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


Top 5 Reasons NOT to Have Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses


It’s your special day. You’ve waited your whole life to find your Prince Charming and you’re getting ready to walk down the aisle and profess your undying love to the man of your dreams. You have a million things to do in planning for your special day, one item on your list is choosing bridesmaid dresses. You’re tempted to choose the run of the mill, potato bag, non descript, completely forgettable bridesmaid dresses-STOP! Some traditions are meant to be broken.

Here are:
Top 5 Reasons NOT To Have Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses

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5) You have to live with these photos for the rest of your life (or for the life of your marriage, let’s hope it’s the former). Gorgeous bridesmaid dresses mean gorgeous photos.

4) You want the groomsmen to have a good time. The quality of your wedding toast is directly proportionate to the groomsmen’s desire to appear brilliant and attractive to the opposite sex. If all he has to look forward to is your best friends and sisters in dresses that remind him of his Aunt Mildred, you’re going to hear the “May you have a long life together” toast. Not inspiring. Beautiful bridesmaid dresses mean happy groomsmen.

3) Your family and friends are judging. If your bridesmaids shine, guests will know you spent time making sure your nearest and dearest are happy. Pretty bridesmaid dresses mean the guests aren’t wondering if the catering was done by Billy Bob’s Special Events. If you don’t love your best friends enough to dress them appropriately why would you care about your guests getting salmonella from food cart catering?

2) You want to be the center of attention. Pretty bridesmaids mean more time is left admiring the bride’s lovely presence (rather than gawking and muttering “What kind of woman makes her best friend wear that?”).

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1) You want your bridesmaids to shine. Any bridesmaid you choose should be a best friend or family member who loves you dearly and who has your best interests at heart, yet even the dearest of friends who are forced to be bridesmaids in ugly dresses resort to lip syncing, over drinking, dirty dancing and other unattractive methods to get attention. Give her the attention she deserves with a lovely bridesmaid dress. She’ll be so appreciative to be in a dress that she’ll wear again she’ll be even more helpful and she’ll acquiesce to any need or request no matter how big. Bonus: you won’t have to worry about her insisting on just one more makarena, one more cosmopolitan or one more rendition of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” by Boy George.)

Full disclosure:
This blog post was written by someone who’s worn, without question, some of the ugliest bridesmaid dresses ever. Friends don’t let friends choose ugly bridesmaid dresses. Tell us about your favorite bridesmaid dress stories (or pretty bridesmaid dresses).

If you’re a bride (or friend of a bride) planning that special day, be sure to enter our Primp My Bride Sweepstakes to win 50% off your dream wedding in the Columbia Gorge. Deadline for entry, December 15th!

~ Lisa Williams

New Years 1911 Style!

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We love Jamie Snell and she loves us! She tells me that she loves the charm of the hotel, the vintage restoration, the fact that there’s no TV, phone, or radio. We love that people connect. They connect over breakfast, Supper Club, even games or wine in the parlor! That’s the inspiration for Jamie’s New Years creation. Here’s the low down!

“1911” at the Balch Hotel
Appetizers, 7-8 pm:
We’ll have some activities for you during Appetizer Hour to get you going!
Deviled eggs with Smoked Steelhead Salmon and Pickled Onion
Walnut Toasts with Apple Butter and Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese
Roasted Potato Rounds with Caramelized Onion and Bacon
Four Course Dinner 8:00-10:30 pm:
Bone up on your trivia for dinner prizes!
Dungeness Crab and Rock Shrimp Cocktail
Silky Apple Chestnut Soup with White Tillamook Reserve Cheddar Grilled Sandwiches on Seeded Bread
Milk Braised Pork Tenderloin with Spinach and Dried Cherry Salad and Applesauce
Crepes with Roasted Pears, Vanilla Cream Custard and Caramel Creme Anglais
10:30-11:30 Moth Storytelling with a prize for the winner!
Midnight: Complimentary Black Cherry Champagne Cocktail and Pete’s Luscious Truffles to Ring in the New Year!
4 course dinner $35.00 p.p. + gratuity. Rooms will be discounted 10% across the board and you know that they all include a great breakfast prepared for you in the morning! Normally breakfast is at 9:00. We’ll reconsider that since you all will be up late having fun!

Mr. Microphone
Don’t know what the Moth is? Well, let me clue you in. It’s unscripted storytelling at its best with no notes. It is a good idea to practice, it’s kind of an art, and of course there will be prizes! Yes, you’ll have a time limit for some extra excitement (5-10 minutes). You AND the audience have loads of fun! Our Moth Storytelling Theme this year is “Winter Survival”. I’m SURE you have a good winter survival story! Survive a disastrous date on New Years? Maybe it’s battling the elements? Or surviving cabin fever with the family. Still need some inspiration? Click this link and become inspired! A couple of Jeff’s favorite stories from the Moth can be heard by using the audio player links at the end of this article. Enjoy!!

