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Five Christmas gifts you should buy me (and, uh, everyone else you love) BONUS: Win a $50 gift card from Oregon Body & Bath!

December 18th, 2014

Admittedly, there’s a chance I’m not on your holiday gift-buying list.

It’s okay, I’m not hurt. Much.

But I do think there are a number of items on my Christmas list that would make cool gifts for all the people you love more than me. To prove I’m not bitter, here are five awesome holiday gifts you can find for your loved ones right here in Bend.

 

Hydro Flask – the best water bottle you'll ever own. Seriously.

Hydro Flask – the best water bottle you’ll ever own. Seriously.

A Hydro Flask

I probably sound like a broken record, because I know I’ve mentioned this Bend-made product on the blog before. If you’ve never had a Hydro Flask, you might be raising an eyebrow and thinking “why would I pay that much for a freakin’ water bottle?”

This is no ordinary water bottle. Through some magical form of engineering I’m convinced involves fairies, this thing will keep ice water at the right temperature for 24 hours or more. It does the same for hot beverages, according to my husband who uses one for his coffee each morning.

Since our household already has a flip-top 18-ounce one for hot drinks ($24 in the Bend Visitor Center) and the screw-top 21-ouncer I keep in my purse to help me stay hydrated ($28), I’d kinda like either the 40-ounce one for longer hikes ($36), or the 64-ounce growler for beer runs ($58). They come in tons of different colors, and I’ll go ahead and let you pick which one to give me. I like surprises.

 

A Bamboo robe from Oregon Body & Bath

The Bamboo Dreams nightie I already own, paired with the robe I really want for Christmas.

The Bamboo Dreams nightie I already own, paired with the robe I really want for Christmas.

I discovered Yala Bamboo Dreams sleepwear a few months ago when I wandered into Oregon Body & Bath on a sweltering summer afternoon. I saw a rack of simple, lovely nighties crafted from bamboo, and I read the tag that described them as breathable, temperature-regulating, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial. Sold!

What I’ve discovered in the five months since then is that Bamboo Dreams sleepwear is the softest, comfiest, most luxurious sleepwear I’ve ever owned, putting my stash of Victoria’s Secret to shame. They’re perfect for summer or winter, since they’re breathable, beautiful, and make you feel sexy to boot. How many garments do that?

Oregon Body & Bath is the only place in Bend that carries Yala Bamboo Dreams Sleepwear, so that’s where you need to go to buy my gift (not to mention some great stocking stuffers like made-in-Bend soaps and lotions). Since I already own the Cleo Gown nightie, I’d love to own one of their shorty robes. There are two styles to choose from—one with longer sleeves and a detachable tie, and one with shorter, blousier sleeves and an attached tie. I think I’m partial to the one with longer sleeves, but I’ll be delighted with either one you want to buy for me. What do you think, blue? No, maybe the deep purple. Wait, the peachy-pink is pretty, too. Or maybe the black one?

No matter, they can have any size or color at the shop within two days, so go ahead and peruse. Oh, and they offer free gift wrapping to make life easier for you. I’d like the gold ribbon on the leopard print paper, please.

BONUS: Oregon Body & Bath is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky blog reader. Just comment on this blog post sharing what YOU hope to see in your stocking this year. We’ll draw a winner on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at noon!

 

Something sparkly and pretty

Lovely Hangr earrings made from recycled skateboards. Find 'em at Rescue Moderne Consignment.

Lovely Hangr earrings made from recycled skateboards. Find ‘em at Rescue Moderne Consignment.

At the risk of perpetuating stereotypes, let me go ahead and put this out there: I am a girl, and I like sparkly things. I’m not saying I need ten-carat diamond earrings in my stocking, but a meaningful piece of jewelry is one of my favorite things to get for Christmas.

Assuming there’s someone in your life who feels the same, you’re in luck when it comes to finding awesome jewelry made right here in Bend. The Feather’s Edge in Downtown Bend carries a beautiful array of jewelry made by Bend artist McKenzie Mendel. Her necklaces, earrings, and rings are handmade with hammered sterling silver and a thin layer of high-carat gold on the surface, lending each piece a unique, mixed-metal feel. Prices range from about $65-$85, and The Feather’s Edge is the only shop in Bend where you can find it.

