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Would you stay somewhere without seeing your room first?

This is a true story and lesson in the importance of good photography. A long time ago someone called looking for lodging in Joseph, Oregon. We were full that weekend and I referred him to another Joseph Oregon bed and breakfast. “Oh, I won’t stay there,” he replied. “They don’t have pictures of their rooms on the website and I’ll never stay where I can’t see the room first. The Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast has great room photos which is why I picked your inn.” I thanked the caller and made another suggestion to a bed and breakfast in Enterprise, Oregon, and made a mental note to talk to the Joseph, Oregon lodging about their website photography.

Even though it was just one person, it got me to thinking about the importance of good photography, Would you stay somewhere unless you could see your room first? Our goal here in Joseph, Oregon is to ensure that our photography is current and accurately reflects what you’ll see during your Eastern Oregon vacation.

Most of our photography is done by Marcus Berg. Marcus has his own company, Unique Angles Photography, based in Keizer, OR.  He periodically visits the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast to update our photos when we’ve made some changes to our rooms. Most recently, he was here to document the new look for our Chief Joseph Mountain Room. I just wish it had been a little closer to summer. If you look carefully at the room photos on the website, you’ll see quite a bit of snow on the Wallowa Mountains in the distance!

Here’s an example of a “before,” “intermediate” and “after” shot:

older photo of Chief Joseph Mountain Room at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast in Joseph OregonThis is the “before” image of the Chief Joseph Mountain Room that dates from 2001 when we first opened the bed and breakfast.  It’s not a bad photo per se–but there’s definitely room for improvement.  Some notes: Birds eye view isn’t realistic (who sees a room from the ceiling?).
Light scatter from windows.
Lighting is uneven (single source).
Lack of warmth, drama, interest.

 

Here’s the “intermediate” image Marcus took in November 2008.
Chief Joseph Mountain Room at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast by Unique Angles Photography
What’s fixed here?  Camera angle is more appropriate to human eye.  Clutter removed from flat surfaces.  The bed is more of a suggestion rather than a dominant element (“Everyone knows what a bed looks like,” says Marcus).  Lit candle, sherry & chocolates draw the viewer into the photo.  Lighting from multiple sources creates warmth and depth of field. The robe hanging in the bath shows the viewer that there’s more going on behind the image.  The pillow in the chair echos the blue color of the tray on the bed.

And here’s how the Chief Joseph Mountain Room looks today, and Marcus’ image of it from December 2017.

Chief Joseph Mountain Room at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast in Joseph Oregon

Chief Joseph Mountain Room

Some furniture items are changed, but the bed frame is the same, just in a different location in the room. But notice in this photo that you can actually see what’s outside of the window. In the previous photos, you had an idea that there’s a window in there, but there was no image of what’s outside. We’ve also added multiple photos on the Chief Joseph Mountain Room webpage so the viewer gets a good idea of the room from different angles plus more detail about the adjoining bathroom.

The Lesson is see your room first:

“Pictures say a thousand words” and it’s definitely true in the lodging industry.  Innkeepers who don’t pay attention to the quality of photos on their websites are asking for problems.  We’ve had guests who’ve told us they chose the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast because of our website content and photography.  We’ve also had guests who’ve stated that they would not stay at a bed and breakfast if they could not see photos of the rooms on the website before booking their reservation.

Can you see yourself enjoying this lovely guestroom? Would you stay somewhere without seeing your room first? We hope you’ll click on “RESERVE NOW” and visit one or all of our guestrooms in person!

Chief Joseph Days 2017 last minute room

If you’ve been putting off looking for lodging for Chief Joseph Days 2017 in Joseph, Oregon, have we got a room for you! Our luxurious, modern Mirror Lake Suite has come available for Saturday night only, July 29, 2017. This guestroom is not just a place to crash after the rodeo performance. It’s got all the bells and whistles and a little bit extra: private entrance, air conditioning, king-sized poster bed. Plus, the bathroom is really more like your private spa: pipeless jetted tub for two and a new Aston steam shower with one setting lovingly christened the “car wash” by our bed & breakfast guests who’ve enjoyed it.

steam shower

Can’t you imagine yourself kicking off those cowboy boots after a long night of dancing in the Chief Joseph Days Thunder Room and slipping into this ultra modern steam shower? Curling up in the crispy percale sheets after a night of revelry with your rodeo friends? How about a nice cup of coffee to start your Sunday morning followed by a full breakfast served in the dining room with other rodeo fans?

The rodeo festivities started today with the Wild Horse Stampede down Joseph’s Main Street (here they are right in front of the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast). Rodeo performances start tomorrow evening through Saturday night.

Still need a little more convincing? Here’s the link to the Trip Advisor reviews about the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast including many about the Mirror Lake Suite.

