Friday, November 09, 2007

WHAT? There’s nothing to do in Walla Walla?

I have heard this comment for over 45 years and then some. And every time I hear those words, frankly speaking - - it makes my butt ache. And chances are those doing the complaining have a numb butt because they're not motivated enough to get off their dead bum and find something to do. Even before the wine boom, there was always something to do in Walla Walla - - if you took the time to look.

Just alone this week, where else in a small town of 30,000+ can you stop for a plate of spaghetti at a downtown deli, listen to live jazz during dinner and then head out to a lecture given by Salman Rushdie? In Walla Walla you can. And if you haven't noticed, none of the events have anything to do with the promotion of Walla Walla wines (Of course, if you are a wine lover and you add Walla Walla wine to your evening of events, it’s the icing on the cake).

Whitman College and Walla Walla University always have public lectures going on with stimulating speakers. The colleges, including Walla Walla Community College, provide on-going theatre and concerts. Walla Walla is home to the oldest symphony this side of the Mississippi and the Walla Walla Symphony is celebrating their 101st year. There are opportunities to check out live jazz, blues, rock or country music at various restaurants, bars, and wineries. The Little Theatre of Walla Walla is a community theatre of volunteers who have been producing plays since 1944. There are museums to catch up on such as Fort Walla Walla, Kirkman House and the Whitman Mission.

Walla Walla is a very sports oriented town and big supporters of their youth - high school and college sports. There are always seasonal sports going on. A couple of golf courses can be found, several walking trails and even a few bowling alleys, casinos, bingo and card rooms if you prefer just to exercise your fingers.

Community classes at the local colleges and at Carnegie Art Center are on-going - pottery, watercolors, jewelry making, writing, woodcarving, cooking, yoga, wine making, welding, horse grooming...and the list goes on. Want to learn how to dance? You can choose from ballroom to belly dancing. Clubs? How many do you want to join? Fraternal, community service, kennel, prop twisters, gun, yacht, synchronized swimming, gem and mineral, and the arts. Not enough clubs for you? How about horses, kitefliers, civil air patrol, quilters, muzzle loaders, car (Corvette, Corvair, antique and four-wheel drives), books, fishing and hunting organizations. And grandmother's in Walla Walla can remain busy (and vocal) at the Grandmother's Roundtable - a group of women dedicated to community discussions and finding the answers to help shape it.

If you prefer the great outdoors, again hiking and walking trails, bicycle enthusiast groups, and bird watchers. The Columbia and Snake Rivers are less than 30 miles from the city and we are nestled around the Blue Mountains that provide us with winter and summer recreation. Bennington Lake is about five miles from downtown.

So now your argument is money. How about all of the local art galleries downtown? Carnegie Art Center provides monthly new exhibits with free admission. A total of 18 city parks and free tennis courts. And there is always volunteer work to be done - the museums, humane society, senior citizen center, children’s programs/sports, three hospitals, and numerous non-profits that need volunteers for their fund-raising committees. The Downtown Foundation offers free concerts in the summer and also at the Farmers Market.

Now if you want to start adding all of the wine events (there is always free wine to taste), that alone is another blog. Every winery has their own special events, besides the Walla Walla Wine Alliance annual events. Other businesses provide events that are wine related - in fact, just last night a local deli held a Chardonnay tasting.

And as I re-read this list, I have barely skimmed the surface. In conclusion, if you are still convinced that there is nothing to do in Walla Walla, then enjoy your TV. Or perhaps you should move to a big city like Portland or Seattle. The opportunities are endless there, but something tells me that sooner or later out of your mouth you’ll be saying - - "There’s nothin’ to do in..."


Sue said...

This is a great blog Catie

We just went to Walla Walla High School last night and saw their Fall Theatre Production and it is worth the money and time (3 hrs.) for any resident to see because those young people are very very good.

Unknown said...

Great article Catie!

For you and your readers we have Grammy Award Winner Hal Galper and his trio this Thursday from 8-10 pm. (Nov. 15).

Capt Rivera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capt Rivera said...

Walla Walla Civil Air Patrol
Unit Contact: 1Lt Galen C Tom
Contact Phone: 509-529-4382
Contact e-mail:
Meeting Address:
WA Wing Web Address:
Meeting Time: 1845 (6:45PM) MONDAY

wild walla walla wine woman said...

Thanks everyone! See - there is plenty to do in Walla Walla.

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