A few blocks away, Clutch: A Handbag Boutique is the only local shop carrying EML Sparklies made by Bend artist Erin Latham. Her super-unique creations use semi-precious stones and make awesome statement pieces for a woman looking for a one-of-a-kind bling. Prices range from $3 for adorable hair pins to $45 for necklaces and some of the more intricate earrings.

So many sparkly pretties made by McKenzie Mendel and sold at The Feather's Edge.

So many sparkly pretties made by McKenzie Mendel and sold at The Feather’s Edge.

You’ll find tons of great locally made jewelry at Rescue Moderne Consignment. My personal fave is Hangr, an array of jewelry made from recycled skateboards. As an added bonus, this is one of the best consignment shops in town, so stay awhile and browse for gently-used designer clothes and shoes.

If your tastes trend toward higher-end jewelry, hit Karen Bandy Design, John Paul Designs, or Douglas Fine Jewelry Design in Downtown Bend, or head for the Old Mill District to check out Saxons Fine Jewelers.

Speaking of the Old Mill District, you’ll encounter the Old Ironworks Art District as you head that way from Downtown. Stop and shop for a while, browsing unique jewelry from Stuarts of Bend (touted as “Bend’s least normal jewelry) and an array of other designers with pieces at The Workhouse.

Once you’re in the Old Mill District, head for Nashelle, one of Bend’s best-known creators of unique jewelry. Their designs have been featured in oodles of splashy fashion magazines, and their personalized charm necklaces make one of the most unique gifts you can give. Even better? Their Shop for a Cause program gives you a chance to support some pretty awesome charities with your purchases.

 

Experiences, not things

There’s been a trend in gift-giving in recent years prompting people to give “experiences,” rather than things. I’m a big fan of this movement, mostly because I don’t need more clutter in my house.

Blogger Tawna (center) enjoying a Segway tour from The Bend Tour Company.

Blogger Tawna (center) enjoying a Segway tour from The Bend Tour Company.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of awesome experiences to be had in Bend. Give a gift certificate for Wanderlust Tours and let your loved one choose from caving, snowshoeing, canoeing, and tons more terrific ways to explore the Central Oregon outdoors.

For several years running, my hubby has gotten me a voucher for the two of us to enjoy a cooking class together from The Well Traveled Fork. It’s a fabulous bonding experience, not to mention a great way to pick up new culinary skills and recipes. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, they also offer a variety of tours, plus their new Mountain Menu (an easy way to get fresh, locally-made food to take with you on your winter outing).

The Bend Tour Company is another terrific company offering a variety of unique tours, ranging from the Art Safari (a chance to see Bend’s art scene up close and personal) to Segway tours. If cruising around Bend on an electric bike sounds like a fun way to see the town, consider a gift certificate for Let It Ride.

To peruse a more extensive lineup of local tour offerings ranging from fly fishing to mountain biking, go here.

 

Can’t decide? Grab Old Mill Bucks or Downtown Dollars!

DowntownDollarsOldMillBucksWant to let me choose my own gift, but think cash is too impersonal? Hey, thank you! I also applaud your effort to keep the spending local by giving me Downtown Dollars or Old Mill Bucks.

Just as the names imply, those are gift cards that can be used in either Old Mill District or Downtown Bend. They spend the same as cash at restaurants and boutiques in those areas, and you can purchase them right here in the Bend Visitor Center.

I’ll take a few of each, okay?

DON’T FORGET! Comment on this post for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Oregon Body & Bath. Just share what YOU hope to see in your stocking this year. We’ll draw a winner on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at noon!

 

Wouldn’t a Bend Oregon photo look great on your living room wall?

December 11th, 2014

If you’re one of the 110,000+ people following Visit Bend’s Facebook page, you’re already familiar with the backbone of our social media: photography! Hundreds and hundreds of breathtaking photos captured by talented photographers out enjoying Bend’s scenic beauty and taking their cameras along for the ride.

Page fans ask us regularly how to purchase prints and postcards of the images they see on our page, and while we always link to the Bend Oregon photographers‘ Facebook pages or websites, how about we make this easy for you?

Here’s a roundup of nine photographers whose images have racked up the highest number of likes, comments, and shares on our Facebook page in recent months. Like what you see? With the holidays approaching, now’s the perfect time to pick up a pack of Bend Oregon photo greeting cards or a framed print for that special someone!

