Colfax, Washington

June 14, 2011

  Try to arrive in Colfax in late Spring or early summer when the wheat fields, deep green at this time of year,  billow across the landscape  like green velvet  comforters. In late afternoon, provided it’s not raining, drive out a few miles toward Spokane, and turn right at the sign that says Steptoe Butte. It’s a few […]

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Republic, Washington

May 4, 2011
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Republic,  the seat of Ferry County, inhabits a valley near the confluence of Granite Creek and the San Poil River in the Kettle mountains of northeastern Washington. On Clark Street are two motels, two bars, a grocery, a hardware store and some antiques shops.  The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, built of mellow local sandstone, […]

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Spray, Oregon

March 29, 2011
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Spray, a place named for a man and not a splash of water, lies in a valley dotted with irrigated fields and groves of pine, poplar and locust. The John Day River flows through it, shimmery and shallow, making a curve that wraps the town’s edge. This is rimrock country, and the underlying stone of […]

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Fossil, Oregon

March 7, 2011
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Fossil can feel icy gray on a winter afternoon.  It had been two years since my last visit. That was a spring evening  in 2008, and the Fossil Players were performing Noel Coward’s  “Blithe Spirit” in the school auditorium. After the performance, which I thought was as good as I could see in New York […]

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Canyonville, Oregon

February 9, 2011
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Canyonville, population 1800, is 200 miles south of Portland on Interstate 5. You’ll know you’ve arrived when the sprawling Seven Feathers Casino appears on the east side of the highway. Canyonville is really two towns. There’s the casino, a bright, jangly place of slots and lounge singers. Then there’s the real town, best reflected in […]

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Shady Cove

January 15, 2011
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Side-by-side, Shady Cove in Southern Oregon has one of Oregon’s loveliest strips and one of its ugliest. The ugliest is Oregon 62, which cuts right through it and is the only business district in the town. It’s a mishmash of shops catering to tourists, a couple of restaurants and bars and some rafting companies. It’s […]

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Depoe Bay, Oregon

January 14, 2011
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Travelers on the Oregon coast know Depoe Bay mostly for saltwater taffy and for the crowds of people haphazardly crossing Interstate 101. It actually has a deep culture with an abiding sense of voluntarism and a population deeply committed to the area. Of the 1,400 or so people live there, many are retirees who came […]

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