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The Surprising People You Can Meet at a Bed & Breakfast

One of the things we love about owning the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast is the opportunity to meet some very interesting people. Our guests come from all over and have such interesting stories to share around the breakfast table. The surprising people you can meet at a bed & breakfast might range from musicians to artists to neighbors you didn’t know lived nearby in your own city, to small business owners, or even someone who might’ve graduated from the same high school as you many years ago.

This week we hosted Brad and Debora Lorang of Lorang Fine Art & Gorge-ous Gifts from Cascade Locks, Oregon. How many times have you driven by the Cascade Locks exit on Interstate 84 going to or from Portland, Oregon, without a stop? I know for us it’s been many times. But now we have reason to stop in after meeting Brad and Debora. And I think the other bed & breakfast guests that had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with Brad and Debora will as well. Their gallery is full of original pieces of art in nine major media collections (metal art, photography, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, mixed media and recycled art, paintings, woodwork and glass art) representing over seventy artists.

Inside view of gallery

Lorang Fine Art and Gorge-ous Gifts in Cascade Locks Oregon

Debora’s focus is photography and Brad concentrates on working with metal. One afternoon he pulled out a tablet and shared images of some of his larger commissioned, custom designed metal installations (made me think of what could we possibly need to add in the Bronze Antler gardens).  Tremendous!

Another aspect, which they shared with other guests around the breakfast table, is how involved they are in the community of Cascade Locks and the surrounding Columbia River Gorge area. Debora makes it a point to promote other Cascade Locks businesses on their Lorang Fine Art website and is very active in representing Cascade Locks with their local Chamber of Commerce. Our Bronze Antler B&B guests who wanted to learn more about waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge learned some insider information from someone local to that area. Where else can you have a casual conversation over breakfast with someone you’ve just met and learn some tips about a place you’d like to visit?

Even our cat, Madigan, the kinky-tailed greeter of the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast, got into the mix. She graced Debora and Brad with her presence in the dining room one evening and even agreed to pose for a photo session and a quick sketch. It was fun watching the transformation before our eyes and Brad deftly captured Madigan’s features in pen on his sketch pad. They were nice enough to leave this quick pen & ink sketch of Madigan and we are sharing it.

Portrait Sketch of Madigan our long haired tabby housecat

Pen Sketch of Madigan by Brad Lorang

The next time you’re contemplating where to stay on your vacation, you might consider a bed and breakfast lodging in your options. The surprising people you can meet could become new friends, or at least interesting acquaintances for a shared meal in a lovely appointed dining room. It’s an opportunity to connect, learn a little something about someone else, perhaps share a little something about yourself, or just be quiet and listen to the other guests around the table. It’s a more intimate experience than dining in a restaurant or even in the breakfast bar of a chain hotel or motel. Take the opportunity and join in!

Get Your Local Wallowa Valley Fix Here

Want more local Wallowa County at your fingertips? Ready to plunge in and know what us folks out here in Eastern Oregon know? There’s a new blog here in Wallowa County, Oregon, that regularly accumulates posts from some of the best and brightest blogs written about this corner of Northeastern Oregon. You’ll find it as “Oregon’s Wallowa Valley” and it aggregates blog posts from some local websites you’ll want to explore:

  • Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast (in Joseph, Oregon, writing about activities, events, and the bed & breakfast, of course)
  • Josephy Center for Arts & Culture (in Joseph, Oregon, and home to a variety of arts classes, exhibitions, events, and the Alvin & Betty Josephy Library
  • Winding Waters River Expeditions (based in Joseph, Oregon, with fly fishing trips, specialty rafting trips, guided fly fishing and more)
  • Plus the added bonus of plenty of fresh content about local places to discover like the M. Crow & Company Store in Lostine, Oregon, or what’s going on in the local music scene from the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance

The blog is sponsored by the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce and maintained by Janis Carper at Second Chance Productions (another Wallowa County based person that you’ll come to know if you spend any amount of time researching this place).

Subscribe to this feed, bookmark this place, or drop in from time to time to find out what’s new!

Fishtrap Fireside Is the Friday Night Number One To Do in Fall & Winter in Joseph Oregon

So it’s a chilly second Friday night of the month in Joseph Oregon, sometime between October and April, and what’s a body to do? If you’re a guest at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast, we’ll suggest a short 10-minute drive to Enterprise for a low-key literary arts program. Fishtrap Fireside is an opportunity for three local writers to read and share their new work, plus an “open mic” period for anyone attending to read and share for their five minutes of local fame.

