Bend Oregon Blog | The Bend Buzz Blog by Visit Bend
So you’re planning to spend Turkey Day 2014 in the land of snow-capped mountains and high desert stars. Why don’t you go ahead and pat yourself on the back right now for your good decision?
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the fun things in store for everyone who plans to be in Bend, Oregon this Thanksgiving!
Gobble up some good grub
First things first. Let’s talk about where you want to have your main meal on November 27 this year.
For some, the thought of preparing your own feast in the kitchen of your Bend vacation rental has the homey sorta vibe you’re craving. If that’s the case, go here to scope out a variety of vacation homes and condos with ovens waiting to welcome that big, juicy bird.
If you’d rather leave the cooking to someone else, you have plenty of options to pick from. Check out this list for a roundup of restaurants ready to make your holiday meal extra special. The Turkey Day buffet at McMenamins Old St. Francis is one of the most popular offerings in town, with mealtimes offered from noon to 6 p.m. Reservations are required, and the roundup of food will include fresh-carved turkey, fireside port cranberry relish, roasted pork loin with Edgefield cider jus, poached salmon, tortellini salad, garlic green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey gravy, along with a wide array of fresh fruit, salads, and desserts.
If you feel like venturing a bit out of town, Brasada Ranch has a three-course prix fixe dinner from noon to 6 p.m. They don’t charge extra for the killer mountain views or gorgeous scenery.
Run off those Turkey Day calories
Feeling guilty about that sixth helping of mashed potatoes? Never fear, Bend has a variety of Thanksgiving-themed runs and walks to help burn off those extra calories.
The Bend Thanksgiving Classic 10k/5k walk/run and the I Like Pie Thanksgiving Day walk/run both kick off at 9 a.m. in different parts of Bend on Thanksgiving morning. The day after Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot is taking place in Sunriver.
To learn more about each of these races, check out our Event Calendar.
Who’s ready to ski?
I know plenty of you are waxing your snowboards and tuning your skis in anticipation of Mt. Bachelor’s first day of operations.
While things are always subject to change based on the whims of Mother Nature, Mt. Bachelor is currently scheduled to open the terrain parks and Nordic areas on Monday, November 24, with alpine skiing operations kicking off Wednesday, November 26—the day before Thanksgiving.
Make sure you check the online condition reports for up-to-the-minute info about opening day. And oh yeah—pray for snow!
Shop ‘til you drop
For those who favor indoorsy pursuits over outdoorsy ones (or for those who simply love a good bargain), don’t miss the Black Friday shopping deals around town.
Bend’s Old Mill District features stores like Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Zumiez, and more. Check out their Black Friday Specials page for info on who’s opening at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., and other more sane hours.
Fans of outlet shopping will want to check out the Bend Factory Stores for big bargains. Shops include hotspots like the Coach Factory Outlet, Nike Outlet, Eddie Bauer, Columbia Outlet, and much more.
For deals at places like Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market, head north to the Cascade Village Shopping Center. And if big-box stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and T.J. Maxx are on your agenda, be sure to hit the Bend River Promenade in the middle of town. While you’re on the north end of town, pop into Pomegranate Home & Garden, a locally-owned shop in a historic farm house, for some really unique gifts.
To help you spread things out a bit, many shops in Downtown Bend are participating in Small Business Saturday. Check out their page for details about shops and specials, including deals at great local boutiques like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Tres Jolie.
Before we’ve even stashed the Thanksgiving leftovers, a lot of us are gearing up for the next major holiday. If you’re ready to get a jump on Christmas, head to the Old Mill District. Santa will arrive via helicopter around 10 a.m. on Friday, November 28, to begin his tour of duty at Santaland. There will also be oodles of other Christmassy offerings like carriage rides, carolers, kids’ activities, and more. Go here to see what’s in the lineup.
Downtown Bend is another festive place to be, with oodles of lights and decorations adorning streets and shops. One of Bend’s most cherished holiday traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting on November 29 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving). The live tree is located at the top of Drake Park near Mirror Pond Plaza, and guests get to sing carols and watch Santa light the tree. Festivities get underway at 6:30 p.m., but you’d be smart to arrive at least half an hour before that to find a spot.
Only in Bend
Yes, I acknowledge there are Black Friday sales and Christmas tree lightings happening in most towns around America this time of year. While I encourage you to enjoy those activities, here are a few only-in-Bend things to add to your holiday agenda:
- Snowshoe with Wanderlust Tours. Let the naturalist guides at Wanderlust lead you into the wilderness to traipse through pristine fields of pillowy snow. Tours include all gear and transportation, not to mention snacks and warm drinks. They offer daytime or starlight outings, and kids are welcome, too.
- Science Parties at the High Desert Museum. Bend’s popular High Desert Museum offers fascinating exhibits, cool animals, and tons of opportunities to learn more about the culture and history of the high desert. During Thanksgiving week, the Science Party on tap is called Winged Wonders. It’s a chance to explore the world of flight with live animals and breathtaking experiments. Check out their website to learn more about the schedule and other exhibits at the museum.
- Special programs at the Tower Theatre. Even if they weren’t having any shows at all, Bend’s historic Tower Theatre would be worth checking out just for the beauty of it. But during Thanksgiving week, you’ll have the chance to see National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on the big screen. The show starts at 7 p.m. on November 28, and you can get tickets here.
- Festivities at Sunriver Resort. If you’re up for a 20-minute drive, Sunriver Resort is a lovely place to spend an afternoon this time of year, particularly if you want to get into the holiday spirit. Check out special events like their annual Holiday Marketplace November 28-29 (a great place to pick up crafts, treats, and ornaments) or their Grand Illumination Ceremony November 28.
The seasonal countdown has begun, and powder hounds around the Northwest are watching the weather and gearing up for opening day at the mountain with the highest skiable elevation in Oregon and Washington (uh, that’s Mt. Bachelor, in case you’re wondering).
While the actual date is in the hands of Mother Nature, Mt. Bachelor’s website indicates they’re hoping for the traditional Thanksgiving week opening around November 26. So what should you do to get ready?
Get your gear in order
Whether you need a brand new set of skis and bindings, or just a tune-up for your snowboard, you’ll find tons of shops in Bend where they’ll be happy to hook you up. Check out our winter gear rental page to browse retailers and rental shops, or visit the retail and demo shop at Mt. Bachelor for all the latest equipment.