If you’re interested in reserving the Mirror Lake Suite for Saturday night only of Chief Joseph Days 2017, you’re welcome to book online through our website or call us at 541-432-0230. Put the phrase “CJD2017blog” in the reservation details to earn yourself a 10% discount on the room rate. Or mention this blog post when calling to book your reservation over the phone.

We look forward to hearing from you soon. And enjoy the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo! Feel the Thunder!

Late Winter is the Perfect Time to Visit Joseph Oregon

January Morning S Thompson

Lately the skies around Joseph, Oregon, have been more than beautiful with the late winter sun. I can’t always get outside in time to capture the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Luckily, our guest Sherry caught this image on her iPhone. She and her husband just left after spending a couple of days unwinding here at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast. They own a small business in a large town about 3 hours away here in Eastern Oregon and wanted a midweek getaway far enough to be removed but close enough to get home if something were to go awry.

How did they occupy themselves? With some of the slow-paced, typical wintertime activities. Sherry is a quilter, so there was the mandatory visit (actually, more than one visit) to Cattle Country Quilts on the north end of downtown Joseph. This wonderful shop has a full selection of quilt fabrics, notions, patterns, and everything else the quilter needs. Plus they hold classes, some of which can be done over a weekend. On the first weekend of April (April 2 and 3, 2016), renowned quilter Peggy Gelbrich will be at Cattle County Quilts to teach a couple of one-day specialty quilt classes. Combining that with a weekend getaway to the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast might be in a quilter’s plans.

When it was time for lunch, they dropped in at Terminal Gravity Microbrewery in Enterprise. This is the place where Terminal Gravity beer originates, or as our friends at Terminal Gravity like to say, “Middle of Nowhere. Center of the Universe.” And it truly is. They were lucky enough to find a place to sit downstairs in the pub (not a lot of seating there, but plenty more tucked away on the second floor). Terminal Gravity hosts a variety of musical events throughout the winter months to help chase the cold away. February 2016 features Bryan John Appleby and Bart Budwig for an evening of music on February 10th. In the winter, Terminal Gravity is open every day except for Tuesday.

Where else to go in the winter if the weather’s a little dicey? Since they were already in Enterprise, Sherry and her husband stopped in to look at books and artwork at The Bookloft. This indie bookshop and its accompanying Skylight Gallery has been serving Wallowa County residents and visitors for longer than I can remember. It’s the perfect place to stop in for a coffee and a scone, look through the selection of local books as well as the bestsellers, perhaps pick up a gift in the Skylight Gallery, or just hang around for a few hours and take in the steady stream of locals coming through the doors. Open every day but Sunday across from the Wallowa County Courthouse.

It’s time for an afternoon drive. Sherry and her husband cruised down the highway to the little burg of Lostine, midway through the Wallowa Valley, and about 20 minutes from Joseph. This little town is going through something of a renaissance. The M. Crow & Co. Store has been a fixture in Lostine for over one hundred years and stocks local groceries for Lostine residents and the passersby, but you’ll also find a variety of unique products including those either made in Wallowa County or made of Wallowa County materials. Be sure to ask about the owner, Tyler Hays, a descendant of one of the old families and an incredible entrepreneur in his own right. He purchased this store to keep it and its heritage from disappearing.

While in Lostine, Sherry and her husband also stopped in for an early evening glass of wine at the renovated Lostine Tavern. This little farm-to-table restaurant is committed to supporting local ranchers, farmers and other producers in the spirit of sustainable agriculture, and making all this wonderful local food available to the public through their restaurant. You’ll find a wide variety of Walla Walla wines available, regional microbrew beers on tap, a casual atmosphere, and a menu featuring seasonal specialties as well as a core of favorites. Don’t forget to save room for the carrot cake!

Not wanting to be out on the winter roads long after dark, Sherry and her husband returned to Joseph and dinner two blocks away at the Stubborn Mule Saloon & Steakhouse. This place offers the quiet restaurant side which is fairly simple and good for conversation, or the saloon side where you can play a couple rounds of pool and have your dinner. In winter, the Stubborn Mule is open every day but Monday. The menu is good, standard American fare, with smoked prime rib on Saturday nights (better get there early). And being located only two small town-sized blocks from the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast makes the Stubborn Mule a natural during the winter for a short drive or a brisk walk.

There are plenty of other low key, late winter activities near Joseph, Oregon, like a trip to Wallowa Lake to see the ever changing fountain-turned-ice sculpture in front of the Wallowa Lake Lodge. Or a leisurely 26 mile drive and a 2,000′ elevation drop away into the canyon country to the hamlet of Imnaha and the famous Imnaha Store and Tavern. Or a cruise up to Flora and its pioneer cemetery. Or a bronze foundry tour in Joseph or Enterprise. Or the art galleries lining the streets of Joseph. Whatever your interests, we’re happy to help you figure out how you’d like to spend your time.  As for Sherry and her husband, they left relaxed and refreshed. Til next time!

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!

Fishtrap-Fireside-Poster2015-Oct9-01

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!