Say goodbye to the beeps and pings that keep you tethered to your inbox and social media accounts all day long. In the northeastern corner of Oregon, surrounded by the Blue and Wallowa mountain ranges, you can get your endorphin rush instead from the rush of the creek outside your cabin, the luxuriousness of your restored colonial home or the clink of glasses downstairs from your room at a hip boutique B&B. Here’s where to stay and how to play this season at three off-the-grid spots in ruggedly beautiful Northeastern Oregon.
Tiny homes in the woods
Just 8 miles from the family-friendly Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, you can surprise the kids (or escape with your partner or a small group of friends) to Antone Creek Lodge in the little town of North Powder, where four rustic cabins await. Ranging from teeny-tiny (216 square feet with one bedroom, sleeps two) to practically spacious (640 square feet with two bedrooms, sleeps five), the cabins are fully appointed with water, electricity and heat, and they are situated just 50 feet from the lovely Antone Creek. When you’re not napping in the loft or lazily reading a book on the porch rocking chair, the outdoors are calling. Winter is all about Nordic skiing and snowboarding, while summer opens the door to miles of trails nearby for hiking and biking and playing on the lake. You can pay an extra fee to have your dog at the lodge in the summertime.
A room fit for a queen
If you’re more “Downton Abbey” than “Little House on the Prairie,” you may want to check out the five elegant rooms at Stang Manor, a restored 1924 Georgian colonial B&B in La Grande. Built by August Stange, founder of Mount Emily Lumber Company, the owners and innkeepers have meticulously restored all of the delightful details — from the bubbling sunroom fountain to the arched bookshelves and fireplace mantel, along with original tiles and fixtures. The manor is about a 5-minute walk to downtown La Grande and a 5-mile drive to Mt. Emily Recreation Area, which is open year-round for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and equestrian use. Winter months (November through March) typically bring a blanket of snow, ideal for backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.
Wine lover’s delight
On the ground floor, the Landing Hotel in historic downtown La Grande contains a bistro, wine bar and gathering place, so you may as well relax and stay awhile. You’ll find cozy couches, magazines by the fireplace and chalkboard menus with hand-scrawled specials rotating daily, such as Netarts Bay oysters, pan-braised Italian rib eye, Columbia River sturgeon and ginger java chuck roast. Order a glass or bottle with your meal and retire upstairs to one of the four modern but rustic rooms, each with its own bathroom, plush linens and modern indulgences, including flat-screen TVs — but you may want to hide the remote. Pack the cooler with house-smoked jerky and cheeses from Hines Meat Company, just down the road, and head 13 miles southeast for a heavenly soak at the private Hot Lake Springs for a day trip.
If You Go:
Always check weather and road conditions before heading out to Oregon’s backcountry, where cell service is limited and wintry conditions may be challenging to drive in. Make sure to have snow tires or carry traction devices and know how to use them, and be comfortable driving in these conditions. When playing outside in the winter, wear waterproof layers, carry the 10 essentials, and pack extra food and water as well as fuel and paper maps. For more tips and trip ideas, check out How to Winter Like an Oregonian.