For a $5 donation at the door, you can shed that big-city Portland, Oregon, persona and immerse yourself in one of the more popular indoor wintertime activities that we Wallowa County locals enjoy. The setting is the living room of the Fishtrap House, a converted home that houses this literary nonprofit group. The atmosphere is warm, non-judgmental, supportive. The aroma is spiced from the light refreshments and the crackling wood fire.

The 2015-2016 Fishtrap Fireside season is posted at the Fishtrap website and updated regularly as more writers are identified. All events at the Fishtrap House, 400 E Grant Street, Enterprise, Oregon. Or contact Mike Midlo, Program Director at Fishtrap, 541-426-3623 or mike@fishtrap.org.

Become the local you’ve dreamed of becoming in this very remote part of Oregon. Enjoy!


Is It Smoky In Joseph Oregon?

Updated Aug 31, 2015: The 2015 fire season is upon us in the Pacific Northwest. Here in Joseph, Oregon, that often means that we’re hosting someone else’s smoke. And our upcoming guests are frequently calling with the question, “Is it smoky in Joseph, Oregon?” Well, here’s our take on it plus the web links we use regularly to assess the fire, smoke and traffic conditions:


Southern view toward Chief Joseph Mountain in the Wallowa Mountains in Northeastern Oregon as seen by the Joseph Oregon Weather webcam

Though we can look out the window and see for ourselves, we usually direct our guests to the Joseph Oregon Weather website. The site owner has two webcams trained on the Wallowa Mountains (to the south and to the west), plus a page with the 5-day weather forecast. He pulls some of his data from the National Weather Service Pendleton Oregon station, but there’s also a lot more to read on this comprehensive site.

In terms of actual fire activity, we refer to the Blue Mountain Fire Information site with current information about any fires in NE Oregon or SE Washington, or to the Inciweb website for detailed information about fires that could be causing smoke in our area (also a great source for fire information throughout the United States).

In terms of air quality, the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has a wonderful air quality index (AQI) map that’ll give you an idea not only of our local air quality, but what you might experience on your way to Joseph, Oregon.

If the question includes road closures or smoky driving conditions, we refer to the Oregon Department of Transportation TripCheck website. Here, you’ll find comprehensive information on driving conditions, road cameras, road closures, etc.
And if you still have questions that might affect your Joseph Oregon vacation, you’re always welcome to give us a call at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast at (541) 432-0230. Safe travels!

Summer Things To Do List No 1 in Joseph Oregon

Dennis and Janice Gillies enjoying a trip on the Joseph Railriders. All Aboard!

Dennis and Janice Gillies enjoying a trip on the Joseph Railriders. All Aboard!


Summer 2015 is upon us and the Joseph Branch Railriders is having a great season. This is one of the newest activities to do in Joseph, Oregon–ride the rails of the Joseph Branch between the towns of Joseph and Enterprise on specially made railrider vehicles. They’re kind of like side-by-side recumbent bicycles. Our guests Dennis and Janice took the 12-mile round trip ride on a railrider on a Saturday morning and came back beaming from the trip. They’re very active people and brought their kayaks to town for a spin around Wallowa Lake, but also wanted to be sure and ride the Railriders while they were visiting Joseph and Wallowa County. They reported that the route to Enterprise was really easy and they could coast a good part of the way (it is slightly downhill). The trip back from Enterprise to Joseph was a slight bit of a challenge (average 1.5% grade), but their railrider guide was there with a powered railrider vehicle to give them a push back into Joseph if they needed it.

For summer 2015, the Joseph Branch Railriders are open for tours Fridays through Mondays. You can walk up to their office at 304 North Main Street here in Joseph, Oregon, to make an appointment (just next to Red Horse Coffee Traders), or call in advance to make reservation arrangements. The tours start a 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. The phone is 541-910-0089 or 541-910-0891. You can bring your own bike helmets like Dennis and Janice did, or the office will supply you with some.

A photo from Dennis and Janice Gillies on the Joseph Railrider June 2015. The path leads through farmland and pastures of Wallowa County.

A photo from Dennis and Janice Gillies on the Joseph Railrider June 2015. The path leads through farmland and pastures of Wallowa County.


