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6 ways to love the planet this Earth Day (and every day!) in Bend

April 15th, 2015

Earth Day is April 22 this year, and while I’m not in the habit of throwing a black-tie cocktail party to celebrate, there are a few ways I plan to mark the occasion in 2015.

In case you’d care to join me, here are 6 great ways to celebrate the earth when you’re in Bend.



Prowl thrift stores and consignment shops

I love supporting Bend retailers selling new goods from handbags to household décor, but there’s something about thrift stores that makes my thrifty green heart feel giddy. It’s recycling at its best, and a great way to save a few bucks.

Bend has a nice abundance of thrift stores ranging from Goodwill and the Humane Society Thrift Store on the south end of town, to the Opportunity Foundation Thrift Store in northeast Bend. You can see a pretty good roundup here and find treasures in every single one.

Rescue Modern Consignment is one of dozens of Bend shops packed with fabulous secondhand goodies.

Rescue Modern Consignment is one of dozens of Bend shops packed with fabulous secondhand goodies.

If you prefer to restrict your secondhand shopping to treasures that have already been whittled down by professionals, consignment shops can come in handy.  My personal fave is Rescue Modern Consignment located in Downtown Bend just a couple blocks from the Bend Visitor Center. They have a huge array of clothing, shoes, and accessories, and clearance racks that can’t be beat. Another Downtown fave for attire is Dalia’s. It’s a smaller boutique with a particularly great selection of denim and dresses.

For those who prefer used sporting goods or previously-loved home furnishings, check out the Gear Peddler or Déjà Vu Consignment Furniture. I’ll let you guess which one has the sporting goods and which features home furnishings.

If you have goodies of your own you’re looking to recycle, check with the individual stores and ask about their consignment programs.



Shop for upcycled products

Sara Bella Upcycled makes tons of great products from castoff plastic bags.

Sara Bella Upcycled makes tons of great products from castoff plastic bags.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, upcycling is the practice of taking used items or waste products and turning them into something new.

There are a number of creative Bend companies practicing upcycling, and two of my favorites are Sara Bella Upcycled and Spoke Bracelet.

Sara Bella takes plastic bags and banners and turns them into totes, zip pouches, fashion wear, and more. At last count, her products have kept more than 31,000 bags out of the landfill. You can shop online for Sara Bella products, or even have her custom make something using your own banner or bag. You can also visit her shop in the Bend’s Makers District or pick up some of her cute wallets at the Bend Visitor Center.

How about  some bling made from old bike parts by Spoke-Bracelet?

How about some bling made from old bike parts by Spoke-Bracelet?

Speaking of the Bend Visitor Center, that’s also a great place to find Spoke-Bracelet jewelry for that bike fanatic in your life. As you can probably guess from the name, Spoke-Bracelet makes beautiful bracelets from used bicycle spokes. We have a terrific selection in the Visitor Center, or you can shop online or scope out the selections in a variety of Bend shops. Like Sara Bella, they also offer custom work, so get in touch if there’s a special something you’d like to have made for you.



Bid bye-by to plastic water bottles

With so many amazing reusable water bottles on the market these days, there’s really no excuse for cluttering up landfills with disposable ones.

From Hydro Flask to DrinkTanks to Cosco Cups, tons of Bend companies make reusable beverage vessels.

From Hydro Flask to DrinkTanks to Cupsco, tons of Bend companies make reusable beverage vessels.

You’ll pretty much never catch me without my trusty 21-ounce water bottle from Bend-based Hydro Flask. I’m sipping from mine while I type, and it’s still swirling with ice cubes I put in there at noon yesterday. My husband is fond of the flip-top 18-ouncer for his morning coffee, which he swears keeps it hot until late afternoon.

When you’re looking for something a little burlier to fill with Bend craft beer, cider, or kombucha, DrinkTanks makes a terrific 64-ounce growler, or you can pre-order the party-sized 128-ouncer.

And rather than using your growler or mini-keg to fill paper cups that will end up cluttering the landfill, substitute stainless steel cups that feature the Bend logo. They’re made by Cupsco and sold in the Bend Visitor Center.




Leave only footprints, take only photographs

Wrappers from this picnic were packed out after this hike on Black Butte. Promise.

Wrappers from this picnic were packed out after this hike on Black Butte. Promise.

It goes without saying that leaving trash behind along Bend’s hiking trails and recreation areas is a big huge no-no even when it’s not Earth Day. If you pack in those picnic fixins’, make sure you also pack out the empty containers. If Fido does his business behind a bush, use your compostable doggie doo bags to remove his malodorous calling card.

And hey, if you spot someone else’s trash along the trail, earn yourself a few good karma points by picking it up and packing it out.




Don’t toss it, mend it!

Once upon a time, an unraveling hemline was the signal I needed to pack up my favorite skirt and haul it off to Goodwill. No more!

Allison at Utilitu Sewing & Design can hem up those yoga pants so you don't have to toss them. (photo courtesy of Krystal Collins).

Allison at Utilitu Sewing & Design can hem up those yoga pants so you don’t have to toss them. (photo courtesy of Krystal Collins).

Since I discovered Utilitu Sewing & Design, I’ve had jeans patched, sweaters repaired, and skirt hemlines altered to a more fashionable length. Though Allison of Utilitu is committed to keeping local clients happy with speedy turnaround times, she’s also open to helping out Bend visitors as her schedule allows (particularly if you’re in town for a longer stay). Drop her a line if you bust a zipper or need a patch on your favorite pair of hiking pants.

And while this isn’t necessarily a travel-friendly suggestion, have you ever tried dyeing old garments to make them look new again? Seriously, my closet is filled with skirts, sweaters, t-shirts, and even undies that became brand new to me again with a little hot water and a packet of Rit Dye.




Check out Bend’s Earth Day Parade April 25

The annual parade is one of many don't miss events celebrating Earth Day in Bend.

The annual parade is one of many don’t miss events celebrating Earth Day in Bend.

In case all that environmentally-friendly shopping, sipping, hiking, and mending isn’t enough for you, don’t miss Bend’s annual Earth Day Fair and Parade in Downtown Bend. Sponsored by the Central Oregon Environmental Center, the event goes from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features live music, local food, family-friendly activities, and more.

The parade kicks off at 10:30 on Louisiana Avenue by McMenamins and proceeds through Downtown Bend. Folks wanting to participate should come dressed as your favorite species (though parade rules prohibit written words, motorized vehicles, and live pets).

Want to kick things off a little earlier in true BikeTown USA fashion? There’s a community bike ride leaving Juniper Swim & Fitness Center at 9 a.m. and cycling to the parade site. Check out details here.

The big day will also include drumming and art workshops as well as a variety of other activities. Keep an eye on the Environmental Center’s event page for more details.

5 outdoor activities to burn off your beer calories in Bend

April 9th, 2015

I like Bend beer.

One of many ways blogger Tawna makes an effort to earn those beers along the Bend Ale Trail.

One of many ways blogger Tawna makes an effort to earn those beers along the Bend Ale Trail.

I also like wearing a bikini without cringing in horror each time I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the Deschutes River.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to have both things without one canceling out the other. It’s even possible to have a little fun while you’re at it.

Using this website, I plugged in the stats for the CDC’s estimation of an average 35-year-old woman (5’4” and 166 pounds). I don’t know about you, but none of those numbers apply to me personally, so you’ll probably want to plug in your own stats to get an accurate calorie count.

But this is more for fun than for actual scientific research, so here we go with my roundup of how much Bend recreation you’ll want to enjoy to cancel out all those extra calories along the Bend Ale Trail.


