I get the feeling that most people who haven’t spent a lot of time in Oregon thing that the entire state looks like the coast and the central Valley around Portland. But the truth is, the majority of the state sits in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range. Meaning everything east of Mt.Hood, south down to California all the way to Idaho is pretty much just high desert. Burns Oregon sits two and half hours east of the Cascades in the beautiful wide open plains of Harney County.
When driving in from the west you will hit Hines first to a new comer like me there didn’t seem to be much of a distinction from one to the other but I did straight away notice this incredible abandoned art deco building. I couldn’t find anyone who new what this used to be, but I would love nothing more than to turn it into something. It was so startling compared to the modest homes and small local park that surrounded it.
Burns and Hines together make up 60 percent of the population of Harney county, which isn’t to say how big the two towns are, rather it illustrates how sparsely population the area is. At just a little over four thousand people in both towns you can literally drive for hours and not see another car. Cattle Ranching, high quality horses and agriculture are the main industries in the area. And like most small towns in Oregon it has a lively local scene.
Things to Do
Most of the things to do in the area consists of outdoor exploration, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sweetest little shop Robin’s Closet. We stumbled onto it while need to take a driving break to stretch our legs.
Robin herself was working the day we went in and she was just living breathing kindness. She told us all about the area and her shop which has this incredible historical mural along one wall. I could have stared at it for hours.
The shop provided basically everything a girl could want or need plus cute little home items, candles, and some snack products. We spent more time in the shop than we probably should have but we were so impressed with the selection. I grew up in small town and I recall how difficult it was to find cute clothes to wear without having to drive to a city. I kept thinking how lucky all the local ladies were to have such a darling place to pop into any time they wanted.
While we were not leaving Robin’s Closet, Robin told us all about the renovations occurring in the small town. Recently the Central Hotel was renovated and provides both boutique rooms and a small music venue. The hotel website provides pictures of all the stunning rooms and a very nice run down of various places to eat and things to do in the area.
We were unfortunately only in town to break up our drive but I would really like to make my way back there one day and really experience Burns Oregon. It was a really sweet little place with lots of up and coming potential. After visiting with Robin and checking out a couple antique shops we hit the road. We were on a bit of a time schedule and had a lot of ground to cover before our next stop at the Round Barn.