Reviews & Photos
May 18 2014
Sherman County Historical Society and Museum
1 family found this helpful
200 Dewey Street,
We made a quick stop into the museum on our way to Fossil, Or and the Wilson Ranches Retreat. The museum was a wonderful experience stepping us through time and showing us how the community was formed and has thrived from the time the pioneers settled it. There is a small tribute to the native peoples of the area as well.
The collections include all sorts of antiques that have been collected from members of the community and have been very nicely displayed in the 3 rooms of the museum.
Entrance fees were $11 for the two of us adults and 1 child.
The walk through takes about 45 minutes or so. Kids will especially enjoy playing with the drum, doing hopscotch and grinding wheat between two heavy stones. Our 6-year-old didn't run through it as fast as he has other museums. If kids get bored, there is a wonderful little city park just outside to burn off some energy. The museum also houses a Visitor's Center, and the ladies there were very helpful with giving us information and tips. Such as heading up to the Moro Bakery and Cafe for lunch (and to make sure and have one of their cinnamon rolls...they are delicious!).
Small kids will not find this as interesting, but kids 6 and older should get some pleasure from it. We enjoyed it!
May 12 2014
0 families found this helpful
Wilson Ranches Retreat Bed and Breakfast
16555 Butte Creek Road,
"Amazing Mother's Day on the Ranch!"
The Wilson Ranches Retreat B&B is a really special place. It is an authentic, family owned, working ranch just outside of the small town of Fossil in Eastern Oregon. The ranch lies within the beautiful Butte Creek Canyon and on your drive in you not only see the cattle grazing lazily in the fields, but song birds flying above, and quail scurrying across the road. You will feel your heart and breathing slow down to keep time with the pace of the area. We made our way 3-hours east of Portland for Mother’s Day weekend, which I have told anyone who has been within ear-shot, was the best Mother’s Day I have ever had. That is in large part to the Wilson Ranches Retreat and the family!
After you turn off Highway 206, drive for 2 miles down Butte Creek Road where you will come upon a brown building surrounded by fruit trees. Park along the side fence, step inside and you are home!
We signed in at the registration desk and made our way to our lovely room. If you don’t have a reservation when you arrive, pick an available room in the book and make yourself comfortable. Weekends get very busy, so reservations are recommended.
There is a phone on the registration table so you are able to call down to Nancy at the family’s home if you have questions or need anything and also to let her know you have arrived. We were looking for directions, so she came down to give us a map and more suggestions, including places for dinner and other “not to miss” sights. The Wilson Family takes “Pioneer Hospitality” very seriously, your kids will be hugged and they love to tell funny stories that bring about big belly laughs. The family has an incredible sense of humor that we all enjoyed. They are available to the guests at all times and do their very best to help in every way possible.
This B&B house is not your standard B&B. We have never really considered staying in one as a family since most are usually set up for couples. This B&B is very different than that. They have 6 rooms that can accommodate anywhere from 1-6 people. Room prices start at $105/night for the cozy Wrangler Room (sleeps 1-2 people) and go up to $185/night for the massive Homestead Room (sleeps 1-6 people). The prices are based on a double occupancy and include breakfast. Each additional person (including kids) is $10 which includes their breakfast.
Rooms are tidy and sweet and each offers a little something different than all of the rest. Each room had lovely, soft robes for guests to use and extra blankets for chillier nights. Rooms on the main and second levels have air conditioning for warm summer nights. Some rooms have TVs, but the main TV and VCR are in the living room and there is a large library of videos for people of all ages. Board games can be found in the day light basement for more entertainment and there is a lawn where we enjoyed throwing the Frisbee and football. There are 3 bathrooms in the house which are shared by everyone. BBQs, microwave, guest fridge, coffee makers and tea pot are always available.
Breakfast in the morning is served at 8:00am. You will wake up to the sweet smell of fresh coffee and bacon being fried up. Nancy and Phil cook for all of the guests and everyone sits down family style to share the meal and lots of stories. Prepare to laugh! Farm fresh eggs, bacon, oatmeal, peaches, biscuits, gravy, juice and all of the toppings make for full, happy bellies which will sustain you throughout your ride and much of your day.
Wilson Ranches Retreat offers horseback riding for adults and kids 4 and older, which we were quick to take advantage of as we have a little city slicker with a big cowboy heart. We did an hour and a half ride, but ride times can vary. Just talk to your wonderful hosts and they will help you organize everything. The horses are calm and gentle and I had no worries about my 6 year old riding on his own. The horses are matched up to you based on your size and experience. If you do not have boots or hats, they have them for you to borrow for your ride. Rides for younger kids are scenic, although you might get a chance to ride among some of the cows. Families with older kids can enjoy cattle drives, checking fence lines or for strays, and taking part in pasture moves. Riders in groups of 1-3 are $45/hour each, riders in groups of 4 or more are $40/hour each.