Become a stalker
No, we don’t want you dressing in black and following strangers down the street. Being a snow-stalker is a lot less creepy (not to mention less likely to get you arrested). Facebook fans will find frequent mountain updates on the Mt. Bachelor Facebook page, or check out Visit Bend’s Facebook page 3-5 daily posts about everything from snow conditions to Bend events to what’s happening along the Bend Ale Trail.
Mt. Bachelor does an awesome job keeping their website updated with current conditions, so check it often for up-to-the-minute info about lift operations and snow reports.
Line up your lodging
Hotels and Bend rentals can book up fast once the snow starts falling, so don’t get caught without a reservation. Now’s a great time to scope out the roundup of hot deals on Visit Bend’s lodging pages. Book early to find the best selection of bargains ranging from kids-stay-free promos, to packages that include lift tickets or even free nights.
Live in a fantasy world
I know it’s weird to suggest you deliberately watch a television commercial—much less two television commercials—but hear me out on this.
In the moments leading up to your first seasonal swoop through shimmering powder, it pays to get yourself pumped up. Visit Bend just debuted a pair of amazing commercials guaranteed to leave you pining for a winter vacation. Check out the one titled “Warmth” before bopping over to scope out “Outside.”
If that doesn’t leave you craving a winter getaway to Bend, check your pulse.
Do a snow dance
I’ll admit it—I’m superstitious.
I know I’m not alone, as plenty of our social media pals have made mention of doing a snow dance to ensure plenty of fresh powder at Mt. Bachelor. Assuming they’re serious (and who would joke about such a thing?) I encourage you to join the ranks of the snow dancers by performing a little jig of your own. No, really. Go on, I’ll hold your beer.
In case you need ideas, check out this blog post for a few helpful hints on performing your own snow dance. Then get out there and boogie with your bad self.
Snag a promotional deal at Mt. Bachelor
Mt. Bachelor is famous for killer discounts and cost-saving programs like Kids Ski Free, but the pre-season promo prices tend to be extra special. Their new “Any 5” package offers five days of coaching, appetizers, beer, and fun, but you have to purchase it by Nov. 30 to get it for just $229 (after that, the price goes up to $279). Go here to learn more about it, or keep an eye on their deals & discounts page for the latest bargains.
What is it about November that gives me the urge to call in sick and spend the whole day cozied up by the fire with a glass of wine and a good book?
I suppose I shouldn’t post that on a blog my boss is likely to read.
Nevertheless, if the same fantasy is dancing through your head—along with visions of a Bend vacation—here are four Bend-centric books you should add to that growing to-be-read pile beside your fireplace.
Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon
Where you can find it:
In the Bend Visitor Center at the corner of Lava & Oregon in Downtown Bend, History Press, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, or at the official launch party at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 7, 2014 at the Deschutes Historical Museum.
What’s it about?
With more breweries per capita than any other Oregon city, Bend is a beer mecca. Prior to Prohibition, the state had a burgeoning brewing industry and plenty of saloons to cater to the needs of the hardy frontiersmen who settled Central Oregon. The teetotaling ‘20s brought all that to a screeching halt.
Fifty years later, the pioneers like Deschutes Brewery and Bend Brewing Company breathed new life into Bend’s beer and brought about the booming industry for which the area is known today. Author and “The Brew Site” creator Jon Abernathy traces Bend and Central Oregon’s hoppy history from early settlement to the present day, sharing the stories behind its most famous breweries and the communities that have fostered the industry.
What the author suggests you sip while reading it:
The beer that put Bend on the map—Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery!
100 Hikes Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades
William L. Sullivan
Where you can find it:
What’s it about?
The updated Fourth Edition of this classic guide includes a dozen new hikes and 32 pages of color photos, with travel tips for visiting the Bend area, Eugene, and Salem, as well as a guide to hot springs, campgrounds, cabin rentals, and wildflowers. Visit Bend’s Group Sales & Special Projects Manager, Hank Therien, is a huge fan of this book and says it’s easy to use, super-detailed, and full of great maps and directions.
Bend, Overall: 99 Hikes and Explorations in Central Oregon
Where you can find it:
What’s it about?
Bend, Overall is all about hiking and exploring the Central Oregon region surrounding Bend. This book details all the popular hikes, but it also goes way beyond what the mainstream “hiking” guides concentrate on. Bend Overall describes hidden waterfalls, obscure lakes and swimming holes, and a bunch of rarely-seen local caves. Basically, you get the insight from a local who has been exploring the area for 20 years and is willing to share his hard-won secrets.
Tales, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies About Bend’s Iconic Pilot Butte
Where you can find it:
What’s it about?
The Butte book offers short stories (true and otherwise) about Bend’s favorite outdoor fitness center. Be entertained while learning some facts and figures about the landmark in the middle of Bend. Tales is a unique collaboration with local author, Linda Kraemer Orcelletto and Pilot Butte Summit Seekers (PBSS). PBSS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the health and fitness aspects of Pilot Butte State Park.
A portion of the proceeds will be used to raise needed funds for Pilot Butte State Park and to bring awareness of preservation of the Butte.
In the sequel, scheduled for May of 2015, we are encouraging people to share their own stories, which will then either be enhanced either as a stand-alone story or combined with other similar tales.
What the author suggests you sip while reading it:
Linda suggests one of Bend’s many fine brews, particularly an IPA. Apocalypse from 10 Barrel is her favorite, and Elk Lake IPA at Bend Brewing Company is always a winner, too.
There’s pretty much no bad time of year to journey to Bend and trek the most famous trail of suds in the West. You can drink doppelbocks in December, sip sours in September, and acquire ambers in April.
While it’s true you can hit the Bend Ale Trail any day of the year gathering passport stamps to earn prizes, did you know there’s one month that rises above them all?
November is Bend Ale Trail month, so in honor of this illustrious holiday, here are nine reasons to hit the Bend Ale Trail in November.
That’s right, my friends. We have trophies. Anyone who brings a newly completed Bend Ale Trail passport to the Bend Visitor Center during the month of November will earn an official Bend Ale Trail trophy.
That’s in addition to the regular Silipint you get for racking up 10 stamps and the bottle opener you get on top of that for hitting all 14. Wouldn’t that bad boy look fabulous on your mantle?
While it’s true Bend’s breweries release special seasonal brews at all times of the year, there’s something about the fall that seems to bring out the extra-special offerings.
I was at Bend Brewing Company a few days ago and stumbled upon a brand new Berliner Weisse that seriously left me swooning. That’s a German sour, in case you’re wondering, and the name—Volkssekt—translates to “the people’s champagne.” See? You’re getting lessons in language and culture in addition to great beer. BBC plans to have that on tap throughout November, plus several other seasonals like a nitro tap of Pollen Oats (an imperial honey oatmeal) and a black IPA.
