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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!

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!

Opera Night Fundraiser and Food on Friday, Feb 28th

Benvenuti!

You’ve got to give Chuck Anderson, our honorable Alpenmeister, some credit for very creative fundraising to support the Oregon Alpenfest celebration.  Even though Alpenfest doesn’t happen until late September, he’s out here in February with an Opera Night!

And what do you get?  Opera classics in practically the most remote corner of Oregon, performed by very talented young people, a great dinner, and the opportunity to get out of the house in the middle of winter.  What’s better than that?

Who:  Eastern Oregon University music major students from LaGrande, Oregon, are performing two hours of classic opera selections.

What:  A fundraiser for Oregon’s Alpenfest, a family-friendly, polka-crazy, Swiss-yodeling event that takes place in late September (Sept 25-29 for 2014) in Wallowa County, Oregon, a place that comes closer than anyplace in Oregon to looking like the Swiss Alps.  The towns of Enterprise, Joseph and Wallowa Lake are all involved in Alpenfest.

When:  Friday night, February 28, 2014, 7 pm to 9 pm,

Where:  Lear’s Main Street Pub & Grill, 111 W. Main Street, Enterprise, OR,

Cost: Admission including dinner is $25 for adults (drinks extra)

Notes: Reservations at Lear’s are advised.  Phone is (541) 426-3300.

Coming from out of town?  Our Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast has plenty of room available.  Click the Book Now link on the left of this blog to find the perfect lodging for your Eastern Oregon opera night or call us at (541) 432-0230.

Ciao!

 

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!

 

Good looking athletic sled dogs in Oregon

Sol Neelman photo for Portland Monthly Magazine Dog Stars of the Eagle Cap Extreme

Sol Neelman photo for Portland Monthly Magazine “Dog Stars of the Eagle Cap Extreme”

Wow!  The Portland Monthly Magazine is featuring an article this month on the “Dog Stars of the Eagle Cap Extreme” and what a good looking bunch of athletes they are.  Of course, these are photos of the dogs from the January 2013 event–many of whom will be back for 2014.  The next Eagle Cap Extreme, Oregon’s only qualifying sled dog race for both the Alaskan Iditarod and Yukon Quest, will take place in January 2014.

But these dog photos (and the people and scenery in them too) are wonderful.  Sol Neelman, weird sports photographer turned canine image capturer for this shoot–really caught the essence of what it’s like to be out on the trail in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the middle of snow.  Are we biased?  Probably so as we had the opportunity to speak with Sol around his photo shoot in Joseph Oregon.

If you’re planning to attend the Eagle Cap Extreme in 2014, better line up your lodging soonest as we have very little opportunities left at our Joseph bed and breakfast.  And we’re centrally located and walking distance to Race Central.  The 2014 event dates are January 22th through 25th with the teams starting on Thursday and Friday early afternoons and returning Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon (depending upon the race).

Our bed and breakfast cat, Madigan, has been known to review the Eagle Cap Extreme. Of course she’s biased too–and plans to spend the 2014 event asleep on our bed (though she might wake up during the Vet Checks on Wednesday when all those dogs are barking on Main Street).

And there’s the banquet dinner on Saturday night at the Joseph Community Center with awards, great food and “Tales from the Trail”.  You can learn more about the schedule of events on the Eagle Cap Extreme website.  All events are free and open to the public except the banquet (tickets available at Race Central in Joseph Oregon).  Find your Joseph Oregon lodging and book early!  If you’re a dog lover this is an event you won’t want to miss!

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.

Uphill Skiing Anyone? Or Ski Mountaineering in Eastern Oregon?

Shrink wrapped smoked chicken

Shrink-wrapped smoked chicken from Mt Joseph Family Foods in Joseph, Oregon

Wall Street Journal writer Tess Weaver recently wrote about ski mountaineering for the Wall Street Journal (published February 27, 2013), noting that skiing uphill is gaining in popularity around the United States and might even make the 2022 Winter Olympics.

You can find plenty of that kind of activity out here near Joseph Oregon.  And you won’t have to worry about purchasing a lift ticket or competing with downhill resort skiers.  The Wallowa Mountains are a tucked away corner of Oregon with no organized ski resort (although the local hill, Ferguson Ridge, does attract a mainly local crowd) and plenty of backcountry skiing conditions.

We recently hosted a group of Portland Oregon skiers who used our Joseph Oregon lodging as their jumping off point for a multi-day ski trip.  They arrived late, but got a very good night’s rest, a hearty breakfast, and time to shop for some local essentials before heading out to McCully Basin to build their snow cave for the next few nights of lodging.  There’s nothing like a smoked “flat” chicken from our local grocer, Mt. Joseph Family Foods, at the end of a long day of uphill skiing!

If you do want to take on the rugged Wallowa Mountains, we suggest you spend some time with the Wallowa Avalanche Center’s website and study the snow conditions.  As one person who commented on Tess Weaver’s article said, “In Italy “sci alpinismo” as the sport is called here is widely practiced, but not on crowded downhill slopes! The biggest attraction is the opportunity to enjoy pristine alpine scenery alone or with a few friends and be able to experience a more challenging deep powder snow descent off groomed trails. Understanding and managing avalanche risk is a key requirement to enjoy the sport safely. Mountaineering training is required and it is not advisable to just buy the equipment and take off no matter how good your athletic ability.”  Definitely true here in the Wallowas as well.