By Kirsten Telander
The first time my husband and I visited Walla Walla it was a warm day in October; a welcome change from the damp chill of Puget Sound. Now every fall we reminisce about that indelible first visit which left us pleasantly surprised… and actively relocating.
We were delighted to discover the pumpkin patch at Klicker’s where our boys, classic Red Flyer wagons in tow, gathered pumpkins scaling the straw bale mountain . Even I couldn’t resist a few turns on the gigantic slide. Almost ten years later I still don’t tire of seeing little boys and girls descend from the mountain on the slide with goofy grins and hair flying. Don’t miss the retail store filled with local produce, Klicker’s specialty foods, home and seasonal décor and antiques.
A short drive east of Klicker’s, close to the foothills of the gold and crimson dotted Blue Mountains, is Five Mile Road, home to the Walla Walla Corn Maze. In its 15th year, the maze was the brainchild of the late Leon Filan, who was looking for a way to save the family farming operation. The farm is still going strong and, with StaceFilan as the wizard behind the corn stalk-curtain, welcomes thousands of visitors who will work their way through this year’s design – a giant spider web (designs are never duplicated). Truthfully, I’ve never made it out of the maze without help. The payoff afterwards is the roaring bonfire and concession stand. Keep in mind that the Scary Corn Maze starts October 16; this is when volunteers,dressed as your worst nightmare, skulk about the maze waiting for their next victim. This is delightfully scary to some but not all; plan accordingly.
Close to all this fall action, a perk for grownups after entertaining children, is Burwood Brewing Company located in the Airport district. Veteran brewer David Marshall and marketing-guru Jennifer Marshall opened the family-friendly taproom in summer 2014 to throngs of thirsty hop and root beer lovers. Dave created an Oktoberfest Lager for the season; delightfully copper-orange in color, this complex and malty brew has a touch of sweetness balanced by notes of spice. On Fridays and Saturdays the brewery hosts a food truck – check their web site or Facebook page for current offerings.
Whatever your choice of journey into Walla Walla’s fall, let it surprise you.