The Tako family has been on the road this week. We’ve been traveling around Eastern Washington, seeing the sights and checking out small college towns. We think small college towns make great places to live, and we’re looking for a place we might like to live.
Instead, I’m going share our travels with you via a ‘photo trip report’ .
Getting To Eastern Washington
The first step in a successful road trip is packing. We try to pack light for road trips, but it’s not easy when you have small children along. We also knew the weather was going to be ungodly hot in Washington this week, so we packed a full size cooler full of snacks and drinks along with the necessary ice packs!
The road out to eastern Washington is mainly freeways (which are pretty boring), but we opted to follow the Columbia river east instead. It takes longer than cutting across the state, but it’s by far the more scenic route.
Along the way, we decided to stop for some ‘local food’ — A taqueria near the Oregon/Washington border filled our hungry bellies with delicious Mexican eats.
Taco Jr. #2 was very entertained by the fact that we were eating out for a change. (We hardly eat out). He couldn’t focus on his meal and started clowning around instead. Oh well, at least he takes cute pictures.
Heading east along the Columbia river, we passed a ton of giant wind turbines generating electricity. These (and a hundred more not in the photo) didn’t exist the last time I traveled to eastern Washington. Renewable power generation is really growing!
Stop 1: Walla Walla, WA
After many hours of driving, we reached the first major stop on our trip — Historic and beautiful downtown Walla Walla.
While many people might have heard of Walla Walla’s famous sweet onions, you probably haven’t heard this little town is absolutely gorgeous. The streets are lined with trees and hanging flower baskets, amidst historic brick buildings.
Literally this is the most gorgeous small town I think I’ve ever seen… and it was absurdly clean. We walked around for hours and never saw even a scrap of trash. Look at the photos if you don’t believe me — it was just spotless.
After all that walking we had to sample some of the local food … to make certain it met our deliciously high standards. This ‘sampling’ was met with significant success.
Stop 2: Ellensburg, WA
The next college town on our road trip, was Ellensburg Washington. This was our first time to Ellensburg, so we had no idea what to expect of this small town.
Surprisingly, it was very similar to Walla Walla. The downtown area was very pedestrian friendly and beautiful.
Instead of hanging baskets, Ellensburg had abundant flowerpots strategically placed around street corners.
Historic brick buildings were also in abundance. What is it about college towns and brick buildings anyway?
Ellensburg had this funky cowboy vibe going on too. Quirky artwork was in abundance.
This trip, we visited two college towns in eastern Washington over three days. We liked both towns, but we’re not ready to make any decisions yet.
Mrs. Tako and I agree that more research is needed. We’d like to see both these towns when school is in session — Does the town suddenly get crowded? Are the students noisy and troublesome?
Seeing these towns during other seasons (fall, winter, or spring) might also help give us context for what living in these small towns might be like.
There’s another college town in eastern Washington that needs mentioning too — Pullman Washington. While we didn’t visit Pullman as part of this road trip, we’ve actually been there multiple times before (visiting friends). It’s another small college town, much like Walla Walla and Ellensburg. Beautiful, quiet, and pedestrian friendly.
There’s a lot of positives to living in small towns — a lack of traffic and city noise, cheaper real estate prices, smog free air, plenty of space, and a family friendly environment come to mind.
But, there’s also challenges to living in small towns too…. a lack of ethnic diversity being a big one. While college towns tend to be better in this regard, it would be a major adjustment for our family.
Could we adjust to these differences and make one of these towns our new home?
You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!