 

Photographer Jason Brownlee.

Photographer Jason Brownlee.

Jason Brownlee

Where can we find you online?
http://www.facebook.com/jasonbrownleedesign
http://www.jasonbrownleedesign.com

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
Up until this fall it was my limited edition prints, but over the last couple months, my new 2015 calendar has rapidly become my most popular (and affordable) item I offer.

One of Jason Brownlee's most popular photos.

One of Jason Brownlee’s most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
I love to shoot all kinds of different subjects to keep my skills fresh, with my favorites being any shoot in the outdoors.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
The area’s diversity in landscape and terrain, and the plethora of outdoor activities available here.

 

 

Photographer Majeed Badizadegan

Photographer Majeed Badizadegan

Majeed Badizadegan

Where can we find you online?
​​www.majeedb.com​
https://www.facebook.com/MajeedBadizadegan?ref=hl​

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
​Lately, a hot seller of mine has been Redwood Grove. This shot has sold over 6 times in the past couple months, and every buyer has bought it between 3 and 4 feet wide! ​Since July 4, 2014, when Light from Within was taken, I’ve sold about two prints per month on various mediums and sizes!

One of Majeed Badizadegan's most popular photos.

One of Majeed Badizadegan’s most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
​Bend is my favorite area in Oregon to photograph. I love Sparks Lake, Smith Rock, the Painted Hills, ​Crater Lake, Proxy Falls… The list goes on and on.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
​The best thing about being in Bend is the convenient access to all the amazing beauty.  If you love the outdoors, there are really not many places that compare to the Bend area.

 

 

 

Photographer Glen Thuncher

Photographer Glen Thuncher

Glen Thuncher

Where can we find you online?
www.thuncherphotography.com

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
All my photos are available for sale in different sizes and formats, including metal prints and standard photo prints.

One of Glen Thuncher's most popular photos.

One of Glen Thuncher’s most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
Sparks Lake is my muse, and I long for her during those long cold winter months when the Cascade Highway is closed and access denied. I feel the same way about the Deschutes River (all of it!)

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
First and foremost, the awe-inspiring natural beauty that surrounds Bend makes it the best place to live in America. The town itself is hip, cool, and vibrant – and it’s the perfect place to raise a family, run a business, and live a healthy life.

 

 

Photographer Pete Alport

Photographer Pete Alport

Pete Alport

Where can we find you online?
https://www.facebook.com/PeteAlportVideoPhotography

One of Pete Alport's most popular photos.

One of Pete Alport’s most popular photos.

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
My most popular photos items for sale are scenic and sports action photography based out of Oregon.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
There is no particular favorite spot to shoot; I love shooting in Drake Park all the way to the Three Sisters Wilderness.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
Everything.

 

 

 

Photographer Malcolm Lowery

Photographer Malcolm Lowery

Malcolm Lowery

Where can we find you online?
https://www.facebook.com/MalcolmLoweryPhotography
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/malcolm-lowery.html

One of Malcolm Lowery's most popular photos.

One of Malcolm Lowery’s most popular photos.

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
Landscape images of Central Oregon.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
Anywhere in Central Oregon early in the morning as nature is waking up. I love the peace and quiet.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
The amazing variety of scenery within minutes of Bend that changes with every season.

 

 

 

Photographer Kathy Lowery.

Photographer Kathy Lowery.

Kathy Lowery

Where can we find you online?
www.facebook.com/KathyLoweryPhotography 
www.kathyloweryphotography.com

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
Outdoor senior portraits are my specialty.

One of Kathy Lowery's most popular photos.

One of Kathy Lowery’s most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
I love photographing the beauty in Bend, the nature, our unique city, and the people.  The Sisters Mountains, Sparks Lake, and the Deschutes River are some of my favorite subjects.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
Everything!  I am so thankful to live in such a wonderful city that has so much to offer.  I never get tired of the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets we get to enjoy here.

 

 

 

Photographer James Dustin Parsons

Photographer James Dustin Parsons

James Parsons of Extreme Oregon

Where can we find you online? 
www.extremeoregon.net
https://www.facebook.com/Extremeoregon

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
My most popular photo items for sale are canvas and paper prints.

