It just occurred to me I’ve been writing weekly blog posts for more than five years on the Bend Buzz Blog. That’s a heck of a lot of posts (more than 300, if you’re counting).

Folks ask sometimes if I have favorites, and since I’m vacationing in New Zealand at the moment, this seemed like a pretty handy time to answer with a hearty “yep!” and a roundup of all the posts that I (and readers) have loved most over the years.

 

By the numbers

Our talented and tech-geeky Marketing Director pulled the stats so we could see which Bend Buzz Blog posts had the highest volume of visitors in the last five years.

The blog post about Central Oregon waterfalls is one of our most popular posts of all time.
The blog post about Central Oregon waterfalls is one of our most popular posts of all time.

I wasn’t surprised to see the list contained our post about visiting waterfalls in Bend and Central Oregon, though I was a little taken aback to see it in the #1 slot. Either blog readers really love waterfalls or you’re fond of the cheesy ‘90s song by TLC.

Another not-so-surprising fan fave is the post on floating the river in Bend. Considering that’s one of the most popular summer pastimes for visitors and locals alike, it’s great to know folks are seeking out tips on how to do it right.

Rounding out the top five is this two-year-old post on family-friendly Bend activities (written before my step-kids had actually become my step-kids) and another one on Bend’s best happy hours (which begs the question of whether kids drive people to drink, but I digress).

Also making the list: 10 things you won’t hear people say in Bend. Pretty sure the click-bait nature of the headline caused a lot of folks to read it, and since this is the most recent post to make the list, it’s clear it really struck a chord with readers.

 

Keepin’ it quirky

In my non-Visit Bend life, I’m an author of quirky romantic comedy, so it’s no surprise the blog posts I most enjoy writing here are the ones with an offbeat twist.

While I frequently blog about things I enjoy doing with my dog, Bindi, this post actually written by my dog (sorta) was a fun experiment in writing with a different voice.

Quirky posts (like the one about the best places to kiss in Bend) are always popular with readers.
Quirky posts (like the one about the best places to kiss in Bend) are always popular with readers.

It can be challenging to come up with new twists for writing about the Bend Ale Trail and outdoor recreation, so this post about Bend activities to burn beer calories was especially fun.

On the flip side of recreation is this blog post on how to enjoy a lazy vacation in Bend. That one appealed to my true nature, as did this post on the best places to kiss in Bend and this one about offbeat things to do in Bend, like getting a tattoo or visiting a psychic.

I’m a fourth-generation Oregonian who’s lived in Bend since 1997 and spent most of my childhood summers here, so I enjoy tapping into that with a lot of my blog posts. This post about things that haven’t changed in Bend was my way of commemorating my grandmother’s passing, while this post featuring a glossary of unique Bend expressions was a way to give an insider’s view of the unique lingo of this Central Oregon paradise.

And while I fancy myself a writer and not a video personality, I did enjoy combining the two in this post featuring commonly mispronounced words in Bend (and how to say ‘em right).

 

Getting out there

One of the best things about this job at Visit Bend is that I am quite literally required to go play outside. It’s been five years since I visited the Oregon Badlands Wilderness for the first time to write a blog post about hiking in the Badlands, and I still regard this area as one of the most magical spots in Central Oregon.

Blogger Tawna hangs out with her stepdaughter on the banks of Paulina Lake in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Blogger Tawna hangs out with her stepdaughter on the banks of Paulina Lake in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

I’ll never forget the day my boss ordered me to take my step-kids out to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument so I could spend two straight days experiencing everything this incredible area has to offer. My two-part post about doing the ever-loving-heck out of Newberry National Volcanic Monument was the result of that, and the kids still talk about the Paulina Plunge as one of their favorite experiences of all time.

This post about hiking Pilot Butte is another one I refer back to time and time again, and it’s a good reminder that some of the best hikes in Bend are the simplest ones found right under our noses.

I also love test driving other people’s hiking tips, which was the case when I did the Cone & Iron Mountain hike so I could write this post about planning hikes with Cascade Hiking Adventures.

 

Oh, the food!

If you’ve read this blog for very long, it’s probably pretty apparent I love food. Like looooooove food. Luckily, this blog has given me tons of opportunities to indulge my cravings.

Eating burgers and bacony brussel sprouts at Pono Farm for the blog was no great hardship!
Eating burgers and bacony brussel sprouts at Pono Farm for the blog was no great hardship!

Some of my favorites over the years have been my quest to find the “best of” dish in a certain category On the meat loving end of the spectrum, you have posts about Bend’s best bacon dishes, Bend’s best burgers, and Bend’s best hot wings.

On the other end of the spectrum was my personal quest to find Bend’s best vegan dishes and Bend’s best gluten-free fare.

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