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  • Writer's pictureAngela Erickson

Stay at the Marcus Whitman in Walla Walla WA-CHECK!

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

My good friend Brook gave me the great tip that on Cyber Monday the Marcus Whitman Hotel (aka The Marc) gives a great rate for about $150 a night to be used sometime in the Spring. So of course, I stalked the site until it came out and snapped it up. Our group decided on a good Saturday night to roll down and aimed for March 19, 2022….booked! Another bucket list about to be knocked off the list. Tip: Watch for the coupon on Cyber Monday! I now get random offers during the year from them…so I will go back.

We rolled down on Saturday

morning and stopped at LEcole Winery on the way…I think they have a brilliant location, everyone stops! . They are located in the cool historical Frenchtown School, but I will let you read about it on their site.

Got into Walla Walla and checked into the hotel…what a gorgeous hotel and so much history! The rooms were historical, classy and clean. I stayed in a King room in the historic tower. I could not be more excited to be here. But….our group is all arriving from all corners and we must be off to our wine tasting.

Disclaimer: My job here is not to review. I will rave about the cool stuff, mum on the stuff I don’t like. However, I will note that I have been extremely spoiled by my years at Lake Chelan. At that AVA location the wine is still maturing, but I love it. At Lake Chelan when you walk into the wineries you are greeted happily by everyone, offered a tasting. Often there is a $10 fee, that is offset by a purchase. Sometimes it is free. I have been offered goldfish crackers or other snacks, cheese, chocolate, lots of smiles and encouragement to hang around. At Lake Chelan they have even cleared out rooms, or tables for our group to sit and enjoy the tastings, offered case specials that are not adverstised and generally welcome you with open arms. I also get to sit with a glass of wine looking at the 3rd deepest lake in the US, so cool turquoise waters.

Walla Walla is world famous for the fine wines they produce, as they should be. They are pretty fantastic!!! Especially the reds….personal preference. The area is pretty and there are over 120 wineries located in the area now. However, the ambiance is a bit different there than what I am used to. Everyone still flocks there in droves, so everyone must be ok with it. I, admittedly, will go back. I just know what to expect now, which is why I am telling you. Especially if you have traveled to Chelan with me. The tasting fee is much more, $20 typically. And it is not always offset by a purchase. My favorite (sarcasm) is one that charges $20 and is offset by $40 in wine purchases, but they price the wine at $39 a bottle. ☹ Frowny face. Our group had rented a van to drive us all around and we were told we needed to have appointments…if you are early, you will wait outside. In the rain. One told us if we are more than 10 minutes lates, we won’t be seated. If you don’t get all of your tastings, because your hostess forgot about you, you must go. Your time is up, you can’t be late to the next one and by the way, you still pay a full tasting fee.

I do want to give out massive kudos to Caprio Cellars. ( What genuine people. We arrived and were welcomed with huge smiles. We used the restrooms and the ladies rolled out with big superior attitudes because they had a big bowl of Lindl chocolates in there for us and it was pretty! The boys also rolled out acting superior. They had Oreos and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. All parties were happy. LOL. We sat down for our tasting and they gave us food! Wonderful pairings to go along with our wine. I am so sorry I didn’t write it all down. (thus I will have to go back!). And the tasting fee….free! Guess where we bought the most wine during the day!??

I will list the wineries that we visited, if you want more info about them…let me know. (don’t be judgy, we had a driver). 😊 Tip: One of them shows soft porn on the wall. It’s quite a shock when you are drinking your wine, have admired the stuffed squirrel and sat on the “throne”. And THEN you notice. Yikes.

LEcole Winery, Canoe Ridge, North Star, Saviah, Caprio, El Corazon.

