Tuesday, July 26, 2011

USA Today & Rand McNally Decide Walla Walla Washington is the Friendliest Town in America

USA Today and map maker Rand McNally had what they called the "Best of the Road" contest where 5 teams of scouts were sent on road trips totalling 25,000 miles over the course of 3 weeks, looking for friendly people, stunning sights, terrific tastes, patriotism and fun.

After scouring America USA Today and Rand McNally decided Walla Walla, Washington was the friendliest town they visited.

Other towns checked out were places like Rapid City, South Dakota. Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Lafayette, Louisiana. Valdosta, Georgia. Woodward, Oklahoma. Nacogdoches, Texas. Lake Havasu City, Arizona and Mount Airy, North Carolina.

A total of 30 towns were visited.

While Walla Walla was the friendliest, Sandpoint, Idaho was the most scenic. Rapid City was the most patriotic. Lafayette had the best small town food. Glenwood Springs was the town with the most fun.

In the past 10 years Walla Walla has seen a big boom in wineries, with a growing reputation for producing some of the best American wines, turning Walla Walla into a destination for connoisseurs of wine. Several of the Walla Walla Wineries have earned top scores from various wine publications like The Wine Advocate, Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator.

The Walla Walla Wineries include Woodward Canyon, L'Ecole 41, Leonetti Cellar, Walla Walla Village Winery, Spring Valley Vineyards, Cayuse Vineyards, Reininger Winery, Waterbrook Winery,  Forgeron Cellars, Tamarack Cellars, Walla Walla Vintners, Seven Hills Winery, Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars.

Walla Walla is also known for its Walla Walla Sweet Onions. An excerpt from the Walla Walla Sweet Onions website...

"The story of the Walla Walla Sweet Onions began over a century ago on the Island of Corsica, off the west coast of Italy. It was there that a French soldier, Peter Pieri, found a sweet onion seed and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley. This sweet onion developed over generations through the process of carefully hand selecting onions from each year’s crop, ensuring exceptional sweetness, jumbo size, and round shape. Today’s growers realize they’re not just raising sweet onions, but cultivating a tradition."

Walla Walla is also known for being the location of the Washington State Penitentiary. This is the location of Washington's death row, where executions occur, by lethal injection. Or the condemned can choose to be hanged. Since 1921 the Washington State Penitentiary has been Washington's license plate factory, producing around 2,400,000 plates a year.

I am guessing the USA Today Rand McNally visitors focused more on the Walla Walla Wine and Walla Walla Sweet Onions, than the Washington State Penitentiary, when deciding Walla Walla was the friendliest town they visited.

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