Call us for reservations. Seating is limited to 36 and 6 have signed up already! It’s going to be FUN. (Pray for good weather.) 541-467-2277

Three Faces of Seattle Supper Club!

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Jamie Works Magic
December 11th, Supper Club

This month Jamie is inspired by a PNW city – Seattle! Her menu sounds delicious! December 11th is also the day of Dufur’s Home Town Christmas. There are activities going on most of the day; it’s quite fun! Click the link and see all the festivities you’d like to participate in! Click the HT Christmas link. Click the link. Click the link!

Three Faces of Seattle

Blank Slate Tart
Butter pastry filled with Beecher’s Blank Slate cheese. Topped with huckleberry compote, winter greens, toasted hazelnuts and drizzled with honey-cider syrup.
This starter is a nod to the pacific northwest native american fry bread. Beecher’s cheese is an award-winning cheesemaker based in Seattle.

Smoked Salmon Chowder
Tender home-smoked salmon filet in a creamy chowder. With baby potatoes, leeks, bacon, corn and roasted tomato.
Served with crusty sourdough baguette and herbed butter.
This dish was inspired by the indigenous pacific northwest salmon and the bounty of produce at the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle.

Sticky Toffee Coffee Pudding
A traditional rich Irish cake with the addition of Starbucks coffee. Served warm with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
This dessert is a tribute to the rich history of Irish settlers in the Puget Sound area. As well as the much loved and hated Starbucks empire.
Our guest winery this month is Garnier Vineyards!
$28 p.p. + gratuity

Call for reservations! 541-467-2277

Meet the Vendors Organize Your Day!

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Wedding Coordinators are:

  • Organized (ok, this one is a given)
  • Valuable
  • Life Savers
  • Versatile
  • Quick Thinking
  • Worth it!!

With our Primp my Bride sweepstakes we have some WONDERFUL wedding planners who are offering ½ off any of their packages. Super lucky bride to take advantage of this!! I asked them to tell me what some of the most interesting things they’ve done as a planner and they are hilarious! Have fun reading and know that when you hire a planner she has your back – plus a whole lot more!!

“One of the most nerve racking things was hunting down the best man. It was an hour before the ceremony and he was nowhere to be found. I sent my assistant looking for him. She ended up walking the streets of downtown Portland going into random bars until she finally found him (needless to say he had been drinking a good portion of the day).”

“We have also had some crazy requests like watching out for ex-boyfriends who might show up and a bride once requested that we put dental floss under her grooms plate and remind him to floss because she said she couldn’t stand seeing him with food in his teeth. Too funny!”

Question: You had to have the most Cinderella like ball-gown. It’s minutes before the ceremony and you realize you have to use the bathroom right now. What do you do?

Answer: Tell your wedding coordinator. They’ll be able to help you get in and out, even in your princess gown!

“Well, I would have to say helping brides go to the bathroom. When brides go to the bathroom it is definitely a double, even triple person job. It can be an interesting process… say the least. But I love every minute of it!”

Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a Wedding Planner!
1. Saves you hours & hours- Average Wedding, 200 hours of planning

2. Helps you to set a budget & stick to it

3. Can save you money- negotiate discounts

4. Extension of you- actually serves your interests

5. Wedding Planner/ Coach- Passage to the big day can be a bumpy one

6. Act as the “Go to”- you can simply say “talk to my Wedding planner.”

7. Have a worry-free day & have fun with your guests

8. Handles crisis- can handle all unforeseen circumstances

9. Save you energy- match you with the right vendors

10. Because you can’t afford not to!

Cabeza de Vaca Supper Club!

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This month Jamie is inspired by the adventures of the legendary Spanish explorer in the American west. I know that Cabeza de Vaca means cow head - HA!! Rest assured, no one is eating cow head!! Jamie will give us a history lesson on this Spanish explorer and how her menu is inspired from him. I’m sure it will be very interesting. We’ll get a history AND food lesson this month. FUN!

November 13th, Supper Club
Cabeza de Vaca

Inspired by the adventures of the legendary Spanish explorer in the American west

* Ancho Glazed Buffalo Skewers with Pickled Red Onion and Apple Slaw. The Buffalo steaks are pounded thin and marinated olive oil, lime, garlic, red wine, and Ancho chilies.

* Andalucian Stuffed Chicken Breast with Acorn Squash Puree. Chicken is stuffed with tart apples, prosciutto, pine nuts, secret spices, and served with a Spanish style sherry sauce, braised greens, and acorn squash puree.

* Mexican Chocolate Torte Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Cake texture and flavor is enhanced by blanched almonds that are ground fine, combined with cinnamon, and folded into chocolate batter.

Our guest winery this month is Garnier Vineyards at Mayerdale. They’re located on the banks of the Columbia. We are very excited to have them coming to Supper Club! Click on the link above and find out more. Better yet, just come and ask them in person!

Question last month: What is your favorite aspect of Supper Club?