Janice commented over breakfast that a trip on the Joseph Branch Railriders was one of the best attractions she’s done for $20 per person.

On the Railrider website and on the Bicycling and Motorcycling page of the Bronze Antler B&B website you’ll find the Oregon Field Guide video about the Joseph Branch Railriders. It definitely looks like a lot of fun and we’ve had guests in varying degrees of fitness enjoy a trip on the rails.

If you’re wanting more of an all-day adventure, for 2015 the Joseph Branch Railriders is introducing an all-day trip from Minam (the place where Oregon Highway 82 crosses the confluence of the Minam River and Wallowa River) up to the town of Wallowa. Riders depart from Minam at 9 a.m. and must return to the same location by 4 p.m.  This journey is size limited to 12 guests and costs $45 per person. Part of the rail line journeys along the Wallowa River, then breaks into the open pastures and fields on the way to town. One of the appealing things about this route is that the ride along the Wallowa River is on the opposite side of the river from the automobile traffic on Highway 82. We’ve yet to have any guests take on this adventure and are looking forward to someone doing so and filling us in on the details at breakfast.

Hope to see you on the Joseph Branch Railriders soon, and thanks to Dennis and Janice for their photographs!

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway between Joseph Oregon and Hells Canyon 2015


UPDATED ON August 19, 2015: It’s that time of year again when our bed and breakfast guests ask, “Is the road open between Joseph and Halfway?” The answer for Summer and Fall 2015 is now “YES!”” The US Forest Service reports that the construction is nearly complete with only shoulder work remaining on the southern 12 miles of FSR39. There are no more construction delays on the center section of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway (also known as Forest Service Road 39 or the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road).

Thank you for your patience during the 2014-2015 construction periods. Now it’s time to get out on the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and enjoy the road!

As you’re planning your trip, do remember these important tips:

  • Is there any gasoline along the way? No. The last gas stations are in Joseph and in Copperfield/Oxbow and in Halfway. Note that these are not 24-hour gas stations and, because they are in rural locations, close fairly early in the evenings.
  • Is there cellphone service along the way? Pretty much no.
  • Who can I call for more information? Monday through Friday during working hours, contact the Forest Service Wallowa Mountains Office at 541-426-5546 or Pine Field Office at 541-742-7511. Visit the Forest Service website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/wallowa-whitman/home

Up and Coming Lodging in Joseph Oregon


Back in 2000 when we decided to open the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast in Joseph, Oregon, we were fortunate enough to purchase a home, remodel it, and get the doors open to guests within 9 months–all self-financed and ready to go. And we’ve kept improving our bed and breakfast over the 15 years we’ve been operating.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported about high-end hostels arriving in the United States. We think Joseph, Oregon, could be on the cutting edge of this movement, thanks to a forward-thinking individual who’s investing himself in our small town.

Now, an amitious entrepreneur has taken on the project of rehabilitating the old Jennings Hotel on Joseph’s Main Street and turning second floor apartments into a self-catering lodging property. Portland-based Greg Hennes is enlisting the help of modern designers and craftspeople to help him not just restore this hotel, but turn it into an exciting lodging with individually themed rooms, a sauna, and wall murals created by talented artists. We’ve toured his project and are thrilled he’s doing something so interesting with a landmark building in downtown Joseph. If you’ve stayed with us, you already know it as the location of Arrowhead Chocolates and La Laguna Mexican Restaurant on the ground floor.

But not everyone could take on a project of this magnitude without some assistance. Greg tells his story in a video on Kickstarter and he’s hoping to raise funds to get this remodel done sooner than later. He’s offering some unique appreciation gifts in addition to future lodging at the Jennings Hotel in exchange for financial support. Kickstarter wasn’t around when we were working on our Joseph Oregon lodging or we might’ve used it. If you’re interested helping restore in a piece of Eastern Oregon history, give his project a look see. And even if you don’t choose a night’s lodging at the Jennings Hotel, he’d most certainly appreciate the support and the awareness. Find out more on social media via #theJenningsHotel

In Good Company


  • Read reviews on TripAdvisor

What a nice surprise this morning!  I opened up the email and discovered that the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast, along with another Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast–Creekside Country Haven–and the 1910 Historic Enterprise House Bed and Breakfast in Enterprise Oregon, have all received the 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!

(Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance. . . .)

