Baker City's historic downtown boast more than 100 buildings on the National register of historic places .

I first discovered the beautiful town of Baker City 18 years ago when I was hired to be the first director for their local Main Street revitalization program. It was the Oregon Trail Sesquicentennial and locals were certain that this was the opportunity to put their beautiful town on the map.

The town was beautiful surrounded by the majestic snow capped peaks of the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountain ranges, and nestled in the Baker Valley with the Powder River meandering through the historic downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Community members knew that Baker City was something special but also that there was much work to be done and were feverishly working to restore, renovate, and revitalize this small eastern Oregon community once known as Queen City of the Mines.

Today, Baker City’s historic downtown boast more than 100 buildings on the National register of historic places including the beautifully restored Geiser Grand Hotel, and the monumental Carnegie Library now restored and home to the Crossroads Art Center. The downtown is full of locally owned shops, restaurants and galleries. The Leo Adler Memorial Pathway now follows the Powder River through the historic downtown and surrounding neighborhoods connecting them with the iconic Geiser Pollman the Baker Heritage Museum and the Baker City Sports Complex.

Of course part of Baker City’s beauty is the surrounding country side and being located at the intersection of three Oregon Scenic Byways including the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, the Elkhorn Scenic Byway and the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway. And, in the winter skiers enjoy some of the most incredible winter vistas from the now County owned Anthony Lakes Ski Area which was recently featured in Sunset magazine as the place to Ski Without the Scene. The ski area’s adjacent Nordic Center was one of five Nordic Centers in North America featured by National Geographic last November

Once again we have a chance to put Baker City on the map, literally, the Rand McNally Road Atlas. For the last two weeks Baker City has held the number 1 position as most beautiful town in the Rand McNally and USA Today Best of the Road contest. The winning community will be featured in USA TODAY and on the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas. The public can vote for their favorite communities in five categories at www.bestoftheroad.com until May 23. The top five communities in each category will be featured in the Rand McNally and USA TODAY Road Rally July 1st through 15th and the winning communities announced on July 15th

We think this is an exciting opportunity for Baker City and for Oregon. We hope that you will join us in voting for Baker City as one the most beautiful towns in the Rand McNally – USA TODAY Best of the Road contest and help bring the Best of the Road Rally to Oregon this July.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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