Tallman Hotel :: Adding Class to Upper Lake, CA

The Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon

It’s the classic tug-of-war. The locals want to keep it small, like it’s been for years. The newcomers, coming from the city, have found wide open spaces and affordable real estate prices. A place they can escape to and build their dream home on a lake.

Yvonne Barnette, a resident of Lake County for the past 23 years, is overwhelmed with the changes. “In the last two years there’s been so much growth — people have come knocking on our doors wanting to buy our homes!? She hates to see the wineries taking over the orchards, but at the same time she recognizes some benefits. “Work had been scarce. Now people are getting more work.?

As an outsider, the changes happening in Lake County are all positive. New construction and new businesses have brought life to a fading violet. Old, tired buildings are being renovated and beautiful homes are appearing along Clear Lake. What once was a place to ignore while driving by has now become desirable.

Upper Lake, a popular tourist destination in the 19th century, had long been forgotten. The dilapidated old buildings were a reminder of hard times. Today it’s a shabby-chic town heading toward discovery, and once found it could be California wine destination. An easy two-hour drive from the bay area will bring day-trippers as well as developers.

Lynne and Bernard Butcher are partly responsible for the turn around and they’re no strangers to Clear Lake. As residents of San Francisco, they use Clear Lake as their playground. They’ve been coming to their vacation home for years, boating and playing on the lake, which Lynne claims is warm enough to swim in from May through October.

The Butchers recognized the potential for growth in Lake County and wanted it to be done right. With the idea of preservation and restoration rather than new construction, they bought the old Tallman Hotel with the adjacent Blue Wing Saloon and Café in 2003. With the help of designers and a conscientious contractor, the historic buildings have maintained their original style and beauty while adding modern conveniences.

Their commitment to reuse and recycle materials creates a feeling of old elegance.
The Butchers care about the environment and have incorporated an extensive geoexchange system for heating and cooling, augmented by a solar energy system. Along with good insulation, it provides a very comfortable climate in their high ceiling rooms. The dining room and lobby are the essence of grace with fine linens and comfortable furniture to relax in.

Across the shaded courtyard is the Blue Wing Saloon and Café with a bar and table tops made from a Walnut tree cut down for construction, and a huge outdoor grill made from a 1930s boiler. The menu extends from Burgers and Fries to Grilled Yellow Fin on Organic Greens and Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque soup.

The drive across Highway 20 is suddenly more interesting. Check it out and watch it morph in the next few years.

Tallman Hotel
9550 Main Street
Upper Lake, CA 95485
T: 707-275-2244
W: www.TallmanHotel.com

Blue Wing Saloon and Café
9520 Main Street
Upper Lake, CA 95485
T: 707-275-2233
W: www.BlueWingSaloon.com

Posted by Betsy Husband on November 07, 2007 in Food, Travel, Wine, Spirits & Liquids

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