There are so many other things to do off the ranch as well. You can dig for fossils of ancient flora on the hill behind the high school. Cost is $5/person, or $15/family of 4. They have tools there for you to use and as you can dig as long as you like. This is like searching for treasure, but you always come away with something amazing! We also had a look at the Painted Hills, which is one part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The hour drive each way is worth it for an incredible sight everyone should see. The intense colors and textures had our heads spinning. There is also rafting, fishing, hiking, biking, museums, fairs, rodeos, and more. Wilson Ranches Retreat is a great home base for all of it.
I have already started recommending the Wilson Ranches Retreat to friends and family and we plan to go back out there. You might arrive a stranger, but you leave feeling like one of the family.
We want to thank Wilson Ranches Retreat for hosting our stay. As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review. They earned it, big time!
August 14 2013
1 family found this helpful
Philip Foster Farm National Historic Site
29912 SE Hwy 211,
"Reliving the Pioneering days!"
Philip Foster and his wife were early settlers in Oregon, having taken a ship here in 1843. He was an entrepreneur and the first treasurer of the Provisional Government of Oregon (1844-1845). When folks started coming west on the Oregon Trail, he and Sam Barlow established the Barlow Trail portion of the Oregon Trail in 1845, which traveled along the south side of Mount Hood and brought the pioneers into the Willamette Valley. He continued to maintain it there after and his store and farm where the first bit of civilization folks would see as they came over the pass. Being close to Oregon City, it wasn’t far for folks to travel to file land claims, and the General Store he ran gave them access to things they had run out of on the trip. There was also a camp for folks who needed a place to stay until they had settled their own land. It was an important place for many of the early settlers.
Today it is a beautiful historic site that allows you to relive a little bit of the pioneer experience. The tour guides dress in period clothing and take you through the 3rd house that was built on the property (the first house flooded the first year, so they built the second house which his wife died in and it was burned to the ground afterward), the barn, the blacksmith shop, and introduce you to several activities. The General Store, where you check in, is open for you to explore on your own. The house and the barn are original buildings. The blacksmith shop, the general store, and all of the other buildings were reconstructed before opening to the public in 1993. They have also installed an outbuilding with modern restrooms.
A few of the activities we really enjoyed were using the cross-cut saw to cut wood, packing a wagon so we could set off on the Oregon Trail (and learning our fate based on our packing choices - we did pretty well , my ancestors would be proud!), building with giant Lincoln Logs, doing the laundry, grinding corn, and using a manual drill and other tools they would have had. My son also enjoyed writing with feathers and ink in the General Store which also sells different toys, books, and maps about the Oregon Trail.
The Farm hosts many special activities throughout the year. It starts with a Dutch-oven Cook-off on Father’s Day, various camps through the summer, Garden Parties, a Cider Squeeze and Haunted Farm in the Fall, and “Christmas in the Country” come December.
It was a great day out and would be best for kids 5 and up. The littlest guys might struggle with many of the activities, but will enjoy running in the pioneer orchard and around the gardens. The Farm is about a 45 minute drive from Portland, and can be tied in with many other activities in the area to make it is really fun day!
We want to thank Philip Foster Farm for hosting our afternoon. As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review. They earned it!
July 06 2013
1 family found this helpful
End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
1726 Washington Street,
We were invited to come to Oregon City, to have a sneak peak at the new End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center before it opens towards the end of July 2013. What a treat that was!
You have a choice of either having a guided tour presented by one of the fantastic employees, or taking a self-guided tour where you learn from tablets that are staged throughout the center. Kids ages 3 and up will do well with the activities and tour, which if you skip the video, will take about a half hour.
The Center is set up in a really great way, starting with what things were like in Missouri, which is home to two of the 4 starting points of the Oregon Trail. They show you what a store was like and how things worked (either through the use of money or barter and trade), what a school house was like and they give the kids a chance to use a slate and slate pencil, what a home looked like and things that would be left behind or packed, and what Mama used to wear (including the underskirts and drawers!). We got to count Prudence's petticoats!
Once you travel through “Missouri”, you go down a hall where you see an old buggy that would have been used to get around town and things relating to children - their clothes, games, and different jobs and school. Just off that hall is a set of doors leading you to another building where you can make your own hand-dipped candle and see a covered wagon.
Head back in and check out the 30-minute video called “Bound for Oregon” and learn about the pioneers and their journey. My guy sat through the first part, but got up to have a look at other things a little ways in. Older kids will find it more interesting and I was certainly interested in watching more.
When you exit the theater to your right, you will head down a hall with silhouettes, and family stories before you make your way to the “End of the Oregon Trail” and the "Land Claim Office". All of the pioneers had to come to Oregon City to claim their land before settling and building their homes. Once you have your land claim, get out a set of Lincoln Logs and build your new home! That might have been my son's favorite thing (outside of the candle making). As you enter this room you will see artifacts that came with pioneers across on the Oregon Trail.
Head down the paved path n front of the building, once you have finished inside, and see the pioneer garden and the official End of the Oregon Trail markers. There are Master Gardeners who tend the garden and orchard and it is beautiful. Also check out our state flower along your walk. There is Oregon Grape all over the property. When we were there the berries were a deep purple, just inviting us to eat them (but we didn't...I promise!).
