May 31, 2016

Warning: Digital Detox May Lead to Well-Being, Connection and Intimacy

By: Josiah Dean

Warning: Digital Detox May Lead to Well-Being, Connection and Intimacy

With Memorial Weekend just past summer is officially here! The gauntlet of our Spring events is past, with a resounding success! Whew! We heard GREAT feedback from guests who attended our Revitalize & Rejuvenate Retreat, Wildflowers & Wine, Ghost Town and Geology Tour/Workshops. (And if you haven’t already, please send your feedback, whether you came or not. We love input.)

Getting away for retreat can be a great way to unplug from our day to day life and reconnect with other interests. For some it’s a learning adventure, for others it’s a chance to disconnect from busy life and over-connectivity, to hit our personal reset button. Sometimes we have to get away to create new patterns. And the hammocks are back out, so that always helps!

Scroll down for the next of our 8-part Unplug & Connect series, with reflections on technology and its impact on us. This month we look at how our electronic gadgets affect our ability to relax and rest. As a boutique historic destination location, without TV or (in room) phones, we see the positive effect on you when you stay here.

To make this more interactive, we’re sponsoring an #Unplug &Connect contest on our Facebook Page--you can win a free weekend at the Balch! Read on and/or check out our Facebook page for details. Let us know what you think.

As always, we’ll love to see you here soon,

Claire and Josiah 

P.S. Spring is blooming! We’ve got a bunch of great adventures here and near that are happening soon. We’ve still got room for you. Check it out below or at for the whole scoop.

 Warning: Digital Detox May Lead to Well-Being, Connection and Intimacy

We’ve all seen it, (perhaps you’ve even done it), the couple that’s out to dinner but not interacting, both on their phones. It’s not as dangerous as texting while driving, but it causes a different kind of damage—to our relationships and ability to develop intimacy.

Sue Johnson, author of Love Sense shares, “We’ve all shaken our heads at families who go out to dinner only to huddle over their phones in silence instead of talking to each other, or couples who interrupt romantic dinners to check their smartphones by candlelight…. the lure of mobile technology becomes harder and harder to resist.”

Pamela Eyring, director of the Protocol School of Washington (which teaches social manners to corporate and government clients) calls an obsession with iPhones “cell-fishness.” Since personal and business relationships rely on making others feel valued, our electronics use puts these relationships at risk.

But this is about more than an issue of gadget etiquette or a lack of consideration for others. It’s about connection.

While our electronic gadgetry is keeping us more connected in some ways, it’s shallow, not the deep emotional engagement needed for any kind of meaningful relationship. Texting and e-mailing are made for volume, velocity, and multitasking — that is, the splitting of attention and getting things done.

Relationships are forged through being present, and available. We can’t be available when our attention is elsewhere, like on our screens.

And our reliance on our gadgets can lead to other problems, such as difficulty sleeping or relaxing. We turn to our tablets or phones to wind down in the evening. But our brains get over stimulated all day and then it’s hard to turn our mind off when it’s time to sleep.

Ironically, our effectiveness is impacted too. In his book, Brain Rules, John Medina explains the decline in performance that results from multi-tasking is encouraged by a lot of electronic device usage. Productivity is very connected to paying attention and the divided attention that occurs with overuse of electronics can affect not just social skills but achieving tasks. Yikes.

It turns out that when multitasking, a person takes up to 50% longer to complete a single task and can lead to 50% more mistakes. So it’s not as efficient as we were led to think, and yet it becomes habitual. No wonder we feel distracted, tired and can’t focus.

This isn’t something that can be solved in a weekend, but we can make small efforts that add up. Taking steps to unplug and connect is something we can regularly bring awareness to, to create balance and well-being in our lives.

Creating “screen-free evenings” (and doing puzzles or coloring instead), or practices such as turning gadgets off after 9 p.m. or developing electronics-free zones—like the bedroom or dinner table—can go a long way to make a big difference.

