Events at the Balch Hotel

Explore, Unwind, Indulge & Discover: The Magic Is Closer Than You Think.

Event Calendar



Retreats, Workshops & Tours in the Columbia Gorge

Be sure to check back often as we add events through out the year.


Discover the Columbia Gorge October 2-4

Dufur Poetry Workshop October 14-15

Fall Foliage & Fermented Frolic October 16-18


Mining Your Life for Laughter November 15-16

Thanks Giving November 26


Hometown Christmas December 11-12

Vintage Christmas December 24- 26

New Year, New You December 31

Discover the Gorge

Discover the Gorge

Oct 2 - 4

Explore the hidden & iconic destinations of the Gorge with an insider!

Explore the hidden & iconic destinations of the Gorge with an insider! Join Mike and Kristy Westby, authors of nine Oregon guidebooks, including the popular Columbia River Gorge – An Explorer’s Guide, (bonus with your registration!) They’ll take you on an informative tour (by caravan for safety) revealing many of the over 150 things to see, do and explore within the Columbia River Gorge!

Join a small group to explore iconic and lesser known spots spanning the Gorge. (You’ll be maintaining distancing, masks, etc. to travel safely.)

Everything included: from Friday night reception & presentation, Saturday Dinner, and lunches.

To book your package go here.

Traditional Room for two $474; single $336 
Signature Room for two $597; single $458

October 2-4


Please Note:
Cancellation prior to seven days of this event results in a 75% refund.
Cancellation prior to three days of this event results in a 50% refund.
Cancellation within 72 hours of this event - no refund

Dufur Poetry Workshop

Dufur Poetry Workshop


In this workshop  you’ll discuss, revise, and critique poems already written, and also begin new ones. Our focus for 2020 is: A Checklist of Practical Techniques for Effective Writing and Revision.

Join this 14th annual gathering of poets led by noted Oregon poet, Penelope Scambly Schott, and get some new ideas or input for sharpening your poems. (We limit the group to 10 writers who have been writing for a while, so that everyone gets personal attention.)

Begin Thursday morning around 10 for a day of writing and review.

That evening the group gathers for dinner at the hotel, Balch Bistro. Menu is evolving, see current offerings here

After dinner we’ll have a poetry reading for a few local friends at Penelope’s quaint house in Dufur.

On Friday after breakfast (included in your stay) you’ll write more. Break for lunch (not included) and finish up by 2 pm.

October 15 - 16

$155 plus lodging (breakfast included), and meals.

Reserve your room online or call 541.467.2277 Inquire to receive special rate for workshop participants.

Dufur is about 14 miles south of The Dalles, less than two hours from Portland, and approximately two hours from Bend or Pendleton.

If you have questions or to receive an application/registration form, contact Penelope at or 503-819-0975.

Once registered, remember to reserve your room! (Registration does not include lodging!) 
Participants receive 15% discount upon request.

Fall Foliage & Fermented Frolic

Fall Foliage & Fermented Frolic

Oct 16-18

Experience foliage vistas as you walk local trails with naturalists and wander vineyards.

Explore sustainable wine growing and the geology and geography that makes in the Columbia Gorge AVA so unique, with local experts. Enjoy exclusive wine-tasting experiences, including visits to a private winery.

Hike our favorite spots, then convene at wineries for tours, talks and tasting. Eat lunch al fresco at wineries. Enjoy a NW themed artisan dinner at the Balch Hotel with presentations in the evening. 

Includes: 2 nights lodging, all meals, hikes, tasting fees, prepared box lunches, specialty artisan dinner, wine/dessert reception and evening activities. 

Reserve your space today, as we are limiting the number of attendees for these popular events! To book you package go here.



 Save the date! Join our Autumn cousin of popular Wildflowers & Wine weekend.

Explore the East end of the Gorge at wine harvest and leaf-peeping season. A peak autumnal experience—the weather is so spectacular at this time of year.

You’ll experience foliage vistas as you wander vineyards with viticulture experts and walk local trails with naturalists.

Explore sustainable wine growing and the geology and geography that makes  in the Columbia Gorge AVA so unique, with local experts. Enjoy exclusive wine-tasting experiences, including visits to a private winery.

Hike our favorite spots, then convene at wineries for tours, talks and tasting. Eat lunch al fresco at wineries. Enjoy a NW themed artisan dinner at the Balch Hotel with presentations in the evening. 

Includes: 2 nights lodging, all meals, van travel (Saturday), hikes, tasting fees, prepared box lunches, specialty artisan dinner, wine/dessert reception and evening activities. 

Itinerary sketch is provided below. 