Another of my favorite stops this time of year is Crux Fermentation Project. Their Crystal Zwickle (a fresh hop Belgian pale ale) will be on tap for as long as it lasts, which may not be long based on how fabulously popular it is. Hurry up and get yours while you can!
Try something new
I have a confession: While I’ve made the rounds on the Bend Ale Trail multiple times, I haven’t done my job in staying current on the new additions. I have failed to make it to Rat Hole Brewing since they were added to the program in May 2014, and I feel a great sense of shame for that.
But see, here’s my chance to make it right! Having the impetus of visiting 10-14 breweries in a short span of time means we’re all pretty likely to try someplace we’ve never been before. Download the free smartphone app for the Bend Ale Trail, and figure out which new breweries you need to visit this time around.
Stay for cheap
Let’s get off the subject of beer for a second and talk about lodging. Look, I get it—you want to save your cash for important things like an extra order of Cajun tots at McMenamins or the risotto fritters at Brew Werks. I don’t blame you.
Here’s a little secret about lodging deals in Bend—November is one of our slowest months for tourism. That means hotels, motels, and vacation rentals in Bend are all eager for your business. Like, really eager. If you’re looking for discounts, now’s the time to find them. Check Visit Bend’s Hot Deals page for the latest offerings, and book your beer vacation today!
I’m not sure I mentioned this yet, but did you know you earn a trophy if you stop by the Bend Visitor Center with a newly completed Bend Ale Trail passport in the month of November? You would be the envy of all your friends with this piece of hardware in the middle of your dining room table.
There’s always something cozy about snuggling up beside a roaring fire with a pint of craft beer, but it’s especially perfect in November when those hearty malts and porters work in tandem with the flames to take the chill from the air.
10 Barrel has one of the most popular fire pits along the Bend Ale Trail, and their patio is a hoppin’ place to mix and mingle. The fire pits at McMenamins are a little more intimate, and there are several to choose from scattered around their property.
Crux Fermentation Project offers another popular fireside spot with their unique glowing orb. Worthy Brewing in northeast Bend has several cozy fire pits to pick from on their expansive patio. You can also hit Goodlife Brewing to toast your toes by a roaring fire. There’s even a cool modern-looking one at Riverside Brewing, and you’ll dig the ski lodge vibe if you nab a spot by the indoor fireplace at Cascade Lakes.
Score some awesome schwag
I already told you about the trophies, right? Okay, besides that, you’ll have chances to win tons of other amazing beer schwag throughout the month of November.
Seriously, you should see our marketing director’s floor right now. It’s covered with t-shirts, hats, pint glasses, stickers, brewery gift certificates, and more. Enter to win by using hashtag #bendaletrail on Facebook or Instagram while you’re out there posting pics of yourself swilling brews in Bend.
But the best prize of all is the one we’ll be giving away to one random beer drinker who brings his or her completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center in November. Everyone will be entered in a drawing to win a vacation package for Bend Brewfest 2015, which will include lodging, a tasting package, and activities. How’s that for a beerventure?
Have the place to yourself
You know that thing I mentioned earlier about November being one of Bend’s slowest months for tourism? Think about what that means for you. No fighting to get a spot on one of the popular Deschutes Brewery tours. No waiting for your favorite table before the band takes the stage at Silver Moon. No long lines for growler fills at Boneyard Brewing. Seeing the appeal now?
Have I mentioned the trophies yet?
I love wings. I love saucy wings and spicy wings and wings you dunk in big, gooey cups of bleu cheese dressing. I love big ones and small ones and all the in-between ones, which is how I found myself consuming the equivalent of roughly 863 poultry appendages over the course of the last three weeks on a quest to find the best chicken wings in restaurants around Bend. Here are my favorites.
Broken Top Bottle Shop
So this is where the whole blog post started. I went to Broken Top Bottle Shop for an event, and decided to try the wings with my mug o’ tasty beer. “Which flavor do you want?” the cashier asked. “Buffalo, garlic tahini, or Georgia red barbecue sauce?” I considered the question while trying not to drool on the counter. “Will you hate me if I want all three?” I asked.
Not only did they not hate me, but they brought me the loveliest array of wings that each came with a special dipping sauce. While the Buffalo and barbecue versions were delightful, it was the garlic tahini that sent me swooning. They were perfectly crisp and flavorful, and the accompanying tahini sauce was so divine I dreamt about it that night. And the next night. And the…well, you get the idea.
Bonus: every Sunday throughout football season, they’re selling their wings for 50-cents apiece. Double bonus: Their wings are all gluten free. Dig in!
When I put out a call on Facebook asking for suggestions on Bend’s best wings, several folks called out the Thai wings of fire at Deschutes Brewery. Though it was a great hardship to have to consume a fresh hop beer sampler and a giant plate of wings on a random Tuesday afternoon, I persevered.
The Facebook folks weren’t kidding, and the Thai wings of fire were indeed the bomb. The wings themselves are covered in a scrumptious peanutty, gingery coating. The dipping sauce didn’t look like much at first—more of an oil or a liquid than a dressing—so I made the mistake of dunking my wing in it several times for maximum saturation. HOT!!! But also scrumptious and zippy, so if that’s your thing, you might want extra. If not, stick with a more ladylike dip.
The Buffalo sauced wings were delicious as well, and since you can try two varieties with each order, it’s worth sampling both to see which you like. Personally, I prefer a creamier bleu cheese dressing to accompany my wings, but if you like yours a little more tangy, you’ll appreciate what they offer at Deschutes. Don’t forget your Bend Ale Trail passport—here’s your first stamp!
The menu at Platypus Pub features both traditional wings (mild or smokin’ hot) and their own pub-smoked wings, and while I mean no disservice to lovers of tradition, it’s the smoked wings that are guaranteed to rock your world.
They use Draper Valley wings here, and for some reason they always seem larger than in most places. It might just be my imagination, or maybe it’s the effect of sampling my way through their extensive beer selection. Either way, make sure you nab an order of their spectacularly smoky wings with your choice of mild or smokin’ hot sauce.
If you’ve tried the wings at Worthy before and weren’t a fan, give them another chance. They just changed their sauce last week, and it’s seriously scrumptious. Worthy’s wings are coated in a housemade habanero sauce that’s slightly sweet but not too spicy.