Hike Pilot Butte to earn some suds from Worthy Brewing

You can see Pilot Butte from Worthy Brewing, and you can burn off those beer calories by hiking it.

You can see Pilot Butte from Worthy Brewing, and you can burn off those beer calories by hiking it.

Pilot Butte is the 500-foot dormant volcano in the middle of town, and folks enjoy driving, hiking, or jogging to the top for a killer views of the city.

It so happens Worthy Brewing is located just a little east of Pilot Butte and boasts splendid views of the landmark. It’s convenient for watching fireworks when Independence Day rolls around, but also a handy way to remind yourself what you’ve gotta do to earn those tasty Worthy beers.

Craving something simple like their Easy Day Kolsch? It’s light, crisp, and on the low-cal end of the spectrum at 130 calories for a 12 oz serving. Using those stats I gave earlier, our 35-year-old woman could enjoy a leisurely, 40 minute stroll with her dog around the flat little track at the base of Pilot Butte and burn 159 calories. Score! You can even put an olive in that Kolsch if you want.

How many of these can you enjoy after a hike up and down Pilot Butte?

Earn your Easy Day Kolsch with a hike up Pilot Butte.

Eyeing something heftier like Worthy’s Dark Muse Imperial Stout? That bad boy comes in at about 350 calories, so you’ve gotta hoof it to the top of Pilot Butte to earn it. Figure the whole hike takes a bit less than an hour, and half of it is the equivalent of walking up stairs, while the other half is a mellow downhill hike. That should burn around 500 calories, which is more than enough to earn you that Dark Muse and a cozy spot by one of Worthy Brewing’s fire pits.



Play nine holes of golf for a few cans of Good Life

The golf cart at River's Edge is well-stocked with tasty Bend beer.

The golf cart at River’s Edge is well-stocked with tasty Bend beer.

I’m not a golfer, so I was a little stunned when I learned the number of calories you burn whacking a ball around the course. A golf-fanatic pal told me it takes an average of two hours to play nine holes, and when I used our handy online calculator and selected the option to carry your own clubs, it showed me a whopping 916 calories. This article confirms what our little calorie counter says, so we’re going with it!

Another good way to enjoy Sweet As Pacific Ale from GoodLife Brewing.

Another good way to enjoy Sweet As Pacific Ale from GoodLife Brewing.

There are more than two dozen golf courses around Central Oregon, and most of them boast drink carts stocked with tasty Bend craft beer. On a hot day, few things taste better than a cold can of Sweet As Pacific Ale from GoodLife Brewing, and the drink cart at River’s Edge Golf Course has plenty to go around (along with brews from other favorites like Deschutes and 10 Barrel).

But let’s focus on the Sweet As, since its mild flavor and Pacific hops make this the perfect easy sipper for a warm day in Bend. A 12 ounce can of Sweet As has 183 calories, which means you could have three or four of these and still reap some calorie-burning benefit from your golf game (though your golf game may not benefit from that much beer).

If you do opt to guzzle several cans, be sure you line up a sober driver or a cab, OK?


Earn your Deschutes beer with an afternoon of paddling or skiing

When summer rolls around, I start itching to hop on my standup paddleboard and hit the Deschutes River. One of my favorite post-paddle treats is River Ale from Deschutes Brewery. At 140 calories for a 12 ounce serving, I only need to paddle for 20 minutes to kill 159 calories. Since I usually go for an hour in an afternoon of SUPing on the Deschutes River, I can have two beers or nibble a couple hot wings at their Bend brew pub.

Photo courtesy of Deschutes Brewery (folks who know how to make beer that's worth working for in Bend!)

Photo courtesy of Deschutes Brewery (folks who know how to make beer that’s worth working for in Bend!)

If it happens to be wintertime when your craving for Deschutes beer hits, you’ll probably want something a little heartier to drink. My personal fave is The Abyss Imperial Stout, with its deep, dark body and complex notes of molasses and licorice. A beer this big packs a whopping 344.53 calories for 12 ounces, or 632.5 calories if you guzzle the whole 22-ounce bottle (an endeavor you’d want to undertake verrrry slooowly). Luckily, an hour of skiing at Mt. Bachelor burns about 657 calories, so earning your Abyss bliss won’t be tough.



Bike for your 10 Barrel brew

Mountain biking is a terrific way to justify those extra calories from your Apocalypse IPA.

Mountain biking is a terrific way to justify those extra calories from your Apocalypse IPA.

The great thing about Bend is that you can mountain bike all year long, even when snow is flying in the mountains.

You can also enjoy 10 Barrel’s flagship brew, Apocalypse IPA, all year long. Coincidence? I think not.

One hour of mountain biking on Phil’s Trail in Bend should burn about 637 calories for our aforementioned average female. The hoppy, complex, super-drinkable Apocalypse has roughly 195 calories for a 12-ounce serving, so you can swig a couple of them and still reap some calorie burning benefit from your singletrack adventure. You’re welcome.

Now who’s ready for swimsuit season?


3 things in Bend that sound illegal, but aren’t (we swear!)

April 3rd, 2015
Want to win a two-hour tour for six people on one of these bad boys? Keep reading to learn how!

Want to win a two-hour tour for six people on one of these bad boys? Keep reading to learn how!

Sometimes you feel like being rebellious. Maybe you want to tear the tag off your pillow, or you find yourself scurrying across the street with only four seconds left on the crosswalk timer.

If you’d like to highlight your Bend vacation with something that sounds naughty but won’t get you arrested, here are a few activities to add to your list.




Strip off your clothes in a brewery

Tackling the whole Bend Ale Trail wearing nothing but your birthday suit will probably land you in jail, but there’s one stop along the way that will let you come pretty close to that.

The saltwater soaking pool at McMenamins is a great place to soak your bones after a long day of play.

The saltwater soaking pool at McMenamins is a great place to soak your bones after a long day of play.

At McMenamins Old St. Francis School, there’s a beautiful tile soaking pool just waiting for you to strip down and slip into its warm, silky depths. You can’t go completely nekkid, but you can don your favorite bikini or swim trunks and enjoy your soak while sipping a tasty McMenamins beer.

The pool is quite literally a work of art, with shimmering turquoise tile, luminous stained glass, breathtaking murals, and an open-air ceiling that lets you check out the night sky. It’s filled with soft, buoyant saltwater, which makes for an environmentally friendly soak. You can visit the pool daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the general public, or between 7 a.m. to midnight if you’re staying on property. Check the website for fees and info about when you can take the kiddos and when it’s an adult-only affair.

Then you can sit there with your plastic mug of Terminator and enjoy the thought of all those happy families having dinner just down the hall from where you’re soaking your half-clad bod.


Nab stuff that doesn’t belong to you in the forest

If you’re intrigued by the idea of slinking around the woods in search of treasure hidden by someone else, geocaching might be your thing.


The folks from Wanderlust Tours can take you geocaching in style!

Geocaching participants use a GPS or mobile device to hide and seek containers all over the world. The caches typically include little trinkets or toys tucked inside a waterproof container, along with a logbook where participants can enter their date and code name. Find a box, snatch a goodie, replace it with a goodie of your own, and voila—you’re geocaching! It’s a free, fun form of guilt-proof stealing. You can learn more about geocaches around Oregon here.

Want to try it with a little hand-holding from the pros? Wanderlust Tours offers A GPS Eco-Challenge Tour that’s perfect for groups of eight or more people. It’s a mix of geocaching, The Amazing Race, and something the Riddler from Batman might devise. It’s perfect for corporate groups, a scouting troop, a pack of students, or a couple families that want to have fun. The tour is $65 per person and includes all your gear and transportation, plus any bootie you swipe out there in the woods. To learn more, go here.


