wine on Alaska. Did it going and coming both times.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#10 Post by Mark Y » October 9th, 2019, 4:33 pm

I'd say if the OP wants to visit the Washington Wine REGION.. Walla walla has got much more of the wine region vibe.
Woodinville is awesome but it's warehouses, and tasting rooms in warehouses.. it's like you can get a dentist visit, hit some golf balls at the driving range, and also taste some wine.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#11 Post by Brandon R » October 9th, 2019, 4:48 pm

I agree with the above. If I didn't live in the state, I'd want to be in the area where I can see beautiful vineyards, talk to owners and/or winemakers (many of the Woodinville tasting rooms don't have either of those consistently present), and "fee" the wine scene. Woodinville is great, but let's face it: it's a city outside of a very large and busy metropolis. Walla Walla, while tough to get there, definitely feels like a wine region. Food is outstanding, too.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#12 Post by Matt A u s t i n » October 9th, 2019, 5:34 pm

If you aren’t flying Alaska Airlines, which is the only carrier that flies directly into Walla Walla, you also have the option of flying into the Tri-Cities (Pasco), which is only a 50 minute drive away and offers a greater variety of flights.

If you do make it out to Walla Walla come and see us!
Owner/Winemaker - Grosgrain Vineyards, Walla Walla, WA - grosgrainvineyards.com

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Re: Washington State Trip

#13 Post by Mel Knox » October 9th, 2019, 5:59 pm

Another way to do it is to fly to Portland and then drive. It's a uniquely beautiful drive to the Try Cities and Walla Walla. First you drive along the Columbia River through forested areas with waterfalls and then several hours of amazing rock formations. You could also visit Columbia Crest in Paterson on the way, come back via Pendleton, buy a horse and saddle. Good times.
Don't forget the fish tacqueaux at the Lanterne Verte.

Or you could fly from Sea Tac aka Scoop Jackson Intl to Pasco and then rent a car. But unless you own and fly your own plane.....no easy path to WW.

Woodinville is kinda weird in that all the buildings look the same and you never know where you are. But if you are not crazy about driving and have seen enough vineyards, there are plenty of wineries and tasting rooms to visit all over the greater Seattle area, plus some terrific restaurants and farmers markets like the Pike St Market, the Jimi Hendrix museum, etc.
I love the oysters at Walrus and Carpenter in Ballard.

There are wineries to visit south of Seattle, Soos Creek, Cadence, and McCrea, but most are to be found in the Woodinville area.

You can stay at the Raddison in Kirkland where they serve Kirkland water straight from the source!!

Two suggestions: Google maps and Expedia...based in Kirkland!
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Re: Washington State Trip

#14 Post by Brian Glas » October 11th, 2019, 7:44 pm

Agree with others. You want to go to Walla Walla. If you fly Alaska you can fly to Walla Walla by connecting in Seattle. If you fly Delta you can fly to Tri Cities by connecting in Minneapolis or Seattle. Tri Cities isn't that far from Walla Walla. My brother came out last June and we had a great time. We enjoyed Elephant Seven, Va Piano, Saviah, Sleigh of Hand, and Charles Smith. We ate at TMACS, Olive Market, Saffron, and Cugini Italian Foods.

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Re: Washington State Trip

#15 Post by Allan Pannizzo » October 12th, 2019, 12:41 pm

Thanks to Everybody!!! Walla Walla it is. Last thing, we want to have Nice Accommodations. We want to stay at a Nice Hotel preferably with a Vineyard View. If anybody can give some recommendations we will Book our Trip.

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Re: Washington State Trip

#16 Post by Albert R » October 12th, 2019, 12:59 pm

We stayed at the Cameo Heights Mansion last year. It does not over look a vineyard and it’s about 25 mins from Walla Walla but it’s fantastic! I highly recommend you look it up. We will definitely be back.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#17 Post by Albert R » October 12th, 2019, 1:05 pm

I also recommend scheduling a tasting at Rotie with Maddie. Excellent wines and host. Saffron as mentioned above was excellent. Brasserie Four was a bust for us as the service left much to be desired.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#18 Post by John Glas » October 12th, 2019, 1:35 pm

Laughing -- yes, I think Yakima is closer to two hours. Sorry!
So you were the guy who flew by us at 120 mph last June when traveling to Walla Walla. [cheers.gif]

