MILTON-FREEWATER, Ore. -- "Welcome to Milton-Freewater." If you're visiting for the first time, that's what you can expect to hear from locals. This small town near the Oregon border looks like any other except for one thing. Frogs !!!
They're all over. According to the city manager, the town embraced them after someone vandalized a welcome sign changing it from "Welcome to Milton - Freewater" to " Welcome to Muddy Frogwater " six years ago.
But that's not all they're known for. The town is only 8 miles from Walla Walla, and contributes to the area's famous wines with their own agriculture.
"It's very important to know that the grapes actually are grown in Milton-Freewater area, so we're the homeland of Washington Walla Walla grapes and the vineyards so we wanted to attract a lot of that agro-tourism," explains city manager Linda Hall.
The culinary reputation the area has build, inspired gourmet chocolatier Lan Wong who moved her business to the town from New York City,"when I moved to this area, because it's such a huge wine region, we decided to craft our chocolates to pair with wines from the area," says Wong.
After filling your stomach with chocolate from Wong's "Petits Noir", filling your brain with history from the Frazier Farmstead museum is recommended,"the history of the town started here. Mr. Frazier was the one that laid out the town site, he's the one that named Milton, Milton," explains Diane Biggs, director of the museum who says the name is in honor of English poet John Milton, according to stories from Frazier's descendants.
Food, history, frogs, they're all special. But, the people stand out most. "They're friendly, we know everyone, especially at the high school, there's your graduating class at the most is like 100, so those people tend to stay here after they graduate," says Dariela Penada, a Milton - Freewater High School student.
Summer is a big time for the town. In July, the "Logs to Frogs" chainsaw carving competition transforms blocks of wood into the many frogs you see as well as other animals . And in August, "The Muddy Frogwater Festival" kicks off with lots of food and entertainment.