One of James Dustin Parsons' most popular photos.

One of James Dustin Parsons’ most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
My favorite places to photograph around Bend are from Tumalo Mountain because the views are world class for a fairly short hike, and Sparks Lake.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
The best thing about being in Bend is the access to so many natural wonders in a very short distance, no doubt.

 

 

 

Photographer Jeffrey Murray

Photographer Jeffrey Murray

Jeffrey Murray

Where can we find you online?
http://www.jeffreymurrayphotography.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeffrey-Murray-Photography/177223064385

What are your most popular photo items for sale?

Limited edition fine art prints on metal of Central Oregon Landscapes (many of which can be viewed and purchased in person in my gallery on Minnesota Avenue in Downtown Bend).

One of Jeffrey Murray's most popular photos.

One of Jeffrey Murray’s most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
The country roads east of town, specifically off of McGrath Road.  Ever since a young age, I have always been interested in old ranching equipment and the ranching culture.  East of Bend there are endless opportunities for old machinery, fence lines, and barns.  Because the landscape is rather flat and featureless, I find that area provides great light that travels long distances, giving me the amazing sunrise and sunset colors I search for while shooting.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
Bend provides the vast landscape and impressive scenery I have always been drawn to as a photographer and outdoor enthusiast. The combination of the surrounding High Desert and Cascade Range is amazing. Not to mention the weather and the skiing!  There is always a weather system on the horizon that is great for photographing, whether it’s pouring rain, snow, freezing fog, or simply dense clouds.  Because of the desert to our east, our sunrise light is particularly superb, and what better way to top off an early morning shoot than heading to Mt. Bachelor to make some turns.

 

Photographer Skyler Hughes.

Photographer Skyler Hughes.

Skyler Hughes

Where can we find you online?
http://skyler-hughes.com
https://www.facebook.com/skylerhughesphotography

What are your most popular photo items for sale?
Currently my most popular item is 20×30 metal prints. Metal prints come ready to hang on the wall, with no frame needed. I offer a variety of sizes, and people can contact me through my website with any questions.

One of Skyler Hughes' most popular photos.

One of Skyler Hughes’ most popular photos.

Favorite places and subjects to photograph around Bend?
The landscapes of Central Oregon is the reason why I live here. There is an endless opportunity for photography, not to mention the seasons always changing. From autumn to winter, the mountains, waterfalls, and trees are always changing.

What’s the best thing about being in Bend?
Other than landscapes, the people of Bend is the best thing. A supportive community that really appreciates art. From First Friday to Last Saturday there is a wide variety of art, not only photography.

5 ways to rock your winter vacation in Bend

December 4th, 2014

If you’re a fan of skiing and snowboarding, odds are good you’re already aware that Bend, Oregon, makes a killer place for a winter getaway.

But whether or not you love strapping slippery boards to your feet and sliding down an incline, Bend still offers a dizzyingly diverse array of activities to enjoy during the snow-packed months of winter. Here are five winter vacation ideas you can get the most from your vacation in Bend.

 

Do the ever lovin’ heck out of Mt. Bachelor

Carving some turns at Mt. Bachelor is just the beginning of your winter vacation in Bend.

Carving some turns at Mt. Bachelor is just the beginning of your winter vacation in Bend.

First things first: Mt. Bachelor has the highest skiable elevation in all of Oregon and Washington, and it’s one of the largest single-mountain resorts in the country. The fact that it’s a dormant volcano gives you the rare opportunity to ride 360-degrees off the summit, and with an average snowfall of 462 inches, there’s plenty of white stuff to go around.

Like to ski and snowboard? They’ve got 3,700 acres of lift-accessible terrain ranging from beginner slopes to terrain parks to treed slopes with pillowy caches of powder. And unlike a lot of resorts around the country, Mt. Bachelor makes sure you spend a lot more time on the slopes than you do standing in lift lines.

If Nordic skiing is more your speed, Bachelor has the longest groomed Nordic season in North America, with trails open from mid-November to late-May. More than a dozen trails sweep over 56km of forest, and the area is machine-groomed and track-set every night.

Craving something a little outside-the-box from your Mt. Bachelor experience? Try a sled dog ride with Oregon Trail of Dreams, or grab the whole family for an afternoon of sledding fun on the Snowblast Tubing Park.