Weekend price for 2 people:

Traditional Room: $449
Signature Room: $577
Weekend price for one person:

Traditional Room: $327
Signature Room: $455
Reserve your space today

Reserve your spot by calling 541.467.2277

Weekend Itinerary (Subject to Change) 


Arrival:  Check in, anytime after 3. at the Historic Balch Hotel. Experience dinner at Balch Bistro on your own or with new friends.

Evening: Enjoy a decadent wine and dessert reception that evening. Meet and mingle with the innkeepers, Claire and Josiah, and your weekend cohorts.

A short evening presentation will introduce you to weekend logistics. 


After a scrumptious handmade gourmet breakfast  we’ll caravan travel to a scenic walk  on a private vineyard in The Dalles. Expect an easy sloping hillside offering views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood. (Moderate terrain, short distance.)

You'll learn  about their sustainable wine-making and farming practices, as well as the fascinating geology that makes the soil and landscape here so unique.  You'll also get to experience the grape harvesting process as it’s happening!

Enjoy a custom boxed lunch for a lovely picnic overlooking the vineyards, next to colorful native oak grove at this Gorge-worthy location.

After our ramble in the vineyard, we’ll conclude our afternoon with a private (and rare!) tasting of local wines at a boutique winery,  before heading back to the Balch. You'll have an opportunity to purchase wine.

Back at the hotel, take a nap, read a book or reserve a spa wellness session with Claire Sierra at Bliss at the Balch Spa. See options here. (Book ahead only 2 spots available!) 
Evening back at the Balch,  a Northwest inspired, locally sourced dinner will be presented (menu below). Sip local wines (available for purchase) paired for the meal. (*Dietary accommodations must be requested 10 days before event, please!) 

Sample dinner menu:

Organic Fall Salad: Mixed Greens with house made pickled beets, pecans, feta cheese drizzled with Balch balsamic vinaigrette
Hazelnut encrusted, wild caught Sockeye Salmon seasoned with crushed hazel nuts, panko bread crumbs and tarragon or Beef Tenderloin
Rustic Pear and Apple Galette

Later, enjoy an evening presentation. about geology and geography and what makes this area so unique and interesting for sustainable wine-making. Colorfully presented by  Alan Busacca from Windhorse Vineyards: a former college prof, he's both engaging  and informative.

After a delectable morning breakfast, and check-out, you’ll travel by caravan to an interesting section of the Historic Highway Trail  Experience a walk in the woods led by an inquisitive state park ranger. You'll hit excellent viewpoints for leaf peeping up and down the Gorge.

Enjoy a good show of foliage  and explore the vistas along the Columbia River.  Our historian/naturalist guide will share about flora, fauna, geology and more for an interesting overview of the stunning Nature and unique History of the area. 

This hike is easy walking on a flat wide surface, moderate length.

Afternoon, caravan to yet another picturesque  winery  for an exclusive walk and talk exploration of sustainable viticulture--not open to the public. We'll learn the geology, geography and history of this special winemaker's heaven.

 Enjoy foliage vistas as you taste spectacular wine.

For lunch, nibble your box  lunch (provided)on the sunny patio--if inclement we'll nosh in the barrel room.

Departure This journey ends as you feel ready to depart or  continue explore 2 notable wineries in the area. Travel back savoring memories of this weekend adventure


Package includes:

Two night stay at The Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur, OR
Wine and dessert reception (Friday)
Van travel (Saturday)
Gourmet dinner (Saturday evening)
Buffet breakfasts (Saturday & Sunday)
Picnic lunches, snacks and wine tasting  (Saturday & Sunday)
Exclusive hikes led by naturalists and viticulture experts  (Saturday & Sunday)
Evening presentations  (Friday and Saturday)
How to Book this Play & Stay Weekend:
Book your weekend getaway with the Balch Hotel by phone: 541-467-2277. For online booking, click box above. 

Please Note: 
Cancellation prior to seven days of this event results in a 75% refund. 
Cancellation prior to three days of this event results in a 50% refund. 
Cancellation within 72 hours of this event - no refund


Pedaling In The Vines

Pedaling In The Vines

October 23-25

Is it a wine tour by bike, or a bike ride with wine tasting? Whichever way you look at it, this is serious fun.

This weekend includes a day spent riding through vineyards, meandering on back roads with e-bikes (electric assisted, so it helps you). With stops at wineries for tasting and antique shops for retail therapy.

Saturday we’re partnering with Hood River’s premier wine country bike tour, to offer an exclusive way for you to experience the best of what The Gorge has to offer – like a local!

With safety our priority, and all the details included, all you have to do is show up for an easy ride! .