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Re: Washington State Trip

#19 Post by Brian Glas » October 12th, 2019, 4:08 pm

John Glas wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 1:35 pm
Laughing -- yes, I think Yakima is closer to two hours. Sorry!
So you were the guy who flew by us at 120 mph last June when traveling to Walla Walla. [cheers.gif]
Yes I saw him too. He was the guy flying down the pass between Ellensburg and Yakima doing 100+mph while drinking a magnum of Reynvaan. [cheers.gif]

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Re: Washington State Trip

#20 Post by Brian Glas » October 12th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Allan Pannizzo wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 12:41 pm
Thanks to Everybody!!! Walla Walla it is. Last thing, we want to have Nice Accommodations. We want to stay at a Nice Hotel preferably with a Vineyard View. If anybody can give some recommendations we will Book our Trip.
I haven't stayed there but the Eritage looks very nice.

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Re: Washington State Trip

#21 Post by Ron Slye » October 12th, 2019, 8:44 pm

Brian Glas wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 4:08 pm
John Glas wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 1:35 pm
Laughing -- yes, I think Yakima is closer to two hours. Sorry!
So you were the guy who flew by us at 120 mph last June when traveling to Walla Walla. [cheers.gif]
Yes I saw him too. He was the guy flying down the pass between Ellensburg and Yakima doing 100+mph while drinking a magnum of Reynvaan. [cheers.gif]
Darn -- busted!

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Re: Washington State Trip

#22 Post by Ron Slye » October 12th, 2019, 8:48 pm

On a more serious note, I have not stayed there but hear that the Inn at Abeja is quite nice. We have stayed at Walla Faces Inn downtown, which was great -- and they have vineyard locations as well -- but a quick google search suggests they are no longer in business (??). Others may know more -- and might have better recommendations.

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Re: Washington State Trip

#23 Post by L e o F r o k i c » October 12th, 2019, 9:47 pm

Allan Pannizzo wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 12:41 pm
Thanks to Everybody!!! Walla Walla it is. Last thing, we want to have Nice Accommodations. We want to stay at a Nice Hotel preferably with a Vineyard View. If anybody can give some recommendations we will Book our Trip.

Walla Walla is a short flight from Seattle, about an hour and a lot of fun, you can fly either to Pasco which is 45 minutes from Walla Walla or to Walla Walla direct. I highly suggest https://marcuswhitmanhotel.com/ which is an minute from the main St, where all the best restaurants and many wineries tasting rooms are. End of April would be the perfect time to visit, march might be still cold.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#24 Post by L e o F r o k i c » October 12th, 2019, 9:52 pm

Ron Slye wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 8:48 pm
On a more serious note, I have not stayed there but hear that the Inn at Abeja is quite nice. We have stayed at Walla Faces Inn downtown, which was great -- and they have vineyard locations as well -- but a quick google search suggests they are no longer in business (??). Others may know more -- and might have better recommendations.
Inn at Abeja is gorgeous, actually the whole place, along with Mill Creek, is my favorite but it's a 15 minutes from the center of the city where the best dining and most of the tasting rooms are. Staying in the center of the city gives you independence which is kind of nice as you can walk back to hotel and not wait for Uber.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#25 Post by L e o F r o k i c » October 12th, 2019, 9:57 pm

Allan Pannizzo wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 12:41 pm
. We want to stay at a Nice Hotel preferably with a Vineyard View.
Most of the Vineyards are across the border, in Oregon, just outside the town called Milton-Freewater, which is not know for hospitality or fine dining, staying in Walla Walla is what I would recommend.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#26 Post by Scott G r u n e r » October 13th, 2019, 8:51 am

L e o F r o k i c wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 9:57 pm
Allan Pannizzo wrote:
October 12th, 2019, 12:41 pm
. We want to stay at a Nice Hotel preferably with a Vineyard View.
Most of the Vineyards are across the border, in Oregon, just outside the town called Milton-Freewater, which is not know for hospitality or fine dining, staying in Walla Walla is what I would recommend.
This is a bit of an overstatement. Many vineyards are on the washington side not in the “Rocks” district. However there are not many hotels or inns actually in the vineyard. The one I know of appears to be liquidating (johnson ridge, used to be another name). Abeja is an approximate experience, but Like others, I tend to stay downtown.
//Cynic

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Re: Washington State Trip

#27 Post by Ron Slye » October 13th, 2019, 8:52 am

Actually there are a lot of vineyards just south of Walla Walla and north of the Oregon border. I am not sure though if there are nice places to stay there (though I suspect they are).

