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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.

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.

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!

Cake for Two at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast? Yes!

German Chocolate cake with a blue rose on top from Melanee's Cakes in Joseph Oregon

German Chocolate cake with a blue rose on top from Melanee’s Cakes

We enjoy helping our guests plan the perfect getaway–romantic or otherwise–when they stay at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast.  And we enlist as many local Joseph Oregon businesses as we can to procure items for our guests.

Melanee’s Cakes is one of those providers.  Melanee creates all sorts of cakes,  large or small, in a variety of flavors and with great enthusiasm for the decoration.  Small birthday cakes suitable for a couple are pretty popular.  As are special anniversary cakes.  But she’ll create a cake for any occasion and deliver them right here in Joseph, Oregon, so you don’t have to worry about making a surprise.  Let us know what flavor you’d like, what inscription (if any), what type of frosting, and your budget–and let Melanee run loose!

We’ll have the cake awaiting you in your guestroom complete with plates, forks & napkins (although I think we might’ve had a few guests opt for the romantic  “eating cake with their fingers” option).

One of our oft-returning guests, Teri, commented about the birthday cake she selected for her husband’s surprise, “She does beautiful work and her cakes are scrumptious.”  Unfortunately we don’t have a photograph of said cake–it disappeared too quickly!

Melanee’s Cakes doesn’t have a website, but if you’re a Facebook user, you’ll find Melanee’s Cakes on Facebook.  Her latest creation: Superbowl Denver Broncos versus Seattle Seahawks!

 

Winter Things to do Near Joseph Oregon: Ice Skating

Enterprise Oregon Ice Rink

Enterprise Oregon Ice Rink

We just love winter in the Wallowas!  And the Wallowa Valley Community Ice Rink, an outdoor ice rink in nearby Enterprise, is a fun diversion.

Enterprise is only 6 miles away from Joseph Oregon along Highway 82 and the Ice Rink is at the north end of the City Park, just two blocks off of the highway (signs are posted or you can find a map on the Rink’s website).  The rink is available for free skating plus there are pickup hockey games and even assigned time for hockey and for broomball.  The rink is open 9 am to 9 pm daily, weather permitting, with lots of opportunity for free skating time.

The rink is also home to the Baja Canada Hockey League, a group that current features two teams, the Eh’s? and the Ruby Peaks. (You’ve got to have a little bit of Wallowa County humor in the middle of all this).

Because this is an outdoor ice rink staffed by volunteers (and one paid staff person) it’s always good to check the schedule as well as call the ice rink’s recorded line at 541-263-0715 for current conditions.  If you don’t own ice skates no worries–skates can be rented Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm at Treasures, a local shop in Enterprise (541-426-3873).

If need to know the operating rules of the Enterprise Ice Rink, I was by there today and photographed the locally posted sign.  Keep in mind that the phone number for more information is 541-263-0715:

Enterprise Oregon Ice Rink Sign

Rules of the Rink

 

Winter Things to do Near Joseph Oregon: Visit the Zumwalt Prairie

When most of our guests visit The Nature Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve here in Wallowa County, they do it in the spring and summer to see the wildflowers and (hopefully) the raptors, deer, elk, and other wildlife that populate the prairie in warmer times of year.  It’s a very photogenic place.

Bill on The Nature Conservancy Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in December 2013

Bill on The Nature Conservancy Zumwalt Prairie Preserve

The day after Christmas we had no guests in the house, so Bill & I decided to take a drive out to the Zumwalt Prairie to see if we might be able to hike one of The Nature Conservancy’s designated trails.  Fortunately, Patti’s Trail (2.3 miles), one of the public-access areas designated on The Nature Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie map, looked to be feasible given the time of day, the temperature, snow pack, etc.  We were hoping to see some of the elk population now that the rut is over.

It turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike for these two bed and breakfast innkeepers, though nary an elk showed its shaggy cape.  And the birds were few and far between although there was a hawk that led us from fence post to fence post.

