One of the fun things about exploring this country is finding unexpected marvels along the way. Years ago, we drove east on Route 66 and stumbled on a renovated church in Oklahoma that was reborn as a tasting room and offices for a winery.
This year, on the backroads of eastern Oregon, we came to the quaint town of Burns. From google searches of the area, it’s something of a jumping off point for backwoods explorers and serious hikers. When we mentioned to friends who are Oregonians that we’d be staying there for a night, their response was, “Why? There’s nothing there.”
The answer was simple, “It’s as close as we can get to a halfway point between destinations and we need a stopover.”
Back to google to find overnight accommodations. Even six months out, there were no rooms at the historic hotel in town, but I had a charming email exchange with the staff who even offered up suggestions for other places to stay (and where to avoid!). In the months that passed, I heard back from The Historic Central Hotel. A room had opened up; was I still interested?
A resounding, “YES!” from me and another short email exchange landed us in the gorgeous “Hop Gold” Suite.
We learned that a local doctor had purchased the rundown property a few years back and, with family, painstakingly renovated a pioneer-era hotel into a modern, fabulous venue.
Greg and I had arrived early enough to take advantage of the hotel’s central location. We took the suggestions offered on the website and checked out the shops along what was clearly the original “main drag.” street. We encountered more examples of renovated spaces, fabulous local crafts and gifts, and most importantly, friendly people all eager to welcome visitors.
Back at the hotel, abook in our room, and more photos in the hall, showed the state of the property before renovation and illustrated the time and energy … and CARE … that obviously went into the makeover. Each room has a theme … and we wondered about ours. Here’s the hotel’s explanation: … Hop Gold? Did you know that this was a PROMINENT beer back in the day?! We know it was because we found multiple bottles and bottle caps in the building while we renovated. And another cool thing … we have a VINTAGE calendar hanging in the room that belongs to a local gentleman. His daughter let us borrow it … and it is SO cool! You’ll love it.
They were right! We did love it. In fact, we loved it so much that when our friends showed up, we took them upstairs to show off the room. They traveled five hours from their home on the west coast to meet us at the halfway point of our big wild west adventure.
We chatted awhile and spent a beautiful evening on the CH Patio Taproom before they wished us well on the rest of our journey. As it turns out, Burns was worth the trip … for the beauty and charm of the town, for the stunning example of reusing an old building rather than tearing it down, and for the perfect place to meet up with friends.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Take a chance on a place that just happens to be conveniently located in the middle of nowhere on a map.
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