A Weekend Excursion in Bend, Oregon
The Drive—Can You Hear Me Now?
As a recent graduate of Oregon State University and a newcomer to the Travel Oregon staff, I was blessed to have a two week vacation (some call it unemployment) between the end of summer school and the beginning of a new job to live up my short, but oh so sweet summer. So, where does a born and raised Oregonian take a mini vacay? Beautiful Bend, Oregon, of course. Make that three mini vacations in the course of two weeks. After all, the 2 ½ hour drive over the pass is full of beautiful, “only in Oregon” sights and a bittersweet hour-long stretch of yes, you guessed it…no cell phone service. Ah, the peace (and the misery). After only a small glimpse of Oregon’s picturesque scenery from my car window, I found myself driving through the small town of Sisters, not minding the 20 MPH speed zone, because there is so much to see.
Depending on the day you may see quilt-obsessed women or spandex-obsessed cyclists (I happened to be passing through during the peak hour of the rider’s arrival for Cycle Oregon).
Before I knew it I had arrived in Bend; it was late evening so dinner and a movie was in order. This is when I met my one true love—the Old Mill District. There is so much shopping and food, a girl like me wasn’t sure just what to do. For a late Sunday night, the friend that I had gone to visit (he has lived in Bend for two years) suggested several great places to eat at the Old Mill District, but we settled for casual dining at Red Robin before our movie started. The movie theatre is conveniently located in the Old Mill District near shopping and food.
A Leisurely Bike Ride…
The following day we were eager to soak up some fresh Bend air. So, being the avid bike riders we are (let’s be honest, I haven’t ridden a bike in about 5 years), we chose a less than bike friendly trail to trek around the Deschutes. We managed to get in a quick lunch at a quaint restaurant, Pine Tavern, near the river downtown. We ate outside on the backside of the restaurant right along the water. It was a comfortable setting with outside heaters, a flawless view, and great service. After our lunch we headed off for our biking adventure. We parked along Drake Park and started toward our path of choice. After meeting and greeting many Bend natives and apparent Oregon visitors walking, running and biking along the trails, we found ourselves at the top looking down at the fresh, white water of the Deschutes. We looked up at remarkable Bend homes with a priceless, or rather, a million-plus view. After a two hour biking excursion around the river we had captured beautiful pictures of Oregon’s white water and rocky hills all while working up an appetite just in time for a casual Mexican dinner downtown at El Caporal. One thing I noticed about Bend’s restaurants is the trend of outside dining.
The rest of the week involved working and playing. One night to note as “fun things to do in Bend” was spent at Drake Park. We ordered food to go, picked it up, and found the perfect picnic table along the river to set up our take out feast. The sun was just going down as the air was turning colder—you know that feeling when you can tell summer is almost over, fall is almost here, when the air is just cold enough to feel refreshing, but not anywhere near miserable. Drake Park is the perfect destination for all ages; it’s a welcoming atmosphere for families, young and old, or just right for a couple’s night out.
After enjoying a quiet picnic dinner we couldn’t help ourselves—we returned to the Old Mill District for some shopping. Be warned all you shoppers—the Old Mill stores typically close at 8 p.m. on Saturdays. We found a couple stores open until 9 so we shopped around listening to the music from the concert taking place nearby at the Les Schwab Amphitheatre. At the end of our peaceful stroll through the quiet shopping center, we stumbled upon a small art gallery. This was the perfect ending to a perfect evening out; we were in awe of the beautiful paintings done by local artists. By the end of the night I’d felt like I’d seen so much for free! We called it an early night—the next day we were off to tour the Cascade Lakes!
Tune in to part two of Jamie’s Bend adventure, coming soon!
As the seasons are changing so are the endless opportunities to explore all that Bend has to offer! We’re packin’ up and movin’ out from the lakes to the mountains! Spend an afternoon skiing or snowshoeing down the slopes of Mount Bachelor, grab a swanky cocktail at BendDistillery or warm up with a delicious meal at one of the area’s well-known restaurants.
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