 

Biking in wintertime?

Rent a fat bike from Hub Cyclery and cruise through snowbanks on two weeks.

Rent a fat bike from Hub Cyclery and cruise through snowbanks on two weeks.

When I explain the basics of a Bend winter vacation to journalists who’ve never been here, one thing that consistently blows their minds is the idea that you can ski powder all morning, then drive 20 minutes down the hill and spend your afternoon mountain biking on 277 miles of sweeping singletrack.

That’s the beauty of this area. While Bachelor might get the aforementioned 462 inches of snow each season, the city of Bend averages only 23.8 inches. You can credit the magic of elevation gain and the high desert climate for that little miracle.

If you’ve got your mountain bike loaded on your car already, check out Visit Bend’s mountain biking guide to learn everything you need to know to have a blast when you’re out riding. Prefer to hit the trails in the company of a seasoned tour guide who can hook you up with all the equipment you need? Book a full-day or half-day adventure with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours.

If you just can’t get enough snow, you’ll be fired up about the latest cycling craze. Fat bikes have oversized tires designed to cruise through the snow. You can rent one from Hub Cyclery in Downtown Bend, then stick around and enjoy a free beer from their in-house tap while you chat up the staff about which trails to hit.

 

Now it’s time for some suds

You’ve played hard in the great outdoors, so you’ve earned the right to reward yourself with some delicious craft beer along the Bend Ale Trail.

Boneyard Beer is one of many fantastic stops along the Bend Ale Trail.

Boneyard Beer is one of many fantastic stops along the Bend Ale Trail.

Pick up your passport at the Bend Visitor Center or any of the 14 breweries that are part of the program. Then sip your way from brewery to brewery gathering passport stamps and sampling hoppy IPAs, malty porters, and unique seasonal selections you’ll only find in the pubs.

For tips on making the most of your Bend Ale Trail adventure, check out this post!

 

Soak up some arts and culture

Now that you’re nice and relaxed, it’s time to scope out Bend’s unique arts and culture scene. If you’re in town at the beginning of the month, don’t miss First Friday Art Walk and the awesome opportunity to browse shops in Downtown Bend while enjoying music, art, wine, nibbles, and the chance to chat with artists about their work.

Soak up some arts and culture at Bend's iconic Tower Theatre.

Soak up some arts and culture at Bend’s iconic Tower Theatre.

If you want to catch a show, the historic Tower Theatre is a great place to start, or check out the kitschy-cool Tin Pan Theater. While you’re there, stroll around Downtown Bend checking out the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection for a look at one of Bend’s most unique assortments of outdoor art. Want more? Swing by the Bend Visitor Center to grab a passport for the Roundabout Art Route, then set out on a mission to see an exciting array of sculptures in the center of Bend’s traffic circles. If you’d prefer to leave the driving to someone else, call Bend Tour Company and book their popular Bend Art Safari tour.

If you’ve got a hankering for some Bend history, check out the Des Chutes Historical Museum, or visit the High Desert Museum for Central Oregon’s coolest collection of natural history exhibits and animals.

You'll experience a whole new realm of snow play when you head out for an adventure with Wanderlust Tours.

You’ll experience a whole new realm of snow play when you head out for an adventure with Wanderlust Tours.

If music is your passion, don’t miss the Jazz at the Oxford series at Bends super swanky Oxford Hotel, or see what Opera Bend has going on during the time of your visit.

 

Snow play without slipping and sliding

Ready to get back to the snow now? Try snow play of a different sort when you book a snowshoe outing with Wanderlust Tours.

Choose from daytime outings with your kids in tow, or opt for the Shoes, Brews & Views tour featuring an array of local beer from breweries along the Bend Ale Trail. If you’re more of a night owl (or just want the experience of seeing the snowy landscape under sparkling stars) try one of their Moonlight or Starlight Snowshoe Tours, where you’ll trek to an amphitheater carved into the snow.

Your snowshoe outings with Wanderlust include all gear, transportation, refreshments, and the most engaging, entertaining, and educated naturalist guides in the biz.

 

Avlis Leumas is the new featured artist for Visit Bend’s Pillars of Art program

November 25th, 2014

2014-november-avlis-finished-pillars-of-art-1SMALLAt the Bend Visitor Center, we not only allow people to draw on the walls—we encourage it!

