Guest post courtesy of Adam Fenske
Would you like to know a secret? My wife and I left our sick children with their grandmother for the weekend. Do you want to know why we would do such an evil thing? Bend, Oregon.
We don’t get to cash in our babysitting chips very often, but Bend is certainly the place we go when we do. Now I want to make one thing perfectly clear: the best part of my life is spent with my two boys (Garrett, 5, and Micah, 3). The second best part is leaving them in the care of someone else.
Here are some of things we enjoyed recently when we visited my cousin, Tawna:
My wife went to Anjou Spa (read her post here) while my cousin, her gentleman friend, and I took a walk in Drake Park. If you have ever had Mirror Pond Pale Ale (made by Deschutes Brewery, one of the stops on the Bend Ale Trail) then you might know it was named after Mirror Pond located in Drake Park. And for good reason. The beauty of Mirror Pond had us looking over the bridge for quite a while. I think my kids would have enjoyed the beauty for… hmmm ten seconds and then would have wanted to jump into the water. A refreshing dip, I’m sure, but not one I wanted to have. I would have needed an extra set of clothes after saving them.
And speaking of extra clothes we didn’t have to bring any for the kids in case of unexpected emergencies. It’s amazing how many things you have to keep in mind when taking care of little human beings who depend on you for everything. It’s amazing how much can be discussed when conversation is uninterrupted. I half expected to look up and see Micah licking the sidewalk or Garrett throwing rocks at the ducks.
After the walk, we picked my wife up at Anjou Spa. Laura looked as relaxed as I felt. I instinctively wanted to ask if she needed to go potty because it had been a while since I had asked this question. I am the man who is constantly looking for bathrooms in case the kids need to go at a moment’s notice.
We found ourselves quite hungry and Tawna suggested 5 Fusion Restaurant. We felt like we were on another planet where we didn’t need to worry about if the restaurant had color crayons or if they were expensive, and if we’d have to pay for any breakable items.
We didn’t have to walk very far to arrive at 5 Fusion Restaurant. This place was amazing. I love Sushi but don’t get it too often, so when Tawna gave us her own 5 star rating, I couldn’t resist. It lived up to the hype.
I pride myself with my ability to share and be well mannered. After all, I have to set a good example for my children. But after taking a bite of the crispy fritter (with sweet chili sauce) I can’t say my manners were controlled. I don’t think chopsticks were meant to stab others’ hands when they are trying to get the last slice.
In addition to the filet mignon lollipops, spicy salmon rolls, and unagi rolls, we also sampled from 5 Fusion’s extensive cocktail and beer menu. I tried two different local IPAs, while the others enjoyed drinks ranging from the cucumber gimlet to the drunken mango. Suffice it to say, everyone left full and satisfied. As an added bonus, the owner came over to our table just to see how we enjoyed the meal. After a dinner like this, I wanted to hug her.
What could be better after a wonderful meal then to take another walk? We strolled downtown Bend visiting the shops that were still open, and showing Laura the ones we’d visited earlier during her massage. I tried on hats at Cowgirl Cash and pretended to be John Wayne, while Laura admired purses at Clutch: a handbag boutique. I may have tried on a purse or two as well, and I found one that brought out the colors in my eyes.
After a good night’s sleep, I had the energy to drag everyone out of bed for a walk up Pilot Butte. If you consider yourself a physically fit individual, you can run it. If you are a generally healthy person, then try walking. If you have children who will collapse halfway up and resist taking another step then you might want to drive (seasonal road closures permitting). However you decide to get up there, you will be glad you did. With the panoramic view, you will get a chance to see more than a dozen local peaks and the whole city of Bend.
After our hike, we visited the Old Mill District for some more shopping and more walking. I stopped at REI to browse and check out the photos, and then we all trooped into Savory Spice Shop. They had a variety of seasonings that would have you cooking for 10 years before using the full array of flavors they have to offer. Tawna bought a few things to use later for cooking dinner to accompany the growler of IPA we picked up Boneyard Beer. We also checked out the Les Schwab Amphitheater, and studied the impressive list of concerts lined up for the season.
After our shopping adventure, it was time to hit a few stops along the Bend Ale Trail. This was our first visit to GoodLife Brewing Company, and I’ll definitely be back. Bread? Gotta order it. Nachos? Do yourself a favor and go down that road. Beer? Put a spotlight on the main attraction. We toured the facility that was led by a young man who knew how to brew. While it would have been cute for the boys to ask what “beard” was and why they shouldn’t touch the hoses or go across the lines, the cuteness only goes so far before the tour lasts twice as long while we chase them around yelling, “Quit crawling around the hops!” However, our tour did take us outside to a patio area where many attractions are held on a daily basis in the summer. Another kid friendly thing to do at a later date.
We woke up the next day and, sadly, knew it was time to go back home but also with joy at seeing our children. It doesn’t take long before you miss the crazy and chaotic lifestyle, but we needed one last hoorah. It didn’t take long to convince Laura we needed to climb Smith Rock located 15 minutes north of Bend. This is where rock climbers go to obtain a slice of heaven. This is where people who are not crazy (and prefer hiking) go to get a slice as well. No matter how you get there, it is a breathtaking view. I didn’t have to stop while climbing but did just to soak in the beauty. You can walk around the mountain or walk over it which is what we did.
We got back in the car and off to home. We enjoyed both a restful and active weekend and were more than ready to see our kids. I hope to offer my kids the opportunity to enjoy a trip to Bend when they are adults with children.
Because heaven knows they will need it.
(Psst….don’t forget to read Laura’s post about her amazing experience at Anjou Spa).