BY: JOSIAH DEAN
It’s been a blistering and busy couple of months since my wife Claire and I arrived at the Balch, and I am just now getting the chance to say hello and introduce myself. It’s been exciting and not without its challenges, with Claire recovering from her moving day injuries. (Safety note: always wear close-toed shoes when moving or you might break a toe.)
The summer has brought weddings, group dinners, concerts, and a business lunch. We’re loving this adventure and appreciate the impressive legacy that Samantha and Jeff are passing on to us. From the beautiful building and grounds to the amazing, friendly team; we are blessed with an incredible opportunity.
When we first started looking at hotels it seemed like a distant dream. Now more than a year later, it’s a dream come true. I am not new to hotel management; prior to coming here, I was General Manager running hotels as diverse as the Paradise Inn at Mt Rainier and the Tahoe Biltmore at Lake Tahoe. I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, and providing exceptional hotel experiences for guests is my passion.
I’ve met many wonderful folks in my short time here in Dufur. Just the other day I got the chance to sit down and chat with Lynn Miller and his wife Christie from Sisters, Oregon. Lynn’s artwork graces the walls of the Balch. We are excited to announce that he will continue to show his work here. We discussed highlighting hotel as as a gallery, since there is so much special art here already. We’ve added a new artist, my wife, Claire Sierra. You can see more of her artwork here.
I’ll share more about our long-term vision for the Balch in future articles—but don’t worry the plan is to add to all the great aspects that are already in place. We are working with our incredible staff to ensure the personal touches that you have come to expect continue. We’re committed to creating sustainable tourism that enhances the local community and honors the unique history of our area, and still feature personal attention for you, our guest. If you have suggestions, please hit reply to email me, I’d love to hear from you.
See you at the Balch!
Stay for Dinner!
Now you don’t have to leave the Balch for meals. By popular demand we’ve added a light fare dinner menu. We’re offering organic spinach salad, delicious wraps, house-made soups, fruit/cheese plate and decadent desserts. Folks have been delighted to eat on the patio or in our dining room. We are keeping it simple for now with ideas for expansion in the dream/scheme stage. Here is a sample of a recent menu.
Bliss at the Balch Spa
We’ve been busy creating a wellness program and spa to maximize your relaxation and rejuvenation. Claire is an experienced art therapist, purpose coach and esthetician. She’s put together a simple menu of offerings—everything from Soul Painting, meditation, Gem Therapy and AromaTouch Treatment—to balance your mind/body/spirit. See details here at our website’s spa page and schedule a session with Claire for your next visit.
Events: Here and Near
Our Free Summer Concert Series continues on the lawn with our next concert on Saturday August 22, 5-8 pm with McDougall spinning tales and playing pure Americana music. Food, wine, beer and root beer floats have been a big hit. Come join us on your blanket or lawn chair. Its super fun!
October 17 PaintOut Comes to the Balch! Enjoy a day of art-making amidst the beauty of the Balch. PaintOut is a ‘plein air’ (outdoor) painting experience for artists of all kinds. It’s creative,social, unstructured play time with your muse. Bring your own art supplies and paint where ever you feel inspired, inside or outside. You bring your easel, canvas or paper, paints, pastels–whatever you like to create with. (Tables are available.) We provide the gorgeous relaxed setting and refreshments. (Lunch is available for additional fee.) September 19 from 11am-3pm, exhibition at 3:30, concert at 4. $20 in advance/ $25 day of event Register by calling us at 541-467-2277.
September 19 4-7pm Kory Quinn wraps up the summer series. We saw him play the Threshing Bee and he’s worth the trip! Keep an eye on our Events page for more details.
The Poetry Experience workshop with Penelope Schott is a chance immerse yourself in the poetry that emerges in the quiet contemplation of the Balch. In this two-day workshop we will play with the element of surprise to make our good poems memorable. We’ll create new work and revise old work, always looking to create unexpected discoveries. August 27 and 28 is $135 plus hotel and meals. Quite a deal! Please contact Penelope to apply 503-819-0975 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kickoff to Crush: Fall in love with Gorge wine, Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7, and celebrate the bounty of the harvest at over 30 Columbia Gorge wineries. The air is filled with the smell of ripe grapes as wineries start the crush. Meet local winemakers, ask questions and learn about winemaking. Each winery offers its own events with crush activities, world-class wine tasting, special wine releases, discounts and live music. And there’s no additional fee above normal tasting fees. Full event details and touring map at GorgeWine.com. Reserve your room at the Balch for Crush here now as this weekend is sure to be popular.
Maryhill Museum of Art has some fun events in the next couple of weeks.
Sumi-E Painting art party at Maryhill Art Museum August 27 at 6pm. Enjoy an artful evening with wine and nibbles with artist Margaret Burkhart. $35 members / $40 non-members and includes materials and refreshments; to register call 509 773-3733 ext. 25. Or go here for more info
Stonehenge Autumnal Equinox: The Secrets of Stonehenge Lecture Sept 5 2pm Join British Stonehenge expert Lloyd Matthews as he discusses Stonehenge, the Neolithic monument on Salisbury Plain in Great Britain. While here, visit the full-scale replica near Maryhill created as a WW1 monument. For details go here
Just to the South… Tygh Valley Bluegrass Jamboree Sept 25-28 (link) The Jamboree serves to teach, inspire and share the Bluegrass music experience. The workshops, slow jam, showcase and band scramble are excellent creative musical explorations, with highlights galore! Pre-paid weekend music passes is still only $25. Tickets info and festival line-up is available here
Slow Down September As our busy summer season starts to wane, the pace slows down here at the Balch. The weather is glorious: warm clear days and cool nights. The light is spectacular. So often we’ve found folks taking just a quick overnight getaway and we want to encourage you to linger a bit longer. Take a break away from the hustle/bustle of your daily life—relax, reconnect and rejuvenate. To help you do that, we are offering a midweek special: stay 2-nights and get a 40% discount off both nights, throughout the month of September. (Wow!)
We’ve got wellness offerings at our Bliss at the Balch Spa, and while there are plenty of fun activities to do in the area, there’s also a hammock on the lawn with your name on it, too. Go here and then Click the “BOOK NOW” button and the special will show up.