“We loved everything, cheese plate was amazing as was the main dish, ambiance too!” ~Gehrig
“The pleasant converstaion with everyone and meeting new people!”~Metzentine
“Food, comanionship, love the Balch!” ~Koch
“Friends, fellowship, fun, and food!” ~Carnahan
“Togetherness and good folks!” ~Holloway

If you’ve read through this post and one of the quotes is from you, let me (Samantha) know!! We’ll give you 10% off November Supper Club. What a deal!

Grab your sweetie, some good friends, call the hotel to reserve your seats! Reservation deadline: Friday! (541) 467-2277

Meet the Vendors Catering Brilliance!


We’re feeling awfully proud of ourselves for corralling a trio of inspired caterers to participate in the Primp my Bride, PMB, Sweepstakes! Each brings an exceptional blend of deep imagination, fresh, local, sustainable food, and the flawless customer service we love to see. Here’s a quick look at Ben Stenn, of Celilo Catering, Kathy Watson, of Gorge Catering, and Jamie Snell, of the Lamb’s Table.

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Ben Stenn – Celilo Catering

After graduating from New York University Ben says he stumbled into a cooking internship while traveling inBurgundy France. It’s obvious that Fate was looking out for all of us when he fell in love with food! With a “Grande Diplome Culinaire” and a year of internships at three Michelin starred restaurants under his belt, Ben brings sophistication and fresh, bright beauty to his work. Ben road tripped to Oregon, found his home in Hood River, and never looked back.
We’re SO thankful!

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Kathy Watson – Gorge Catering

Talented and enthusiastic Kathy and crew love making your meal one of the very best memories of your special day! Bringing together seafood from sustainable fisheries, locally grown produce, and locally raised natural meats, their food is always exceptional. The menus are personalized so that every dish and presentation is designed to complement the wedding and celebration you’ve planned. A perfect match for self-proclaimed foodies looking for a thoughtful, unique experience for their guests!

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Jamie Snell – The Lamb’s Table

Inspired by her mother’s gracious hospitality and love for fresh food, as well as the 1984 film, “Babette’s Feast”, Jamie began catering weddings for friends with miniature budgets and found a real love for planning and preparing special event meals. The resulting 15 years experience in the food service industry have created a passion & thorough understanding of how to combine peerless food design with sparkling client service! The Lamb’s Table proudly features inventive, seasonal Pacific Northwest comfort food, artfully presented and served with hospitality.

All of our wonderful caterers are offering a complimentary appetizer for the winner of the sweepstakes! (Each individual contract terms apply.) If you have not entered to win the Primp my Bride sweepstakes or have not come to visit the gorgeous grounds at the Balch, put them on the top of your To Do list. To enter the Primp my Bride sweepstakes and find out more, simply visit and click on the heading PMB. You’ll find out how to enter. To visit the Balch just pick up the phone and call Samantha at (541) 467-2277 to schedule your tour today!

Your Weekend Plans

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Friday, October 15th:

Stop at the Historic Baldwin’s Saloon in The Dalles and enjoy 10% off your meal, compliments of the Balch! (Be sure to ask us for your gift certificate when you call for room reservations.) After dinner head up to Dufur and enjoy warm chocolate chip cookies, Mt. Hood sunset viewed from the parlor, and our super cozy beds.

Saturday October 16th:

Awake in the morning to Mo’s scrumptious breakfast and our Balch Blend sustainable coffee from Hood River Coffee Company. Sip your coffee on the patio while enjoying the sunshine and beautiful fall Dufur weather. Maybe take your bike out for a spin or just enjoy a nice run right from the hotel

Mid-day take a ride over to Maryhill Winery and enjoy wine, lunch, a view, and music from 1-5:00 with the American Nobody, aka: Brian Granse! Using a Gibson Echoplex he records parts live, hits the body of his guitar for drum sounds, runs an octave pedal for base sounds, even beat boxes with his mouth and overdubs backing vocals . . . ALL DONE LIVE!!

Head back to the Balch for Jamie Snell’s knock-your-socks-off Supper Club dinner and beer tasting from Kramer’s! Advance Reservations Required.

* Cheese Plate with Humboldt Fog Cheese, Sea Salt Roasted Cashews and Walnuts, Pear Butter, Artisan Baguette, and Garlic Pickled Beans

* Shepherd’s Pie with Stout Braised Beef

* Kubocha Squash Cake w/ Buttermilk Icing & Roasted Pears

You’ll be in a dreamy state after sharing an amazing meal with old friends and new. Off to see Mr. Sandman for another great night of zzz’s.

Sunday October 17th:

Mo will delight your taste buds again in the morning. Your most pressing decision will be to enjoy breakfast in the dining room or on the patio. hmmmm . . . . Meander back over to Maryhill from 1-5:00 for more amazing music, this time by finger style instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Kit Garoutte!

When you call to reserve your Friday and Saturday night stay, mention this blog post and you’ll receive your second night at the Balch for 1/2 price!

Call us today at (541) 467-2277 to reserve your room and Supper Club dinner spot!