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  • 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.

A Tropical Mexico Connection via Sisters Oregon

Bill & I never tire of the conversations we have with our guests.  It’s a good portion of why we enjoy being innkeepers as much as we do–the genuine connections we can make with our guests enrich our lives and theirs too.  Take, for example, this little story:

It’s always slow in March in Joseph Oregon because the weather isn’t the best for outdoor activities, but a couple returning home to Sisters, Oregon, decides to spend the night with us on their way home.  As it turns out, TR and Jenny McCrystal own a restaurant in Sisters called Jen’s Garden.  It’s an “intimate cottage cuisine” setting with food inspired by the South of France with 5-course, 3-course, or a la carte menu choices.  We have a nice time talking about the restaurant, about Sisters, about Central Oregon, and all is fine.  I make a mental note that we will definitely plan for dinner at Jen’s Garden the next time we visit Sisters and to mention this same restaurant to other guests headed that way.

Tropical Mexico in Pomona California in 1972 as a small restaurant Over breakfast, somehow I mention my alma mater, Pomona College.  Often one or more guests will recognize Pomona College as one of the Claremont Colleges in Southern California, but I cannot remember when I heard a guest say, “Yes, and I was a student at Cal Poly Pomona.”  Turns out TR McCrystal was a Cal Poly hospitality program student studying restaurant and hotel operations.

But here’s where it gets even a little more odd.  Knowing that he’s a restaurateur, I added, “I’ll bet you never had dinner in Pomona at a little pink restaurant called Tropical Mexico.”  His eyes widened.  “Trop Mex!” he exclaims.  “Yes, a great place for college kids to go and the dishes–the mole, the menudo, everything I can remember–top notch.”

How serendipitous is this?  Here we are, the restaurant owner and the innkeeper, talking about a place each of us remembers from decades and lifetimes ago.  What we each remembered were sweet, college year memories.  As I started to write this blog post, I wondered if Tropical Mexico was really now just a memory; that it isn’t the hole-in-a-wall restaurant it used to be.  Surprisingly, it’s still there (and with a web presence). Tropical Mexico has changed and grown significantly from that little pink bungalow I remember from the late 1970s.  But TR and I made that connection across the years and across the miles.  

Will TR and Jenny remember us?  Probably.  Will I remember them?  Undoubtedly.  It’s these kinds of intimate happenings you probably won’t discover staying at a hotel–one of the beautiful little connections about the bed and breakfast experience.

What Will You Have on Fridays at Vali’s Alpine Restaurant?

Hungarian Hunters Platter at Valis Alpine Restaurant in Wallowa Lake Oregon with three juicy grilled sausages, Hungarian pickled cabbage salad and crispy garlic herb potatoes

Hungarian Hunters Platter

Vali’s Alpine Restaurant at Wallowa Lake will open soon for its 2014 season.  Just like 2013, Michael and Dionne Vali have decided to mix it up a bit in the kitchen and serve a variety of dinners on Friday nights.  But, only one entree per night just as always–don’t want to make the front end of the restaurant too liberal.  Michael’s mother, Maggie, controls the dining room with a (powderpuff) fist.  One entree per night, Wednesday through Sunday, and Friday nights rotate.  So plan accordingly!

And what’s on the Friday night menu this year?  How about Rosemary Lamb Chops with Corn Pudding and Asparagus (June 20th)?  Or a Hungarian Hunter;s Platter featuring Three Grilled Sausages, Hungarian Pickled Cabbage and Crispy Herbed Potatoes (July 4th)?  Or Summer Vegetable Lasagna with Garden Salad & Garlic Bread? You’ll find the entire list on the Friday night menu page of the website.

You’ll also find the menu for Wednesday through Sunday nights on the restaurant website.  Funny, we always know if it’s Thursday then it must be Chicken Paprikas with Spaetzle and Cucumber Salad.  Don’t even have to look anymore.

When we opened our bed and breakfast lodging near Wallowa Lake in 2001, we discovered that some guests actually booked their dinner reservations at Vali’s first and then looked for a place to stay.  Thanks to modern technology, you can now book your dinner reservations on-line at Vali’s (unless, of course, you want to get in some phone time with them which is perfectly fine).  And you can book your lodging reservations online with us (click the Book Now! button on the left side of the blog), so have both windows open as you coordinate your dinner with your room choices.

Looking forward to seeing you out  here near Wallowa Lake this summer!