If you’re craving a good pairing, Worthy’s imperial IPA is the perfect complement to this dish. Try to stop by during happy hour when you get six of them for just $5, or show up anytime to score eight for $8. That includes a generous crudité of celery and carrots, plus dipping sauce.
Don’t forget to get another stamp in your Bend Ale Trail passport—you’re on a roll now!
Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill
The wings at Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill are my favorite old standby—my chicken wing security blanket, if you will. They’re consistently good, consistently big, and consistently satisfying no matter when you show up and order.
One unique trait of the wings at Sidelines is that they fry them up sauce-free and serve them with little dunking bowls of Frank’s Hot Sauce and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese dressing (the bleu cheese is creamy and excellent, by the way). For those who can be a little picky about the ratio of sauce to wing (me) this is a big plus.
Since this is a sports bar, it’s a great spot to hit if you want to watch men in tight shorts running around an athletic court or beating the crap out of each other. For me, it’s a fun place to go on girls’ night when we want cheap eats and super-friendly service, along with a good local tap list. For the record, Boneyard Brewing’s RPM + wings = heaven.
Wubba’s BBQ Shack
This little eastside barbecue joint isn’t a place most tourists will find on their own, but it’s worth a visit if you’re looking for stellar barbecue grub of any sort.
But we’re talking specifically about wings here, and Wubba’s has some killer ones. The traditional Buffalo sauced ones are tasty, but it was the barbecue wings that really floated my boat. The sauce was tangy and smoky and absolutely perfect, and the wings themselves were generously meaty.
Let’s put it this way—my husband doesn’t like wings, and my two step kids can be embarrassingly picky eaters, especially when it comes to animal flesh. When I brought home a batch of these wings, we were literally fighting each other for them. Like, blood was shed. Okay, maybe not blood. But definitely barbecue sauce.
Hardy’s Hotwings and Hamburgers
They mention the wings in the name of the restaurant, so they’ve gotta be good, right?
First of all, Hardy’s is where you want to come if you’re a serious wing connoisseur. They have so many sauce varieties I actually lost count (though I think it was around 18). Choices range from traditional Buffalo to honey mustard. My personal favorite is the garlic and herb, which pairs beautifully with their housemade ranch dressing (though the bleu cheese is also divine).
If you’re really into hot wings and you have a high tolerance for pain, consider taking on the challenge to eat eight of their super-spicy hot wings in eight minutes. If you succeed, you get to hold up a nifty sign showing your time, and they’ll post it on their Facebook page. Previous victors have employed strategies ranging from latex gloves (hey, that sauce can burn!) to giant milkshakes, so give it a go and earn your bragging rights.
Like Sidelines, Summit is a sports bar with tons of television screens to make it easy for you to catch whichever sporting event rolls your socks up.
But besides televisions, Summit has wings. Lots of glorious, saucy, delicious wings. These are hand-tossed with your choice of classic Buffalo, barbecue, or their own Angel Fire sauce. The latter has a sweet/hot Asian flair that’s perfect for those craving something a little different from traditional wings. No matter which sauce you pick, you can count on Summit to have some of the biggest, meatiest wings around, and their bleu cheese dressing is deliciously creamy with big chunks of cheese.
Show up at happy hour for extra special pricing. They don’t scrimp on the carrots and celery, either. Bonus: This is one of the few spots in Bend with a happy hour that goes all the way ‘til 7 p.m., a fact that makes me rejoice regularly when I’m getting a late start but still want good deals.
The camel wings at Joolz are the perfect wings for a girls’ night. I say that knowing someone might take me to task for generalizing about female appetites or drinking preferences, but I’ll take that risk. The camel wings are the smallest, daintiest wings in the roundup (I ate ten all by myself!) and they’re also the most exotic.
The secret sauce (which I sweet-talked the bartender into sharing with me) is a mouthwatering blend of middle-eastern spices like harissa and clove, along with fennel seeds, oodles of orange juice and zest, and a handful of other tasty ingredients. The result is a super unique sauce that gets even tastier when you dunk your wings in their housemade yogurt and bleu cheese sauce.
Joolz also offers some of the most unique cocktails in town, and their happy hour is divinely good. Pair your wings with an order of their crispy cauliflower, and you’ve got the best girls’ night around.
It goes without saying that your packing list for any upcoming trip to Bend should include things like clean undies and sturdy walking shoes.
OK, depending on who you are and what you’re doing here, I suppose the undies are optional.
While I’m not going to remind you to pack your toothbrush, I am going to share 10 things you might not think to bring on your Bend vacation (and tell you why you ought to throw them in your bag).
This seems obvious during Bend’s chillier months, but plenty of people think they can skip the jacket in the summer or late-fall. Not so—and not even when it’s 90-degrees in the middle of August.
Bend sits at an elevation of 3,600 feet in the mountainous high desert. That means it gets cold here at night. You need the jacket even more in fall or spring when temps can fluctuate from sub-freezing to above 80. No joke, nearly every day last week, I kicked off my workday by running the heater in my car, and ended it with the air conditioning running full blast. Layers are your friend in Bend, so don’t forget those sweaters and puffy vests.
When you journey to Bend, there’s a good chance you’ll play in or near the water. In warmer months, that might mean kayaking or standup paddleboarding on one of the high Cascade lakes. In cooler months, you might find yourself hiking along the Deschutes River or spending a day sliding around on frozen water with a pair of boards strapped to your feet (i.e. skiing at Mt. Bachelor).
Whatever form your aquatic pursuit takes, you need to protect your smartphone. As someone who suffered water mishaps with my first couple iPhones, I can attest to the value of a triple-zippered waterproof pouch that can be worn around the neck. I bought mine at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, and it’s saved my phone more than once. If you’re especially prone to iPhone water mishaps (er, me) I recommend double-protection with a waterproof phone case like the ones made by Otterbox or Lifeproof.
Pack your phone with links and apps
Speaking of your smartphone, it can be your very best friend on a trip to Bend. Bookmark the link for www.visitbend.com so you’ve got easy access to info about lodging, activities, restaurants, and events.
If you plan to hit the Bend Ale Trail, be sure to download the free smartphone app that helps you navigate and collect passport stamps to earn prizes. Fond of Facebook? We have an active Facebook community with more than 100,000 followers and 3-4 posts daily about things to see and do in Bend.
Lotion and lip balm
Visitors who hail from the rainy side of Oregon seem especially surprised to discover how dry the air is in Bend. Our high desert climate can be hard on your skin if you’re not used to it, so don’t forget to toss some extra lotion and lip balm in your bag.
