Play & Stay: Winter Wonder & Wine Weekend

Play & Stay: Winter Wonder & Wine Weekend
Snow-dusted vineyard in the eastern Gorge (photo: Debbie Asakawa)

Friday, January 25, 2019

6:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

12:00 p.m.

Start your new year with a wintertime escape to the beautiful eastern Gorge to learn all about bald eagles that call this place home, take in scenic views from lesser-traveled vantage points, delve into the rich cultural history of the area, and enjoy a two-night stay in the luxury of a restored, century-old hotel in Dufur, Oregon.

Over the 36-hour weekend of wildlife talks, winter meanderings, and wine tastings, local experts and Friends staff join the group to talk about populations of our national bird “wintering” in the Columbia Gorge, highlight wonders unique to the Eastern Gorge, and share Friends’ work related to Gorge Resilience.


Arrive Friday evening at The Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur, OR and enjoy a wine dessert reception to meet and mingle with the innkeepers and other weekend guests. A short evening presentation by Kevin Gorman, executive director of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, introduce you to Friends and weekend logistics.

Saturday enjoy breakfast at the hotel before an outing to view Bald Eagles near The Dalles Dam. A local wildlife biologist will introduce us to resident and migrating eagles who take advantage of spawning salmon in the Gorge as an important winter food source, as we get an up close view of these special raptors.
Continuing the wonder, we’ll take a scenic drive to the Gorge’s own “Stonehenge” to learn some unique history with a scenic view before continuing to Maryhill Winery in Goldendale. From this picturesque location we'll settle in for a Premium Flight wine tasting and picnic lunch while the day's conversations continue.
Back at the hotel in late afternoon, there’s time to enjoy the historic lobby, browse the local art on the walls, play a game in the library or have a drink in the parlor before a Northwest feast for dinner with local wine pairings. If the skies are clear and weather cooperates, we’ll end our day star-gazing to point out constellations in the night sky.

On Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast, we'll caravan to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center down the hill from Dufur in The Dalles. The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, and we’ll learn about the significance of this area to their journeys through the Gorge over 200 years ago. Guests will enjoy a “birds of prey” presentation with resident raptors and have time to explore the museum exhibits before concluding our weekend together.

Package rates:

Modern room with private bath ($518 value)
  • 479.00 double occupancy
  • $367.00 single occupancy
Traditional room with shared bath ($442 value)
  • $415.00 double occupancy
  • $302.00 single occupancy
Taxes not included in above rates

Package includes:

  • Two nights at Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur, OR (at group discount)
  • Activities facilitated by Executive Director Kevin Gorman
  • Saturday exclusive bald eagle viewing outing led by a wildlife biologist
  • Chartered transportation to and from Maryhill Winery on Saturday
  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center museum admission
  • Food and drink: 
    • Friday night wine & dessert reception
    • Buffet breakfasts Saturday and Sunday
    • Saturday picnic lunch, wine tasting and gourmet dinner

Call the Historic Balch Hotel at 541-467-2277 to book your weekend.
Be aware that this is a winter event and travel conditions can vary. Winter travel conditions and snow zones will be encountered, event will only be cancelled in the event of road closure issued by ODOT. 


Contact Outdoor Programs Coordinator Kate Lindberg at or 971-634-1265.

Cancellation Policy

Prior to January 18 | 75% refund. 
January 18 – January 22 | 50% refund. 
After January 22 | No refund unless there is a road closure issued by ODOT. A portion of your payment will be donated for Gorge protection.
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