Every six months, Visit Bend chooses one local artist to create unique chalk drawings on the cement pillars in the Visitor Center lobby. The artist also has his or her framed work displayed and sold in the Visitor Center for the duration of his or her show. It’s part of the Pillars of Art program, which was created to introduce tourists to Bend’s unique arts and culture scene, and to support emerging local artists.

The newest Pillars of Art creator is Avlis Leumas. For his Pillars of Art installment, Avlis crafted a delightful collection of superheroes depicted in fr2014-September-Pillars-Avlis-32 SMALLont of Central Oregon landmarks and landscapes. This brightly-colored exhibit is proving particularly popular with young children.

You can see his work at the Bend Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also drop by after 5 p.m. during First Friday Art Walk on December 5 when the Visitor Center will be open late.

We caught up with Avlis recently and asked a few questions about his art, his life, and everything in between. Here’s what he shared with us:

Visit Bend: Where did you grow up, and how did you end up in Bend?

Avlis: I grew up in the Bay Area and spent 30 years there before leaving for Bend. When I was a child, my family would spend weekends working on a home near Lake Tahoe. The plan was to eventually move there, but my father passed away when I was in eighth grade and things changed. I always envisioned going back to the mountains; we found Bend in 2004 and put an offer on a home the second day we were here.

Visit Bend: Tell us about your artistic training.

Avlis: Nothing formal—a couple art classes in the two high schools I attended. Other than that, I grew up co2014-november-avlis-finished-pillars-of-art-10SMALLllecting comic books because the art was fascinating, dynamic, and told a story. I tried for years to emulate that style and finally gave up on art my junior year of high school to play bass in a band. It was a better fit for me at the time.

Visit Bend: How would you describe your artistic style?

Avlis: I don’t know, perhaps comic-pop art. I like hard, defined lines that create movement. It took a long time to figure out how to bring movement into a piece and not have it look stiff or rigid. Once you understand that approach, it’s hard to define what it is, but you know it is happening because it comes out effortlessly.

Visit Bend: What’s your favorite medium?

Avlis: I love pencil sketches over anything because they show that intangible place where imagination and intuition sync up with creative expression. It’s a map of connection with our highest consciousness; it’s creativity’s dwelling place coming into manifestation in its most raw form.

Visit Bend: Who are your artistic influences?

Avlis: Da Vinci, Van Gough, Tim Vigil, Mike Deodato, and Bernie Wrightson. Local influences and loves a2014-September-Pillars-Avlis-25 SMALLre: Alex Reisfar, Sheila Dunn, Meghan McGuiness, and Kaycee Anseth.

Visit Bend:  What do you like best about living in Bend, and how does it influence your artistic style?

Avlis: Freedom from chaos. I felt this every day during my final years in the Bay Area. It feels timeless here; almost like I moved to Neverland. I’m not sure how it influences my artistic style, but it did cause me to pick up the pencil again after almost 20 years. I can say I love the art community and how much everyone supports each other’s work.

Visit Bend:  What do you enjoy doing in Bend when you’re not creating art?

Avlis: I have been an instructor at COCC for almost seven years and love it so much. When I’m not there, I love being with my wife and son—we spend time with friends/family, but just being out in Bend. It’s nice to leave Central Oregon too, but you know you’re in the right place when it feels good to be home each time.

Visit Bend:  What’s your impression of the Bend art scene, and how do you think the Pillars of Art program fits with that?2014-november-avlis-finished-pillars-of-art-2SMALL

Avlis: The Bend art scene is incredible! There is so much talent in this little city and everyone’s style is so different. I think the pillars are great because the medium of chalk and the confined canvas of a pillar forces the creative process to manifest in a very different way than the artist is used to—it’s brilliant!

 

DON’T FORGET! Stop by the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava and Oregon in Downtown Bend to check out this great collection of artwork by Alvis. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also drop by during First Friday Art Walk after 5 p.m. on Friday, December 5.

To check out his art online, visit http://avlis-leumas.com/

 

What’s happening in Bend, Oregon for Thanksgiving 2014?

November 20th, 2014

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.

The cozy dining room at Greg's Grill is one of many spots in Bend where you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The cozy dining room at Greg’s Grill is one of many spots in Bend where you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner 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.