Drink beer while biking

CyclePub! The ultimate drinking and biking experience.

CyclePub! The ultimate drinking and biking experience.

If you’ve journeyed to Bend recently, odds are good you’ve seen a nifty bike/bar hybrid from CyclePub. The crazy contraption lets participants pedal and swill beer at the same time, and pretty much every time I explain it to someone, they ask me, “how on earth is that legal?”

The answer is that you have a sober, trained captain provided by CyclePub who’s steering and driving the whole thing. Think of it like a limo you might hire to drive you around while you sip champagne. Then picture something a whole lot cooler that actually lets you burn off those beer calories by pedaling all over town.

While you might see CyclePub spinoffs in other cities, it’s worth noting that the one in Bend allows you to drink beer while the bike is in motion. That’s not the case with the laws in many other spots, so enjoy that perk while you’re here. There are other strict rules about how alcohol can be handled and transported, so consult their FAQ page for details.



Want a chance to pedal and guzzle for free? We have a gift certificate for a free two-hour tour for six on the Cycle ‘Round bike from CyclePub. It expires May 31, 2015, so you have to be able to use it before that date. For a chance to win, confess in the comments with something naughty you’ve done that you’re willing to admit publicly. We’ll pick a winner on Tuesday, April 14!

My itinerary for a perfect day in Bend, Oregon

March 26th, 2015

I’m visiting my parents in Kauai this week, which has me thinking a lot about vacation planning. Several times a week, I’m asked to come up with the perfect vacation itinerary for travelers visiting Bend.

The Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area in NE Bend is a perfect place to enjoy a long walk with Fido and some killer mountain views.

The Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area in NE Bend is a perfect place to enjoy a long walk with Fido and some killer mountain views.

My suggestions vary widely depending on whether you’re a beer geek seeking tips for navigating the Bend Ale Trail, or someone seeking family-friendly vacation ideas for summer or for chillier times of year.

But if you asked me straight up how I’d plan my very own perfect day in Bend, Oregon, here’s what I’d tell you.

6:30 a.m. Visit the dog park

I’m a morning person, and so is my dog (though she prefers to mask her person-ness beneath fur and paws). Bend was named the nation’s dog-friendliest city by Dog Fancy magazine, and the town boasts an impressive seven off-leash areas, but my personal favorite is Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area. It spans 17 fully-fenced acres filled with trees, trails, grassy areas for fetching, and even a spray park to frolic in when the weather is warm. It’s a great spot to stroll and enjoy the sunrise in the company of my favorite four-legged companion.


7:30 a.m. Breakfast at Jackson’s Corner

JacksonsCornerEastside small

Jackson’s Corner’s new eastside location is light, bright, and airy!

One of my favorite spots for a tasty, locally-sourced breakfast is Jackson’s Corner. Their original location near Downtown Bend is fabulous, but I’m especially delighted they opened a second spot in northeast Bend. That makes it a convenient post-dog park stop, and they’re open at 7 a.m. for my fellow early risers.

Mmmm....biscuits and gravy at Jackson's Corner!

Mmmm….biscuits and gravy at Jackson’s Corner!

I’m a big fan of their biscuits and gravy made with Redmond Smokehouse gravy over housemade buttermilk biscuits, and I usually add a side of roasted seasonal veggies just to make things healthy. If I’m eating solo, I’ll probably grab a book and choose a sunny corner table or a spot next to the outdoor fire pit so my pup can join me. If I can persuade a pal to join me, I’ll talk him or her into ordering the roasted red pepper scramble (organic spinach, roasted peppers, organic eggs, and Tumalo Farms chévre) so I can sneak a bite or two.


9:30 a.m. A family hike

Bubble blowing atop Pilot Butte!

Bubble blowing atop Pilot Butte!

By this time the rest of my family should be up and around and jonesing for some outdoor fun of their own. Pilot Butte (that 500-foot dormant volcano in the center of Bend) is one of our favorite spots if we feel like sticking around town. We like to hike the paved road all the way up if we’re there during the car-free months spanning October through May, or we’ll stick with the dirt path if it’s summertime. In any case, our favorite thing to do is bring a container of bubbles and a big bubble wand with us on our hike. When we reach the top, my husband flings bubbles while the kids and dog chase them around the summit.

If we feel like venturing a bit further, we might head south toward the Newberry Volcanic National Monument for a full day of adventure, or head out to explore one of the breathtaking waterfalls in and around Bend. If it’s wintertime, a snowshoe adventure might be a fun alternative to a regular hike. In the warmer months, we love nothing more than pumping up the air mattresses so we can all float the river.


11 a.m. Shopping, sightseeing, and lunch in the Old Mill District

The Fenske-Zagurski clan enjoys a surrey ride through the Old Mill District, courtesy of Wheel Fun Rentals.

The Fenske-Zagurski clan enjoys a surrey ride through the Old Mill District, courtesy of Wheel Fun Rentals.

Now that we’ve all worked up an appetite, we’ll head to the Old Mill District for a bit of fun and sustenance. With the kids in tow, we’re likely to hit family-friendly favorites like Red Robin or Flatbread Community Oven where kids get the opportunity to make their own pizzas. During non-kid times, we’re partial to seafood hotspot Anthony’s or local favorite Greg’s Grill, where the river views are unbeatable (especially in the warm months when you can sit outside).

On a chilly day, we might spend a few hours browsing the Old Mill shops before venturing to the Regal Cinemas Theater to catch a movie. If it’s a sunny day, we might stroll along the river for a bit before renting a surrey from Wheel Fun Rentals so we can pedal around together and enjoy the scenery.


1:30 a.m. Outdoor adventures with Wanderlust Tours

I’ve been lucky enough to experience every outing offered by Wanderlust Tours, so I know an adventure with their naturalist guides is high on my list of things to enjoy on my perfect day.

A cave adventure with Wanderlust Tours makes an excellent addition to your Bend vacation any time of year.

A cave adventure with Wanderlust Tours makes an excellent addition to your Bend vacation any time of year.

Wanderlust recently kicked off the season for their half-day canoe trips, and since that fits nicely with today’s schedule, we’ll head out with them for the afternoon. Odds are good we’ll see otter, osprey, eagles, and more, so my wildlife quota will be met for the day. It’s also a great chance to enjoy the area’s breathtaking volcanic landscape and some of the best mountain views you’ll see anywhere.

If the day happens to be a snowy one, we could easily swap our paddles for snowshoes and head into the mountains for one of Wanderlust’s spectacular snowshoe tours. They provide all the gear, instruction, and transportation, which makes it a great way to fit in a little snow play without too much hassle.

And if the weather isn’t cooperating for an outdoorsy adventure, Wanderlust’s cave tours are another terrific option that’s available year-round.  That’s a favorite adventure for my stepson in particular, who shared his experience with the cave tour in this post.


5:30 p.m. Time to hit the Bend Ale Trail!

This might sound odd with a couple kids in tow, but there are plenty of stops along Bend’s legendary Bend Ale Trail that somehow manage to be incredibly kid-friendly without losing their edge.

Sunset at Crux Fermentation Project is a great way to cap off your day of adventure in Bend!

Sunset at Crux Fermentation Project is a great way to cap off your day of adventure in Bend!

My personal fave is Crux Fermentation Project, which not only boasts some of the best beer in town, but also the best grilled cheese sandwich you will ever consume in your entire life. The kids can enjoy snacking, toasting their toes at the fire pit, and chasing each other around the large grassy field while the grownups split a taster tray and enjoy a little dinner.