Forgot yours? We sell a pretty nice lip balm in the Bend Visitor Center, or stroll around Downtown Bend to test out lotions and potions in gift shops. Some of our local day spas offer pampering packages specially designed to soothe the effects of our dry desert air, so check out this list if you need extra pampering.
Gloves and a hat
Admittedly this is less important in the summer months, but in the fall, spring, or winter, make sure you’ve got a plan to keep your fingers and ears toasty. Even if you aren’t trekking out into the snow, it behooves you to stuff your coat pocket with a pair of cheap stretchy gloves and a thermal cap. That way you can stroll around Drake Park or the Old Mill District without having to cut your adventure short on a chilly day.
Measurements for that empty spot on your wall
This is one you might not think about, but consider using your Bend vacation as an excuse to outfit your home with a special souvenir.
My living room is adorned with art I brought back from travels around the world. There are paintings from Morocco, Belize, Jamaica, and Australia lining my walls, and shelves holding sculptures and vases from Venezuela, New Zealand, Italy, Fiji, and more. Art makes one of the best, most meaningful souvenirs you can possibly acquire, and gives you a way to remember your trip each time your eyes land on that special piece.
Bend has a booming art community, with a huge collection of art galleries and a wide array of special events ranging from First Friday Art Walk each month to Art in the High Desert every August. Get out there and find that one-of-a-kind piece that’s right for your home.
A small backpack
This is an easy one for me to forget when I’m stuffing my wheeled suitcase for a weekend trip that won’t involve camping or backpacking. But there’s a good chance you’ll plan at least one small hike or picnic while you’re in Bend, so it’s a good idea to have a small day pack you can stuff with lunch, a camera, and all those jackets and gloves I mentioned earlier.
Think you need to find a sitter for Fido when you visit Bend? Think again! Bend was named the nation’s dog-friendliest city by Dog Fancy magazine, and for good reason. When you come to Bend, you’ll find tons of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, and off-leash dog parks, not to mention oodles of great trails where Rover can run free. For all the info you need about pet travel in Bend, go here.
Folks who don’t hail from snow country sometimes forget this one, but it can be vital if you’re journeying over the mountains between October and March. If your vehicle doesn’t have traction tires, get yourself a cheap set of chains at Les Schwab. They’ll even show you how to put them on, and if you don’t end up using them, they’ll take them back.
If road reports show chains are suggested or required, don’t forget to grab a tarp or plastic garbage bag so you’ve got a waterproof barrier when you lie down on the ground to chain up. Gloves are important, too, as is a pack of wet wipes so you can scrub off the road dirt after messing with your chains.
Your laptop, camera, musical instrument, or sketch pad
In my non-Visit Bend life, I’m a romantic comedy author whose deadline schedule isn’t always convenient. That’s how I found myself waking early each morning of my recent honeymoon to crank out scenes in a new novel while my agent demanded frequent progress updates.
I don’t mean for any of this to sound lousy, because on the contrary—it was some of the most productive, creative, inspiring writing I’ve done in a long time. Sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean while I wrote scenes of love and longing was amazing, which is why I’d tell any creatively-minded individual to bring the tools of his or her trade on a vacation to Bend.
There’s something about being in the great outdoors that’s beautifully inspiring. Haul your sketchpad on a hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Tote your camera to the top of Mt. Bachelor. Strum your guitar on a bench in the Old Mill District. If you’re looking for creative inspiration, I can promise you’ll find it in Bend.
Pretty as it was, I’m not ready to bust out my puffy coat and winter boots just yet. Here are five things we all need to enjoy before snow starts falling hard in Bend:
Roll in the leaves
The leaves started turning in early October this year, which should mean we’ve got a couple more weeks to admire the bright fall colors around Bend.
Drake park—the 13 acre crown jewel of Downtown Bend—is a glorious place to admire all the leafy glory reflected in Mirror Pond. If the mood strikes you, make a crunchy pile of them and jump into it. Just downstream, Pioneer Park is a smaller riverfront locale that offers a good array of trees sporting bright gold and yellow adornments. Either spot is great for a fall picnic or stroll.
A drive along Mount Washington Drive will give you a showy look at the endless rows of leafy colors lining both sides of the street. Watch out for cyclists (or better yet, grab your bike and join them!)
You’ll also get some lovely views when the aspens start changing color in Shevlin Park.
For a bigger roundup of where to see fall colors in Bend, check out this blog post.
Hike, bike, or drive at high elevations
When Old Man Winter blankets the Bend area with white stuff, a number of roads shut down for the season. The Cascade Lakes Highway beyond Mt. Bachelor closes to through traffic around late-October or early-November, and doesn’t re-open until May. If you’re itching to hike around Devil’s Lake, enjoy a bit of fishing in Hosmer Lake, or do some horseback riding around Todd Lake, now’s the time to get up there.
The road up to Paulina Peak in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument shuts down when the snow starts flying, so you should have a couple more weeks to drive to the top for killer views from 8,000 feet.
As someone who loves hiking Pilot Butte without having to watch for cars, I’ll admit I celebrate in late-fall when they close the road to motorized traffic. But if hiking isn’t an option for you for whatever reason, you’ll want to jump in the rig and zoom up there before the gates close for the season.
If you’re a cyclist whose bucket list includes a ride along the Old McKenzie Pass Highway (OR 242) you’d better hop to it quickly. That bad boy will be covered with snow before you know it, and they won’t plow it to re-open until late-spring.
Make the most of evening daylight
Daylight Savings Time is slated for November 1 in 2014, at which point we’ll all “fall back” by an hour. That means darkness will come earlier, putting a seasonal end to some of the evening recreation we’ve been enjoying.
To make the most of the daylight we’ve got left, I’ve been hustling straight to the Deschutes River every day after work this week to sneak in an hour of standup paddleboarding. If that’s your sport of choice, you’ve still got a few evenings left to get out there and splash around.
Evening is also a great time to walk around Downtown Bend or the Old Mill District to enjoy the fall colors en route to your favorite Bend restaurant.
Stuff your face outside
Bend’s warm weather is dwindling rapidly, and you could probably count on one hand the number of outdoor dinners or lunches you can bank on for 2014. Still, there are plenty of spots where outdoor dining (or at least outdoor sipping) stretches into late-fall, thanks to outdoor fire pits.
The ones on the patio at McMenamins Old St. Francis are some of my favorites, and I love snuggling up by the fire with a pint of Ruby and some Cajun tots. Crux Fermentation Project also has a killer fire pit, and the added bonus of the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ll ever eat. Either spot makes a great place to cozy up with a pint and earn a stamp in your Bend Ale trail passport.
