Does anyone else keep muttering curses since Daylight Saving Time forced us to “fall back” like a bunch of unbalanced dominoes?
I know I’m not alone in feeling befuddled by the time change. There’s even hope we might scrap the system altogether, but we’re not there yet.
For now, our days get shorter, our sleep cycles screwier, and we’re facing the fact that Bend gets pitch-black by 5 p.m. Lucky for us, there’s lots to look forward to with the time change and a brand-new season. Here are six things to get jazzed about as we all fall back in Bend.
Score tasty seasonal treats
Restaurants in Bend have officially phased out summer menus for heartier fall and winter fare. Bend eateries boast yummy cold weather dishes like the sweet potato gratin with rose petal harissa at Rancher Butcher Chef or their or their tasty brussels sprouts that had me surreptitiously licking the plate on a recent visit (pro-tip: get the black garlic anchovy butter with whichever steak you choose!)
At Boxwood Kitchen in the Old Mill District, the chicken schnitzel makes the perfect autumn belly warmer with crispy fried chicken and herbed spaetzle served with wild mushrooms and heirloom carrots with lemon aioli.
Since November marks Bend Ale Trail Month, use the excuse to sample seasonal sips at your favorite Bend brewery. Head for Cascade Lakes (which recently became a not-for-profit brewery) and try their Slippery Slope Winter Ale, featuring hints of roast and chocolate. You can also hit one of the Bend Ale Trail’s outlying zones with a journey to Wild Ride Brewing in the Far North Territory. They’ve got a terrific Oktoberfest lager called Schnitts & Giggle, or their popular Nut Crusher peanut butter porter goes down easy on a chilly fall eve.
Not a beer fan? Local watering holes are slinging seasonal cocktails like nobody’s business. The Beetnik at Dogwood Cocktail Cabin tastes earthy and autumny with beet-infused vodka, ginger, and lemon. At Meadowlark on Bend’s south side, try the Autumn Dew made with Ketel One, cranberry, cinnamon, ginger beer, and sparkling wine.
Bend’s cider scene tastes terrific anytime of year, but feels more festive in fall. Celebrate autumn with Bend Cider Co.’s new Blackberry Ancho cider with an underlying heat and smokiness and interesting fruit leather notes. Cheers!
The Bachelor countdown begins
Let’s face it—some folks started counting down to Mt. Bachelor’s 2022 opening day when last season closed in May.
But the countdown starts in earnest each November when ski and snowboard fanatics know they’ll be shredding the slopes soon. Though Mt. Bachelor’s opening date varies depending on snowfall, our hopes tend to swell near Thanksgiving.
Tune your skis while you wait and keep an eye on the Mt. Bachelor webcam for an up-to-the-minute glimpse at conditions. You should also check out their deals page, since many rock-bottom discounts melt away when the season gets going.
Bust out the cold weather gear
I’ll admit I’m cranky that it’s dark when I head home from work at 5. Evening dog walks require headlamps and layers and I am not ready.
Luckily, your favorite Bend pet stores bust out lighted pet accessories this time of year. You’ll find glow-in-the-dark balls and blinky collars that turn Rover into a four-legged disco party. Look for products from Bend-based Ruffwear, ranging from beacons to lighted harnesses.
For humans, Bend’s boutiques are brimming with cozy scarves and warm boots. Browse our Bend shopping page to find your favorite new spot for comfy cold-weather gear.
If thrifting is more your scene, Bend’s got tons of great thrift shops filled with fun fall finds. Regroup Thrift Store (one of my personal faves) has a $1 bin sale every Sunday at a tucked-away warehouse on Bend’s northeast side of town, and if I had a dollar for every cute, cozy sweater I’d found there, I’d have…well…math’s hard. But I’d have great sweaters, so score!
Time for indoorsy fun
If you believe most media buzz about Bend, no one ever sets foot indoors. We spend 24 hours a day hiking, snowshoeing, and paddling pristine rivers.
I just snorted as I typed that.
The truth: We’ve got tons of fun indoorsy activities in our high desert oasis, which comes in handy when the weather turns chilly.
Bend’s arts and culture scene kicks into high gear each fall, with The Tower Theatre boasting an impressive lineup of music, theater, films, and other fabulous entertainment.
Sun Mountain Fun Center is a wonderland of family fun, from bowling to bumper cars to a video arcade where you earn tickets redeemable for prizes.
Got a fondness for vintage video games? Vector Volcano offers gobs of old-school faves from the ‘70s and ‘80s, along with local craft beer.
For an extra-fun challenge, learn the fine art of hatchet throwing Unofficial Logging Company. Even kids over 12 can get in on the action, and a recent visit with my own older kids (ages 16 and 21) made for an insanely awesome family outing.
Guests of all ages can hit the High Desert Museum for cool exhibits and native wildlife including river otters, a grey fox, porcupines, and oodles of raptors.
Lotsa fun on the calendar
Some of Bend’s most iconic events happen after we switch to Daylight Standard Time in the fall.
Bend’s Veteran’s Day Parade is touted as one of the largest in the state, and typically takes place the second Friday in November
10 Barrel’s annual Pray for Snow party is a must-do for winter sports fanatics, and this year’s free, family-friendly event features live music and free waxing if you bring your board or skis.
For more ideas on what’s happening in Bend, check out our Event Calendar.
Fall hiking at its finest
During sweltering summer months, some of Bend’s nicest hikes become a little…unpleasant.
That’s a delicate way of saying it’s hotter than Hades in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness or hoofing it up Pilot Butte on a 90-degree day in July. Autumn and winter, on the other hand, are ideal times to trek those trails.
For more ideas on awesome winter hiking, check out this post.