If we’ve got room in our bellies (and room on our Bend Ale Trail passports) for another stop, we’ll likely head for Bend Brewing Company in Downtown Bend. They’ve got a terrific kids’ menu, one of the most impressive taster trays on the trail, and a primo location right above the Deschutes River (perfect for a post-dinner moonlight stroll through Drake Park).


Pimp my beer! Five beer accessories you must try in Bend, Oregon (plus a chance to WIN the ultimate beer vessel from DrinkTanks!)

March 19th, 2015
Keep reading for your chance to win this amazing growler and specialty Keg Cap system from DrinkTanks!

Keep reading for your chance to win this amazing growler and specialty Keg Cap system from DrinkTanks!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the success of the Bend Ale Trail, it’s not to have an empty stomach if you visit all 14 breweries in one day.

Wait, no. That’s not the message I wanted to share. Let’s try this again.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the success of the Bend Ale Trail, it’s that Bend visitors and locals love their craft beer. We love it so much that we’re not content to merely drink the beer. We have to cherish it. Coddle it. Dress it up in pretty clothes and parade it around.

If you love your beer—I mean really love your beer—here are five beer accessories you truly need to have.


A belt buckle that doubles as a bottle opener

Get your bottle opener belt buckle in the Bend Visitor Center!

Get your bottle opener belt buckle in the Bend Visitor Center!

Have you ever found yourself standing around at a party and had a sudden, insatiable need to crack open a cold one using an article of your own clothing?

Of course you have!

And since they haven’t invented bottle openers made from underwear, you need the next best thing in the form of an official Bend Ale Trail belt buckle with built-in bottle opener.

These heavy-duty accessories come in three finishes (copper, bronze, and silver) and can be purchased in the Bend Visitor Center for just $28. You know you want all three of them.


A beer glass that bounces when you drop it

I’m not saying I have a habit of knocking over my beer glass after I’ve had a few, but . . . actually, that is what I’m saying.

Silipint! The beer glass that bounces when you drop it.

Silipint! The beer glass that bounces when you drop it.

That’s one of many things I love about Silipint silicone pint glasses. Topple a regular beer glass onto the floor and you end up with a pile of shattered glass, but a Silipint just bounces and rolls.

Even if you’re not in the habit of dropping your adult beverages, Silipints are just practical. I fill mine with hot tea every morning, using the handy travel lid to keep things from sloshing around. When that’s gone, I switch to ice water, which my Silipint maintains at optimum temperature without making a sweaty mess. When evening rolls around, that same Silipint makes a fabulous vessel for my favorite Bend-made suds. How many other glasses are that versatile? Slop a bunch of hot coffee into your Riedel wineglass and let me know how that works out for you.

You can find Silipints for sale all over Bend, including the Ticket Mill Outlet in the Old Mill District and at the Bend Visitor Center. If you want a special Silipint declaring “I completed the Bend Ale Trail,” you’re going to have to earn it by bringing us your completed Bend Ale Trail passport to claim your prize.

Hook your beer up with some fancy attire from Deschutes Brewery.

Hook your beer up with some fancy attire from Deschutes Brewery.


A sweater for your beer

You want your beer to be attractive, fashionable, and cozy, right?

Your beer needs a sweater. Lucky for you, Deschutes Brewery has one. It’s a dapper little knitted number that serves the dual purpose of keeping your beer cold and your hand warm.

It’s stretchy enough to fit a 22-ounce bomber or a regular 12-ounce bottle, and the bold hues of black, gold, and red will leave your beer feeling stylish and sassy.

At only $8 a pop, how can you not own enough for a whole six-pack?




A growler you can rub for three wishes

Keep rubbing your Crux growler and wait for the genie to appear. Or some really great beer. Whatevs.

Keep rubbing your Crux growler and wait for the genie to appear. Or some really great beer. Whatevs.

Pretty much every brewery in town offers a logo-adorned growler, but only Crux Fermentation Project sells one that looks like Barbara Eden might emerge from it at any moment.

Did I just date myself with an I Dream of Jeannie reference?

No matter. The growlers they sell at Crux look wicked cool, and you can buy them online for only $18.

You can also pick one up at the brewery itself, which is a much better idea. I hear the odds of seeing a genie are markedly improved when your growler is filled with fresh, delicious Crux beer.


The growler to trump all growlers

There are several companies in Bend making high-end, airtight growlers with double-walled construction that keep your drink cold for up to 24 hours.

Can't you picture yourself taking this on a hike in Bend? Enter for a chance to win the ultimate growler from DrinkTanks!

Can’t you picture yourself taking this on a hike in Bend? Enter for a chance to win the ultimate growler from DrinkTanks!

And while they’re all pretty fabulous, the folks at DrinkTanks have taken the game to a whole new level. They started by giving their growler a big, sturdy handle and a clamp-on lid with a double-bail locking system that’s guaranteed to be totally leak-proof.

Then they created an add-on Keg Cap Kit with a hose and CO2 cartridges you use to transform your growler into a personal keg.

Mind = blown.

We had the chance to test drive one in the Visit Bend office and it rocked my ever-lovin’ world. We sampled a regular stout poured from the growler and then tried it with a little pump of C02 and honest-to-dog, it was like sipping beer straight from the tap. As a bonus, it comes in 11 stylish finishes and can even be engraved for that added personal touch. You can pick one up in a regular 64-ounce size, or get in on the Kickstarter campaign to support the creation of a massive 128-ounce growler (which officially makes it the world’s largest beer growler, in case you were wondering).

The 64-ouncer runs $69, plus $45 for the Keg Cap, but guess what? The folks at DrinkTanks are giving one away for FREE!

Enter to win by commenting on this blog post with your favorite Bend beer. For an extra entry, tell us in your comment if you’ve shared a link to this blog post on Twitter or Facebook (we’ll give you bonus entries for each of those tasks).

We’ll pick a winner on Friday, April 3.

Happy drinking, everyone!

Where to snap 6 great photos in Bend, Oregon

March 13th, 2015

There are tons of amazing photographers capturing breathtaking images around Bend every day. In fact, we rounded up nine of them in this blog post.

But sometimes you’re just looking for a simple snapshot you can capture with your iPhone or point-and-shoot camera. You don’t need a photo for your living room wall, you want one for your Facebook wall.

I bribed cajoled begged politely asked a couple local photographers for tips on when and where to snag some of the quintessential Bend photographs so I could share a few tips with you. Here’s what I learned.



To get a great city shot of Bend…

Nate Wyeth nabbed this lovely city shot of Bend from the top of Pilot Butte at sunrise.

Nate Wyeth nabbed this lovely city shot of Bend from the top of Pilot Butte at sunrise.

This one’s kind of a no-brainer, though I checked with my photo pals just to be sure. A hike to the top of Pilot Butte (the dormant 500-foot volcano in the center of town) is a great way to get the lay of the land in Bend. To the west, you’ll see the expansive Cascade Mountain Range, the city of Bend, and the sparkling Deschutes River. To the east, you can catch sight of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and its vast desert terrain.

If you’re an early riser, hoof it up the hill just before sunrise to catch the alpenglow on the mountains as the first light hits them. If you’re not a morning person, you can catch some pretty good sunsets from the top, too. If a middle-of-the day visit is the only thing you can manage, don’t worry! Any clear day will give you the chance to capture lovely views in all directions.

And if it’s not a clear day, even that isn’t the worst thing in the world. I once hiked up just before a thunderstorm hit (something I don’t advise you to try, unless you enjoy the risk of being struck by lightning). Nevertheless, it was spellbinding to watch the thunderclouds roll in and the rainstorm moving slowly toward us as I sprinted down the hill to my car to avoid being drenched.