At the Balch Hotel we even offer “Digital Detox” where we’ll hold your phone so that you’re not tempted to use it when you don’t need or want to. (Of course, we’ll give it to you to check as you like--unquestioned. ;)

To read more see this Wired magazine article.

To support your need for unplugging, the Balch Hotel is sponsoring a contest called, “Unplug & Connect” to help our customers realize that need and see the world differently. Just Like our Facebook Page and then share the reason you need to unplug & connect (in 50-100 words). You could win a weekend for two at the hotel.
1 night, Traditional Queen room, subject to availability.

Events: Here

Paint & Pinot for the Artful Soul
Enjoy an evening of creativity, wine and fun at the Balch Hotel. We’ll paint, eat, sip and play. Bring a friend and leave with new ones. You’ll be expertly guided by Nina Buckley to paint the image here: “Mount Hood Meadow”. Absolutely no experience required and everything you need is provided! There’ll be yummy food, local wine, beer and other beverages available for purchase (not included. You leave with your original painting ready to hang! It’s a unique, creative night out. For registration or more info: call Nina 503-701-8959 $40.00 (includes all art supplies and instruction) Friday June 10 6:30-8:30pm
See details at

Summer Concert Series: Come Boogie at The Balch
One Friday a month we’ll feature local musicians who will share their talent al fresco. Enjoy dinner, wine, beer and other goodies, as you sit on the patio or lawn.

June: Mayfield/Powers This duo plays a sweet mix of Americana style and original singer/songwriter tunes. Julie Mayfield plays with Fields of May from Stevenson, WA among other projects. Fields of May played the Balch last year and was well-loved. Bruce Powers played with Dryland Farmers in Portland for several years and now has his own group called Dryland, of which Julie is a member. Friday, June 17 from 6:30-9 pm

Planning Ahead?
Friday, July 1, 6:30-9pm PT Barton
Friday, August 12 6:30-9 pm McDougall
Friday, September 23 6:30-9 pm PT Barton & Ryan Kolberg

Full schedule will be posted on our website.

And Then Nearby…

Did you know there are 30 local wineries nearby? In any direction there’s a day’s outing, with glorious views and great vintages to try out. Click here for details.

Maryhill Winery
Aside from being a great spot for wine tasting—the view up and down the gorge from the outdoor deck is hard to beat—Maryhill’s summer concerts on the terraced amphitheater are back. Enjoy music on the lawn as you sip wine, toss bocce, and munch your picnic dinner. (We’re happy to provide these. Food available on site also.) These events sell out quickly.

Summer 2016 line-up:

  • Tears for Fears June 18--postponed!
  • Jeff Beck - August 20
  • Chris Isaak - Sept 3

Speaking of wineries and music: Did you know that Jacob Williams Winery, just up the road before Maryhill, has a summer concert series too? These Saturday afternoon sessions feature local musicians who play as you taste wine in their tasting room and patio overlooking the Gorge. Click here for more info. Saturdays 2-5pm

While you’re over there, check out Maryhill Museum. It’s in a majestic Beaux Art mansion overlooking the Columbia River, and contains an eclectic collection, worthy of a world-class distinction. Go here to see what is currently featured.

A few unique offerings in June:

The Columbia River Highway: Lecture & Book Signing

Author Peg Willis shares her life-long love affair with the Columbia River Highway, which culminated in her book, Building the Columbia River Highway: They Said It Couldn’t Be Done. Saturday, June 18, 2 p.m.

Free admission to neighbors from the following counties in Oregon and Washington. Oregon: Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Malheur, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa Counties. Washington: Adams, Asotin, Chelan, Garfield, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Kittitas, Mason, Lincoln, Pierce, Pend Oreille, Okanogan, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Whitman, and Yakima. June 18 & 19. Click here for more info.

Art Party: Still Life Oil Painting with Cathleen Rehfeld $35 members / $40 non-members (includes refreshments) To register call 509 773-3733 ext. 20. Thursday, June 23, 6 - 8 p.m

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40 South Heimrich, Dufur, OR 97021, United States  
P: (541) 467-2277