Leo is right about the fifteen minutes -- it may not sound like a lot, but if you are driving yourself the roads can be pretty dark. And I don't know how easy it is to get an uber. Having said all that, it really depends on the type of experience you want. If you want to be out by the vineyards, then something like Abeja may work. If you want to be in town, then Marcus Whitman is nice (though I will say when I stayed there a long time ago I found the rooms fine, nothing special). The location, however, is great as mentioned -- you really can walk to dozens of tasting rooms and all of the nice downtown restaurants. So again it depends on what sort of experience you are seeking.

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Re: Washington State Trip

#28 Post by Matt A u s t i n » October 13th, 2019, 9:03 am

While the Rocks district and Sevein/Seven Hills are located on the Oregon side near Milton Freewater, the majority of the vineyards are still, in fact, on the Washington side and many are a short drive from town. There are several options if you want to stay somewhere with vineyard views and a number of them are listed here (which for purposes of disclosure includes our own rental):

https://www.oregonwinepress.com/stay-am ... experience

Uber/Lyft are starting to be more readily available for transportation and there are many available options if you want to hire a driver for the day. That said, staying in or near downtown is great as well and gives you the ability to walk to the many restaurants and tasting rooms located there. There are a number of new hotel projects in the works for downtown, but the best options for now are the Marcus Whitman or one of the many VRBO's in the area.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#29 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » October 13th, 2019, 9:33 am

What's new in hotel world Matt? We are tiring of the MW.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#30 Post by Mel Knox » October 13th, 2019, 10:08 am

It used to be that the only place to eat was a casino on an Indian reservation in Oregon. I went there about 1995 with people from Canoe Ridge, John Abbott, Larry Brooks, and the Mckibbens. Mrs. McKibben had ordered baked potato and got fries. When she pointed this out to the waitress, the waitress responded, 'Whatever.."

The Marcus Whitman is worth staying at once just for the lobby, which is something out of a grander era.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#31 Post by Brandon R » October 14th, 2019, 11:37 am

I disagree with the Marcus Whitman recommendation if being evaluated for the accommodations alone. The location can't be beat. However, we stayed there last fall and our room was just tired, dingy, and old-fashioned. It's not bad, but it's not what I'd qualify as really nice.

As others have mentioned, the Inn at Abeja is all about the vineyard accommodations and is highly recommended.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#32 Post by Matt A u s t i n » October 14th, 2019, 11:51 am

Glenn L e v i n e wrote:
October 13th, 2019, 9:33 am
What's new in hotel world Matt? We are tiring of the MW.
The old Red Lion Hotel downtown is currently being renovated and will become a new outpost of The Lark. The first Lark is in Bozeman, Montana and looks pretty spiffy. It should be open next Spring. Michael Corliss (owner of Tranche/Corliss) has also purchased a historic building at the corner of 2nd and Main, which is the most prominent corner downtown. That building is currently undergoing renovation and will become a yet to be named boutique hotel, with a restaurant. Probably opening 2021. The old Oddfellows building across the street from the Charles Smith tasting room is also supposed to become a hotel, but construction on that one appears to be delayed for reasons unknown to me.
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Re: Washington State Trip

#33 Post by MMunger » October 19th, 2019, 9:33 am

We live in Western Washington and frequent Walla Walla. (In our room at the Eritage now actually as I write this getting ready for appointments at The Walls, Abeja, and Garrison Creek today 😉)

I would highly suggest for a first trip to stay as close to downtown as possible. The Marcus Whitman is a great choice. I would definitely make sure to request staying in the original tower and not the new sections. Nothing wrong with them, very nice but not the same feel by any means as the original part.

A lot of our trips recently we have been doing VRBO and getting some great places downtown and has been a lot more fun than being in a hotel. Recently we had three couples and we stayed in a 7500 sq ft late 1800s “mansion” that was originally the home of the doctor that got the first hospital built in Walla Walla. It had been updated, but still had tons of old character. For three couples we stayed there for less than three rooms at the Marcus Whitman and were actually even closer to downtown.

So just another thought for lodging.
Mike Munger

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