Visit Bend Blog

Category: Guest bloggers

What’s the perfect day in Bend for the founder of Locals Compass?

July 27th, 2017

Every week, I hear from guest bloggers asking for a chance to write for the Bend Buzz Blog, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve agreed in the last seven years.

There has to be an extra-special reason for it—like, say, the convergence of my trip to Orlando for the Romance Writers of America national conference (part of my not-so-secret life outside Visit Bend) and the launch of an awesome new Bend business that piqued my interest.

Mmmm….breakfast at La Magie!

That’s where Zilaida Salgueiro comes in. She’s the founder of Locals Compass, which is a new business that creates personalized travel itineraries for Bend visitors who want to experience Bend like a local. Customers choose a local expert whose interests align with their traveling style and interests, then answer a few questions that will help the local design the perfect itinerary for them.

Naturally, it seemed like a good chance to ask Zilaida what her perfect day in Bend might look like. Here’s what she had to say…


Off to a great start

I’d start my day with breakfast at La Magie Bakery and Cafe. Now that I live downtown, I love that I’m a short walk away from an awesome breakfast.

Chilling outside Looney Bean with a good book and views of the river.

I also love the coziness of their decor and portion sizes. If I know I’ll be having dinner at a friend’s house later that day, I like buying some of their pastries to bring for dessert.


It’s the simple things in life

Looney Bean is one of the places that made me fall in love with Bend during my first visit back in April 2015. That’s why a perfect day in Bend must include paying them a visit. My go to drink is their Dirty Hippie (chai latte with a shot of espresso).

Once I have my order in hand, I head over to their lawn area in the back, find a chair and place it facing the water, sit back and, either listen to some good music (currently on a Happy Folk kick on Spotify), or read a good book. Life moves fast but I always feel it slow down while I’m there.



For lunch, I’m off to Wild Rose Thai! It is the first place in Bend that recognizes me as a regular. I guess paying them a visit almost weekly would accomplish that.

Zilaida (right) enjoys lunch with a pal at Wild Rose.

My go-to for lunch is their Kaho Soi Curry (spicy level 2, please!). I’ve honestly lost count of how many people I’ve told about this place or have taken with me for either lunch or dinner. If you catch me there for dinner I’m probably enjoying their Kaw Pad Boo (stir fried jasmine rice with Dungeness crab meat, yum).


Work it (out)

Now that my belly is full, it’s time to work off some calories with a hike. If I feel like a challenge, my go to is a trip to Smith Rock to complete Misery Ridge. If I want a less calorie-burning experience (read, less challenging), I head over to Pilot Butte or Shevlin Park.

A hike at Smith Rock offers a healthy helping of exercise.

One of my goals for this year is to complete the #52HikeChallenge (52 hikes within one year), which should be achievable living in Bend! I tend to enjoy hikes with amazing views the most, so I’m excited to tackle Black Butte and others before summer comes to an end.

Dinner and a show

After the hike, I’d meet friends at Crux to enjoy some tacos from El Sancho Taco Shack, a cold beer, and to wait for the sunset show that is sure to follow.

Capping off the day with beers and a sunset at Crux.

No matter the season, I’ve found it to be a great place to fully grasp some of the best things that Bend has to offer: craft beer, good food, and the great outdoors.


The perfect day in Bend, according to Courtney Van Fossan of Bend Electric Bikes

March 30th, 2017

Oh, blog readers. I have a treat for you!

For almost 7 years, you’ve gotten my weekly reports about my favorite things to do and see around town, including detailed itineraries for my perfect day in Bend.

But every now and then (like when I go on vacation!) I invite a special guest blogger to share his or her idea of a perfect Bend day. This week I summoned Courtney Van Fossan, whose job title is “Cultural Agent of Change” (love it!) with Bend Electric Bikes.

You can find their tours through The Bend Tour Company, and you can find Courtney’s idea of a perfect day in Bend below. Take it away, Courtney!


Courtney and her family prepare to set out for a ride.

I’ve lived in Bend for about 5 years and, while I would call Bend a “small-ish” town, I never run out of new things to do and places to explore.  The main reason I relocated here was to ditch the car and enjoy a biking/walking lifestyle with my kids.  While there is always more progress to be made, Bend hasn’t disappointed. I ride and walk almost everywhere with a little help from electric cargo/family bikes.


Early Rising and Mount Bachelor

We woke up early and headed to Mt. Bachelor for a couple hours of skiing and snowboarding. We’re enjoying our first season at the mountain and took advantage of the Ski and Ride in 5 program offered for folks who are new to snow sports.

Bundled up and ready to bike for their snow play!

