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7 ways to enjoy 2013 Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and other holiday weekend events in Bend, Oregon

Skiing Bend Oregon

Thanksgiving weekend means something different for everyone. For some, it’s a chance to eat your body weight in mashed potatoes, while others practice their karate moves in case Black Friday turns ugly. Maybe you’re lacing your sneakers for a Thanksgiving Day run, or perhaps you’re waxing your skis to hit Mt.Bachelor the day after Thanksgiving.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend 2013 in Bend. Here are a few ideas.


Stuff yer face

For a lot of people, Thanksgiving is all about the food. If you’re visiting Bend for the holiday, plenty of restaurants serve a tasty Thanksgiving meal that won’t require you to scrub dishes or make gravy. You’ll find a complete list at this link.

McMenamins Old Saint Francis is one of many Bend hotspots serving up a tasty Thanksgiving meal.

McMenamins Old Saint Francis is one of many Bend hotspots serving up a tasty Thanksgiving meal.

Bend landmark Pine Tavern Restaurant (that’s the place with the two big pine trees in the middle of the restaurant) is offering plated Thanksgiving dinners from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. featuring entrée options like traditional turkey, prime rib, steelhead, or mushroom risotto. Go here for pricing and reservation info.

For a totally tasty Thanksgiving buffet, head to The Restaurant at Awbrey Glen. Their lineup will include freshly baked soft rolls and mini croissants, gourmet baby greens with three dressings, Waldorf salad, penne pasta salad, mandarine ambrosia, fresh fruit, cheese displays, hot artichoke dip with crostini, crudités, cold poached shrimp with cocktail and lemon, wild rice pilaf, buttermilk whipped potatoes with giblet gravy and traditional sage dressing, brown sugar and citrus glazed yams topped with toasted mini marshmallows, French green bean casserole topped with crisp shoestring fried onions, butternut squash winter vegetable medley, oven roasted turkey, ham with cherry glaze, salmon cakes with citrus saffron cream (gluten free), quinoa vegetable cakes (gluten free), a kids’ table with house-made mac-n-cheese and chicken tenders, and assorted deserts including pies, sundae bar, chocolate dipped strawberries, and more.

I feel full just typing that.

The Awbrey Glen meal is offered from noon to 4 p.m. and costs $27.95 for adults and $10.95 for kids 6-12. Kids under 5 are free.

To peruse the list of other Bend restaurants with Thanksgiving meals on the agenda, check out this link.


Hit the slopes

The bad news: Mt.Bachelor didn’t have quite enough snow to open for full operations by their original target date of Saturday, November 23.

Awesome Mt. Bachelor image courtesy of Pete Alport.

Awesome Mt. Bachelor image courtesy of Pete Alport.

The good news: They’re still planning to have a limited opening on Nov. 23, including Snowblast Tubing and a TerrainPark with multiple lines (rails and boxes) under the Sunshine Accelerator lift.

Even better news: They’re currently aiming to open the rest of their early-season operations the day after Thanksgiving (that’s Friday, November 29). Everyone cross your fingers really hard while doing the snow dance, OK? And keep your eyes posted here for up-to-the-minute news on mountain conditions and operations.


Run for your turkey

If you’re not in the mood to kick off the day slouching on the sofa with a turkey leg in one hand and a remote control in the other, consider signing up for one of the Thanksgiving morning runs in Bend.

Run off that turkey gut at the Thanksgiving Classic.

Run off that turkey gut at the Thanksgiving Classic.

There’s the Central Oregon Thanksgiving Classic kicking off at 9 a.m. with a timed 5K and 10K course as well as a family friendly Gobbler Walk. Proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon.

The I Like Pie Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk is another popular race that starts at 9 a.m. This one even includes a baking contest and raises money for NeighborImpact.


Shop ‘til you drop

Once you’ve licked all the crumbs off your pie plate, it’s time to get to the serious business of holiday shopping. 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. If you need to confer with the big guy, Santa will arrive via helicopter around 10 a.m. to begin his tour of duty at Santaland. For more info on Old Mill holiday offerings like carriage rides, carolers, kids’ activities, and more, go here.

The serious shoppers among you will get to see Bend’s Old Mill District when it’s still dark out.

Things kick off early at the Bend Factory Stores, where gift card giveaways start at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving evening before select shops open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Then everyone re-opens at 6 a.m. Friday morning for more shopping fun. Shops include hotspots like the Coach Factory Outlet, Nike Outlet, Eddie Bauer, Columbia Outlet, and much more.

For deals at hotspots like Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market, head north to the Cascade Village Shopping Center. And if big-box stores like Macy’s, Kohls, and TJ 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 spots like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Tres Jolie.

Haven’t had enough to eat yet?

If you’re tired of Thanksgiving leftovers, the time might be right to cleanse your palate. Check out the Well Traveled Fork for a wide array of culinary tours and cooking classes designed to hone your cooking skills or introduce you to the secrets of Bend’s culinary scene.

If you’ve still got the urge to do some holiday cooking, there’s an awesome new book on the market called Sizzle and Buzz. Capturing stories, recipes, tips and tricks from acclaimed kitchens and personalities in Seattle, Portland and Bend, the book features photos, recipes, and exclusive stories from 50+ restaurants. Tons of great Bend hotspots are featured in the book, including 900 Wall, Ariana, Spork, Barrio, Bellatazza, Chow, Jackson’s Corner, Brickhouse, Pine Tavern, Jackalope Grill, The Victorian Cafe, Noi Thai Cuisine, and The Hideaway Tavern. Nab your copy today to start cooking up your own taste of Bend. Proceeds benefit local hunger prevention organizations.


Gather ’round the tree

ChristmasTreeThe Downtown Bend Christmas tree lighting is one of those nostalgic holiday traditions that’s been happening longer than anyone can remember. This year, the tradition is changing just a little bit with a brand new tree in a more spacious locale. Crews just planted a lovely new live tree at the top of DrakePark by Brooks Street and Franklin Avenue.

Tree lighting festivities get underway at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 30. There will be caroling and free samples from Luv’s Donuts, and Santa will light the tree at 6:50 p.m.

My personal tradition involves hauling the whole family to Bend Brewing Company immediately afterward for some tasty dinner and brews. They have one of my favorite kids’ menus in town, and I’m crossing my fingers the seasonal sour Ching-Ching will be on draft.


Hit the hiking trails

Try a romantic post-Thanksgiving outing with Wanderlust Tours.

Try a romantic post-Thanksgiving outing with Wanderlust Tours.

This is a great time of year for hiking around the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, so head east to explore this untamed area of Central Oregon. Tumalo Falls is another great hiking spot that shouldn’t be too snow-covered this time of year, or check out Cascade Hiking Adventures for other ideas.

Keep in mind you’ll want snowshoes if you venture too far toward the mountains. Why not book a guided snowshoe trip with Wanderlust Tours to get the most out of your outing? The Shoes, Brews, and Views tour pairs craft beer with an awesome snowshoe trek. Book early to make sure you get a spot!

Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in that roundup of ideas? Check Visit Bend’s event calendar for more great ideas. Happy holidays, guys!

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