Sunday  starts with yoga in the morning and a “plan your own adventure” with options for like spa treatment, hiking, waterfall viewing, and wandering Dufur or Hood River for ice cream and lattes.

"All you have to do is show up...the woman-run team at MountNbarreL does the rest. Grab your besties and be ready for serious fun." 
-- Jen Anderson - Travel Oregon 

Book this Pedalling in the Vines weekend package here

Per person, single occupancy.
Coming as a couple or with a friend? Contact us for shared room rate.

Book online at or call 541-467-2277



(Subject to change) 


3 -5 pm check in and enjoy dinner on your own at Balch Bistro or with other guests. 

7 pm Owner's Reception - enjoy a glass of wine on us, as you meet other tour participants and hear about weekend events. 


8:30 - 10  Breakfast full luscious handmade

11 am MountNBarrel  Bike Tour - Caravan to Hood River, for a day of cruising the back roads. With stops at 3 wineries for tasting, a seasonal u-pick orchard, and a catered Pairing Pack to enjoy along the way.

4 pm return to the Balch to relax and enjoy the patio, read in the parlor or get a spa treatment at Bliss at the Balch Wellness Spa.

6:30 Dinner at Balch Bistro Enjoy an artisan crafted meal of locally sourced and pacific northwest style delights. (Menu forthcoming, please alert us to any dietary restrictions in advance.) 

8 pm Enjoy the star gazing and dessert around the firepit. 


8:30- 10 Breakfast - Full luscious & handmade

10  Earthing Experience or Yoga & Meditation (group choice) - simple easy uplifting (optional but recommended!)

11  Plan your own adventure and check out.

"Plan Your Own Adventure" options include: a spa treatment (additional fee) nearby hiking, waterfall viewing, local wine-tasting (provided), and/or wandering the village of Dufur for ice cream or lattes. (Gift card provided.) 


Cancellation Policy:  We hope this doesn't happen but...
Prior to seven (7) days before this event results in a 75% refund. 
Prior to three (3) days before this event results in a 50% refund. 
Within 72 hours of this event - no refund

Mining Your Life for Laughter

Mining Your Life for Laughter

Humor Writing Workshop

“Humor is chaos remembered in tranquility.” 

Some of your memories are stories waiting to be written as humor.  You know the ones… 😊 Mine those and others hiding in plain sight.

Reframe your blunders, mistakes, silly escapades, and even pain to render them a Dave Barry lark.  A Nora Ephron romp.  An Erma Bombeck chuckle.  A David Sedaris anecdote turning heartache into laughter.

Discover how writers turn the painful, the absurd, the odd, the embarrassing, and the disconcertingly memorable… into humor, from a widely published humor writer for an overnight workshop at the Balch Hotel.

You’ll sift through your life to find those stories, anecdotes and incidents,  trying your hand (or honing your skill) at humor writing of your own.

Explore the subjectivity of humor as well as it’s risks and rewards. You’ll consider various structure, and investigate a variety of methods writers use to convey humor.  The day will include lecture, writing exercises, group discussion, sharing in-pairs and with large group.

Enjoy writing within the charming rural elegance of the award-winning historic Balch Hotel in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon with humor writer, Bob Balmer (see his impressive bio below.)

Mining Your Life for Laughter -  Humor Writing Workshop:

November 15-16

$85 plus lodging (includes breakfast) and meals. 

All ability levels welcome. (Must have 6 people registered by October 1.)   

Register HERE (link to register coming soon)

Weekend Schedule  

(Approximate times to be determined and subject to change.)


Arrive early to check into your cozy room at the historic, award-winning Balch Hotel. Enjoy dinner by yourself or with other guests. 

Friday evening

 Meet for happy hour (with dessert, wine and other beverages available for purchase)to share humorous stories.   Meet others with your interest in writing humor, humor generated from your own lives.  Discuss favorite humor writers, comedians and humorous movies-- all things humor.

Bring & share your favorite funny reads (7-minute maximum, please.) 

Enjoy a good night’s sleep.


Wake up refreshed, enjoy a full gourmet breakfast (included with your stay) and ready to dive into a day of humorous prose. Some writing and reading time will be part of the day.

Lecture, discussion, writing and sharing of humor will ensue.

Morning session involves theory of humor.  What makes people laugh.  The subjectivity of humor-- (we all don’t think the same things are funny)  Analysis of the structure of humor.  Writing time to work on a story or essay--what suits your purpose.

Break for lunch at the hotel or in the village of Dufur (not included)

Afternoon Return for an frolic into more humor, and writing review.  Analysis and practice writing of various humor styles: exaggeration, irony, humiliation, relatability. 