For a roundup of other Bend hotspots with fire pits (no pun intended) check out this post.
And if a warm fall afternoon leaves you craving an al fresco lunch, go here to peruse the lineup of Bend restaurants with outdoor patios. Many of them are still open for a few more weeks, especially if the warm weather holds.
Canoe or kayak while you can
Once the snow starts flying, the folks at Wanderlust Tours will be booking snowshoe tours faster than you can shake a snowflake off a spatula. But before that happens, it’s a great time to head out with them for one of their incredible canoe trips on the high Cascade lakes. The price includes all your gear and transportation, plus amazing insights from a talented naturalist guide.
Another option for paddle-sports is Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe. While most of their regularly scheduled classes and tours have ended for the season, they’re still offering plenty of private lessons, plus gear rental for those who want to go it alone. If you end up loving your kayak or paddleboard so much you want to strap one to your car and haul it home, now’s a great time to score a killer deal by purchasing some of their demo gear.
It’s October in Bend, and you know what that means?
Well, besides the fact that it’s time to start planning a Halloween costume you can wear with a winter coat (or while riding your bike during the Halloween Cyclocross Crusades, if you’re really getting into the spirit of BikeTown USA).
But besides all that, October sparks a plethora of pumpkin-flavored goodies popping up in Bend pubs and eateries. Here are ten of my favorites:
Big Ol’ Pumpkin Beer from 10 Barrel Brewing
Let me say right off the bat that pumpkin beer is my favorite pumpkin-flavored treat of all, and the Big Ol’ Pumpkin from 10 Barrel does not disappoint. It’s a 9.3% imperial ale brewed with more than 14 pounds of organic pumpkin per barrel. They finish it off with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice to give it that tasty pumpkin pie flavor. The spices aren’t as prominent as you’ll find in some pumpkin brews, but the overall flavor profile is quite good (plus it’s an imperial, so how can you go wrong?)
This is a limited-release beer, and you can find it all over the northwest in 22 ounce bottles at grocery stores or at 10 Barrel’s pubs in Bend and Boise. Drink up now while you can!
Bonus: While it’s not done quite yet, Silver Moon Brewing will be releasing their pumpkin brew sometime around mid-October. Twisted Gourd is always a seasonal favorite, so keep your eyes peeled for this one.
The chicken & pumpkin waffle from La Magie Bakery
This southern staple is offered year-round at La Magie Bakery and Café, and it’s one of their most popular breakfast items. Rather than using a standard waffle, La Magie whips up their batter with a scrumptious blend of pumpkin and spices. The result is a waffle that holds up beautifully beneath two generous pieces of buttermilk fried chicken.
The spices in the chicken’s coating perfectly complement the ones in the waffle, and while you won’t notice a heavy pumpkin flavor overall, you will get a dish that’s satisfyingly zingy and different.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of pumpkin by the time you leave, be sure to pick up a slice of their pumpkin cheesecake to take home with you!
Pumpkin cupcakes from Ida’s Cupcake Café
While I’m not usually a fan of most sweet treats, I’ll make the occasional exception for cupcakes from Ida’s Cupcake Café. They have two locations in Bend, and both rolled out their seasonal pumpkin cupcakes the last day of September. They’ll be available through the end of the year, and you can snag a free taste during the first week of October.
The best thing about Ida’s is that you can pick your own frosting combo from their extensive selection. Though many folks choose to pair their buttercream or the cream cheese frosting with the pumpkin, my personal weakness is the salted caramel.
An added bonus here is that Ida’s also makes treats for the gluten-free members of your family. The pumpkin cupcakes are one of several flavors they offer in a gluten-free version, and they also make a chocolate cupcake that’s vegan (perfect for my egg-allergic stepson).
Pumpkin spice gelato from Bontá Natural Artisan Gelato
This Bend-based company routinely makes me swoon with their flavorful concoctions like Tumalo lavender & honey gelato and their divine vanilla porter gelato made with Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte Porter. When I heard a rumor that Bontá had rolled out a seasonal pumpkin spice gelato, I had to scurry to Newport Avenue Market to find some.
OHMYGOSH, you guys! This is seriously one of the tastiest pumpkin treats I’ve ever sampled. Imagine all the flavor of a slice of pumpkin pie, but in ice cream form. It’s just sweet enough to be perfect without the cloying character of some pumpkin-flavored desserts. They make it from scratch with locally-sourced milk and cream, and you can definitely taste the freshness in every bite. My ice cream loving husband asked if we could skip pumpkin pie entirely this Thanksgiving and just buy a few pints of this to serve with gingersnaps, a proposal I wholeheartedly accepted.
In addition to Newport Market, you can find it at Whole Foods, CE Lovejoys, Devore’s, and Central Oregon Locavore. Snap it up now while you can still find it!
Pumpkin curry from Thai on the Fly or Taste of Thai
Both of these little mobile eateries are favorites among locals. You’ll find the Thai on the Fly food cart near the corner of Bond and Oregon in Downtown Bend around lunchtime. The Taste of Thai trailer is a great spot to hit for either a lunchtime treat or a tasty dinner to take back to your Bend hotel or vacation rental.
Both spots routinely offer a pumpkin curry that’s absolutely divine. It’s packed with hearty chunks of the nutty-tasting squash simmered in a coconut and red curry broth. The curry is delicious over rice, and there’s just enough spice to pep up your taste buds. I prefer mine with chicken, but they also do a vegetarian version that’s equally divine.
If you’re lucky enough to pick some up on a warm fall day, this makes a perfect picnic in the park while you admire the autumn leaves.
Thai curry squash soup from Barrio
Technically, Barrio bills this as a butternut squash soup, but as owner Steven Draheim explained, there’s a whole family of Calabaza squash that encompasses fall favorites like pumpkin and butternut. The flavor is essentially the same, and the dish is too tasty to split hairs.
This scrumptious soup has a vegan base with a creamy blend of squash and coconut milk. My favorite thing about soups at Barrio is the pile of “stir ins” they provide to ensure you’ve got a hearty meal in your bowl. Vegetarians can opt for a hefty helping of avocado, while meat eaters will enjoy swirling a pile of zesty pork carnitas, along with crunchy goodies like radish and cabbage. That’s all included in the price, by the way. For a bonus boost of pumpkin, order it with Sally’s Super Salad, which is sprinkled with pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
Pumpkin spice chai and coffee from Townshend’s Tea or Belatazza
I know most folks get giddy about pumpkin lattes this time of year, so it warms my tea-loving heart to know Townshend’s Tea is there for me year-round with their pumpkin spice chai. They blend all the spices in a typical pumpkin pie to create the same effect in a loose tea form. You’ll detect notes of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, clove, and nutmeg, along with a full-flavored black tea. You can have them make you a tasty mug of it at their downtown Bend tea shop, or pick up a few ounces of loose tea to take home as a Bend souvenir.