But it was quiet, other than the constant breeze coming from the south, and it was very sunny.  We’d taken the snowshoes along but didn’t need them on Patti’s Trail–just enough snow to need boots or Bogs.

The drive from our Joseph Oregon lodging can be a little harrowing in winter compared to summer.  Guests with trucks or higher-clearance all-wheel drive vehicles will most likely be fine.  Most of the Zumwalt Road is not paved and, like many rural Oregon locations, is something to be undertaken with plenty of respect for the conditions.

Here at our Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast we keep maps, binoculars, etc., to help our guests enjoy the surroundings.  Hope to see you sometime in the winter!

 

Never Too Early For Wallowa Lake Wedding Planning

A field of marguerite daisies at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast in Joseph OregonIn the depths of winter there are people getting engaged and thinking about a summer wedding at Wallowa Lake or in Joseph Oregon.  How do I know?  Because, when I take a look at the analytics behind our Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast blog, there are people searching for terms like “joseph oregon wedding” and people reading blog posts I’ve written about where to get married near Wallowa Lake or where to get married in Joseph Oregon.

So here we are, nearing the end of December 2013, and already we’re seeing quite a few bookings at our Oregon romantic getaway for summer 2014.  Wedding nights in the Mirror Lake Suite are going to be popular this year.  And housing the wedding party or wedding guests in our other three guestrooms is gaining traction as a popular idea too.

Part of this trend might be due to some changes in lodging in the Wallowa Valley.  Joseph Oregon hotels?  Still aren’t any.  And the Wallowa Lake hotel is still the Wallowa Lake Lodge.  Here in Joseph, Belle Peppers Bed and Breakfast closed its doors to guests in December 2012.

What’s a bridal couple to do?  We have a few recommendations:

1.  Most important! Check your dates with the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce (541-426-4622).  If you want to plan your wedding around a major event like Chief Joseph Days Rodeo (always the last full weekend in July), then your wedding guests might have difficulty finding lodging unless they get busy now and book their rooms. Or plan your wedding near the big events but not during them.  And, from Memorial Day through the end of September, there’s something happening nearly every weekend in Wallowa County!

2.  Lock in your wedding venue soon.  See the categories listed on the left side of this blog post in the template area?  Click on “Wallowa County Wedding” or “Joseph Oregon Wedding” and you’ll get immediate access to a variety of blog posts that I’ve put together about potential wedding venues in this part of Eastern Oregon.  Some of these venues, like the blue barn, book out far in advance.

3.  Consider a trip out here to meet with florists, caterers, photographers, etc.  There are some wonderful local folks capable of putting on a spread of local foods, capturing lovely images of your wedding, providing fresh flowers, serving as a great rehearsal dinner location, etc., or even designing your personalized wedding rings (and you’ll need to plan a long ways in advance for that!)  Don’t think you have to bring it all from the big city!

4.  Don’t stress, but do plan.  And you’re welcome to give us a call here at the Bronze Antler B&B at 541-432-0230.  Bill & I are ready to help you however we can.  After thirteen years of owning and operating our Joseph Oregon lodging, we’ve gotten to see a few weddings along the way and are happy to share.

Sunny Winters in Joseph Oregon

We handle a lot of phone calls from prospective guests who want to know if the winters are sunny in Joseph, Oregon.  I’m guessing a lot of these folks are from the Seattle, Washington, or Portland, Oregon area, where we hear that the sun shines but the winters are pretty gray..

The answer:  Yes!  Our winters are definitely sunny!  Because we’re in Eastern Oregon we don’t have the clouds that seem to hang on the western side of the Cascade Mountains.  It seems as though we have only a handful of non-sunny days throughout the winter months.