Not in the mood to eat in a restaurant, but still don’t want to do the cooking? Not a problem! Catering experts Baldy’s, Tate & Tate, and Country Catering all offer holiday meals for pickup.

 

Run off those Turkey Day calories

Run off those Turkey Day calories in the Thanksgiving Classic or one of the other fun runs happening this year.

Run off those Turkey Day calories in the Thanksgiving Classic or one of the other fun runs happening this year.

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.

Who's ready to carve some turns at Mt. Bachelor?

Who’s ready to carve some turns at Mt. Bachelor?

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!

UPDATED NOV. 26, 2014: Rainy conditions have put a damper on opening day plans, but Mt. Bachelor is now aiming to be up and running the day after Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the online condition reports for all the latest info.

 

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.

There are plenty of places to shop 'til you drop in Bend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

There are plenty of places to shop ’til you drop in Bend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

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.

 

Christmas already?

Carriage rides are one of many festive traditions happening in the Old Mill District.

Carriage rides are one of many festive traditions happening in the Old Mill District.

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.

    Snowshoeing by starlight is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities you can enjoy with Wanderlust Tours in Bend.

    Snowshoeing by starlight is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities you can enjoy with Wanderlust Tours in Bend.

  • 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.

6 ways to get ready for Mt. Bachelor’s opening day

November 13th, 2014

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).

Time to get your ski gear ready for this. Or, uh...something a little more mellow.

Time to get your ski gear ready for this. Or, uh…something a little more mellow.

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 facebook iconfrom snow conditions to Bend events to what’s happening along the Bend Ale Trail.

Fans of Instagram will find tons of great photos on Visit Bend’s page, or follow local photographer Pete Alport, who spends nearly every waking hour (and many non-waking hours) on the mountain.

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

The beautiful, snowy view from Bend's luxurious Pine Ridge Inn on November 13.

The beautiful, snowy view from Bend’s luxurious Pine Ridge Inn on November 13.

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.

Snow enthusiasts stroll the streets of Downtown Bend on November 30.

Snow enthusiasts stroll the streets of Downtown Bend on November 30.

 

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.

4 Bend-centric books to add to your to-be-read pile

November 6th, 2014

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.

 

JohnAbernathyBeerBookTitle:

Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon

Author:

Jon Abernathy

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.

Author Jon Abernathy.

Author Jon Abernathy.

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!

 

 

100CentralOregonHikesTitle:

100 Hikes Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

Author:

William L. Sullivan

Where you can find it:

In the Bend Visitor Center at the corner of Lava & Oregon in Downtown Bend, Powell’s Books, Amazon, or download now for iPad, iPhone, or Kindle.

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.

 

 

BendOverallBookTitle:

Bend, Overall: 99 Hikes and Explorations in Central Oregon

Author:

Scott Cook

Where you can find it:

In the Bend Visitor Center at the corner of Lava & Oregon in Downtown Bend, Amazon, and Powell’s Books.

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.

 

 

LindaOrcellettoPilotButteBookTitle:

Tales, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies About Bend’s Iconic Pilot Butte

Author:

Linda Orcelletto

Where you can find it:

Bend Visitor Center at the corner of Lava & Oregon in Downtown Bend, Deschutes Historical Museum at 129 NW Idaho Avenue in Bend, and Dudley’s Bookshop Café in Downtown Bend.

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.

Author Linda Orcelletto (photo courtesy of Kari Mauser)

Author Linda Orcelletto (photo courtesy of Kari Mauser)

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.

 

9 reasons to do the Bend Ale Trail in November

October 30th, 2014

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?

Behold, the trophy you'll get for bringing a newly-completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center during Bend Ale Trail month.

Behold, the trophy you’ll get for bringing a newly-completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center during Bend Ale Trail month.

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.

 

Trophies

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?

 

Seasonal suds

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.

Bend Brewing Company is a great place to find unique seasonal beers this time of year.

Bend Brewing Company is a great place to find unique seasonal beers this time of year.

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.

Rumor has it Rat Hole Brewing has killer food (especially prime rib).

Rumor has it Rat Hole Brewing has killer food (especially prime rib).

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.

Oodles of Bend lodging properties (like Mount Bachelor Village, shown here) offer special Bend Ale Trail packages.

