Renovation at Hot Lake gives area shot in arm
Union County has a lot going it, strengths like a low crime rate, cities with lots of trees, being an educational hub, the natural beauty of the Grande Ronde Valley and so on. But as far as tourism is concerned, Union County has been a gateway to other places. That’s OK. Those other place include some of the finest tourism destinations in America, including the rugged and beautiful Wallowa Mountains, Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest gorge, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, Oregon’s largest.
Soon, however, Union County will have a tourist destination of its own. With the old Hot Lake resort on Highway 203 southeast of La Grande rising from the ruins, from ghosts and graffiti, the county will have a first class tourist magnet and a place in which locals can take pride. Lee and David Manuel should take a bow. The Manuels and their extended family, with much help from the community, have spent six years turning what once was an eyesore into a center for the arts and a world-class lodging facility. The $10 million restoration project at Hot Lake, when completed, will include a museum, meditation garden, bed and breakfast, restaurant, spa, foundry and much more. A grand opening is expected to occur sometime in 2010.