Joseph Oregon Weather camera on Christmas Day 2008

Joseph Oregon Weather camera on Christmas Day 2008

Probably the best place to get a view of how sunny it is here is to take a look at our favorite weather website, Joseph Oregon Weather  The webmaster keeps two cameras trained on the Wallowa Mountains–one to the south and one to the west–that’ll give you an up to the minute view of the current conditions.  Into time lapse photography?  The Weather Movie on the same website gives you the view of how the day is progressing, or you can watch yesterday’s weather movie for a complete view.

Here at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast our large insulated glass picture window in the dining room is perfect for a view of the sunny winter weather without experiencing the cold.  Sometimes our breakfast guests opt to bring their sunglasses to the table.

And there’s plenty to do around here in winter.  Or nothing.  Your choice.  Type “winter” into the blog search box and you’ll find our posts about things to do in the winter around Joseph, Oregon.  Here’s one to get you started.

Luxury Joseph Oregon Car Show Lodging

Still looking for a luxury lodging option during the Joseph Oregon Car Show?  The local car show, also known as the Oregon Mountain Cruise, celebrates 25 years of classic cars on June 7 and 8, 2013.  And have we got the lodging for you!

Canopy bed in a guestroom with snowy mountains visible through high windows.

Mirror Lake Suite at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast

The Mirror Lake Suite, our romantic getaway Oregon lodging right here in Joseph, is still available.  This room competes against finer regional hotels in terms of style and amenities. And better yet, it’s located one block away from downtown Joseph so you can walk back and forth to the car show throughout the Show’n’Shine and to the Saturday night dance at the Joseph Oregon Community Center.

Features include:

  • Private entrance leading directly to the parking area. And you can see your beauty through the suite’s windows framed against the Wallowa Mountains.
  • Light, airy bedroom with 14.5′ vaulted ceiling with plenty of spaciousness.
  • Private attached bathroom full of spa-style fixtures.  Steam shower (with its own chromatherapy lights and radio), combination Japanese-designed Toto Neorest toilet/bidet, and a very sanitary pipeless jetted Sanijet tub to melt away the hours spent strolling the car show in downtown Joseph.
  • Dedicated air conditioning (need we say more?)
  • Flat screen TV with attached Blu-ray DVD for watching your favorite movies (bring your own or watch ours).
  • Wi-Fi access throughout the bed and breakfast.

On top of all that, all the common amenities and services we offer our guests. And, the Oregon Mountain Cruise entrants line up their cars early Saturday morning right in front of our bed and breakfast on South Main Street so you can quickly get into the proper order for the Show’n’Shine parking.

Were you looking for ” Joseph Oregon hotels ” or ” Wallowa Lake hotel ” when trying to figure out where to stay?  We’ve got you covered.  It’s our last available room for the car show weekend.  Take advantage quickly before it’s gone.  AAA members receive 10% off too!

 

Professional Photography at our Eastern Oregon Lodging

Bocce court in the pre-dawn light at our Joseph Oregon lodging

Bocce court in the pre-dawn light in Joseph Oregon at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast

Marcus Berg, owner & professional photographer at Unique Angles Photography, is returning to our Eastern Oregon bed and breakfast in early June to update our portfolio of high quality images.  Sure, we can always capture images on our digital camera or our smartphones and they’ll look fine on the Facebook page, but it’s also important for the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast to have high quality “dense” images for magazines and other print advertising.

We’re excited to have Marcus out with us for a few days.  I know it’ll be a lot of work.  A good photo shoot involves lots of preparation.  Beautiful flowers, a variety of props to dress up the guestrooms, a varied menu for food photography–and then there are things we can’t quite control like great weather for exterior photos.  The last time Marcus was here, he & I were up before the dawn to capture images of the bocce court in the north perennial garden of our Wallowa Lake lodging.  Little did I know that watering the bocce court the night before meant I’d need to quickly spray down the rest of the gravel walkways at 5 am!

If you have a chance, take a look at our website photography and send us suggestions on which photos you think should be updated,  What images should we capture that aren’t on the website?  What would best depict our romantic getaway Oregon style?  Send your ideas to info@bronzeantler.com and we’d love to incorporate your ideas.