Now that we’ve graduated, we ski and snowboard as a family and it has been an invaluable bonding experience. I can’t recommend it enough—your kids will thank you for it! My son, Ike (age 9) loves the new Cloudchaser lift, and let me tell you, it’s a different world up there! The wide open views are stunning. Ike is also our mountain guide and helped plan our route for the day. With so many trails to explore, I’m glad we have him!

We often enjoy biking to the Park & Ride and taking the shuttle to the mountain, which is a convenient way to reduce traffic headed to the mountain and to avoid the fight for a parking space.


Urban Trails – Hidden Gems of the East Side

Our life revolves around family biking and working at a bike shop definitely helps when it comes to fun options for tootling around town and using our awesome Bend Urban Trail System.

The Community Labyrinth off the Coyner Trailhead.

We stopped at the shop to grab a couple of family/cargo bikes as an alternate to our usual ride—we like variety! I wanted to put a new family bike, the Benno Boost, to the test so we grabbed it and a nicely accessorized Xtracycle set up for family fun. The bike shop recently partnered with The Bend Tour Company and will be offering fun new eBike tours, so our exploration was part family time and part research into the best family riding in Bend.

My kids and I have been family biking since they were wee ones and they are the experts, giving me plenty of feedback on comfort, safety and fun factor.  Both bikes got the stamp of approval from kids and parents.

We chose to explore the Coyner and Larkspur Trails, which are accessible on the east side of town. We picked up the Coyner Trailhead which is near Franklin and the 8th/9th Street roundabout. A community garden and a smooth, paved path enticed us to get going and see what we could find. Our first discovery was the Community Labyrinth, right off the trail.  We stopped and ran around and around. The posted sign says, “The circular nature of a labyrinth reminds us that life is a journey rather than a destination.” That’s the truth, and it certainly worked for us!

Watching skaters at Ponderosa Skate Park.

We continued on the trail and came to Ponderosa Skate Park where we saw the beginnings of skateboarding season with a bunch of kids doing some amazing tricks—we could have watched for hours!  After the skate park cleared a bit, we took some turns on our bikes and enjoyed the smooth concrete. We’ll be sharpening our family biking stunts in the coming months!

Next, we stopped at the Ponderosa Park playground, which is set up on a hill. The slide was the favorite for the day. It was long and fast—high marks from the shortstuffs. Our ride took us around the Bend Senior Center and we lollygagged on the trail for quite a while longer, enjoying the freedom and safety of the car-free path.  We like to take advantage of these trails whenever we can and they are such a nice relief from the traffic on the roads.


Doggy time & curling—new and old Bend traditions

Georgia walks Alice, the dog.

We had to take a break from the trail for a bit to head home and check on our new pup, Alice.  We recently adopted her from the Humane Society of Central Oregon and she’s not quite ready to for the excitement of the trails and dog parks along the way.  We had several visits to meet dogs and take them on walks before we adopted Alice. Many of us miss our pets when we’re traveling and this way, so this is one way to give you time with a cuddly dog or cat and give them some much needed exercise and attention.

Curling at the Pavilion.

We live a few short blocks from Miller’s Landing Park, where there is a wonderful paved trail that connects to the Old Mill District and the Colorado Bridge over the Bend Whitewater Park.  My daughter, Georgia (age 7) and I walked Alice along the path, while Ike and Amy rode their bikes to the Pavilion where Bend curling action takes place.

Amy is new to the curling league, and was lucky to get a much coveted spot mid-season.  The sport is very popular and gives way to more on-ice inspiration at the Pavilion, which goes from ice skating, ice hockey, and curling in winter, to warm weather recreation like basketball and pickleball in the summer.


Another zip along the trails

Back to bikes and trails! We picked up the Larkspur Trail by way of the Bend cemetery, (a quiet place to ride!) and a quick shortcut to the tunnel under Highway 20.  The trail leads to the base of Pilot Butte State Park and around to the other side.

We took this fun and easy safe route and headed to dinner at Jackson’s Corner East.  They have a great location near the hospital with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, fire feature, and much lighter crowds than the Westside location.

Jackson’s Corner….mmm!

We walked right in, ordered a wonderful, local, healthy meal, and relaxed. Our favorite menu items are the fusilli pasta, meatball small plate, and kale Cesar, plus any of the specials. The kids like the cheesy sticks, elbow pasta, and sometimes the kids’ entrée with steak or chicken and seasonal veggies. The cold cases are filled with all kinds of fun drinks for kids and adults, and it’s always a treat that’s well worth the ride.

