Enjoying the trip

I’m heading into the back country this morning. 

Twice every year we take the youth orchestra here on a weekend retreat. Instead of heading for a private school built around an ancient mansion (as we have in Kent), the OES Prep Orch heads into the nearby mountains, either the Blues in the spring or the Eagle Cap mountains in the fall.   

Pendleton is a pretty place, but Wallowa Lake is spectacular by any measure. Situated just inside the mouth of the high mountains, the lake was literally carved out of the mountain range by a great glacier, and as the glacier retreated it shaved the earth absolutely flat on the north side. The effect is stunning, as one side of the lake is surrounded in towering peaks and the other is encircled by a perfectly smooth, featureless shore. 

I like working different places, and over the years I’ve developed some strong ideas about how to enjoy life while I’m working there, so here is how to enjoy life at Wallowa Lake

How to get started- Coffee from the art gallery in Enterprise What to do- Hike, hike, hike 

Where to eat- Wallowa Lake Lodge or the Bakery in Joseph Where to hang out after rehearsal- Terminal Gravity Brewery in Enterprise 

What to have- Terminal Gravity IPA (best beer on the planet). 

If you’re in Cincinnati it might look like this How to get started- Iced cap at Baba Budan’s 

What to do- Red’s game on a summer night (bring a gas mask if there is smog alert) Where to eat- Red Pepper (Dead Lepper) Chinese 

Where to hang out- Christy’s Biergarten and Rathskeller What to have- Warsteiner 

In my home town of Madison we have How to get started- Whatever coffee you like at Café Espresso Royal on

State Street

What to do- People watch 

Where to eat- Kabul Afganistani Cuisine on State Where to hang out- Lakeside at the Union Terrace 

What to have- Sprecher Amber 

In La Grande, OR where I worked for three years How to get started- Sorbenots Espresso 

What to do- There is nothing to do  Where to eat- Foley Station (what a place!) Where to hang out- Bar at

Ten Depot Street

What to have- Terminal Gravity IPA (not as good as at the brewery, but still good) 

In Portland 

How to get started- Stump Town Coffee Roasters (world’s best) What to do- Check out the scene 

Where to eat- Too many to list Where to hang out- County Cork (next door to my friend’s house, there are hundreds of places) 

What to have- Lagunitas IPA 

I could and may make a list for Britain, but even though the coffee situation has improved miraculously there, one is still hard pressed to find a locally owned coffee shop whose wares make you glad to be alive. 

In Domain Forget, Quebec How to get started- Coffee from the little stand up the road in the village 

What to do- Whale watching Where to hang out- on the hill overlooking the St Lawrence on the Festival grounds 

What to have- La Fin du Monde (Quebec produced Belgian style ale, yum….) 

You’ll note that for every venue, one must really have a coffee that makes life worth living and a beer that reflects the local scene. Let’s face it, you can get a martini made the same way anywhere, but it’s nice to have something that reflects the local culture and beer and wine are the way to go. Wine page must be coming soon!

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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