Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Annual BBQ and Wine Tasting

For our 10th annual BBQ and Wine tasting we wanted to do something different. So we had Alphonse ( doing the honors of serving a variety of wines to our guests. For our musical needs Bert played light acoustic songs along side with Rachel on cello. It turned out to be quite successful. Guests raved about the wines and appreciated the musicians efforts to please everyone. Isabelle's (Hubertina's and Bert's daughter) birthday was celebrated with a sing along birthday song and in return Isabelle sang, shy but not overwhelmed, "Midnight Sun" into the microphone accompanied by guitar and cello. You have to start somewhere!
Next day family and friends could enjoy rafting and a driftboat float. We put in at Hamlin boat ramp to float down to the McKenzie River Inn. The weather was outstanding and the kids loved the excitement.

This weekend also means the spin-off for the summer season and it turned out July as one of the busiest months of the year. Two weeks in July we welcomed back the Weinberg/Reppert reunion and what a great week that was. From Bacchi Ball to Badminton tournaments, from rafting to hiking, this family is able to cram in quite some activities in a week stay. If you work, or start working, in the hospitality business and read this blog, I can tell you right now that guests like these are one of the highlights of being in this business. We are grateful to have them coming back every other year and to share our spot on the McKenzie river with them. With the help and exchange of pictures (thanks Jill!) we can look back on other great and successful summer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Nice weather and a spring garden

Nice weather and a beautiful spring garden have drawn many guests to our spot on the McKenzie river these first five Months. January and February gave us many sunny day's to bridge the change of seasons from winter into spring. After the first week May was warm and gave us the stunning view on the blooming Azalea's, Camellia's and Rhododendrons.
We are very content with having so many returning guests. Some are coming back every year, others several times a year and other guests return after they stayed with us at the McKenzie River Inn years ago. The connection and contacts we have with our guests is for us unique and is one of the reasons we appreciate being in the hospitality industry. It also means we can rely on a strong following even if this industry is hit hard by the economic decline and accommodation reports are showing 50 to 54% less bookings. So, thank you all for coming back to our spot in the Cascade mountains, it means a lot to us and are always looking forward to your stay with us.
This year we welcome back the Weinberg/Reppert family who have their biannual reunion week in July. We are all excited to see you playing Bacchi ball again in our orchard and having fun going down the river rafting with us. We love to show you the improvements we have made to our facilities and above all the new paint-job.

In the meantime we prepare for our annual BBQ and wine tasting. This year Bert will perform acoustic songs along side with Rachel Barton-Russell on cello and vocals and the latest news is that Hubertina's and Ellie's brother Alphonse will do the honor of introducing a variety of wines. Alphonse is a winemaker for over twenty years and recently opened his own winery with partner David Verwolf on Bainbridge Island called "Rolling Bay Winery". His dedication has lead him to several award winning wines over the last four years. He still follow
classes in wine making to achieve that edge that is needed to make outstanding wines. For guests at the McKenzie River Inn having a taste of the several kinds of fermented grapes is complementary on the days we are having wine tasting and till so far we received raving comments about the Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
Alphonse told me the other day that his blend of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay left him with quite some satisfied customers and the "Pinonnay", as I call it, sold out pretty quick. I'm looking forward to our tenth annual BBQ and to see colleagues, guests, friends and family again.

The river levels are dropping as we speak and this will tremendously improve the (fly-) fishing over the coming weeks. So wade out to cast out a line, or climb in my boat and start fishing. Life is good!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Environmental Law Conference

It was a warm welcome again for our guests for the Environmental Law Conference. Some arrived early, others came in a day later, but everybody was counted for. It was heartwarming to have Agnes Baker Pilgrim and her daughter Nadine amongst them for the third consecutive year. As one of the international 13 indigenous Grandmothers ( Agnes Pilgrim enlightens the world with her teachings and stories and her visions for our Planet. As a member of this council of extraordinary women and oldest living member of the Eastern Oregon Takelma tribe she travels the world to give her views and provides her wisdom regarding the healing of our injured planet. She also gives her input about ending war and poverty when she speaks with spiritual leaders as his holiness Pope Benedict XVI or his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. 

With a mid-day session lead by William Blair from Infraspect ( many topics of the conference were reviewed and discussed among the participating guests. Although we have seen different scenarios in the last three years it always boils down to the impact of the environmental implications of the destruction, pollution and the vast changing of the ancestral lands of the indigenous people and the hurt that is felt because of it. Although we learn more about the perspective of the first Americans it is obvious that environmental issue's and our quest to find solutions for the economic, social and ecological problems are approached from a Western point of view. Here at the McKenzie River Inn it became clear that not bringing their perspective to the program would be an other missed opportunity to enrich the lawmaking process that would give the indigenous people a reflected voice and a hard fought recognition of how they have to deal with the protection of their communities from the above mentioned environmental changes. After all, shared strategies, scientific research and legal input from the many different parties and angles, would more effectively promote environmental protection. 

Thanks to the generous salmon contribution from Tim Hermach of the Native Forest Council, we all enjoyed each others company during a dinner on Saturday prepared by Ellie, William and myself. After dinner and around a crackling fire we talked on a lighter note, laughed at jokes and looked back to the 2009 Environmental Law Conference with the knowledge to have learned from each other experiences facing similar environmental challenges to come to more successful environmental policies. As for the McKenzie River Inn, we can not be more thankful for the wonderful guests we could share our place on the McKenzie river with. Hope to see you all back next year.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sun and snow

What a great winter it has been, and just when you think it is over it rears it's snowy head. 
A more than usual snowfall in December created a beautiful scenery, snow covered hills, ripe on the tree's, tracks of the local wildlife and birds foraging for food on the feeders. Cedric and Isabelle enjoyed the sledding when we took them up on the mountain for a couple of days and found many other families enjoying the snow and hills. 
Although highway 126 was drive able all the way up to our entrance we had a plow coming in to clean our driveway so guests, who were spending Christmas at the McKenzie 
River Inn, had easy access to their rooms and cabins.  
January counted for many sunny day's here at the McKenzie as well the first week of February. It certainly gave us the opportunity to clean up the fallen branches and an apple tree that fell over in our orchard after it couldn't bare the snow load. Guests staying in the cabins always seem to find an array of activities to do in the wintertime. From skiing at Hoodoo to visiting the falls and hiking the trails or fishing for Steelhead. One of our guests stayed with us last summer and as a birdwatcher (he counted over a hundred different species on our property) hiked the logging trails and returned with some great and sometimes stunning pictures of the local wildlife in this winter wonderland.

This time of year also means allocating time for projects. From upgrading the facilities to remodeling, like the bathroom of one of the cabins. We also start our preparations for the upcoming 27th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the end of February. We are thrilled to be chosen again as the location for facilitating this event. After a very successful conference in 2008 we expect the return of familiar and also new faces and rumors are that a traditional fish bake might be part of this three day event at the McKenzie River Inn Bed & Breakfast and Cabins.