Short break

Meet for happy hour to share work

Later enjoy dinner as a group (not included) and another night at the Balch where you can continue to refine the work you’ve just begun. Or head back home, inspired by the humor you’ve mined from your life. Keep writing!

For additional information visit:

About the workshop leader:

Bob Balmer's first humorous essay was published in the Oregonian in 1992.  His work has appeared in Smithsonian, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Golf Illustrated, Oregon Coast Magazine, Golf Weekly, Eugene Weekly, and Willamette Week.  His work has aired on Oregon Public Radio and TV, MarketPlace, and The Savvy Traveler.  

After his MFA in creative writing from Portland State University, Bob attended the Iowa Summer Writing Workshop and the Tin House Summer Writing Workshop at Reed College.  He recently returned from taking Improv and Sketch Writing classes at Second City Comedy in Chicago. 

He has led humor writing workshops at Portland Storytellers Guild, The Oregon Writers Colony, Sitka Center for the Arts and Ecology, Write on the Sound Writers Conference, Write in the Harbor, The Hoffman Center for the Arts, and The Bainbridge Artists Resource Network.  He is excited to bring humor writing to the Balch, leading up to a workshop for Fishtrap this summer.


Please Note:
Cancellation prior to seven days of this event results in a 75% refund.
Cancellation prior to three days of this event results in a 50% refund.
Cancellation within 72 hours of this event - no refund

Sisterhood Supper

Sisterhood Supper

Women’s Dinner Party

Do you crave more time out with a few girlfriends?

Join our women’s dinner party -- a place to connect, laugh and have empowering, intentional dialogue. Feel safe and supported in a circle of sisterhood, where you belong and your voice is heard, all enhanced by yummy food and good wine (available for purchase separately.) 

You’ll join our  big table of 4-8 for curated conversation on topics that stir you, led by Balch owner, spa/retreat leader and art therapist Claire Sierra. Meet inspiring women and savor sweet rejuvenation of sharing a luscious meal together.

Bring a friend or come solo—you’ll make new ones in sisterhood!

Feminine energy is a powerful positive force that's needed right now--let's cultivate it together with our Gorge neighbors. Savor sweet synchronistic connections over food, wine and dessert for a nurturing time with friends new and old. 

Dinner is offered from our local/organic Light Fare menu (plus specials), along with locally sourced wine, beer, teas and coffee. (And yes, we can accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten free--let us know when you RSVP.)

Come early and have a spa treatment! (you can see luscious options and reserve HERE)

What the heck, spend the night! We'll gift you a 15% discount--book directly on our site and use PROMO CODE "15DEAL" or mention attending this event when booking on the phone. (not valid with other offers.)

2020 Dates TBD

6:30-8:30 pm  (but please, arrive/leave as you need)
FREE (Dinner and drinks For purchase--not included.) For possible food offerings, see our menu HERE

CALL 541.467.2277 or EMAIL YOUR RSVP: or


Rose Temple

Rose Temple

Are you yearning for deeper connection to your feminine power and magic? 
A sacred space to access your higher guidance & authentic self? 

Gather for an evening women’s temple* and experience your Divine Feminine Self...!   We'll explore seasonal messages in another temple experience.

Explore your sacred feminine self--in balance with the Masculine mode we've been taught to rely on. discover the path of priestess/priest through the Magdalene-Madonna Mysteries, and the Path of the Rose. (there's more here than we've been told!) 

Let's dive in!

Enjoy deep-dive connection, creative exploration, soulful conversation, and simple ceremony that spans religious traditions in a virtual circle on Facebook Live from the ruby parlor of the award-winning Balch Hotel.  

Access your Feminine magic, remember your Truth, and gain clarity about your soul's calling. Maybe do a little art, writing, meditation &/or embodiment practices, as you enjoy tea & treats. 

*These circles are open to all genders who are exploring this path. While they tend to be all women, men who are open are welcome, too.

Guided by Claire Sierra, MA (Art Therapist, retreat leader, Balch Hotel owner/spa director and author of The Magdalene Path.)

  • Access deeper spiritual connection and sense of belonging with other like-minded women (and a few cool men!)  from around the world.
  • Recharge in a supportive circle of sisters. Maybe even a brother, too. 
  • Explore your soul yearnings.authentic truth and sovereignty.
  • Celebrate the Light and blessings of the season.

2020 Dates COMING SOON!

For FREE replays of Livestreamed events, go to  
Magdalene Path page on Facebook 

No pre-registering or fee!

(The video will be pinned to the top of the page until the next Livestream. (Use the link above.)  

Questions? Call/Text Claire 541.659.7284 or 



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