Another tasty option for fans of warm pumpkin-flavored beverages is Belatazza Cofee. More a coffee shop than teahouse, they nevertheless offer a tasty chai that’s crafted locally by the same Bend-based vendor who makes some of their specialty flavored syrups like cardamom and lavender. Their pumpkin spice syrup is a nice addition to the chai, or you can add it to a latte or any other coffee-based beverage for a treat that’s sure to warm your tummy and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Buy a beer, get a pumpkin at Crux Fermentation Project
The folks at Crux are known for their creative approach to beer, so leave it to them to come up with a similarly creative pumpkin promo.
For a limited time, Crux is offering a combo deal that allows you to buy a beer and a pumpkin together for $10. Since this is one of kid-friendliest breweries along the Bend Ale Trail, they’ve even set it up so junior can decorate his gourd while mom and dad sip suds. The farmer who hauls away Crux’s spent grain to feed to livestock grows the pumpkins for this promotion, so it’s a pretty cool example of sustainability.
Besides the beer/pumpkin combo, Crux is rolling out some pumpkin-themed menu items throughout the month, including a candied pumpkin salad and harvest bruschetta with pumpkin crostini. They’ve got some great new seasonal beers I’m dying to try, so you’ll see me out there this weekend with one of their beer samplers, a tasty Grilled Cheesy sandwich, and a big, fat gourd. Guess I should bring the kids, too, huh?
The Pumpkin One O One from Noi Thai Cuisine
Noi has one of my favorite happy hours in town, and I’m especially smitten with their cocktails. This time of year, the one that makes me giddy is a delectable concoction of pumpkin puree, simple syrup, and vanilla vodka known as the Pumpkin One O One.
Enjoy it with an order of their tasty green curry and a side order of fresh rolls, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous meal.
Assorted baked goods from Nancy P’s, Sparrow Bakery, and Sweetheart Donuts
My lack of love for sweets and baked goods made me a poor judge of anything beyond the Ida’s Cupcake stop, so I reached out to my friend Shannon Hinderberger, the marketing manager at the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center. She’s a big fan of pumpkin treats and always has the inside scoop on baked goodies, so I asked for her recommendations on Bend’s best pumpkin pastries and pies.
Sparrow Bakery is legendary in Bend for all manner of tasty baked goods, and Shannon spotted an array of fresh homemade pumpkin pies lining their bakery case recently. They guarantee no can openers and only fresh ingredients, so these pies promise fresh-tasting melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
Shannon also got the inside scoop that Sweetheart Donuts is rolling out a brand new pumpkin spice cake donut and a pumpkin fritter. Shannon worked in a bakery years ago and is a self-professed fritter fanatic (say that five times fast!) so you know it means something when she says Sweetheart makes the best fritters around.
We also have Shannon’s ringing endorsement that the pumpkin scones at Nancy P’s Café and Bakery are “to die for,” so I’m inclined to take her word for it. These scones are less traditional and are more biscuit-like, flakey with a hint of cinnamon and just enough maple syrup icing.
What the @#$% is shoulder season? Six reasons you should know (and should plan your Bend vacation around it!)
When I started working for Visit Bend four years ago and first heard the term “shoulder season,” I thought of bare arms in a summery sundress on a warm July day in Bend.
Turns out I wasn’t even close. Shoulder season refers to periods of lower tourism activity sandwiched between the busiest times. In Bend’s case, tourism is booming in the summer months when everyone shows up for rafting, hiking, standup paddleboarding, and other warm-weather activities. Same deal with winter, when folks arrive in droves driving cars loaded down with skis, snowboards, snowmobiles, snowshoes, and sleds.
Does that mean fall and spring are less desirable times to plan a Bend vacation? Nothing could be further from the truth! Here are six reasons Bend’s shoulder seasons are an amazing time visit Bend, Oregon.
Score screamin’ deals
When tourists get scarce, Bend hotels and resorts get competitive. That means fall and spring are some of the best times to score killer deals on Bend lodging. If you’re considering a shoulder season visit to Bend, check out Visit Bend’s Hot Deals page for the latest promotions and specials.
For instance, the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center has a list of dates offering a 25% reduction off their normal room rate. Go here to see what they are. Brasada Ranch has a wide range of specials offering free nights and deep discounts on their luxury cabins.
Avoid the crowds
Introverts like me especially appreciate Bend’s fall and springtime seasons when the crowds thin out around town. Plan a visit to Bend during the shoulder season and odds are good you’ll never have to fight for dinner reservations at any Bend restaurant or wait long to be seated while you’re scoping out the city’s best eggs benedict for breakfast.
Had trouble in the past with organized tours filling up during a peak-season visit? Not a problem when you show up in October or April. You’ll have the place to yourself!
If snowplay is your thing, you’ll be thrilled to know Mt. Bachelor consistently has one of the best spring skiing seasons in North America, with snowpack that sticks around longer and deeper than anyplace else.
See the seasons change
As you probably noticed, Bend’s shoulder seasons correspond with the transition from warm weather to chilly, or vice versa. Visit Bend in late-September to watch the leaves change, or show up in October and November to savor the sight of pumpkins on doorsteps and the ear-to-ear grins of folks giddy at the sight of those first falling snowflakes (a much nicer sight than the mid-March scowls when we’re all tired of shoveling snow).
When springtime rolls around, it’s a great time to enjoy the first buds on trees and the amusing sight of folks jumping the gun on warm weather recreation by heading out to standup paddleboard in puffy jackets and gloves.
Sights like these are the sort of things Bend residents treasure and savor, but few tourists get to enjoy them. Dontcha kinda want to enjoy Bend the way the locals get to?
Play outside all year round
But let’s not forget Bend offers a wealth of other recreation opportunities even when you can’t ski or splash in the river in your bikini.
Fall is the perfect time of year to plan a fishing trip to Bend, with oodles of steelhead just begging you to break out that fly rod. Mountain biking is another terrific shoulder season sport, with the folks at Cog Wild offering guided trips all year long.
When the weather is less-than-stellar, it’s a great time to explore Bend’s volcanic landscapes with a cave adventure from Wanderlust Tours.
