Before the late 1970s, Walla Walla, Washington was known for its wheat and sweet onions — an agricultural town in an agricultural region. All that changed when an enterprising local planted an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Thirty years later, the region is home to almost 90 wineries and 1,600 acres of vineyards. Combined with three local colleges and a thriving arts scene, the vineyards of Walla Walla help to create a vibrant scene in this town of about 30,000 people.
Between the colleges and the community, the town offers a startlingly rich variety of arts programming. Walla Walla has its own symphony orchestra — one of the oldest in the West — and nearly two dozen galleries and museums. Another important institution is the Walla Walla Foundry, a large-scale design, casting, and fabrication workshop that serves some of the world’s most prestigious sculptors.
Because wine begs food, Walla Walla has upward of 75 restaurants, including several that specialize in local and organic ingredients. The Daily Market Co-op, a natural foods store in the city, also offers extensive local food offerings, and features special events at wineries to highlight local producers.
Median Household Income: $31,855
Weather: Four-season climate, with mild summers and crisp winters. Average snowfall is 17 inches.
What Makes It Great: Viticulture provides a unique agricultural focus. The co-op features local flavor.
Check out the other towns featured in the 2009 installment of Great Places You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of.
Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!LEARN MORE
At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).
You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.