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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!

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!

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.

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!

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!

Winter Things to Do Near Joseph Oregon and Wallowa Lake Include Tunesmith Night

Gregory Rawlins performs at Tunesmith Night at Lear's Main Street Grill in Enterprise Oregon in February 2014

Gregory Rawlins performs at Tunesmith Night at Lear’s Main Street Grill in Enterprise Oregon

People are always wondering whether there’s anything to do out here in the Eastern Oregon winter besides enjoy downhill skiing, backcountry skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and other classic wintertime outdoor activities.  Nothing wrong with any of them, but what do you do once it’s time to come in at dark?

How about intimate music experiences?  Every second Saturday of the month throughout the winter season, the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance hosts Tunesmith Night, a showcase of original music in a warm, friendly environment.  The venue is something between a club and a small restaurant with booths and tables facing towards the stage area where the performers set up with their gear.  Each month, three different singer songwriters are invited to share their original music with a willing audience at Lear’s Main Street Grill in Enterprise.  The format is a round-robin sort of thing–each musician performs one piece, then the next performer has a turn, etc.  After a couple of rounds, there’s an intermission, then the whole thing repeats for the second round.  Each performer brings their own style, voice and instruments–it’s almost like a concert sampler.  As one Tunesmith attendee noted, “It was a blast! Great music!”

So, who might you see performing at Tunesmith Night?  They’re not necessarily just local Wallowa County musicians as Tunesmith Night is a sought after opportunity in the Pacific Northwest singer songwriter community.  Last night’s Tunesmith Night performers were Heidi Muller, MidLo and Gregory Rawlins.  The performers scheduled for the rest of the 2013-2014 season are:

  • March 8, 2014: Bart Budwig, Joey Carper, Colton Elwood Haney with Moorea Masa
  • April 12, 2014: Kory Quinn, Alexa Wiley, Dan Weber

The singer songwriters who performed earlier in the 2013-2014 season include: (October 2013) Travis Ward, Wayne Marvin Callahan, Steve Hines; (November 2013) Bre Paletta and Justin Bennett, Jacob DeBoie; (December 2013) Simon Tucker, Janis Carper, Al Bell; (January 2014) An American Forrest, Edmund Wayne, Rodd Ambroson

Tunesmith Poster for February 8, 2014Location:  Lear’s Main Street Grill, 111 W. Main, Enterprise, Oregon

Time:  Doors open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. (usually ends before 10 p.m.)  Come early and enjoy dinner at Lear’s before the show!

Admission:  $10 at the door

More information:  Janis Carper, Wallowa Valley Music Alliance, 541-426-3390.  Or check out Wallowa Valley Music Alliance events and news on Facebook

Last night we hosted a LaGrande couple here at our Joseph Oregon lodging.  They drove the wintry 90 minutes to the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast knowing that they could enjoy Tunesmith Night, have a great night’s stay only 10 minutes away in one of our cozy guestrooms, and have a leisurely, delicious breakfast the next morning before ambling their way up the road for the short drive home.  How’s that for a quickie Eastern Oregon vacation?

Hope to see you at Tunesmith Night before the season ends!

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

 

No Joseph Oregon Car Show in June 2014

Oregon Mountain Cruise in Joseph Oregon is the second weekend in June

Oregon Mountain Cruise in Joseph Oregon is the second weekend in June

News flash!  We just learned yesterday that the popular Oregon Mountain Cruise classic car show in Joseph Oregon will take a break for June 2014.  This particular event is one of the big kickoff weekends of summer since it holds the 2nd weekend of June slot right after the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts

From the cruise’s website:

It’s been 25 years since a group of family & friends from all over the northwest joined together to organize and host the “Oregon Mtn. Cruise Car Show” in Joseph, Oregon.  We regret to inform all our cruisers that after 25 years, we have decided to take the year off in 2014 to re-group, re-energize, re-organize and for some much needed rest.  WE WILL BE BACK JUNE 12-13, 2015.  Have a great summer and hope to see you in Joseph, Oregon in 2015.

Living in a remote area like Wallowa County Oregon means that we live in an absolutely beautiful place, but it also means that there aren’t all that many people here to volunteer for the many events that take place during the summer months.  We’re glad that the Joseph Oregon Car Show organizers got the word out so early about their change in plans so the rest of us can plan accordingly. For those of you planning your 2014 Eastern Oregon vacation you’ll just have to plan for another area car show instead.

And for our Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast guests who booked their guestrooms for June 2014 around this event, please contact us (if we haven’t yet contacted you) so we can make adjustments to your reservations.  Our phone: 541-432-0230.

The silver lining to all of this?  We know, just like the Bronze, Blues & Brews festival every year in August that took a one-year break a few years ago, that the Oregon Mountain Cruise will come back bigger and better than it was in the past!

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.