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Karen and Paul Gregutt’s Utopian Waitsburg in Walla Walla Wine County

Twenty miles from Walla Walla is a small Mayberry, American Rockwell town called “Waitsburg.” Karen Gregutt is the one who’s coined this phrase for Waitsburg… It couldn’t be more true.

Picture a back porch, where folks love to gather in a small town of 1,200, like life usta-be.

Imagine having a back yard so big that all you want to do is landscape it,

and hire local talent to help fulfill all of your wildest dreams…

There’s a small dog involved. Karen calls her “Cookie,” Paul refers to this terrier | Chihuahua mix as “Terhua.”

Two guest cottages (link for viewing), within the three cottage complex of gardens and gates, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, are there for you and your friends to sojourn and enjoy the view…

Oh, yes… Paul comes to your car to welcome you into the neighborhood, with a glass of red wine in his hand.

Sommes-nous ici, encore, mon ami?

“Oui, oui, oui… You are where you’re supposed to be,” he’ll tell you, grinningly.

This happened to Jose and me, along with the Oak Knoll Boys (president Greg Lint and winemaker Jeff Herinckx).

We’re the four merry adventurers who love to laugh.

You’ll know us when you pass us by, because we can’t stop laughing, for some astronomical reason.

While we’re all in a daze zua-vous about what small town America was/is like…. so many years ago, but it’s so “now”…

On our first night, we had first explored Walla Walla’s food preparing options, so we could hang at our place and just munch there. We spent dinner time on Karen and Paul Gregutt’s back porch, nibbling…  It was so homey, country casual comfortable; and overlooking the third, honeymoon cottage.

We saw, “Just Married” on a black SUV in front of the third small house, which was a dead give-away; and we all knew it was very private and special.

Mr. & Mrs. Cody Parker of Melrose Vineyards; Cody and Tiffany, as they became part of the back porch cast of characters.

We never got to say “Goodbye, guys! I wish you arms-full of love and luck along the way.”

Each night brought more people…. the honeymooners, as well as Washington State Wine Commission’s president Steve Warner. Stories were shared among the wine group, with copious amounts of liquids from Paul’s cellar. By the second night, it became apparent that this was clearly not an average visit, when Paul pulled the wines he pulled. The food overflowed, the energy was so high that I had to take a daily naps… seriously. I was supposed to be on vacation, but this was – instead – a high energy learning adventure. No regrets….

Paul’s married to a very strong woman, Karen Stanton Gregutt…

  • She’s known in that neighborhood as Karen Gregutt.
  • She’s known professionally as Karen Stanton.
  • And, she’s known on-line as Mrs. G.

Karen carries the weight of all these identities really well. She’s a Renaissance woman

  • Film maker
  • Homemaker
  • Commercial director
  • Author
  • Cottage renovator (think, “This Old House”)
  • Cottage|property management company
  • Retailer… with a shop in town called Bubbles and Chocolate. She has a sign on her shop door. “Open Thursday through Sunday. Call – and she gives her phone number – for chocolate emergencies.”
    • The curtain of her shop is closed most of the time, so the sun doesn’t melt her chocolate or ruin her bubbles.
    • And, Yeah… She’ll go to her shop if you’re having a chocolate emergency during her off hours…

I’m surely forgetting something about this fascinating creature…

Paul is the genial host…

  • So in charge of his life and future
  • So in love with Karen and Cookie (the ball chasing dog)…
  • Wine (Bubbles) adviser for Bubbles and Chocolate
  • Bard with a guitarist
  • Poet
  • Marketer
  • Wine writer | journalist

It was magical, a whirl of activities… I had to take naps, yeah… I have to mention it again. It was that constantly enriching… And was full of happy laughter, because the Oak Knoll Boys bring out the Silly Pants in all of us… One of my high school English teachers ~ Miss Mary Samways ~ separated me from Dorrance Goodwin… “Go, over there, I’m separating you two Silly Pants…”  Continuing to bring out my Silly Pants persona is just good medicine; laughter being the best, right?

If you’re ever headed to Walla Walla wine country, Waitsburg is a trip worth taking. It’s only about 20 miles off the beaten path; a throw back in time, as I’ve noted. It’s probably what Sonoma and Napa valleys were 50 years ago. (I don’t know, I was in a small Maine town. I’m imagining, having heard so many stories.) It’s one-on-one.

The town seems to have one of every profession in just two blocks, on both sides of the street and side alleys, including Betty’s Diner and Whoopemup Hollow Cafe. Jose and I were the only set of tourists on the street… There was nowhere to hide, as people passed us by. We were the only obvious “tourists,” both of us with cameras around our necks.

You’ll also hold it in your heart, if you make the time for this adventure…

Postcards would have read, “Wishing you were here.” But… there was no time for writing… just absorbing… and now sharing the beginning of some adventure…

Here are a few of what the postcards would have looked like.

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8 Responses to “Karen and Paul Gregutt’s Utopian Waitsburg in Walla Walla Wine County”

  1. Rusty Eddy says:

    Waitsburg is a cool place, I agree. I can’t help wondering how we all would’ve found it if Paul and Karen hadn’t been (aren’t) such great promoters of the place. They don’t just live there, they are part of the fabric of the town.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    So true, Rusty.

  3. Paul Gregutt says:

    Jo, you have beautifully captured the look and feel and spirit of the place. We who are lucky enough to live here are especially pleased when esteemed visitors “get” the vibe. Waitsburg (AKA Mayberry, Hooterville, Duckburg, etc.) will always welcome you back!

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Paul… We’re really looking forward to that day!

  5. Tim Smith says:

    Great Article……and I loved the descriptions of the town and it’s different qualities…and plain enjoyment of being with you guys! Very relaxing.

    O-O- I think I’m starting to have some more chocolate emergencies.

    Take care!

    ps. Penny and I finally got moved….looking forward to spending more time together with you and Karen.

  6. [...] Karen and Paul Gregutt’s Utopian Waitsburg in Walla Walla Wine County (wine-blog.org) [...]

  7. [...] Karen and Paul Gregutt’s Utopian Waitsburg in Walla Walla Wine County (wine-blog.org) [...]

  8. [...] It’s important to add that Paul and Karen also are the proprietor innkeepers of their Waitsburg Cottages. Staying with them earlier this autumn, while visiting Washington state with the Oak Knoll Boys, [...]

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