{A Long Time in Little Joseph}

Joseph, Oregon was our first destination in a new state.

We intended only to stop for a day or two and pass through on our way to all the places in the pacific northwest that we already had on our radar. We were already stressing about how to fit it all in and beat the cold weather.

Yet when we arrived, we fell for this old timber town that had revitalized itself with bronze foundries and a cute main street. We also fell for the idea of “Alpenfest,” which would be happening a week after we arrived, and would be Oregon’s  largest (or only?) swiss-bavarian festival.

Our time in Joseph was peaceful. Chris went on a 19-mile hike, about which he will blog one of these days. I took shorter strolls along a rocky stream. We lay on a blanket in a beautiful park, under stunning mountain vistas and towering pines. We drank at the local brewery, sipped coffee and caught up on internet chores at local cafes, and did a bit of small town browsing. We had those luxurious days at camp, in which it feels ok to just hang around, read, draw, and relax – no sightseeing necessary. Sometimes it’s just nice to feel normal.

So we stayed for alpenfest!

Below is one of the many posters covering the old building in which the main festivities were held. These travel posters from around the alps looked stunningly like the scenery to be had in Joseph.


We kicked off the festivities with the locals at a charming brewery, and we tried their Octoberfest beer. We met a man about our age who had, in the last several years, learned to make alphorn and to play the instrument beautifully. We met an adorable couple a little younger than us who had dressed up in their best rendition of traditional alpen-wear. So cute.

Chris at brew

It was difficult to capture the dance hall where the main events were held, because of the lighting… but here is one attempt.


We took free polka lessons, which prepared us (a little bit) for a night of dancing. There were dance performances by professionals, but also plenty of time for us regular folk to strut around the dance floor. Chris is an excellent dancer and can throw me around with panache. We had one nice lady come up to us after a bout of dancing to say “if you two aren’t married, you should be!”

Here’s a sped-up clip of the professionals in their special garb. Chris and I were also lucky enough to partner with a cute couple from this troupe during a group dance, and we spun and spun just like in the video.

Here are a few stills that, while low quality from the low light, capture some of the magic we felt.accordian dance skirts

It was a three-bratwurst day for Chris (he doesn’t recommend any more than that) and a strudel, potato, and coleslaw day for Alexis. And then we were off to explore new territory…


cricket small