Our first long trip with two kids!

Ok, why did we think this was a good idea?

We made plans a few months ago to meet up with our friends who live in Portland. My friend, who I met in college, is a past travel buddy/roommate/fellow wine lover so we decided Eastern Washington was a reasonable place to go – and let’s bring the kids… and husbands because someone needs to watch the kids.

Our daughter came down with a cold the night before we left, which is not great of course. But also made for a bad nights sleep for all of us. When I woke up at 4am to feed the baby… and then Maura woke up again… I said let’s just go. I’ll drive.

We headed out and the sun rose in the distance ahead as we neared Tacoma. The kids were out cold. So was Eric. Just me and my podcast.

We stopped in Cle Elum at a little cafe we’ve visited before. As soon as we stepped out of the car, it felt like fall in the mountains. Too chilly coming from mid 70s coastal fall. We ate breakfast, stretched our legs, downed a few cups of coffee and hit the road again.

But of course this is where things fall apart. The kids were awake now and not interested in being in the car. I won’t bore you with the details (we stopped here, here and a gas station on a random exit). Some 20 stops later, we finally arrived in Walla Walla.

Keep in mind, Maura is sick, but she’s in good spirits because she loves vacation and getting to see her friend. We stay at an Airbnb and don’t leave the house the first night because we’re all worn from toddler parenting.

The next day we ventured into town, an easy walk (though we drive our sick one because who knows when she’ll melt into a puddle on the ground and neither of us have the strength to carry her). Walla walla is small and cute, with a main drag lined with small shops and wine tasting rooms. The buildings are a nice size, classic but not too big and the streets are buzzing with people even on a Monday morning in September.

We get a couple of chai tea lattes and a pastry and hang out as long as our toddlers will allow. Then it’s off on a walk. We manage to fit in one tasting room before the kids start destroying things. We chose the most child friendly seeming spot (no reservations and doesn’t look like it could be a jewelry store, as some did) but still they couldn’t last long. We headed back for nap time.

Now Eric was feeling sick, Maura refused to nap everyone was tired. Maura and I got out with the stroller and walked to the candy shop for a huge lollipop (which still sits in our fridge) and an ice cream cone. The wide selection of candies was overwhelming to a 2 year old so she naturally picked a classic lollipop. The shop even had a window looking in on a chocolate maker working.

The following day we headed to the eastern side of town and visited Abeja Winery. A friend of mine from college is the tasting room and events manager so we got some extra special treatment upon visiting. The property was beautiful! Lush green grass, old barns and buildings all turned into overnight accommodations, a beautiful garden and wine! We lingered and sipped wine until dinner time. The kids loved running through the garden and we sat on the deck nestled under a shady tree. We will be returning, hopefully with a bigger crew in tow so we can rent out the farmhouse!

On our way out of town the following day, we stopped at —- winery because they had a big sign on the road )serving lunch). How could we resist with two upset kids in the backseat?

The menu was unique and heavily vegetarian, though we were unsure if that was on purpose, since you could add meat to nearly any item. My favorite part was the children’s menu milk flight. We all shared the flavored milk because it was so delicious. 

After that, the kids finally slept and we drove on, making one more stop for dinner before our stay in Ellensburg.

This is my dream spot and what an inspiration for the future of our new business Oh Hi Handpies. The menu was straightforward and we showed up at happy hour so we got a great deal on a shared beer. After eating, we wandered the back yard area which featured a grassy lawn, an outdoor games area, a stage complete with fruit box backdrop and more outdoor seating. A perfect roadside attraction and respite in the eastern Washington highways.

An overnight at a hotel in Ellensburg (because driving 6+ hours with kids in too much) then over the mountains.

We made a pit stop in North Bend, home of the Twin Peaks cafe. We passed on the cherry pie this time and grabbed doughnuts at the North Bend Bakery and wandered through an antique store, bike shop and up and down the street to move a little bit.

Again, I loved they sized of the old buildings here. Small enough for a modern business to be able to fill it, and not so big that the heating bill might rob you of all your profits.

We headed home (not without multiple stops of course) and happily ended the trip with great memories of new places discovered and a head cold for each of us (sent our friends home with it too!).