Mar 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Looking for a very friendly city seniors? Well, Randy McNally and USA Today agree that Walla Walla is where you want to go. Must really be exceptional, huh?  So let’s check out some of its qualities and its people. Known for its wine, Walla Walla, Washington was named the friendliest town by contestants who also visited Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Mount Airy, North Carolina; Nacogdoches, Texas; Valdosta, Georgia; and Woodward, Oklahoma. From more than 600 submissions from people across the country, judges actually visited each of the top towns in the U.S. for themselves, using five teams of amateur travelers who went on a three-week cross-country trip. Well, just maybe..the wine has something to do with the “friendly folks in Walla Walla.” Kinda reminds me of a former student who is a BB coach in Wagga Wagga, Australia…we’ve been there, remember?

Writers describe Walla Walla as “a town so nice they named it twice; a culturally diverse small town with happy faces everywhere you go.” The name Walla Walla is of Indian origin and means “many waters”. Both the Cayuse and Walla Walla tribes called the Walla Walla Valley home. Of course there are a few others towns that are well worth your visit, seniors, like Pullman and Wenatchee Washington… and several dozen others.

A recent visitor wrote “What’s not to love about Walla Walla? Aesthetic beauty, diversity, outstanding colleges (Whitman, Walla Walla University), outdoor opportunities, low crime, the arts, restored-vibrant downtown, fresh fruit and produce off the local farmers’ stands nearly half the year; wine, beer, bike trails, fishing, livability. Proud to say I grew up right next door and consider it home. Took friends there yesterday from CA. They were knocked out. You will be too!”

Seniors Discover Another Napa Valley

The Valley’s reputation for producing wines of superb quality took root in 1977 when the first present-day winery was established. Within the past decade, this destination has deservedly acquired a fine wine reputation – billed the ‘Napa Valley‘ of Washington, Walla Walla has more boutique wineries per capita then any other spot in the state – and in this fertile northwestern corner of America that’s saying something.  Wineries are beginning to rival the sweet-tasting Walla Walla onion as the hallmark of this lovely town at the foot of the Blue Mountains. In fact, the combination of excellent wineries and appealing scenery has put Walla Walla on the map as one of the country’s hottest new wine-touring regions.

The town’s rich history, starting with the Indian tribes who first settled there followed by the early pioneers, the establishment and subsequent tragic demise of a famous mission and then a gold rush, makes Walla Walla a tourist draw.  Set at the foot of the Blue Mountains and nestled between rolling green hills ribbed with vineyards, Walla Walla has historically been best known for onions. But modern Walla Walla is a far cry from these simple agrarian roots.

Additionally, the city (and sister city, College Place) are home to two universities,  with a thriving student population to bring vitality to the atmosphere.   Tree-shaded lanes of old Walla Walla  contribute to the area’s thriving arts and culture scene. So, senior travelers, GO  and see what awaits you in Walla Walla. jeb

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