CNN Travel Recognizes Hells Canyon

Jet Boat on Hells Canyon originally produced by Kyle Hill of the Lewiston Tribune

Jet Boat on Hells Canyon originally produced by Kyle Hill of the Lewiston Tribune

If you’re planning your spring and summer travel schedule, here’s a great article from CNN Travel about the tallest, deepest, longest, etc., record-setting places in the United States to visit.  Feature writer Helyn Trickey Bradley has come up with 10 superlative sights for US travel.  Two are in Oregon.  And one is right here in Wallowa County!  She writes:

The Grand Canyon in Arizona may be immense, boasting nearly 277 river miles in length, but for sheer depth, Hells Canyon in eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and western Idaho wins hands-down. . .read more from this article

Helyn suggests a trip to Hat Point Lookout, the highest point on the Oregon side where you can look down deep into Hells Canyon and see the rapids at the bottom.  We also know that you have a fine view of He Devil, the highest point of Hells Canyon on the Idaho side and the reason that Hells Canyon is the deepest canyon in the US.  As one of the Seven Devil Mountains, you feel you can almost reach out and touch them when you’re up there.  We try to get up to Hat Point every now and then and have written some blog posts about it before.

The getting to Hat Point isn’t dangerous, but it is a bit more than some people bargain for.  From Joseph, the drive is 26 miles of pavement to to the little town of Imnaha, followed by 26 miles of dirt road to the Hat Point Lookout.  Ask a local and they’ll tell you the first 5 miles of that 26 mile dirt road can be a little unnerving, but once you’re through that it’s home free all the way to the lookout.  Of course, you’ll have to come back the same way you went.  Best to leave the low slung city car at home.

Might you need some local advice when planning this Eastern Oregon vacation trip?  Give us a call here at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast in Joseph.  We’re along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and are one of the closer Hells Canyon lodging locations for a trip to Hat Point.  And a resource for maps, guides, and other things to take along for your trip to Hells Canyon.  See you soon!

 

 

 

 

Wow! Travel Oregon and the Wallowas

Videos and other materials are just starting to roll out about the Seven Wonders of Oregon, a new campaign hosted by Travel Oregon to introduce some remarkable places in our gorgeous state.  The Wallowa Mountains of Eastern Oregon and the surrounding area were lucky (and naturally) chosen to be one of those.  Here’s Travel Oregon’s video about the Wallowas.  She’s not named, but our friend Alice is the rider seen in the footage:

Great teaser footage for the town of Joseph Oregon too!  The featured brewery is our own Mutiny Brewing Company (great beer in a lovely summer outdoor setting looking at these same mountains).  Alice rides the Wallowa Lake Tramway to the top of Mount Howard (wonder if she fed the squirrels while she was there?).  And the vista shot at the end?  Looks to me like the Hat Point Overlook of Hells Canyon.

Blue Camas flowers in Spring on The Zumwalt Prairie of Wallowa County Eastern Oregon

Blue Camas flowers in Spring on the Zumwalt Prairie of Wallowa County Eastern Oregon

All this and a whole lot more that didn’t make the video.  If you need a little help with your trip planning, give us a call here at our Eastern Oregon Bed and Breakfast and we’ll be happy to help you out.

That’s what a teaser is all about–there’s just enough in the video to get your travel juices flowing.  Time to start planning for that summertime Eastern Oregon Vacation!

Hi, I’m Heather!

Heather Tyreman owner of the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast in Joseph Oregon sitting in a coffee shop and smiling for the camera phone.

Heather Tyreman owner of the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast in Joseph Oregon

My name is Heather Tyreman. My husband and I are the innkeepers of the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast here in Joseph Oregon near the shores of Wallowa Lake.  We purchased this Craftsman bungalow in 2000, spent 9 months remodeling, and opened our retirement dream job in June 2001 on Main Street.  And it has been and continues to be a lot of fun!  We enjoy meeting new people, introducing them to our beautiful Wallowa Valley, providing them the best hospitality experience we can, and watch them relax as they slow down to their Eastern Oregon vacation pace.

When I’m not busy with our Joseph Oregon lodging, you’ll find me outside working in the perennial gardens or on my way to rehearsals and performances with regional music groups.  I play oboe and English Horn with the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon East Symphony, Wallowa Valley Orchestra, and smaller ensembles when we can put them together.  The musical life in Eastern Oregon can be challenging but definitely worth it.

In this blog I highlight local events and information as well as stories about our Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast.  I hope you’ll come back often to read the latest–and either come see us in person or enjoy your vicarious Joseph Oregon vacation.

2014 Frostbite Film Festival in Enterprise OR on Feb 20th

announcement for Backcountry Film Festival Celebrating the Human Powered Experience

Join us here in Wallowa County, Oregon, for the 7th Annual Frostbite Film Festival on Thursday, February 20, 2014!  It’s one of the coolest (pun intended) fundraising events for all the wonderful outdoor winter sports here in Northeastern Oregon.  Plus it’s a really good time on an odd night.  And Lynne Curry is providing the food!

Who:  Organizers of winter sports in Wallowa County, Oregon (Ski Fergi, Ice Rink, Nordic Club, Wallowa Avalanche Center)

What:  2014 Frostbite Film Festival, this year’s title is  “Backcountry Film Festival Celebrating the Human Powered Experience”

When:  Thursday, February 20, 2014, 6 pm to 9 pm

Where:  The OK Theatre (a story unto itself), 208 West Main Street, Enterprise, Oregon 97828

Why:  Because it’s a fun-filled evening of campy ski films, raffles, a live auction for some great winter gear, no-host beer and wine.  AND because Lynne Curry is doing the food (if you don’t know anything about food by Lynne Curry, you really should)

Cost:  $8/adult, $4/kids 3-10 years, Free for kids under 3 years.  Buy tickets at the door (but bring along your checkbook too for all the raffle tickets and the auction bids you’ll want to place).

