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Three reasons it’s great to be a girl in Bend, Oregon

Bend Women's March 1600

I should state, for the record, that I’m fairly certain people of all genders experience a plethora of magnificence while living or vacationing in Bend.

But since I happen to possess the chromosomal makeup marking me as female, I’m uniquely equipped to appreciate a few of the special things Bend offers to people of my gender. Here are a few of them.


A beer culture just for us

Tawna Fenske guzzles some grapefruity Swill from 10 Barrel Brewing while sporting her "girl vs. beer" t-shirt.

Tawna Fenske guzzles some grapefruity Swill from 10 Barrel Brewing while sporting her “girl vs. beer” t-shirt.

Last summer I had the pleasure of participating in a focus group through the Central Oregon Beer Angels in which women shared the evolution of their own beer appreciation. Not surprisingly, many of us grew up thinking of beer as “that gross warm stuff dad drinks from a can.”

Luckily, our beer experiences and beer culture in general has evolved a lot since then. Now there’s a whole segment of the beer world in Bend targeted specifically at women.

For starters, I’m wildly in love with my “girl vs. beer” t-shirt commemorating the Bend Ale Trail. I get compliments every time I wear it, and I crack up every time some big, burly guy walks into the Bend Visitor Center asking if we have one in his size..

While I appreciate all kinds of beer from stouts to porters to IPAs, there’s a special place in my heart (not to mention my belly) for the female-centric brews at Boneyard Beer. This time of year, the sour ale Femme Fatale is usually on-tap and offering tasty raspberry flavors and a great breakfasty (that’s totally a word) flavor. In the summer months, their popular Girl Beer offers a similar raspberry peppiness, and despite its name, appeals to beer fans of all genders. For beer that’s actually created by a girl, I’m I huge fan of the summertime grapefruity Swill from 10 Barrel Brewing, where brewer Tonya Cornett is constantly pleasing my palate with an array of tasty, fruity sour beers.

When it’s time to clean up after a long day on Bend Ale Trail, I love working up a lather with Dirty Girl soap from LeCol’s Soap Bar. It’s made with beer from Boneyard Brewing, and smells fabulous. It’s also great for your skin, with hops that contain anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory components, plus amino acids for moisturizing.


Find your muse, or be your own!

If you’ve ever wanted a chance to celebrate everything awesome about women and girls, you’ll want to mark March 7-9 on your calendar. That’s the date of this year’s Muse Women’s Conference held in Bend.

Crowds of women enjoy last year's Muse Conference in Bend.

Crowds of women enjoy last year’s Muse Conference in Bend.

Gather with your fab fellow females for workshops, performances, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and amazing keynote speakers like Amy Richards, Lynne Twist, and Zainab Salbi. You can read their bios here, and also scope out the schedule and purchase tickets.

The all-access passes have already sold out, but the $75 conference pass gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the Friday & Saturday events (including a Meet the Muse Reception).

The Bend conference is part of a bigger organization called World Muse, which is dedicated to the belief that women and girls can change the world. Not a bad way to spend a weekend, eh?


Get your girly self outdoors for some recreation

It’s not that we don’t like to play with the boys, right? It’s just that sometimes a gal wants to enjoy her fitness and recreation in the company of other wimminfolk.

Tawna Fenske with stepdaughter and pal at last year's Heaven Can Wait Walk/Run in Bend.

Tawna Fenske with stepdaughter and pal at last year’s Heaven Can Wait Walk/Run in Bend.

There are tons of great opportunities to do that in and around Bend. At the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, they offer oodles of great workshops and lessons to get you out there enjoying the cross country ski trails. Check out the She’s On Skis clinic, which is open to skate skiers at the advanced beginner level and above. Focus on technique instruction, getting a good workout, and best of all, female camaraderie. Clinics are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and you can check out the schedule and pricing details here.

If mountain biking is more your scene, check out the Women’s Allride Clinic from Cog Wild. You’ll spend three days with world-renowned MTB instructor Lindsey Voreis enjoying trail riding, skills clinics, and tons of amazing food and views. If you’re a road cyclist or mountain bike fanatic who lives in Bend or visits more frequently, check out the offerings from Bend Bella Cyclists.

Ladies with a competitive spirit might enjoy the annual Happy Girls Run May 24-25 in Bend. The scenic route starts on the Deschutes River and includes a mix of gentle trails, groomed paths, and paved surfaces.

There’s also the annual Heaven Can Wait Walk/Run on June 1. It raises money for breast cancer education, research, and detection, and it’s a popular event for breast cancer survivors or those walking/running in memory of someone who’s battled cancer. Walking in it last year with my then-seven-year-old stepdaughter was one of the highlights of last spring for me, and I’m looking forward to doing it again this year.


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