You come to Bend for all the hiking, biking, and paddling your outdoorsy heart can handle. But book lovers know the best thing about vacation is the abundance of peaceful, glorious, uninterrupted moments for reading.
Every bibliophile knows reading’s more fun in a scenic spot with good ambiance, so here are six of my favorite spots to savor a good book in Bend.
Rivers and lakes and ponds, oh my!
What is it about reading by a body of water that feels so serene? There’s no shortage of water views in Bend, so grab your book and find your own piece of aquatic reading paradise.
For a more bustling Deschutes experience, find a park bench or grassy oasis in the Old Mill District to settle in with that hot new read. Then glance up from time to time to watch river floaters drifting by while laughing families pedal past.
If a lake is more your speed, you’ll find gobs of gorgeous, glassy gems waiting for you to plunk down your camp chair. Pick your fave among the dozens of mountainous lakes along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, or head for Newberry National Volcanic Monument to visit the volcanic shores of Paulina or East Lake.
Find your favorite cozy coffee shop
If curling up in a cozy coffeehouse with a good book and a steaming mug is your idea of paradise, Bend’s got you covered.
Tea drinkers might dig the cushy sofas at Townshend’s Tea House.
Do be conscious of other guests waiting for tables, and support the business by ordering drinks and food. If there’s a line of folks waiting for tables, practice your Visit Like a Local skills and let other customers have a turn.
You can also pick a coffee shop that doubles as a bookstore by moseying into Dudley’s Bookshop Café. You’ll find a variety of teas and coffee drinks, plus local pastries, snacks, meeting space, and oodles of new and used books.
Pick a park. Any park.
I already mentioned Drake Park and Pioneer Park as nice spots on the river, but did you know Bend boasts more than 80 parks and playgrounds?
Bend Park & Rec District has an awesome park locator tool that lets you browse parks by location or amenities like river access, playground, restrooms, or dog-friendliness.
Choose a few parks that pique your interest and pack yourself a picnic. Don’t forget your book! Then pay a visit to each park on your checklist to find your favorite new reading spot.
Want booze with that book?
Ladies, tell me I’m not alone in always having a book in hand when bellying up to a bar solo? It’s the perfect “please don’t hit on me” signal, plus it’s a great way to add flavor to that glass of tasty beer or vino.
As with the coffee shops, be conscious of others waiting for tables and make sure you’re supporting the business by buying food and drinks. Your best bet for implementing this reading plan is to visit outside peak mealtime hours when quieter conditions make for an optimum reading environment. Cheers!
Grab a lounge chair by the pool
Perhaps my favorite vacation tradition is to settle beside a swimming pool and read for hours on end, pausing only to plunge into the frosty depths for an occasional cool-down.
One of my personal faves is The Riverhouse, which boasts both indoor and outdoor pools as well as a riverfront location that gives you another scenic spot for reading. LOGE Bend is another fab spot nestled among the pines, or snag a condo at Mt. Bachelor Village Lodging by Meredith for the perfect combo of privacy, pools, and river views.
Don’t forget the bookstores!
I already sang the praises of Dudley’s Bookshop Café, and they’re not the only game in town when it comes to locally-owned bookstores with cozy reading nooks.
Visit Roundabout Books in Northwest Crossing for a perfect mix of bestsellers, literary classics, and indie treasures. They’ve got coffee, wine, and beer, plus easy access to tasty lunch spots when you get hungry (OMG you guys, my stomach literally growled just now when I thought of Poke Row just down the street from Roundabout. So good!)
You’ll also find an awesome selection of bookstores offering gently-used selections, including Big Story Books & Movies, the Open Book, and more.
Pay a visit to the Deschutes Public Library for a veritable cornucopia of well-stocked reading nooks.
Happy reading, everyone!