BY: JOSIAH DEAN
If you’re like many right now, you might find this an interesting time to be patriotic in this country. And there are many ways to express it. I used to love all the color, sizzle and spark of a good fireworks display but this year, my heart isn’t in it.
So how to celebrate our independence and interdependence that aligns with your values?
Maybe do something more subdued?
Experience the fun of the 4th with a twist. Think Dufur for Independence Day.
If you’re looking for a quiet spot to explore from out of the maddening crowds (with no fireworks to speak of) consider staying a few days with us.
Lounge around in a hammock out back. Play a rousing game or all-terrain croquet or bocce, assisted by local wine/beer chilled to perfection. Chillax on the patio, the warm breeze and umbrellas shading you just right. No brainers for many who visit.
You may not know, we’ve been upleveling the restaurant, with weekend dinner specials that are getting rave reviews. And to make things run smoother, we now take reservations ahead or at check in, so you have a better experience. Plan to have dinner here. (To reserve a table, call 541.467.2277)
But if you’re up for more adventure, on a bike—or maybe you’re exploring being car-free—here’s an option. We’re highlighted on Columbia Gorge Car Free (once there, scroll down to Itineraries).
Schedule unscheduled time and un-busy yourself. Ask not what you can do for Dufur but, What can we Dufur you?
Ride the Columbia Gorge Express to Hood River and pedal to Dufur. Treat yourself to well-deserved unscheduled time. Dufur rewards visitors with historic, small town, slow-paced, off-the-beaten-path experiences. Put your feet up.
Sample eons (and eras) of history with a 45.8-mile bike ride from Hood River to Dufur along the Historic Columbia River Highway, America’s first scenic highway, and 100 years old.
Find Mosier’s erratic, dropped by the Missoula Floods. Consider the Columbia River as a commerce center for American Indian tribes. Follow the route taken by Lewis & Clark and later Oregon Trail pioneers. Sample agricultural products from land farmed for generations by Japanese-Americans.
Schedule Unscheduled Time & Un-busy Yourself
Pedal to Dufur and put your feet up at the Balch Hotel. Read. Nap. Wander about. Poke around museums and shops. Chat with locals. Journal. Lie in a hammock. Get restored with Reiki. Sleep. Repeat.
Take your time. Un-busy. Unwind. The Balch Hotel and Dufur are best enjoyed with a stay of at least two nights and days. Reserve lodging ahead of time.
Getting to Dufur
The Columbia Gorge Express departs Portland at Gateway Transit Center seven days a week starting at 8:30 am (5 runs per day to Hood River F-Su, 4 runs M-Th).
On your way to Hood River, listen to Josiah talk about Dufur on “Almost Home” an episode from the Hear in the Gorge podcast.
Bring your bike (the bus can carry 3) or rent one in Hood River. Pedal 45.8 miles one way from Hood River to Dufur through spectacular Gorge scenery. It’s a hilly ride – 2,805’ up and 1,883’ down. 4.5 miles are car-free between Hood River and Mosier.
Returning to Portland
Bike back to Hood River the way you came. Or, at this time of year, many cyclists prefer traveling FS 44 to Highway 35 into Hood River. It’s paved the whole way and the views are spectacular.
Take the Columbia Gorge Express in Hood River to Portland’s Gateway Transit Center from 9:55 am to 7:10 pm (5 runs/day F-Su, 4 runs/day M-Th). ColumbiaGorgeExpress.com.
For other car-free itineraries see www.columbiagorgecarfree.com. (Thanks to Heidi Beierle for all her amazing and inspiring work!)
For more detailed information about road and trail condition on FS 44–especially if mountain biking or gravel riding is your thing—check out 44Trails.org.
You might have heard the news: we created two more guest rooms! We now have 20 cozy rooms with views of the patio, garden or mountain. And every evening, locally sourced dinner, wine, beer. Who knows, perhaps a spa/wellness session waiting for you?
Here’s to our independence and inter-dependence,
Claire & Josiah for Team Balch
P.S. We’re making some changes to Spa Services at Bliss at the Balch… always looking to optimize your experience here. This means some price increases (first in 3 years.) To thank you, our loyal friends, if you book now, we’ll honor the “old” prices and you’ll save 10-15%. But you have to book now! Go online to see which services you want HERE. Email, call or text Claire to reserve a session: 541.659.7284 or Claire@BlissBreakthrough.com and mention this newsletter offer to receive the price reduction. (Services need to be received before September 1. Cannot be combined with other specials or offers.)