Balch Hotel
40 South Heimrich Street
Dufur, OR, 97021, USA
(541) 467-2277


Photographers Notes Nancy Noble

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The Balch Hotel quickly made its way into my heart as a favorite Oregon wedding location.

I have a soft spot for beautiful places somewhat off the beaten path, and this amazing venue with its classy, retro feel and unassuming (yet gorgeous!) surroundings is perfect for any big celebration.

During the wedding I shot at the Balch, I watched guests feel completely comfortable and at home. I hope to shoot many more weddings there in the future!

Nancy Noble Photography

Dont tell your mama your wedding dress is used!

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Don’t tell your mama your wedding dress is used!!

I just got engaged over the holiday and though we’re not planning the wedding for awhile I have to admit, I’m checking out the dresses. Family, friends and food are truly what’s most important to me and that’s where our budget will be for the occasion. Yet a gal wants to look good.

The wedding dress is one of the most expensive pieces of clothing a woman will ever buy, yet she’ll only wear it once (my daughter won’t be wearing my dress someday, she’s a petite, beautiful girl and I’m, well, voluptuous.) So taking the family passing on of the wedding dress out of the equation, paying $1000 or more for something I’ll wear for a few hours frankly cuts into my liquor budget.

So imagine my delight when I found “Rent the Runway”. This is a site with gorgeous, pre-owned designer gowns for a song. Don’t tell my mom, but this sounds like a great idea to me. The idea of wearing a beautiful, designer gown and having my dream dress without the “forget the honeymoon” price tag is very compelling. But in sharing this concept with friends and family, I’m getting quite the range of reactions from, “That’s a great idea” to “OMG, how could you?”

So let’s take a poll, you’re getting married, would you rent a gown? Do you think it’s tacky or brilliant? Chic or a shambles? Let us know what you think?

~Lisa Williams
Amazing Balch S.E.O. Gal

Ahhhh, Serenity HBH Retreats!


Ah, Serenity – HBH Retreats
It’s not unusual to find yourself thinking that life feels too busy–wouldn’t it be great to hit a pause button and take a few deep breaths? Carving out time for renewal & rejuvenation is a key component to maintaining a healthy life. Making time to do so with a like-minded group can be truly therapeutic! Retreat weekends at the Balch provide an irresistible invitation to decompress, breathe deeply, and nurture the soul with rest.

“Our retreat weekend is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, and we seem to always find ourselves lingering til the last possible moment before having to head home again!” Alicia B.

Having a retreat at the Balch means actually connecting with the people you came with. Imagine that! No marathon shopping trips to outlet malls & movie theaters, no arcades, ringing phones, or TVs; but warmly inviting rooms with heavenly beds for napping, deep claw-foot tubs for soaking, cozy nooks for reading, tables for gathering & game playing, and mile upon mile of sunny natural beauty to explore if you’re so inclined.

We’ve hosted:

  • Car Clubs
  • Women’s Retreats
  • Forest Service Working Retreat
  • Family Reunions
  • Leadership Retreats
  • Marriage Workshops
  • Writing Workshops
  • Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Photography Groups

You’re Group Here!
The panoramic beauty of the Dufur Valley combined with the comfort, privacy, and care of the Balch make it a fantastic destination for retreat-minded groups. Call and talk to Samantha, our group coordinator, to schedule your group! 541-467-2277

Tax Relief April Supper Club!

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April 16th, 2011
Jamie is inspired by the “season”. She felt everyone needed some great comfort food after filing your taxes! She’s not so fond of the proverbial tax man . . .

• Chinese sweet and sour spare ribs with pickled cucumbers
• Hoisin glazed chicken breast, stuffed w/grilled pineapple
Garlic-sesame noodles carrot, cabbage and red pepper slaw with peanuts
• Strawberry-mango fool with silver dollar cookies

Dry Hollow Vineyards will be our guest winery this month! We are in process of getting our liquor license soon and rest assured, Dry Hollow wines will be available here. We love them.

Wedding Floral Designs!

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Passion and focus meet service and beauty…every bride’s dream for their floral designer! We’re pleased to highlight three of our Columbia Gorge Wedding Primp My Bride vendors, Mari Bliss, Tammy’s Floral and Lucy’s Informal Flowers.