The exhibits were not quite finished while we were there. There is a collaborative effort with the Collective Tribes of Grand Ronde to tell their parallel story and how things changed as the pioneers came west. I am excited to see how the stories are told together, giving both sides of this American Story. The Center is also working on additional hands-on activities for families to do while visiting that sound fantastic. It was very interactive and if you decide to have a guided tour, they really get the kids involved and excited about our history.
The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is also the Oregon State/Mt Hood Territory Visitor’s Center. The folks working there are fantastic and have lots of suggestions of other things to do in the area. Word has it there is an arcade nearby with lots of pinball games we need to check out! The Visitor’s Center also has lots of activities for kids from puzzles to games to dressing up as a pioneer (boots and hats included!). There are informational videos playing to inspire you to see more of Oregon, as well as a shop with things made by the Collective Tribes at Grand Ronde and local artists, as well as books and knick-knacks. If your kids fall in love with any of the games, they sell them right there. We picked up a Buzz-Saw toy we couldn’t live without!
It was a really fun afternoon and we already have plans to bring my in-laws there who will be visiting from England next month. We will also be sure to have a little wander around Oregon City at the same time!
We want to thank the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center for hosting our afternoon. As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review. They earned it!
July 01 2013
0 families found this helpful
Kah-Nee-Ta Resort (Kahneeta)
6823 Highway 8,
Warm Springs, Oregon
"A great weekend in the high desert"
We just returned from a wonderful weekend spent at the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort in Warm Springs. We started our journey by checking into The Lodge. Check-in was a snap and the folks were very friendly, even opening the door for us as we came and went.
The Lodge complex is a bit of a maze, but once you figure it out, it is easy to navigate. The room we had was a big room with 2 very comfy king sized beds, a desk, fridge, a table and chairs, coffee maker and beautiful balcony with a view. The art hanging on the walls were gorgeous pictures of tribe members from days past. The room was very comfortable, but we found sound travelled especially well through the walls.
The Lodge has a beautiful, big pool smack in the middle of complex, and on the hot days it was a refreshing relief. Just off the Pool is the Gym, which was well equipped with Precor machines, a hot tub, steam room, sauna and spectacular views. The gym is especially handy since the food at The Lodge was really good!
There are two main options for food in The Lodge itself – The Warm Springs Grill and the Chinook Northwest Grill. The Warm Springs Grill is a more casual environment and fancies itself a “New American Style Grill”. It serves lunch and dinner and we enjoyed salads, roast beef sandwiches and Mac and cheese, followed by games of pool, dancing to the live band (who play on weekends), and the kid’s arcade. This is a great place for dinner with the family.
The Chinook Northwest Grill is a higher end-option for dinner, but is the only option for breakfast. The first thing you notice when you walk in is an amazing view. For breakfast get there before 9:00a so you are not waiting in line. They offer a full menu, as well as a buffet. The buffet has a variety of options from pancakes, waffles and fry-bread to fruits, yogurts, eggs, and pastries. That fry-bread is completely addictive! Seriously! Try it with a little butter and their huckleberry/marionberry jam. It is heaven!
One very special food option is the Salmon Bake that happens in the summer on Saturday nights. Reservations are recommended to this very special evening full of the Warm Springs cultures. You can check their website for the dates and prices are $30/adult and $15/child over 6. The salmon is cooked traditionally over alder wood coals in the open by the Elders (and helpers). Dinner is served buffet style, and then the entertainment begins! Tribal dancing with full traditional wear happens right in front of you with live drumming. It gave our son more dance inspiration and he was able to go out with the dancers at the end for the “Friendship Dance”. He loved every moment and it was a great end to our day. As we were there during the Pow-Wow, many of the adult dancers were competing at the time of the Salmon Bake, so we were treated to some of the younger dancers showing what they have been learning. They did a great job! One adult dancer did make it up in time to show what the adults can do too. I thought it was a wonderful evening, and was actually happy we were there for the kids. Our show was a condensed version of the regular salmon bake show as there were still competitions to be won that night!
The main activities for kids can be found in the Village at the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort. We enjoyed the mineral pool for swimming and the slides were good fun. Kids need to be 48" tall to ride them (there are no exceptions). There is a small slide for kids under 48" that many children were enjoying. If you forget your float for the pool, fear not! There is a huge selection of them in the check in office. We found the changing rooms to be clean and well stocked. Bring in some change for the lockers if you like. We had lunch at the pool side snack shack. We had salads and hot dogs, but hamburgers and fries were also on the menu.
We didn't get a chance to do it, but there is also mini-golf, a play structure and other activities in the Village. The stables are across the road for the Horseback riding tours. Our guy wasn't old enough to do a ride, so we are saving that for next time. We will also save the river-rafting for next time too!
A weekend there is good, but there are so many activities you will find something new to do each time you visit (or you could just extend your stay!).
We want to thank Kah-Nee-Ta for hosting our weekend! As always, the opinions expressed here are our own and we were under no obligation to leave a positive review.