Here’s a little bit of background about how TripAdvisor decides which lodging will receive this annual award (information from TripAdvisor): When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account reviews ratings.  Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, volume and recency of reviews. Additional criteria include a business’ tenure and popularity ranking on the site.

So, a big shout out to all the guests of Enterprise House, Creekside Country Haven, and the Bronze Antler B&B for taking the time to write a review about your stay.  Bill and I are humbled by your efforts and thrilled by the recognition.  And I’m sure that I speak for all three of our Wallowa County lodging properties when I say that we all appreciate it very much!

2014 Is the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Forest Road 39 open yet?

US Forest Service image of the Hells Canyon Scenic BywayIt seems like every year in May we hear variations on the same question:

Is the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road open yet?

Is the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway open yet?

Is Forest Road 39 or FR39 or Highway 39 open yet?

For 2014, it’s going to be a little difficult to answer because there’s already major reconstruction of this beloved road going on and it will continue through October 2014.  Fortunately for us all, the Wallowa-Whitman Office of the US Forest Service has a page on their website with press releases on the road’s status.  You’ll find the latest information at this link.  If you have difficulty visualizing exactly where the construction is taking place and where the detour routes are, take a look at the map on this PDF file.

Here’s a synopsis from the May 1, 2014, press release:

Spring 2014: Construction work on the 13-mile North Pine section of FSR 39 has begun and this section of the road will be closed until June 15, which will begin the next phase of the construction, roadway excavation (see next bullet).
June 16, 2014 to June 30 2014: The 13-mile North Pine section of FSR 39 will be closed beginning at 8:00 am every Tuesday morning through 5:00 pm every Thursday evening 6/16/14 – 6/30/14. The road will be open at 5:01 pm every Thursday evening through 7:59 am every Tuesday morning for travel 6/16/14 – 6/30/14. However, it’s important to note that the road surface will be rough as it is still under construction during these open periods.
July 1, 2014 to October 15, 2014: Visitors can expect up to one hour delays on the 13-mile North Pine section of FSR 39 or use the detour. Construction activities will be on-going, so please drive responsibility through the construction zone (see detour route information below beginning July 1, 2014).

Detour Route Information: Forest Service Road (FSR) 66 will be available for use as the detour route depending on snow levels. FSR 66 begins at the junction of FSR 39 and FSR 66 (also referred to as Duck Creek, Fish Lake Road, Twin Lakes Road, or Clear Creek Road) and continues west then south before connecting with Baker County Road 999, just north of Halfway. The detour route is 30 miles in length and is a single-lane gravel road with turnouts. The route is suitable for vehicles with trailers; however it is not recommended for motor homes. Visitors should be aware that the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road and FSR 66 are often closed by snow from late October through late June, and are not passable by automobiles during this time period. Both FSR 66 and FSR 39 are snowmobile routes.

Bottom line:  If you’re planning to drive center section of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway in 2014, you’ll need patience.  This is particularly important for guests going to/from Hells Canyon Adventures jetboats at the Hells Canyon Dam and for guests coming from Idaho on the back way.  If you’re a motorcyclist, watch the press releases.  Much of the detour route involves gravel roads.

Celebrate Mother’s Day Weekend in our Destination Art Town

Antique Swiss Rose Engine at Stewart Jones Designs on Main Street in Joseph OregonMother’s Day 2014 is just around the corner and the art galleries of Joseph Oregon are ready to host another fabulous event!  The 7th Annual Joseph Art Walk for Mother’s Day Weekend takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 10 & 11, 2014.

The Art Walk hours are Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.  You’ll have opportunities to meet many of the artists who are represented by the galleries along Main Street, see artist demonstrations and new works of art, and all while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and refreshments at nine different locations around town.  Here are the participating galleries:

  • Aspen Grove Gallery
  • beecrowbee
  • Josephy Center for Arts & Culture
  • Kelly’s Gallery on Main
  • Norman Arts Gallery
  • Stewart Jones Designs
  • to Zion
  • Uptown Art
  • Valley Bronze Gallery

Questions?  Call Kelly Wick at Kelly’s Gallery on Main at (541) 432-3116. More information about our town, the galleries, restaurants and more at the Joseph Oregon website.

Worried about the weather in Eastern Oregon?  Don’t be.  Check Joseph Oregon Weather for the forecast.

Need Joseph Oregon lodging? Two upstairs guestrooms with attached private baths are available at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast.  And walking distance to all the action!  Click the Book Now button to see our rooms and availability.