Five miles east of La Grande, you'll find the steaming waters of Hot Lake, on the banks of which local sculptor David Manuel has a bronze foundry, sculpture park, art gallery, and firetruck and wagon museums. Manuel and his family are also restoring the historic hospital building that stands on the shores of Hot Lake, and there are plans to add a bed-and-breakfast, a restaurant, and a spa. Be sure to check on the status of this attraction when you are in the area. For information, contact Hot Lake Springs, 66172 Ore. 203, La Grande (tel. 541/963-HOTL ; www.hotlakeresort.com).
Not far from Hot Lake, in the community of Cove, you can sample locally made wines at the Gilstrap Brothers Vineyard and Winery, 69789 Antles Lane, Cove (tel. 866/568-4200 or 541/568-4646; www.gilstrapbrothers.com). This winery makes a wide range of red wines. Call for hours.
At the Baker County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, you can pick up a brochure that outlines a walking tour of the town's most important historic buildings, including the restored Geiser Grand Hotel, which, when it first opened, was one of the finest hotels in the West.
If you'd like to take a look inside one of Baker City's restored old homes, drop by the Adler House Museum, 2305 Main St. (tel. 541/523-9308), a stately Victorian structure. Everything on the second floor, from the wallpaper to the furniture, is original, dating to the 1890s. The first floor has been refurbished and decorated to look the way it might have more than 100 years ago. The museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Friday through Monday from 10am to 2pm. Admission is $5 per adult.
Baker City's fortunes were made by gold mines in the Blue Mountains, and if you'd like to see some samples from those golden years, stop in at the U.S. Bank on Main Street in Baker City. The gold collection here includes a nugget that weighs in at 80.4 ounces.
Oregon Trail Sites -- Oregon Trail history is on view west of La Grande, in downtown Baker City, and just north of Baker City. At the Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at Blue Mountain Crossing (tel. 541/963-7186; www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w/recreation/trails-lg/ortrail-th.shtml), at the Spring Creek exit (exit 248) off I-84, you'll find a .5-mile trail that leads past wagon ruts in the forest. Informational panels explain the difficulties pioneers encountered crossing these rugged mountains. On most weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are living history programs as well.
An Almost Grand Old Opera House -- In the town of Elgin, 18 miles north of La Grande on Ore. 82, you can take in a play or concert at the restored Elgin Opera House Theater, 104 N. Eighth St. (tel. 541/437-1918; www.elginoperahouse.com), which was built in 1912.
Chinese History in Eastern Oregon -- In the town of John Day, the fascinating little Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site (tel. 541/575-2800), on Northwest Canton Street adjacent to City Park, is well worth a visit. It preserves the home and shop of a Chinese doctor who for much of the first half of the 20th century administered to his fellow countrymen laboring here. The building looks much as it might have at the time of the doctor's death and contains an office, a pharmacy, a general store, and living quarters. It's open May through October daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free.
You'll find more Chinese history in Baker City, where an old Chinese cemetery can be seen on Allen Street, just east of exit 304 off of I-84. This cemetery has a modern Chinese pavilion that was built in Souzhou, China, designed by the same company that built the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. The Pendleton Underground Tours in Pendleton also focuses on the region's Chinese history.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.