To get a fab shot of the mountains…

Nate Wyeth captured this view of the Cascade Mountains from Dutchman Flat near Mt. Bachelor.

Nate Wyeth captured this view of the Cascade Mountains from Dutchman Flat near Mt. Bachelor during the “blue hour” just before sunrise.

There are a lot of great spots in Bend to capture sweeping views of the mountains, so you’re in luck if your photographic bucket list includes a shot of snow-capped peaks.

If you want to stay right in town, cruise along Mount Washington Drive and pull over when you see the view you want to capture. Summit Park on Awbrey Butte is another terrific spot with terrific views of the Cascade peaks.

If you feel like driving a bit, head for Dutchman Flat Sno Park for an up-close-and-personal view of the mountains (you might have to hike or snowshoe a bit to the north to get the best view). This is also a terrific spot for night photography.

If you’re up for a short hike and a lovely drive through some of Bend’s volcanic landscape, try Bessie Butte. While I’m still a little heartbroken about the fire that scorched a bunch of the trees out there a few years ago, the upside is that you’ll find a ton of spots with completely unobstructed mountain views. To get there, head east on China Hat Road and turn right on the first paved road you encounter (if you hit the Horse Butte turnoff, you’ve gone too far). The trailhead is clearly marked and the trail itself is a gentle traverse of just over a mile to the top. The panoramic view of the Cascades and the Newberry Caldera is well worth the trip.



To get a killer river shot…

Craig Zagurski stood in Farewell Bend Park to capture this shot of a paddleboarding couple sneaking a smooch.

Craig Zagurski stood in Farewell Bend Park to capture this shot of a paddleboarding couple sneaking a smooch.

The Deschutes River cuts a long, lovely swath through the city of Bend, so there are a million spots in town to snag a terrific photo of it.

Drake Park (the crown jewel of Bend’s park system) spans 13 breathtaking acres along the Deschutes River, and there’s a photo-worthy vista about every three steps. If you’re strolling around Downtown Bend and approach from the Mirror Pond Plaza, keep walking straight ahead until you hit the railing. Bingo! There’s a perfect spot to capture the rivers and the mountains all in one photo. But keep walking, guys, since there are oodles of other great scenes to capture while you’re here.

For another take on the glorious Deschutes, head for Farewell Bend Park near the Old Mill District. From here, you’ll be able to capture the contrast of the river against towering basalt cliffs. Bonus: There’s a great view of the mountains if you look upstream toward the bridge.



To get a stunning desert photo…

Craig Zagurski nabbed this shot of a twisted, ancient juniper in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness just before sunset.

Craig Zagurski nabbed this shot of a twisted, ancient juniper in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness just before sunset.

I know a lot of folks love Bend for the views of snow-capped peaks and towering Ponderosas, but for me, the quintessential Bend view will always be the desert. I adore the craggy lava formations and the twisted, ancient junipers.

If you share my fondness for Bend’s high desert landscapes, head east to the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. I’m partial to heading out near the end of the day when the waning light gives everything an eerie, ethereal glow. Real photographers refer to this as “the golden hour,” and it’s a great time to ensure optimum lighting in all your photos. As an added bonus, your pooch can run leash-free to his heart’s content out here, though be sure to bring extra water—it’s the desert, after all.

If you’re looking to try your hand at night photography and the more advanced star photos, the Badlands are great spot to set up your tripod after daylight disappears. The absence of city lights makes it an excellent spot to really soak in the night sky. Just don’t venture too far from the trail or you might have a tough time finding your way back!



To get an epic waterfall pic…

I devoted a whole blog post last week to the subject of where to see great waterfalls around Bend and Central Oregon, so you can check that out here.

Nate Wyeth nabbed this shot of Tumalo Falls in late-autumn last year.

Nate Wyeth nabbed this shot of Tumalo Falls in late-autumn last year.

As far accessibility goes, Benham Falls is the easiest spot to reach on a year-round basis. Head out Highway 97 south to the Lava Lands exit. You’ll see signs pointing you to Benham Falls toward the left. Follow the road about four miles to the parking lot. It’s a pretty short hike from there to a great vantage point overlooking a churning stretch of whitewater. You’ll be shooting from above, so please don’t get so distracted by your photographic pursuits that you go tumbling over the edge.

If the waterfall shot you’re seeking is more the classic, cascading stream of water, head for Tumalo Falls. It’s nearly 100-feet tall and glorious from several different angles. Accessing it in the wintertime requires a bit of a hike, but in summertime, you can stroll a few hundred feet from the parking lot to the perfect viewing platform (complete with railing to keep you safe and secure).

If you can arrive around sunrise, you’ll get the perfect backlit shot. If not, just try to arrive when the sun isn’t directly overhead, since that will make lighting a little tricky in your photo.



To get a brilliant sunset pic…

The thing about sunsets in Bend is that you can be just about anywhere and capture a fabulous one—no filter or special camera required! Heck, one of my favorite Bend sunset pics was taken by husband in our driveway in northeast Bend with the dog photobombing it.

Craig Zagurski snagged this sunset photo (which the dog promptly photobombed) with an iPhone in a driveway in NE Bend.

Craig Zagurski snagged this sunset photo (which the dog promptly photobombed) with an iPhone in a driveway in NE Bend.

All that to say, why not enjoy your sunset from a spot where you’re also certain to enjoy yourself?

Crux Fermentation Project offers Sunset Hour daily. For 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after sunset every day, they have special discounts on drinks and snacks. Their patio makes an amazing place to watch the sky turn pink over the Cascade Mountains, so why not lift a tasty brew with one hand while you snap photos with the other?

If beer isn’t your thing but you still want to be out-and-about experiencing the Bend vibe while the sun drops below the horizon, try heading to the Old Mill District an hour before sunset. Stroll along the river browsing shops or sipping some coffee from Strictly Organic, or snag a table at one of the fabulous restaurants lining the river. Talk about diner and a show!

For more ideas on great spots to see (and photograph!) Bend sunsets, check out this blog post.


Let’s go chasing waterfalls in Bend, Oregon!

March 5th, 2015

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon on Visit Bend’s Facebook page.

Every time we share a photo of a waterfall in Oregon the post gets three-gazillion likes, shares, and comments.

It’s clear Bend fans are passionate about the idea of water rushing over towering cliffs and rocky flumes, so let’s take a look at some hiking trails with the best waterfalls in Bend and Central Oregon.

A lovely shot of Tumalo Falls in November, courtesy of Nate Wyeth.

A lovely shot of Tumalo Falls in November, courtesy of Nate Wyeth.


Tumalo Falls

At nearly 100 feet tall, this splendor along Tumalo Creek is the most popular waterfall located within the Bend city limits. It’s a little tougher to get to in winter months when the road is closed about two miles from the normal parking area, but it’s a pleasant enough hike and well worth a little extra effort to reach it.

In warmer months, the viewpoint to see the main waterfall is only a few steps from where you’ll park. Hoof it to the viewpoint for a quick snapshot, then keep walking along the trail to see the falls from several different vantage points.

Want to keep going? As you hike upstream, you’ll encounter several smaller waterfalls along the trail. It can be dicey in the winter months, and snowshoes are a good idea if the snowpack is high. When summer rolls around, you can walk four miles to Happy Valley before retracing your steps for a second look at all the majestic beauty.

Tumalo Falls is easy to reach if you follow Galveston Avenue through the roundabout until it turns into Skyliner Road. Cruise for a little over 10 miles until you see Forest Service Road 4601 on your right. The season and the snowfall will determine how far you can get on the gravel road from there, but it ends in 2.5 miles just 50 feet from the waterfall.