We headed back on the trail, dropped off the bikes at the shop and walked home through the lovely, historic Old Bend neighborhood. I’d say most days in Bend are near perfect, but when you can avoid traffic and get around by bike with the family, enjoy trails, parks, and easy recreation, we’ve got perfect pretty well figured out. Happy kids, happy parents, and happy trails!

By the way, visitors interested in group rides should check out They coordinate group cycling events throughout the year, and it’s a great way for Bend visitors to try a fun, local activity with other families and folks who enjoy biking.

MY PERFECT DAY IN BEND: Emilie Cortes shares a dawn-to-dusk roundup of her favorite Bend activities

April 9th, 2014

Hello, dear blog readers! Each week you tune in for the latest Bend tips and hints from Visit Bend’s PR & Communications Manager Tawna Fenske. She’s brought you posts on topics ranging from hiking to snow dancing to Bend’s best bacon dishes.

But every now and then we like to offer a different perspective on fun things to do in Bend, Oregon. This week we’re showcasing a post from Emilie Cortes, a Bend newcomer who moved from San Francisco just over a year ago to operate Call of the Wild adventure travel company for women. Drawn by the great weather and lower cost of living, Emilie picked Bend as her new home so she could enjoy all the hiking, climbing, and mountain biking the area had to offer.

So what’s Emilie’s idea of a perfect day in Bend, Oregon? Here’s what she had to say!


Start the day off with breakfast at McKay Cottage

Emilie Cortes kicks off her perfect day in Bend with breakfast at McKay Cottage.

Emilie Cortes kicks off her perfect day in Bend with breakfast at McKay Cottage.

McKay Cottage (62910 OB Riley Rd.) is one of my favorite breakfast spots in Bend, and its reputation is well-deserved after winning The Source Weekly best breakfast spot four years running.  The building was the original 1916 cottage of Clyde and Olive McKay, some of the original Bend settlers. The McKay Cottage potatoes are insane, and the Mt. Bachelor omelet dish is to die for.  The portions are generous, and after fueling up with a hearty breakfast, we head north on Hwy 97 for the day’s activities!


Head to Smith Rock State Park

Emilie (right) lends a hand to a friend learning to climb at Smith Rock.

Emilie (right) lends a hand to a friend learning to climb at Smith Rock.

From McKay Cottage, it’s a short 30-minute drive to world-class rock climbing that draws climbers from around the world.  The day use parking fee at Smith Rock State Park is $5, or if you know you’ll return frequently, an annual pass is just $30.  Thousands of sport and traditional rock climbing routes on volcanic tuff and basalt offer a climber’s dream playground that will keep you coming back.  It’s a short hike to any of the popular climbing areas in the park.  My favorite sections are the Morning Glory Wall, Peanut Gallery, and Rope de Dope areas, which offer easy and moderate options to work on my lead sport climbing skills.

On days when I have non-climber friends in tow, we hike the 700-ft ascent of Misery Ridge, offering unparalleled views of the Smith Rock complex as well as the Cascade volcanoes gracing the horizon.

Beautiful Monkey Face at Smith Rock State Park.

Beautiful Monkey Face at Smith Rock State Park.

If we continue on Misery Ridge Trail, we can see the iconic Monkey Face with Mt Jefferson and Mt Washington in the background.  Allow 2 to 2.5 hours to complete the loop.


Enjoy an early dinner at Terrebonne Depot

Climbing and hiking at Smith Rock can really build up an appetite, so I love to stop at the historic Terrebonne Depot (400 NW Smith Rock Way, Terrebonne) on my way back to Bend.  The restaurant is housed in a 100-year-old former train station and the deck is lovely in warm weather.  My favorite healthy option is the grilled radicchio salad with salmon, but sometimes my appetite is revving so much I have to go for a juicy buffalo burger!


Savor a Turkish bath at McMenamins

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

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

I make the short drive back to Bend and hit McMenamins Old St Francis School (700 NW Bond St) for a soak in the Turkish bath. Yep, you read that right!  There is a heated saltwater soaking pool with a skylight for just $5pp.  It’s ridiculously relaxing.  After a good soak and shower in the locker room, I like to have a drink at the bar and nibble on some of their awesome happy hour Cajun tater tots (ask for them even if it’s after happy hour).  Sadly, I’m gluten intolerant, but Bend is a gluten-free friendly town, so I indulge in a Bourbon Furnace with hot apple cider, lemon, honey and Kentucky Bourbon!

The perfect end to the perfect day…


Emilie Cortes resides in Bend and operates Call of the Wild Adventures – adventure travel for women.  To learn more about her trips, including the upcoming Central Oregon Classic in October, visit


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