Did someone say seasonal beer specials?
The Bend Ale Trail is a popular attraction all year long, but there are some added incentives for trekking this trail of craft beer during Bend’s shoulder seasons.
For starters, there’s Bend Ale Trail Month. Each November, anyone who completes the Bend Ale Trail and submits a completed passport at the Bend Visitor Center during the month will receive a special trophy, along with some killer bragging rights.
If that’s not enticement enough, consider the fact that fresh hop season happens in September and pumpkin brews abound in October. Fall is also when Deschutes Brewery starts to trot out seasonal favorites like Jubelale and The Abyss.
When springtime rolls around, it’s a great time to be here for the release of brews designed for swilling in the sunshine on the back deck of your Bend vacation rental. You can also plan a spring trip around Zwickelmania, the statewide celebration of craft beer happening every February over President’s Day Weekend. Go here to check out the schedule of events for this year, then plan your vacation accordingly.
Come for the special events
I don’t think I’m giving away any huge trade secrets when I tell you tourism folks like to plan cool festivals during the shoulder seasons. It’s a great way to draw visitors here when the city needs a bump in business.
Visit Bend’s Event Calendar is a great place to scope out what’s happening throughout the year. You can search by date or by the type of event you prefer.
Some of the highlights from the fall season include Bend Fall Festival and BendFilm Festival in October. In early November, come out for the Halloween Cross Crusades cyclocross race and all the fun events associated with it.
The annual Springtacular event at Mt. Bachelor spans several weeks in March and April, and offers a great opportunity to score great deals on spring skiing (not to mention tons of fun competitions and live music!)
As I shared in last week’s post, I just got married September 6. While I’m with you all in spirit, I have to confess I’m currently on a beach in Belize sipping fruity drinks and feeling a little nostalgic I’m missing my favorite time of year in Bend.
But in the spirit of passing along some giddy romantic vibes, we recently asked folks on Visit Bend’s Facebook page to share stories of marriage proposals that took place in Bend and Central Oregon. After all, the town named one of America’s Most Romantic Cities by Livability.com should have some great tales of people getting down on one knee to pledge eternal devotion.
Here’s what we rounded up for you:
Greg and Kristen (a January proposal at Smith Rock State Park)
“I proposed to my fiancée back in January,” Greg shared on Visit Bend’s Facebook page. “I surprised her by telling her I wanted to do a hike up to Misery Ridge [at Smith Rock State Park] to watch the sunrise. Little did she know our closest friends and family had hiked up at 4 a.m. to hide and take pictures, carrying celebration champagne to the top. It worked out perfectly, and I proposed at the bench on the lookout on top of Misery Ridge. We watched the sunrise, even though it was freezing fog.”
The couple is planning a June wedding in Bend.
Misty and Novin (a July proposal at Tumalo Falls)
“Bend is THE PLACE to get engaged!” Misty shared on Visit Bend’s Facebook page. “My fiancé proposed on the Fourth of July last year at Tumalo Falls. We were standing on this rock admiring the falls, and he was looking nervous and awkwardly fumbling with his pocket. He started mumbling some nice words I can’t remember, and he tried to take the ring out of the box, but I started yelling at him to stop because I had a bad feeling he would drop the ring into the water. Haha!
“We moved back onto the trail so he could safely put the ring on my finger. We spent the holiday weekend with family in Sunriver and celebrated the rest of the weekend at several awesome spots including Sunriver Brewing Company and Ariana Restaurant. We’re getting married in September at Eagle Crest Resort. We just love Central Oregon that much!”
Jacob and Rebecca (a July proposal at Suttle Lake)
“Rebecca had just landed at PDX airport after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro,” Jacob shared on Visit Bend’s Facebook page. “I had given her a letter for every day she was gone and then this big surprise on the way home.”
Jacob really wanted to surprise her, so he pulled off the road next to Suttle Lake on the way back to their hometown in Bend, Oregon, right at sunset. Some good friends helped him set up a candlelit dinner scene with Rebecca’s favorite dessert and music by the side of the lake.
After a few minutes of slow dancing, he spun her onto his knee and asked if she’d spend the rest of her life with him.
She said yes (of course!) and the couple is set to wed in early October.
Larry and Lisa* (a November proposal at Mt. Bachelor)
“Larry was working at the Olympia Brewery at the time, when we decided to spend a long weekend in Bend,” Lisa shared. “We had been dating for a while, and both of us knew we had found our soulmates. It was Sadie Hawkins Day, and I was getting increasingly chicken about proposing while skiing at Mt. Bachelor. Finally, Larry couldn’t wait any longer and while we were taking in the view, he popped the question. I was so surprised, he had to ask twice! (Larry really likes to tell this part of the story). This was 27 wonderful years, two kids, and two breweries ago!
* Lisa Sidor is the Visitor Information Specialist for Visit Bend, and Larry Sidor is the owner/brewer at Crux Fermentation Project.
Becky and Geoff (a March proposal at Smith Rock State Park)
“My now fiancé, Geoff, my dog Yogi, and I visited Smith Rock for the first time in December 2013,” Becky shared in an email. “We fell in love with it so much that we hiked there twice in one weekend. Although only visiting there twice, I claimed that was my favorite place in all of Oregon and the entire world. I made plans with a running guide to trail run there as well in May.
“On Saturday, March 22, 2014, Geoff, my dog Yogi, and I drove all the way to Terrebonne from Portland, anticipating a great day of hiking. It was 60 degrees, sunny, in my favorite place in the world.
“We hiked the Misery Ridge trail, and once we got to the summit, he took me to an area that was secluded from the hikers. He started taking photos of me, and I didn’t know why. He kept saying I looked really beautiful and kept snapping away. After soaking in the beautiful views of Smith Rock, I jokingly mentioned “this would have been the perfect place to propose”. He laughed and said “eventually!” We stayed for a bit as he took photos of me, then told me to lead us back to the trail. Then he said, “Becky?” I thought he was going to tell me a joke, and I said, “WHAT?” Then I saw him on one knee, with the ring out, and he asked “Will you marry me?”
“I was in so much shock, I didn’t expect a proposal. My dog, Yogi, was our only witness! I was so happy and the first words that immediately came out of my mouth were, “what the hell?!” Because I was so surprised. I then started crying, kissed him, and said “yes!” It was the perfect moment, on Smith Rock, on one of the most gorgeous days! Or maybe it’s always gorgeous. We spent the entire hike smiling, kissing, and enjoying the moment.”