Our van dropped us off back at the Marcus Whitman and then we realized that the Zags were playing so we wandered around Walla Walla within walking distance to find a place that would accommodate us for the game and dinner. A fine dinner out had been the original plan, but the Zags won out! We ended up at the The Wingman Birdz & Brewz. Honestly, for a sports bar the food was great and exactly what we needed to sop up all of that wine. I tried the buffalo chicken salad, and because I believe in balance (tattoo to prove it) I ordered tater tots too. Did not disappoint. Fun day in Walla Walla!

Ended the night in my snuggly room, and in the morning woke early and watched the sun rise over Walla Walla to celebrate the first day of Spring!

I woke up hours before everyone else (seriously irritating habit sometimes) so I wandered the hotel. Now, I want to tell you all about it. First of all, may I say, they just don’t build them like that anymore. When you see the Marcus Whitman it is almost intimidating with is very present brick, 13 floor tower and design. Rumor has it that a city ordinance says no other building may be built in Walla Walla that is taller. You walk in and you understand immediately you are in a location that has seen important things and you wish the walls could whisper to you all of the things they have seen. The parlor is delightful, welcoming, with old fashioned furniture…you almost feel out of place in your jeans and very best tshirt. For anyone that has stayed at the Davenport in downtown Spokane, you know what I mean. That was also on my list (check!) and it will be another blog.

The Marcus Whitman was built in 1929 and named in honor of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman who settled the Whitman Mission nearby . (Spoiler alert: remember reading about the Whitman Massacre when we were kids in high school reading NW History? Remember the Disney movie 7 Alone?).

This Whitmans have always fascinated me as they were peers of the Spaldings (who settled in Nez Perce country) and the Meeks who settled in the Puyallup area. They all came through Fort Hall, near Pocatello, so I remember hearing about them my whole life. I think I will visit the Whitman Mission again do a blog on that next summer. Stay tuned. But for a concise telling of the tale, go to the XX floor…they have an art gallery, in that they have art on the floor that the offices are on…It was Sunday so closed and quiet. I was the only one on the floor. They have a handout that explains every art piece..and it is truly beautiful…I have added a few here.

The construction of The Marc is a pretty cool story in itself. In April 1927 the local bank President WW Baker met with the local businessmen to talk them into building a luxury hotel to draw people to Walla Walla, like those going to Tacoma and Seattle. A group called the Real Estate Improvement Company of Seattle (irony) offered to fund $300M of the project if the Walla Walla residents could come up with $150M. So Baker offered the locals $100 shares of the company. 3 weeks later over 500 residents purchased shares and construction began. (I got this info from an article from SAH Archipedia). The Marc made it through the great depression and had famous visitors stay there; Dwight D Eisenhower, Lydon B Johnson, Shirley Temple and Louis Armstrong, but failed in 1968. A development company tried to keep the old building alive so they added to the building and turned it into mostly apartments. A lot of the wives of the men at the penitentiary lived here at that time. There was even a shanty on the roof used as housing, then as a radio station and then a pigeon coop. (This is info I read in an article by DJC Oregon) But by mid 1990s it was again in disrepair. Well, disrepair or something. Reportedly the restaurant was a tattoo parlor and the ballroom was about to be made into an auto repair shop. There was a “notable” bar in the basement called The Bamboo Room….huh. In 1999 Kyle Mussman bought the hotel and remodeled it, using the historical blueprints and newspaper articles and pictures, bringing it back to life as historically accurate as possible, as you see it today. The staff at the front desk was super helpful and shared additional info, they say the bar in the basement is no longer there but several residents are…some of the top floors still hold apartments and some of the people have lived there for decades. So interesting, and now you have to go see it, don’t you? 😊

Speaking of the restaurant…breakfast buffet was included in that room price and we all enjoyed a very nice breakfast in the nicely appointed restaurant…lots of wood trim and classy touches. Don’t skip the buffet, it is lovely and the staff was incredible.

For all pics and videos and what-not, please click on the FB and Instagram links. Thanks for hanging with me! If you go to any of these places, please tell them the Sightseeing Tipsy Gypsy send you! What’s on your bucket list?

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