Benham, Dillon, and Lava Island Falls

A breathtaking look at Benham Falls, courtesy of Alan Huestis of Studio 404 Photography.

A breathtaking look at Benham Falls, courtesy of Alan Huestis of Studio 404 Photography.

Bend’s mighty Deschutes River boasts three major waterfalls in fairly close proximity to one another, and each one is special in its own way.

The best-known and largest of the three is Benham Falls. Here, the river stairsteps over rocks and ledges as it chugs along through a rocky gorge. The short hike to access it takes you through a lovely pine forest where you’ll enjoy the twitter of birds and the rush of whitewater. Don’t expect the sort of tall, cascading waterfall you’ll see at Tumalo Falls, but do expect a glorious stretch of churning whitewater and lovely views.

The second most popular waterfall along the Deschutes River Trail is Dillon Falls. Like Benham, it’s a more gradual drop of churning whitewater, as opposed to a lengthy cascade plummeting over a cliff. You’ll see a lot more lava features here, and some pretty spectacular views of the surrounding gorge. The sunsets here can be amazing, so bring your camera if you’re visiting near the end of the day.

Dillon Falls at sunset, courtesy of Rebecca Oprish Photography.

Dillon Falls at sunset, courtesy of Rebecca Oprish Photography.

Lava Island Falls is the least-known of the three, and it’s tricky to access due to steep, dangerous trails and a bunch of private homes lining the edges of the river. That said, it may be the most scenic of the bunch, with a two-stepped cascade dropping about 15 feet and a second channel that’s a little smaller.

The Deschutes River Trail System is probably your easiest access point for these waterfalls. Start at Meadow Camp, which you’ll reach by driving out Century Drive like you’re headed toward Mt. Bachelor. Hang a left on Forest Service Road 41 and follow the signs to reach the waterfall of your choice.


Steelhead Falls

This waterfall is technically closer to Terrebonne than it is to Bend, but it’s well worth a short drive to reach it. (Bonus: You can combine this with a visit to Smith Rock State Park, which is a must-see when you’re in Central Oregon).

My family tossing rocks at Steelhead Falls.

My family tossing rocks at Steelhead Falls.

The hike from the trailhead to the main waterfall takes you a little over a mile through a winding gorge dotted with sagebrush and ancient juniper. In the summer months, it’s bustling with people looking to swim in the peaceful waters just downstream from the falls. During chillier months, you’ll still see a lot of anglers casting a line in the water and reeling in some pretty impressive fish.

This waterfall is one of my personal favorites, and my step kids could spend hours standing above it and chucking rocks into the churning water. Tread with caution if it’s icy or snowy, but most of the year this is a pretty easy hike. If you have time, bring a picnic lunch and look for a flat spot to spread your blanket.

To get there, head north on Highway 97 and drive a little over 20 miles until you reach the town of Terrebonne. Turn left on Lower Bridge Way and follow it 2.1 miles before turning right onto NW 43rd. After 1.7 miles, go left on Chinook Drive until you see Badger Road on your left about a mile up. You should see a sign at this point directing you to Steelhead Falls, which requires another mile on Quail Road and a mile or so on River Road.


Paulina Falls

The kids lean in for a closer view of Paulina Falls.

The kids lean in for a closer view of Paulina Falls.

This is another waterfall that’s a bit tougher to get to in the winter months, but it’s totally worth it if you’re up for a couple extra miles of hiking. Paulina Falls is 80-feet tall and surrounded by dramatic volcanic cliffs created from sheets of hot ash and pumice formed during eruptions more than 75,000 years ago.

One thing I love about this waterfall is that you can check it out from the upper viewpoint, which is less than ¼ mile from the parking lot. Once you’ve had enough of that, hoof it down the trail to see what it looks like from below.

Paulina Falls is part of the Newberry Crater, a national volcanic monument, which would be worth a day of exploration even if there were no waterfall at all.

To get there in the summertime, just follow Highway 97 about 20 miles south of Bend to Paulina Lake Road (you’ll see signs for the national monument). Follow Paulina Lake Road a little over 12 miles until you see signs on the left for Paulina Falls. The viewpoint is only a couple hundred feet from where you’ll park your car.

If you’re visiting in the wintertime, you’ll discover the road is closed a couple miles west of the parking area. Don’t worry! Just park your car and hoof it along the highway (which is pretty easy, since there won’t be any cars). Bring snowshoes just in case, though you won’t likely need them in a light snow year.


Whychus and Proxy Falls

I’m a fourth-generation Oregonian who’s lived in Bend since 1997, and you know what? I haven’t seen every amazing landmark in Central Oregon. That’s not for lack of trying, I can assure you. It’s just a big, beautiful place, and there’s lots to see!

Whychus Falls, as seen by Pete Alport Photography.

Whychus Falls, as seen by Pete Alport Photography.

That’s my way of telling you that although I have not personally visited Whychus Falls (also known as Chush Falls) the photos I’ve seen and the stories I’ve heard indicate it’s breathtaking. You’ll find some good info about getting there if you go here.

Proxy Falls is another one I’ve missed, though I made one failed attempt at getting there last fall in the midst of our first blizzard of the season (don’t try this at home, kids). Proxy is obviously on my bucket list, for reasons that should be obvious if you check out photos of it. Learn more about how to find it by going here.


So where’s YOUR favorite waterfall in Central Oregon? Is it one I didn’t list here? Please share!

Mind Bend-ers: Think these historical Bend “facts” are the real deal? Think again!

February 26th, 2015



Welcome to your ninth edition of Mind Bend-ers, a special feature offering you the inside scoop on quirky Bend history and offbeat trivia.

Ever notice how historical tidbits that aren’t actually true can be repeated so often people start to believe them?

It happens often with Bend history, but the myth-busters at the Deschutes County Historical Society have donned their capes and superhero spandex to help us wage war on these so-called “facts.” Here’s the real truth behind several of the peskiest untrue historical Bend tales.


Fake history “fact” #1:  Amelia Earhart lived in Bend

FALSE! But here’s the truth:

George and Dorothy's house on Congress Street in Bend.

George and Dorothy’s house on Congress Street in Bend (where, for the record, Amelia Earhart never set foot).

George Putnam moved to Bend in 1909 and became a prominent member of the community. As editor and publisher of the Bend Bulletin, he married Dorothy Binney (heiress of Crayola Crayons) in 1911 and became the town’s youngest mayor in 1912.

So what does all this have to do with Amelia Earhart? We’re getting to that.

George and Dorothy settled into a lovely home on Congress Street in Bend, and things hummed along okay for the next few years. George’s political work landed him in Salem often, and he spent a lot of time traveling as a war correspondent.

George and Dorothy in happier times in Bend.

George and Dorothy in happier times during their days in Bend.

Then George’s dad died in 1917, followed by his brother’s death in 1918. Knowing he needed to take charge of the family business, George sold his shares in the Bulletin, packed up his family, sold his house in Bend, and headed for New York in 1919. That’s where he met a young aviator named Amelia Earhart, and eventually became her publicist.

Things weren’t going so great in George and Dorothy’s marriage by then. She admits in her diaries she was having an affair with a man 19 years her junior, and she asked George for a divorce several times. In 1929, he agreed.

By then, things were getting hot and heavy between Amelia and George. He proposed to her three different times, and she finally said yes in 1931. They married in Connecticut, and settled down on the East Coast.

To the best of anyone’s knowledge, Amelia never set foot in Bend. Her marriage to George happened over a decade after he left Oregon, making it more than a little perplexing that folks lay claim to the famed aviator as a Central Oregon resident.