Tammy’s Floral: Dreams Come True
Relationship done right is a keystone of this family-owned floral shop. Serving delighted brides for over 40 years, Tammy’s Floral consistently brings the highest quality of customer care to events both large and small. Tammy says, “Finding each other was the hard part … Finding the perfect flowers are easy! Let us create elegant gorgeous floral arrangements that reflect your personal style, taste, culture and budget.” Two locations: in Hood River and The Dalles

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Lucy’s Informal Flowers: Peerless Design
She doesn’t have a wand (that we’ve seen), but Lucy Gorman seems to magically bring together a bride’s personal design aesthetic with the latest trend innovations. The result? Fresh perfection in every detail– enchanting personal flowers, and decor that makes a beautiful event site even more breath-taking! Experienced with diverse venues and budgets, Lucy loves bringing each bride’s vision to elegant completion.

Lucy’s Informal Flowers is also the home of Mari Bliss Boutique and Gorge Events where you’ll discover extra-special pampering goodies for festive events and every day. Find gourmet bath & shower treats, charming gift sets, and more. We really enjoy their fabulous blog:

The March Hare Supper Club

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Saturday, March 5th Jamie will take you from Dufur to London with her inspired menu! Fenugreek? Do you know what that is? I could Google it but much prefer to get Jamie’s excited explanation of all her ingredients. Honestly, I don’t know how she keeps coming up with these amazing and fun menu selections! Yes, I did spell Hare the way Jamie wanted me to. Will elaborate at Supper Club.

This month is B.Y.O.B night! We’ll be surveying you for your wine and beer favorites as next month (with any luck!) we’ll be able to offer you beer and wine from the Balch! Get your votes in for your favorites.

The March Hare
This menu is a celebration of the bounty of Indian food found in London.
Creamy Asparagus Soup with Fenugreek Oil, Cucumber Yogurt
Garlic-Ginger Grilled Pork Tenderloin on a Bed of Potato and Spinach Served also with Curried Onion Sauce and Apple-Tamarind Chutney
Bakewell Tart This is a traditional British dessert. It is a butter pastry tart with a layer of homemade raspberry jam topped with an almond sponge filling – yum!
Fresh Naan bread (Indian flatbread)
Iced tea with dinner, coffee with dessert
$28 p.p. + gratuity Call 541-467-2277 for your reservation!

Valentine Chocolate Tasting

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Thanks to those who participated in the Valentine’s chocolate tasting — and a special thanks to Samantha and Jeff for underwriting it . There were a number of questions after the tasting — here’s a quick rundown in case others were wondering the same.

What was the chocolate we tasted?

Over the course of the tasting, we sampled 15 different chocolates.

Chocolate Seduction

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate

Michel Cluizel Carre Grand Lait (45%)

Ghiradelli Evening Dream (60%) — the chocolate cup

Crème de la Crème (blue series)

A Guittard White Chocolate

B Green & Black White Chocolate

C Guittard Orinoco (38%)

D Green & Black Milk Chocolate (34%)

E Recchiuti Dark Milk Chocolate (55%)

F Bonnat Java (65%)

Kiss and Tell (red series)

A Valrhona Tanariva (33%)

B Pralus Indonesie (75%)

C Dolfin Lavande Fine de Haute-Provence (52%)

D Theo Coconut Curry

E Moonstruck Fortunata Bar (68%)

F Moonstruck Fortunata Cacao Beans

Where can I buy these?

Chocosphere is a local, online mail-order source that carries most all of these. Also, most are available at Cacao in Portland and The Meadow in Portland. Some are also available at New Seasons and Whole Foods.

How much chocolate did I eat?

Each tasting plate totaled about 5 oz of chocolate, about 800 calories. Buying this selection of chocolates as packaged and sold for retail would cost about $125.

What if I want to participate in, or arrange, another chocolate tasting?

Savina Darzes is a talented and charming chocolate enthusiast who offers chocolate tastings (and chocolate tours) in the Portland area. For a more impromptu tasting — go to Cacao and ask one of the very knowledgeable staff for a free taste of whatever chocolates strike your fancy, or have them recommend some.

What if I have other questions, or just want to get in touch with Pete?

Pete can be reached either through the Balch Hotel or directly at

Scrapbook Workshop March 18-19th

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Scrapbook Retreat at the Balch!
March 18-19, 2011
Friday, March 18th 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 19th, until done

The bar has been set, and the excitement level elevated! This workshop will not only bring you variety, but a fabulous value as you will complete two amazing projects. Friday you will make an adorable photo cube with paper and embellishments to fit any occasion. Saturday you will complete a 12 page mini album bursting with the latest techniques and embellishments. Keep them for yourself, or use them for gifts, either way you win on this one.

