Baker City, Oregon
A historic little town nestled in Eastern Oregon, Baker City boasts a vibrant downtown, growing art scene and gorgeous scenery surrounding it. Be sure to stop by the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on the outskirts of town. It's informative, well done and very interesting history.
The movie Paint your Wagon was filmed nearby and the crew stayed at the local hotel, the Geiser Grand built in 1889. After the filming of the movie, the hotel closed down in 1968 and it was nearly demolished to build a parking lot. You can only mutter, “What were they thinking?”especially as you gaze up at the beautiful stained glass ceiling. Luckily, it avoided this fate and now the splendid restored Geiser Grand Hotel dominates Main Street. If you can't spend the night there, be sure to stop by for a glass of wine and nibbles in the bar.
A short walk from the hotel you'll find a friendly welcome the craft distiller, Glacier 45,. Their ultra modern facility produces excellent 'wet' (i.e. not dry) gin and speciality bourbon. All along Main Street you'll find coffee shops, the Copper Belt winery, restaurants, art galleries, Barley Brown's Beer brewpub, a kitchen specialty shop and a chocolatier/art gallery combined, Peterson's Gallery & Chocolatier. There is no shortage of interesting places to visit.
Head just around the corner to 2020 Auburn Ave to the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center. Do not miss this place. The old Carngie library has been transformed in to a first class art center the town is justifiably proud of. It is an impressive building and what is inside is just as impressive. They host an interesting variety of exhibits, artistic demonstrations, musical events, dance and all manner of creative fun that draws from, and involves, the whole community.
During the first weekend in October the Baker Art Guild, a local area art group, open their studios to the public for the annual Baker City Studio Tour, which also includes a stop at the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center and local galleries. They host individual artists who can not open their studio to the public to demonstrate their craft, plus the galleries hang special exhibits. The studio tour features approximately 20-25 individual artists covering a range of artistic media from painting, sculpture and pottery to wood work, mosaic and fibre art. Get the brochure and map and head out to see the artists at work in their studios, talk with them about their process and buy yourself, or someone special, a unique gift.
Delightful Baker City, and it's surrounding area, has much to offer. Stop a while, enjoy the slower pace, interesting history, and the exciting modern vibe that oozes from every corner.