Fake history “fact #2:  Brooks Scanlon won Bend’s mill rights on a coin toss

FALSE! But here’s the truth:

Bend was a booming lumber town in the early 1900s, and there was plenty of business to go around for a pair of rival mills. Brooks-Scanlon operated on the east side of the river, and Shevlin-Hixon did their thing on the west bank. It’s possible they occasionally hurled things at each other, but we don’t want to start rumors.

The Shevlin-Hixon Mill on the Deschutes River in 1917.

The Shevlin-Hixon Mill on the Deschutes River in 1917.

Things turned sour in the late 1940s when it became clear there wasn’t enough timber to go around. There was only room for one lumber mill in Bend, so they had to find a fair way to determine who’d stay. A mud wrestling tournament? A spitting contest? A coin toss?

See, this is how rumors get started.

Turns out the reality was a whole lot simpler. Mr. Shevlin was in ill-health at that point, and some dissension within his company made it a good time to cut and run. They sold the whole operation to Brooks Scanlon in 1950. Since Brooks-Scanlon only wanted the timber, they pretty much abandoned the Shevlin-Hixon Mill and all the brand new equipment the Shevlin folks had just purchased.

The Shevlin-Hixon buildings were razed for good in the 1980s, and today you can walk your dog, dine at a nice restaurant, or enjoy some world-class shopping in Bend’s Old Mill District.


Fake history “fact” #3:  Klondike Kate ran a brothel

FALSE! But here’s the truth:

Kate Rockwell earned the nickname Klondike Kate during her illustrious career as a vaudeville performer and showgirl in Alaska, and she moved to Central Oregon in 1910.

Klondike Kate was not a hooker. We promise.

Klondike Kate was not a hooker. We promise.

She was a colorful character who rolled cigarettes with one hand, married (and divorced) a man half her age, and revisited her days as an entertainer by strolling around Downtown Bend in her showgirl costumes.

As you might imagine, that didn’t always sit well with the prim and proper ladies of Bend, who occasionally spread rumors that Kate was either running a brothel or offering her own services as a lady of ill-repute.

In reality, Kate was just a spirited woman who spit, cussed, wrangled cattle, and picked up bums to do work on her home in Downtown Bend. She also nursed Spanish influenza victims and did a lot of charity for the Bend Fire Department, which put her in close contact with a lot of the town’s strapping young men. Can’t fault a girl for looking, right?

In any case, there’s no record of Kate Rockwell ever having any connection at all to prostitution, but because the nickname “Klondike Kate” is kinda catchy, records indicate several other women claimed it for themselves. There’s no saying for sure what those gals got up to while masked in the cloak of the pseudonym, but rest assured, the real Klondike Kate was neither a hooker nor a madam.

Five things my dog loves about Bend, Oregon

February 18th, 2015

paddleboomers-2767LRblogI know you guys are kinda used to Tawna blogging here every week, so I’m sorry to tell you she’s sick. Like she’s piling up all these tissues that taste REALLY AWESOME, but I’m not supposed to eat them because BAD DOG.

Whatever. In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m Tawna’s dog, Bindi, and DON’T WORRY! I have everything under control.

See, I’m an Australian Kelpie, which is pretty much like a herding dog on crack. If I can catch my own tail and keep Tawna’s five cats in line, I can totally ROCK THIS BLOG POST!

A lot of you have dogs of your own, so I’d like to tell you why I think Bend is freakin’ awesome. That way you guys can come here and play and maybe pee on some stuff I’ve marked for you. Just don’t touch that ponderosa in Drake Park. That’s mine.


Dog parks galore!

Hanging out at Wanoga SnoPark contemplating whether to snowshoe or ski.

Hanging out at Wanoga SnoPark contemplating whether to snowshoe or ski.

Look, I can totally walk on a leash. I can heel like nobody’s business, but sometimes I like to RUN FREEEEEE like the wild beast I am.

There are tons of places to do that in Bend. The good folks at DogPac do an awesome job setting up off-leash recreation areas around town, and the people at Bend Parks & Rec have a killer map of all the dog parks right here.

My favorite is the Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area in northeast Bend. It has 18 acres of trails, fields, rocks to pee on,  trees to pee on,  fences to pee on,  fetching zones, and even a cool splash park I like to slobber in when the weather’s warm.

Did I mention I’m pretty much the best fetcher EVER?

If you’d rather get off the beaten path and run around in the woods, DogPac has a cool roundup of dog-friendly summer and winter trails here. When the snow is good, I like to take Tawna out to Wanoga to do a little snowshoeing. She wears the snowshoes, not me, because DUH, I can run on snow or mud or the surface of the sun because HELLO, I’m a Kelpie.


Hook a puppy up!

Safety first! Bindi wears her life vest while SUPing.

Safety first! Bindi wears her life vest while SUPing.

OK, maybe I exaggerated a little bit in that last paragraph. See, occasionally I need a little extra help dealing with the conditions in Bend. Like when we’re out for really long hikes in the snow, I sometimes wear booties to keep my toes warm. I’m hoping for a pair of Louboutin stilettos next, but so far no dice. My best friend, Tanner, wears this waxy goop called Musher’s Secret, which keeps her paws safe in the snow. Our parents buy all that stuff at Bend Pet Express, which has two locations in town and a DELICIOUS selection of dog cookies. I’m just saying.

When summer rolls around, Tawna likes to take me with her on the standup paddleboard because OBVIOUSLY she needs my superior navigation skills. I don’t have to wear my life vest when we’re paddling close to shore in calm water, but if we’re out on a lake or paddling someplace unfamiliar, I always wear one. Did you know RuffWear (the company that makes the K-9 Float Coat) is based in Bend? Like, I can totally smell it from here.


I feel pretty . . . oh so pretty!

Bath time at the u-wash station at Bend Pet Express.

Bath time at the u-wash station at Bend Pet Express.

Sometimes I get stinky and it’s AWESOME!

Unfortunately, Tawna and The Guy don’t agree. Since they’re the ones who drive the car, I usually end up at Bend Pet Express where they have these special dog wash stations that let my parents do the scrubbing and rinsing. I like it better that way, because seriously—would YOU want a stranger washing under your tail? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, they provide all the tools like aloe shampoo and conditioner, plus these rubber spongy things that feel really great on my rump, plus towels and nail trimmers and even an apron. The people wear the aprons, not the dogs, though I WOULD TOTALLY ROCK AN APRON.


Treats? Did someone say treats?

Mmmm....Dawg Grog!

Mmmm….Dawg Grog!

After my bath, I deserve a treat. I love it when Tawna swings by Newport Market where they always have a selection of freshly-cut beef bones with all this tasty marrow. I like to gnaw on my bone and pretend I’m a wild wolf who just took down an elk, but then I remember I let the cat lick my bone and also that I’m scared of my own farts.

Besides the marrow bones, I totally dig the biscuits from Polkadoodle Dog Bakery. I also totally love Dawg Grog, this special non-alcoholic dog beer that’s made locally from byproducts of the brewing process. Nothing washes down a freshly-killed elk like a cold one, amirite?

*Scratches self. Belches*


Everyone loves me!

Look, I haven’t learned to read yet, OKAY? Sue me, I was busy learning quantum physics and how to distinguish between post-modernism and abstract expressionist art forms.

But if I could read, I’d know Dog Fancy magazine named Bend the dog-friendliest city in America. And the thing is, I don’t need to read to know that. I can walk anywhere in town and people are happy to see me. Like they’d totally be wagging their tails if they had them (and what’s up with that—seriously, how can you live without a tail?)