As always, Tarina will pamper you with all the supplies needed for your two projects (plus there is always extrato keep), including pre-cut paper, step by step instructions, and prizes! She’ll have a supply list (I.E. scissors, glue) available for you in advance or to purchase.

You are welcome to bring your own projects to work on Friday night after the workshop. So come spend the weekend at the most beautiful spot in the gorge. It’s a great place to reconnect with old friends as well as make new ones.

Cost $60.00 Please R.S.V.P. by Tuesday, March 8th

Space is limited, so call today to reserve your spot for the workshop, and your room! (541) 467-2277

February Supper Club

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February 19th Supper Club
Inspired by the famous American folk song sung by Johnny Cash, Jamie has come up with The Orange Blossom Special menu for February 19th Supper Club!

The Orange Blossom Special was a luxurious high speed train between New York and Miami during the early twentieth century. Our menu is a celebration of Florida citrus at its peak, as well as an imaginative play on what dinner in the dining car of The Orange Blossom Special would be like.

The Orange Blossom Special
Cara Cara Orange and Pomelo Salad
with Olives, French Feta and Kumquat Vinaigrette

Darjeeling Tea Smoked Duck Breast with Honey-Bergamot Sauce
with Purple Rice Pilaf, Toasted Almonds and Scallions, Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Clementine Pistachio Nests
Phyllo Pastry Cup Layered with Butter and Clementine Syrup. Filled with Pistachio Custard and Topped with Clementines and Toasted Pistachios

Dinner with wine tasting $29 p.p. + gratuity. Wine available for purchase by glass or bottle from Kramer’s Market!

Call us today for your reservations! 541-467-2277

Valentines at the Balch

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Saturday, February 12th
We have a treat for you this Valentine’s Day! Not only will you enjoy a delicious meal from Jamie Snell owner of the Lamb’s Table, wine tasting by Cerulean Wine in the Columbia Gorge, you can also add a chocolate tasting with Pete Lockhart! Those of you who came to our New Years Eve bash tasted Pete’s concoctions first hand.

Start the evening at 4:00 with Pat Graham, owner of Cerulean Wine, learning what wines pair best with chocolate and dinner. Next, from 4:30-6:00, join Pete learning about chocolate and enjoying a little sampling (he won’t spoil your dinner!) Jeff and I had the honor of experiencing Pete’s chocolate lesson first hand and it was fascinating AND fun! I feel like a beginning connoisseur. And this knowledge came in quite handy last Saturday at the Chocolate Fest in Portland.

Following Pete’s chocolate tasting at 6:30, Jamie has created a four course dining experience that’s sure to top off your fun.

Roasted Beets, Radicchio and Arugula Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette
A colorful winter salad of sweet roasted gold and red beets, layered with punchy greens. With buttery pistachio vinaigrette.
Sunchoke Bisque with Dungeoness Crab and Lemon Oil
Creamy soup of sunchokes (similar to artichokes), shallot, tarragon and white wine. With fresh crab, drizzled with citrus oil.
Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu and Pecorino Cheese
Lamb is braised with red wine, tomato and aromatics.
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake Layered with Coffee-Caramel Mousse, Iced with Ganache

Staying overnight? Dinner is $35 p.p. and chocolate tasting is $20 for two!
Mention this post and receive 20% off your second night (Friday) stay.

Wine tasting included. Cerulean wine available for purchase by glass, bottle, or barrel!

Call us for reservations and make your Valentine very happy!

New Years Eve Party Recap!


Many thanks to all who participated in our first New Year’s party! (We think now it’s an annual MUST DO). It was more successful than we anticipated and more fun than we ever imagined. Amazing food from Jamie, to die for chocolates from Pete, Jeff’s peppermint marshmallows were a hit, and of course, none of it would be a party without the wonderful storytellers!

We had 37 guests and 10 storytellers to help ring in the New Year. Oh what marvelous stories they were. The bar has been set! One participant confided in me that she had practiced with Toastmasters. That’s getting serious folks. We like it.

10 came to the mike and told their “winter survival” story and it was magical.

We sure did. Have a wonderful 2011!

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Here’s Bobby with the first place prize. By the look on his face, I’d say he likes it!