Info:  Paul or Penny Arentsen at Winding Waters River Expeditions, 541-263-1326, at the event page on Facebook or at SkiFergi.com

Here’s a trailer for one of the films to be shown at the event:

 

Coming from out of town and need Wallowa County lodging?  Our Joseph bed and breakfast has plenty of room available for the Feb 20th evening and into the weekend.  Reserve your room, take off work a day early to start a quickie weekend Joseph Oregon vacation, go to the Frostbite Film Festival, and continue on with your human powered snow activities!

Reserve Your Summer Fishtrap 2014 Rooms and Lodging Right Here Right Now

Summer Fishtrap 2014 at Wallowa Lake Oregon postcard imageAre you attending Summer Fishtrap 2014 at Wallowa Lake, Oregon?  Still trying to decide where in Eastern Oregon to stay for the week?  If you don’t want to stay “on campus” in one of the yurts or in the bunkhouse at the Wallowa Lake Camp and Retreat Center (affectionately known to longtime Fishtrappers as the “Methodist Camp”) and you’re used to staying in nicer bed and breakfasts or hotels when you travel, then allow us to propose a stay at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast nearby in Joseph Oregon.

The writers conference Summer Fishtrap 2014 starts on the afternoon of Monday, July 7th, and concludes at brunch on Sunday, July 13th.  As of today, February 12, 2014, we still have two guestrooms and our fabulous Mirror Lake Suite available for a 6-night stay (nights of July 7-12, 2014, departing on July 13, the closing day of Summer Fishtrap 2014).  What can that mean for you as a Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers attendee?  A really comfortable, air-conditioned, private place to stay at good price.  And we can offer you a without breakfast option in case you’d prefer to take your breakfast meals at the Wallowa Lake Camp.  And since we’re rated 3-Diamonds by AAA, we also offer a 10% discount to current AAA members.  What’s not to like?

For example, these are the prices for lodging and meals during Summer Fishtrap 2014 (taken from the Summer Fishtrap 2014 brochure):

  • Summer Fishtrap 2014 one-bedroom deluxe yurt (includes private bath): $795 per cabin
  • Summer Fishtrap 2014 two-bedroom deluxe yurt (includes shared bath): $595 per bedroom
  • Summer Fishtrap 2014 bunkhouse (bring your own bedding, bath house nearby): $130 per person
  • Summer Fishtrap 2014 Lunch only package (Tuesday through Saturday): $60 per person
  • Summer Fishtrap 2014 Lunch & Dinner package (Tuesday through Saturday): $160 per person
  • Summer Fishtrap 2014 All Meals package (Monday dinner through Sunday brunch): $225 per person

Here are options at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast (full price quotes with lodging taxes included) in our Ferguson Ridge Room (other currently available guestrooms are higher):

  • Single occupancy with breakfast: $840.56
  • Single occupancy without breakfast: $775.16
  • Single occupancy with breakfast and 10% AAA membership discount: $756.44
  • Double occupancy with breakfast: $943.60
  • Double occupancy without breakfast: $812.80
  • Double occupancy with breakfast and 10% AAA membership discount: $849.26

Garden scene at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast in Joseph Oregon with bench and bottle of wine and wine glass near the bocce courtIt’s true there are some conveniences to staying at the Wallowa Lake Camp.  You’re right there and don’t need to drive home once the evening open-mic session is over.  You’re in the middle of the action.  You’re close to the Bailey Lodge dining hall where meals are served cafeteria style.

But, we’re only 10 minutes away by car at the other end of Wallowa Lake.  You’re in your own space with your own attached private bathroom, with or without your traveling companion (if you have one). Your room is comfortably air-conditioned to your liking  Your breakfast, if you choose to have breakfast, is served in our dining room plated and accompanied by your choice of fruit juices and hot beverages.  And we do our best to accommodate special meal requirements (gluten-free, dairy-free, food allergies, etc.)

And if you’re bringing along someone who is not participating in Summer Fishtrap 2014, they’re right here in Joseph to see and do all that the town has to offer in summer (shops, art galleries, foundries, artist tours, or just hanging out here on our grounds under the apple tree with the bocce court nearby (see the photo).

There are a limited number of yurts available at the Wallowa Lake Camp.  If you miss your opportunity to reserve one on February 20, 2014 (the day that online registration opens for Summer Fishtrap 2014), then you might want to consider spending your nights with us here at our (nearly a) Wallowa Lake hotel.

And who knows what summer 2014 will be like?  You might be very glad you have air-conditioning!

Don’t forget:  Summer Fishtrap 2014 online registration opens on February 20, 2014, at 9 am Pacific Time!