Sunday, July 10, 2011
Butte Falls, Oregon
No, we didn’t head off to Montana. Butte Falls, Oregon is a small town, northeast of Medford, population about 430. The town was originally based on logging and had a mill at the falls on Butte Creek. Now the timber industry and the mill are long gone, but the quaint small town remains.
For day 5 of Chris’ summer vacation we decided to go for a drive, rather than another adventurous and arduous hike. (Have I mentioned that we have been sleeping really well this week??-lol!) We hopped in the Samurai and headed out on Hwy 62 and hung a right past Eagle Point and worked our way up into the foothills.
It was a gorgeously sunny, warm day, and there was no traffic on our little two lane highway. The town of Butte Falls is about 25 miles up into the foothills. The town has 3 restaurants, a bar, a general store, a couple of churches and schools, an old baseball field and a “helicopter landing area”, which I can only assume is for firefighting purposes.
We had not eaten before we took off for day 5 adventure, so we decided to stop at the Butte Falls Café, one of the three restaurants in town, one of two that was open and the only one that had any advertising on the highway before we got there.
The place was small with seating for about 50 people total. The café was decorated with old logging memorabilia and Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, Pillsbury and Buttermilk ads. It was quaint and very busy. We found a table and ordered cheeseburgers. I had onion rings and Chris had natural cut fries.
The Butte Falls Café is the definition of a greasy spoon. Our burgers were good, but not great. We both felt they could have been cooked a bit longer and were pretty greasy. The Rueben, however, looked delicious, as did the huge cinnamon rolls and the giant cream pies in the cold case. The café is closed Mondays, but open 7 am to 8 pm Tuesday through Sunday, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Large portions and reasonable prices: about $7.00 for lunch. If we ever find ourselves in Butte Falls again we will likely stop in and try something different to eat.
After lunch we headed to the falls themselves. Directions from the town, heading west, turn right just past the bright pink house. It is for sale, so if you are looking for a home in a very small town, it could be yours! If you paint it though, you may need to choose a unique color because the locals give directions to the falls by saying “turn right just past the pink house-you can’t miss it”.
The falls are beautiful…An old lumber mill was situated on the property next to the falls and there are many remnants of the old building there, including cement footings and a rock corner of an old building.
Be careful when walking around because there are big metal spikes, rebar and so forth, sticking out of the ground all over the place. The water itself was green and clear and lovely. Very peaceful.
After the falls we headed back toward town, but with one small detour. Out there in the middle of nowhere foothills is a winery. (I know! I live in the most awesome place ever…wineries no matter where I go!) This particular winery was just opened in 2010. It is owned and operated by a husband and wife team. The husband retired from the Medford Fire Department and they decided to put their 25 acres to good use by planting grapes. The name is LaBrasseur Vineyard. It is down a narrow, two lane road, over a single lane bridge and up a little hill to their home/vineyard. They hand built an AMAZING wine barn and tasting room.
Because they are a new winery and just getting started, they do not yet charge for tastings! YAY! We tried several wines including a Riesling, a couple of Viognier’s, and three reds including a Merlot and Cab Franc. Their wines are quite young, one is a 2010 vintage, but they are also very drinkable. The Riesling was crisp, light and slightly sweet, but not syrupy. They had a 2009 Estate Viognier and a 2009 Viognier they were pouring. I enjoyed the straight Viognier, and we bought a bottle of that ($8.00, 50% off) and a bottle of the Riesling ($16.00). The reds were good, including a big heady Merlot, but they are young and, in my opinion, need a bit more time to get really good. I would have liked to try their Syrah, but they have already sold out. They have another red being released in a week or so, which is a red-blend. They were talking this wine up pretty well, so I would be interested to taste it at some point.
We also found out that this winery is a part of the Upper Rogue Valley Wineries association which consists of Folin Cellars, Crater Lake Cellars, Agate Ridge Vineyards, Cliff Creek Cellars and Del Rio Vineyards. As a part of this association these wineries participate in what is called Second Saturday. From April through November each second Saturday of the month these wineries are open and do “theme” tastings for free. Chris and I have been to Folin, Cliff Creek, Del Rio and now LaBrasseur, but have yet to drop in at Agate Ridge or Crater Lake. We will certainly keep that in mind for the next Second Saturday event!
Lastly, as we headed back into town we stopped at a real butcher shop. It is relatively new, within the last year or so, and we have wanted to drop in several times. Usually, though, we are headed back from the lake with the boat and trailer and they are closed. This time they were open and they were PACKED! I think there were more people at the butcher shop than there were at the race track Friday night! They were closing in a half an hour and the owner put all of his fresh, wonderful looking fish on 50% off! I bought a big chunk of beautiful salmon and a couple of rib eye steaks. Oh YUM.
We had the rib eye on the grill last night and will be having the salmon tonight. You can bet that I will be heading back there. The meat and seafood, all different kinds, including rabbit, chicken, beef, pork, buffalo, sausages, sturgeon, salmon, trout, bass, scallops and much, much more, was super fresh and amazing looking. The prices were reasonable and they also had a selection of local cheeses, wines (including some from Roxy Ann and LaBrasseur, AND two buck Chuck which we can’t get down here because of no Trader Joe’s), and a fresh fruit and vegetable stand. Oh yes, I will be making my way there again for very fresh meat and seafood. It is hard to find good, fresh seafood here in Medford and I will be utilizing their services.
That was day 5 adventure.
We did have a houseguest for the evening…one of Chris’ friends and coworkers stopped by on his way back through to Portland from Sacramento. We of course stayed up too late talking and gossiping, didn’t sleep well and then got up extra early this morning. It was good to see and visit with Charlie and we look forward to our trip north later this summer for more good times hanging out and shootin’ the breeze.
Okay…day 5 done! Almost over…time to wind down.