Oodles of Bend lodging properties (like Mount Bachelor Village, shown here) offer special Bend Ale Trail packages.

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!

 

Trophies

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.

 

Fire pits

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.

The modern-looking fire pit at Riverbend Brewing is always going strong.

The modern-looking fire pit at Riverbend Brewing is always going strong.

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.

Worthy Brewing is another great place to sip suds by the fire.

Worthy Brewing is another great place to sip suds by the fire.

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.

Just a small sampling of the brewery schwag you'll have a chance to win by using hashtag #bendaletrail during Bend Ale Trail month.

Just a small sampling of the brewery schwag you’ll have a chance to win by using hashtag #bendaletrail during Bend Ale Trail month.

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?

 

Trophies

Have I mentioned the trophies yet?

Did we mention the trophy?

How about that trophy?

9 great places to get your hot wing fix in Bend

October 24th, 2014

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

The garlic tahini wings at Broken Top Bottle Shop will make you want to bathe in the dipping sauce.

The garlic tahini wings at Broken Top Bottle Shop will make you want to bathe in the dipping sauce.

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!

 

Deschutes Brewery

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.

Thai wings of fire at Deschutes Brewery will get you seriously fired up.

Thai wings of fire at Deschutes Brewery will get you seriously fired up.

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!

 

Platypus Pub

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.

Make sure you order an Imperial IPA to pair with your wings at Worthy Brewing.

Make sure you order an Imperial IPA to pair with your wings at Worthy Brewing.

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.

 

Worthy Brewing

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.

Mouthwatering wings at Sidelines let you control your own sauce distribution.

Mouthwatering wings at Sidelines let you control your own sauce distribution.

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.

You've got lotsa wings to choose from at Wubba's, but the barbecue ones are simply divine.

You’ve got lotsa wings to choose from at Wubba’s, but the barbecue ones are simply divine.

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?

Right!

You'll have tons of variety to choose from at Hardy's Hotwings and Hamburgers.

You’ll have tons of variety to choose from at Hardy’s Hotwings and Hamburgers.

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.

 

Summit Saloon

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.

Angel fire and Buffalo wings from Summit – the best of both wing worlds!

Angel fire and Buffalo wings from Summit – the best of both wing worlds!

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.

Joolz

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 on the camel wings at Joolz will leave you licking your fingers.

The secret sauce on the camel wings at Joolz will leave you licking your fingers.

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.

10 things you need to pack for your Bend vacation

October 16th, 2014

It goes without saying that your packing list for any upcoming trip to Bend should include things like clean undies and sturdy walking shoes.

Even on days it's warm enough for shorts for your hike up Pilot Butte, a jacket is a good idea in Bend.

Even on days it’s warm enough for shorts for your hike up Pilot Butte, a jacket is a good idea in Bend.

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).

 

A jacket

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.

This Otterbox waterproof case  has saved my phone's butt on more than one dunk in the Deschutes River while SUPing.

This Otterbox waterproof case has saved my phone’s butt on more than one dunk in the Deschutes River while SUPing.

 

Waterproof pouch

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.

The Bend Ale Trail app is a handy tool to have on your phone if you plan to explore Bend's craft beer scene.

The Bend Ale Trail app is a handy tool to have on your phone if you plan to explore Bend’s craft beer scene.

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 your lip balm? We've got a great one for sale at the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava & Oregon.

Forgot your lip balm? We’ve got a great one for sale at the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava & Oregon.

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.

Whether you peruse the local galleries, or opt to buy art off the wall of a coffee shop like Thump, make sure you save room in your bag for a one-of-a-kind piece masterpiece.

Whether you peruse the local galleries, or opt to buy art off the wall of a coffee shop like Thump, make sure you save room in your bag for a one-of-a-kind piece masterpiece.

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.

Remember to stash a day pack in your luggage!

Remember to stash a day pack in your luggage!

 

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.

 

Your pooch

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.

Did you know dogs can fly in Bend? Don't leave Rover at home when you vacation in Central Oregon!

Did you know dogs can fly in Bend? Don’t leave Rover at home when you vacation in Central Oregon!

 

Tire chains

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

Your creativity will soar when you're in Bend.

Your creativity will soar when you’re in Bend.

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.

 

 

 


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