Nothing like a doggie picnic in the park!

Nothing like a doggie picnic in the park!

Anyway, there are tons of restaurants in Bend that let me sit with Tawna and The Guy while they have dinner on the patio. You can check the grid listings here to find one you really like, since most places with patios allow dogs.

Out-of-town visitors will dig the fact that Bend has so many great hotels and vacation rentals that allow dogs. No joke, even really fancy hotels. Like The Oxford Hotel in Bend was just named the #6 hotel IN THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ COUNTRY by the folks at TripAdvisor, and they totally know how to treat a dog right. You get a personal pet bed customized to your size, a couple travel bowls, housemade treats, a map of dog walking trails, and add-on services like pet massage and dog walking. MASSAGE, you guys! Really. Or you can check out the digs at The Riverhouse, where they don’t charge any extra pet fees to let your dog share a room with you, plus they’re right on the river for easy access to all the best splashing and playing.


So I guess that pretty much does it for my blog post. Oh, and if anyone’s looking for something to get me for my birthday, I really want one of these awesome dog-powered scooters they make in Bend. Can’t you see me in one of those sporting a pair of Doggles and a cape?

That would rule.

Six ways to get your popcorn fix in Bend, Oregon

February 12th, 2015

When it comes to snacking, few things beat the power of popcorn. It’s tasty, it’s filling, and unless you’re popping it in bacon grease (okay, I’ve done that–yum!) it’s a pretty healthy treat.

This is no ordinary popcorn! The herbed popcorn at Drake offers a tasty and FREE treat for diners and drinkers at the restaurant.

The herbed popcorn at Drake offers a tasty and FREE treat for diners and drinkers at the restaurant.

While it’s unlikely you’ll visit Bend, Oregon solely for the purpose of sampling your way around the city’s best popcorn treats, here are a few things my fellow popcorn fans won’t want to miss in Bend.


Munch popcorn for free at Drake

Yep, you read that right—the popcorn is FREE at Drake in Downtown Bend. They serve it in lieu of a bread basket so you have something to nibble while you make your entrée selections and wait for your meal. It’s oil-popped, dairy-free, and tossed with a scrumptious blend of fresh herbs, spices, and olive oil.

I hesitate to tell you they offer unlimited refills, since the idea here is that you need to save room for other menu items. With that in mind, I highly recommend the shrimp & grits made with roasted peppers, caramelized onion, bacon, escarole, and tabasco pan sauce.


Pop your own and sprinkle goodies from Navidi’s

I eat popcorn five or six days a week, so I like to spice it up sometimes. One of my favorite spots for popcorn-enhancing goodies is Navidi’s in Downtown Bend. I’m a huge fan of their black truffle salt, which I sprinkle on my popcorn for an extra-decadent snack.

Just a few of the gourmet salts you'll find at Navidi's in Downtown Bend.

Just a few of the gourmet salts you’ll find at Navidi’s in Downtown Bend.

They have oodles of other fancy salts ranging from chipotle-flavored to Hawaiian black lava sea salt, and you can taste test all the varieties at their cozy downtown shop.

I’m also obsessed with the flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Navidi’s. I have a dozen varieties on my kitchen counter for cooking and salad prep, and I recently discovered the oils are pretty fabulous on popcorn, too. My personal fave is the fernleaf dill flavor, but basil, lime, and even blood orange are also divine when you drizzle it on your snack in lieu of butter.

The manager just gave me a tip I’m dying to try for “pizza popcorn” made by tossing ordinary popcorn with their sundried tomato salt, Tuscan herb olive oil, and parmesan. Yum!


Popcorn and a movie? Yes, please!

Nothing goes hand-in-hand quite like a bucket of popcorn and a good movie, and you can find both things at several spots around Bend. Catch all the latest releases at the Regal Old Mill Stadium and IMAX in Bend’s Old Mill District (which has the added bonus of offering tons of nearby restaurants for a scenic dinner afterward if the movie popcorn doesn’t fill you up).

Tin Pan Theater is a unique spot to get your movie popcorn fix.

Tin Pan Theater is a unique spot to get your movie popcorn fix.

If you’re partial to indie flicks, documentaries, shorts, local films, and old movies shown in a quainter venue, check out the Tin Pan Theater in Downtown Bend. They have a quirky vibe, a cozy 28-seat setting, and of course, popcorn!  They take pride in popping theirs in only canola oil with a dash of salt.  Then they drizzle it with freshly melted REAL Eberhards butter and turn you loose on their station of shakers filled with, parmesan, nutritional yeast, braggs, siracha, and other tasty toppings.



Toss it with tasty seasonings from Savory Spice Shop

The dip mixes at Savory Spice Shop make excellent popcorn toppings!

The dip mixes at Savory Spice Shop make excellent popcorn toppings!

I’m not saying I did, and I’m not saying I didn’t discover this by accident after a day on the Bend Ale Trail. But the seasoning blends and dips from Savory Spice Shop are THE BOMB on popcorn.

While their Smoky Hills Cheese Powder is technically meant to be mixed with sour cream to make a dip, it’s phenomenal sprinkled on a great big bowl of butter-drizzled popcorn. Ditto for their savory Dill Dip (which becomes extra-special-tasty when you combine it with the aforementioned fernleaf dill olive oil from Navidi’s).

Even if you don’t intend to misuse their products to enhance your popcorn, this is a great place to browse when you’re shopping in Bend’s Old Mill District. If you’re really on a culinary kick, pop next door to Ginger’s Kitchenware for gifts, gadgets, and even cooking classes.


Sip Caramel Corn tea from Inspired Leaf

Inspired Leaf is a little Bend-based tea company makes some of the most unique blends you’ll ever encounter (Berkshire Apple Fig? Chocolate Strawberry Saffron? Coconut Truffle? Yum!)

Drink your popcorn with Caramel Popcorn tea from Inspired Leaf.

Drink your popcorn with Caramel Popcorn tea from Inspired Leaf.

But it’s their Caramel Popcorn blend that really rolls my socks up. If you look closely, it has little bits of popcorn in the blend, and you can taste it when you brew yourself a cup. The result is a nutty, toasty, delicious bit of flavor in your mug.

You won’t likely find the caramel popcorn flavor in restaurants around Bend (though you can order it online). If you’re looking to sample some of their other tea varieties while getting a great meal to boot, try Café Sintra or 5 Fusion. You can also purchase it at Newport Avenue Market in Northwest Bend (where they also stock a unique array of salts to dress up your popcorn).


Score kettle corn at Oregon Winterfest

A festival isn’t a festival without a food court that boasts a kettle corn booth wafting heavenly smells throughout the venue. Lucky for you, the 2015 Oregon Winterfest is happening February 13-15 in Bend, and they have plenty to offer besides kettle corn.

Can't you just smell the kettle corn wafting over the food court at Oregon Winterfest?

Can’t you just smell the kettle corn wafting over the food court at Oregon Winterfest?

Oregon Winterfest is a massive annual celebration of the chilly season, featuring live music, a Wine Walk, ski and snowboard competitions, ice carving, a fire pit competition, motocross with Metal Mulisha, an OMSI kids’ tent, a 5k and 10k race, and much more. You can check out the schedule of events here and buy tickets at the gate when you arrive.

But let’s get back to the kettle corn, shall we? Famous Kettle Korn is providing this year’s booth, and they’ll be popping up several tasty varieties, including caramel corn and their famous lightly-salted, sweetened Kettle Korn. They’ll also have cotton candy if popcorn isn’t your thing, but if that’s the case, seriously—why are you still reading?



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