My Cousin Alice’s Weekend in Baker, Ore

"You, too, could have this much fun!"

Article by Josie Bryan

Our child-sized muck boots began to sink into the heavy dark wet dirt. There we were facing a fence in my aunt’s garden looking out onto their farm , completely stuck in the mud. Luckily, my aunt came out after being alerted by my older cousin, Kate, and saved us by heaving both my cousin Alice and I out of our boots and onto the soft ground where we most likely ran toward the swing in the big old tree by the road.

This is a fond and blurry memory I have of my cousin Alice and I from our childhood. There are many similar stories to this one that all took place in the beautiful valleys of Baker County. A high-mountain desert region of Eastern Oregon, where my hometown of Baker City is located.

Baker City, or Baker to locals, is a historic small town that sits up against the Elkhorn Range of the  Blue Mountains. Baker is home to many local shops, eateries, bars, and outdoor activities that make it a place to call home and a unique weekend adventure. While my cousin Alice only spent her childhood in Baker, she frequently visits to see family and enjoy everything this rural community has to offer.

Let’s explore Baker City through Alice’s eyes and uncover her favorite activities and hidden gems.


On Friday morning, she makes her way to Matilda’s, a local lifestyle and coffee shop on first street, for an iced latte and a stylish gift for her friend’s upcoming birthday.

In the afternoon, Alice meets up with her uncles for a chukar hunt in the Keating Valley, just 20 minutes from Baker City. The areas surrounding Baker City offer ideal terrain for upland game bird hunting. Additionally, the region boasts excellent opportunities for hunting elk, deer, ducks, and geese, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

As dinner time rolls around, exhausted by her afternoon hike and hunt, Alice meets up with the rest of the family for dinner at her go-to spot, El Erradero where she orders enchiladas and a margarita without hesitation.

The night continues with a game of pool at the local VFW. A classic Baker establishment where the past meets the present and the stories flow freely. Heading to the VFW has become a right of passage for the cousins as they turn 21!


Depending on the season there are two ways Alice’s Saturday in Baker could go. Let’s start with her spring/summer version which begins with a yoga class at Studio Sweat where you can choose from a variety of styles.

Next stop, Alice heads to the delicious local bakery, Sweet Wife Baking, for a sweet treat. And if it’s after 10am, she is ordering a cocktail because the secret is out, they make the best in town.

Saturdays are for shopping and there is an abundance of independent shops located in downtown Baker City. Alice makes her way to No. 1911, BELLA Main Street Market, Peterson’s Chocolate, Mad Habit, and more before popping in for a fresh juice at Suun on main street.

Now, if Alice is visiting during ski season, she is 100% heading to Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort located in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Anthony is a charming old-school resort with no guest wifi and powder skiing that allows you to turn off your notifications and enjoy the great outdoors. You will find Alice in the Starbottle Saloon enjoying a pint and live music amongst other members of this tight-knit ski community.


No better way to unwind from a jam packed weekend than soaking in hot water outside. Alice’s Sunday morning road trip brings her to nearby mineral hot springs located in The Lodge at Hot Lake Springs.

After a rejuvenating day at Hot Lakes, it is time to watch a blockbuster movie at the historic art deco, Eltrym Theater, in downtown Baker with a big bag of freshly popped popcorn and sour nerd gummies.

As yet another of Alice’s weekends in Baker City comes to a close, she always knows she’ll be back soon to enjoy all her childhood hometown has to offer. Luckily, these days she doesn’t get stuck in the mud.

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