WINDING DOWN IN OREGON
Our recent visit to Bend was at the tail end of a very long road trip covering 5 states in only 9 days. It was more than a week of very intense, fast travel. Before heading all the way home, we decided to slow down and relax a bit in the beautiful town of Bend, Oregon. Here’s how we spent our time.
My love of Bend stems from the fact that my mom went to college there, and she’s always told me stories of this beautiful little Oregon town. She attended Central Oregon Community College in 19XX (you’re welcome, mom). The campus sits atop a hill and has changed a lot since my mom attended classes there, mostly because of the seemingly endless Brunch spots with lines out the door.
WHERE TO STAY IN BEND
We checked in to our usual family spot, the Bend Riverside Inn and Suites. It’s located on the banks of the Deschutes River, so make it worth your while and book a river view room. Cottages are even closer to the water. We had 2nd and 3rd floor rooms with full kitchens facing the river. When you open the sliding door, WHAM! River sound! The hotel has a saying “Rivers sound better than traffic." Too right. I’m one who will sleep with windows wide open whenever I get the chance. I loved falling asleep to the sound of the river right outside. In the evening we had the giant indoor pool all to ourselves, a refreshing way to end a very hot day.
The hotel is located directly on the Deschutes River Trail, which runs for the entire length of town and passes through the Old Mill District. We followed the trail downtown for dinner. Why drive when you can walk along the river?
We’d stay at the Bend Riverside Inn and Suites again in a heartbeat, but during our stay we met some folks who had great things to say about the Bend Three Sisters Inn & Suites, The Pine Ridge Inn, and the Riverhouse Dechutes. And of course there are a ton of listings for places to stay in this beautiful Oregon town on Air BnB.
A PEACEFUL STROLL BEFORE BREAKFAST
Mom and I also enjoyed an early morning 1-mile stroll before everyone else woke up. We saw plenty of ducks, geese, even 2 swans. We also pretended we could afford a riverfront home and picked out our favorites along the way. I wish I could wake up that way every morning. Maybe I’d require less coffee.
THINGS TO DO IN BEND, OREGON
Bend is what the kids would call “Outdoorsy AF.” It’s a year-round hub for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy hiking, climbing, rafting, skiing and more. I am looking forward to a return trip to Bend and hiking to Tumalo Falls.
If you’re planning a stay in Bend for more than just the 24 hours we spent, I’d recommend checking out the High Desert Museum, Sunriver Resort and Ponderosa Skate Park. If you’re traveling to Bend in July, check out their Summer Festival. It’s too late to see it this year, but keep it in mind for next summer. We heard terrific things about the crafts and artisan booths and 3 stages of music performances including blues, rock and jazz artists throughout the festival.
DINNER AT BEND BREWING CO.
Bend has developed a pretty serious dining scene over the years. It’s also known for its massive Craft Beer selection. We decided to celebrate both and have dinner at Bend Brewing Company, just a short walk from our hotel.
We had to wait for a table. However, the wait passed quickly with a beer and snacks in hand, standing outside in a park-like setting where people were mingling and enjoying the sunset by the river. GENIUS.
One beer and some good people-watching later, our table was ready. The service was very friendly (Ohhh was it good to be back in the PNW!) and the food was great. Fish and chips, sausage on a pretzel roll, fish tacos and the soft pretzel were all big hits.
My dad was tired of eating burgers so his dinner was a chocolate lava cake with ice cream. "Best meal of the trip!" he said.
Of course, you can’t go to Central Oregon without a breakfast at Black Bear Diner. I hope you’re hungry. The “light eaters” portion could feed a horse. Those biscuits, though!
We ultimately decided that pub food fit our mood best, but if that’s not your jam, we also heard great things about McKay Cottage, which serves “comfort food” including cottage potatoes and outrageously good pecan sticky buns. The New York Times referred to the unique restaurant “Spork” as “culinary magic.” And if you’re into a creole menu, we heard great things about the menu at “Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails.”
With so much to offer, it would take me hours and hours to list all the amazing sites, restaurants and accommodations in beautiful Bend, Oregon. And although our visit to Bend was more for a quick, leisurely wind-down after 9 speedy days on the road, I’m excited to revisit Bend and take advantage of more quality time spent there.