It’s been a stressful year for your snoot. If it’s not trapped in a mask, it’s filtering wildfire smoke or bravely enduring COVID test swabs.
Your beak’s been subjected to a lot, so why not treat that sweet sniffer to some heaven-scent Central Oregon magic? Here are nine ways to do that in Bend.
Take your schnoz outside
Bend’s outdoor spaces brim with beautiful smells, from fresh air to potent pines. Embrace the ultimate social distancing by hitting the hiking trails around Central Oregon.
Nothing compares to the scent of sun-warmed Ponderosa bark saturating your senses with woodsy goodness. Find an abundance of these red-barked wonders on trails around Bend, particularly off the Cascade Lakes Highway. While you’re out there, sniff some sagebrush and the earthy majesty of a muddy lake bank to complete the experience.
While some see juniper as e-scentially an overgrown weed, its usefulness in gin-making is undeniable, and its fragrance unmistakable. These shaggy beasts get more common as you go east, so head for the Oregon Badlands Wilderness to find gobs of sniff-worthy ancient junipers.
Love the smell of river water? Stroll the paved pathway through the Old Mill District as it slides along the Deschutes. With a mask at ready, hop in and out of shops and cafes to try treats for the non-nasal parts of you.
Treat your snoot to a new mask
Masking up may be on our horizon a bit longer than we’d hoped, but there’s no need to make it a bummer for your beak. Bend-based Blackstrap makes some of the finest facegear you’ll find, from balaclavas to standard civil masks. Scope out their huge array of patterns online, or swing by the Bend Visitor Center daily from 10-4 to purchase one branded with the Bend logo.
Snort something scrumptious
Find fragrant Indian curries at Taj Palace, where their lunch buffet—shielded by a sneeze guard—spreads out like a cornucopia of aromatic awesomeness. Joolz, with its eclectic offerings of Mediterranean fusion, will wow your whiffer with warm naan bread bathed in the tastiest baba ganoush you’ve ever tried.
When dinner rolls around, have the good scents to visit Zydeco for an order of their legendary barbecue shrimp. Then sit back and let the spicy perfume soothe your mistreated snout. Once your mouth and tummy get in on the action, it’s a smorgasbord of sensory deliciousness.
Hook up your honker with custom fragrance
Nestled in a cozy shop in the scenter of historic downtown Bend, Oregon Body and Bath is a treasure trove of locally-made skincare and beauty products sold alongside snuggly PJs, soy candles, bath bombs, and shaving essentials.
But their blend-your-own fragrance bar brings it to the next level when you customize lotions and fragrance sprays to perfection for your proboscis. Oils are organized according to scent profiles like woodsy, citrussy, and floral, and you can mix and match for a blend that suits you best. Once you’ve fine-tuned it, they’ll keep a card on file to consult your recipe the next time you need your special scent.
Get a whiff of that wine
Oenophiles know the pungent pleasure of hovering your honker over a glass of Pinot Noir and savoring the rich, earthy aroma of a good wine.
If you’d rather stick close to Bend, center your wine search near the Box Factory and the Old Mill District where you’ll discover Bend wine tasting rooms from Va Piano Vineyards, Evoke Winery, Bledsoe Family Vineyards, Stoller Wine Bar, and more.
Huff some hoppy goodness
Bend’s a beer town at heart, and there’s no better source of mouthwatering malty magic than the Bend Ale Trail. Get your snoot in on the action during fall’s fresh hop season when breweries from Crux to Boneyard to Deschutes take full advantage of the hoppiest time of the year.
Autumn’s also when you’ll spot pumpkin brews in plenty of stops along America’s most legendary trail of beer. Pick up a new Bend Ale Trail passport and plot your course, or grab the free app to navigate digitally.
Not in the mood to sip? Your sniffer still gets some action with a walk near your favorite Bend brewery. The River Trail near Deschutes Brewery lets you sniff out their brewing process as you stroll, or try a trek along a canal in East Bend where countless Bend beermakers brew their bounty. Breathe deep and savor the certainty that someone’s making your favorite beer a few footsteps away.
Get your snot box caught in the rain
Nothing in the world smells as magical as a rainstorm in the high desert. They don’t happen often, but the instant you spot storm clouds on the horizon, head outside and aim your snout skyward.
Bend’s propensity for lightning storms means you probably shouldn’t stand outside holding a metal pole beneath a tree. But do step outdoors or open a window to sample the unique perfume of ozone and damp earth unlike anything else.
While you’re at it, do a quick rain dance to ensure the wet stuff keeps wildfires at bay and abates the awful drought Bend’s facing this year.
Sniff out some aromatherapy
From steam rooms to massage experiences enhanced by essential oils, fragrance plays a special role in spa time. Bend boasts dozens of luxury day spas, many of which use all-natural organic products to heighten sensory pleasure.
Not in the mood to duck indoors, but you still want the pleasure of Bend’s aromatic personal products? Rumor has it a bike ride down Pinehurst/Walton Road past the Bend Soap Company’s local factory will fill your senses with the sweet scents of shea butter and essential oils. Buy a bar or twelve of their locally-crafted soap when you pop by Clementine Urban Mercantile in downtown Bend.
Inhale that pumpkin latte
Few sensory experiences rival the instant you enter a coffee shop and sniff a sweet snootful of coffee-laced steam. Bend’s bean scene boasts a staggering number of coffee shops where they’re roasting, frothing, brewing, blending, and mixing up housemade syrups to lace your latte with flavor.
Order that vanilla bean cappuccino to go from Bellatazza, then stroll straight to nearby Drake Park to hug one of the tall Ponderosas. Sensory overload activated!