So you’ve decided to visit Bend, Oregon! If you like outdoor activities, granola, and beer then you have a fabulous vacation ahead of you!
WHERE TO LODGE:
Lodging options is rather limited. We stayed at the Shilo Inn and Suites, and while they are rather outdated (and the ceiling mirrors were a little odd), the hotel is comfortable and the rooms are spacious. Opt for a room with a river view, and buy bread to feed your duckies! With some sweet talking (my boyfriend shamelessly flirting with the reception desk girls while I played angry birds in the car), we ended up with a rate of $100 and change for a Jacuzzi suite.
WHAT TO DO:
- Hiking! Tumalo Falls is gorgeous but there’s plenty of great spots
- Rent mountain bikes and head to Smiths
- Drive to Billy Chanook and rent a powerboat and tube from the gas station on the way. You won’t find a better boat rental rate anywhere.
- Drive to the top of the Pilot Butte lookout
- Downtown Bend Farmers Market. Don’t get the jerky, taste like feet. Do get the homemade gelato, taste like heaven.
- Breweries. Deshutes is a must, but there are plenty to chose from
- Shopping in Old Mill & Downtown. Downtown has the cool boutiques while Old Mill is home to the typical chain stores. However, Old Mill should still be on your radar of places to visit for historical reasons.
- Snap some photos of the obnoxious amount of roataries.. each with their own trademark abstract art. I still don’t get it.
- Cyclebar! Really google it, TOO cool. It’s a bar, that you bring your own booze to, and cycle through the streets on. Genius.
- Paddleboard rentals/Kayak Rentals/Canoe rentals – All very reasonably priced and super fun on a nice day
- McKay Cottage. Lovely restaurant with a homey atmosphere that is sure to relax even the most amped extreme mountain biker. Se them it is your first visit and they will give you a free bag of homemade granola – And it is blueberry-honey-pumpkin seed deeelicious. Get their homemade seasonal scone heated
- Pine Tavern. For tourist stops, this historic Bend landmark is a must. Plus they serve up homemade scones with maple butter the second you sit down. If you can, sit outside overlooking the river, it is so peaceful. The menu changes seasonally so be sure to ask the waiter what he recommends.
- 10 Below in the Oxford Hotel. Small plates and modern LA vibe make this place fun for a local to get away, but not so much for tourists trying to embrace Bend’s unique personality.
- 900 Wall. Not incredibly impressed with the food, but I will commend them on their discounted happy hour menu. Save your $17 on the wine flights though – they’re not even local wines! Lame.
- Zydeco. Great atmosphere and fabulous wine selection. Not impressed with their steamed artichoke, but my salad was good for the price and the staff is amazing.
- Jackson’s Corner. This café is a true hidden gem. You have to try their homemade sambucca (?). It’s some silly green tea soda that is so refreshing and light. If a place can be “chic and barn”, then Jackson nailed it. Welcoming décor, great food, strong coffee and reasonable prices make this a must.
- Mother’s Juice. A juice bar that serves mimosas? I’m in. But really this place is adorable and offers much more than pureed carrots and beets.
- Townshend’s Tea. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with the pages upon pages of tea varieties. You can’t go wrong with a green tea infused with mango and strawberry, but what the heck! It’s vacation, get crazy!
LESSONS LEARNED & TIPS:
- Open up your suitcase and take out your shorts, sandals and tank tops. Replace these items with wool jackets and sweatpants. You think I’m exaggerating? We went to Bend in the end of June and the temperature dropped to 40 at night. 40 degrees. No layering of cute breezy tank tops will help you then, believe me.
- Bring your dog! Bend is the most dog friendly place I’ve ever visited.
- Excuse me, you’re not a dog person? Well my first reaction is that you’re a heartless, cruel and selfish monster. However, because I am tolerant of diverse opinions, I will allow you to carry on reading my blog without belittling you.
- Bends is absurdly welcoming. Don’t be surprised if after a day you’re petting strangers pooches, complimenting dreadlocks, and high fiving
- If you go to Reno, don’t let the Kitty Glitter slot machine trick you. Under that fluffy cuteness hides a sneaky sneaky money grubbing little devil.Drive! The scenery is breathtaking! We drove from LA to Sacramento on the way up, grazing through fruit stands and vineyards along the way. The way home, I pushed for Reno, where I poured all my money (not much) into a slot machine called Kitty Glitter, before we headed for Virginia City. Virginia City is TOO cool – it really is an unchanged Western town ..but filled with tattoo donning bikers drinking PBRs and playing blackjack. Then we cruised into Lake Tahoe before heading for Mammoth then home. You will not regret driving, I promise.
- Speaking of Kitty Glitter.. at Peppermill casino you will find a pleasant old woman clinking pennies into KG. Don’t be fooled by her innocent looking smile. She is camping out at our money making machine! Yeah yeah I know I said don’t waste your time at Kitty Glitter, but obviously that was a ploy in case that squatting hag stumbles across my blog.