I’m on a four day staycation and I’ve had total writer’s block for awhile, so over drinks at Bend’s new 900 Wall restaurant my friend Andy and I devised a plan. We ate a delicious chicken pizza and came up with a long list of ideas for my top ten favorite Bend spots, titling them the “10 Things I love About Bend”. Brilliant. Number one: Lone Pine Coffee, my favorite Bend hidden treasure. It’s tucked away in Tin Pan Alley off of Minnesota Ave., under a black painted sign that simply reads “coffee”, with only a few small tables and stunning art displays on the brick walls. The current exhibit is a series by Alex Reisfar, acrylics on vintage glass old windows that are a dream-like cross between old and new. I love this coffee shop, not just because it reminds of Seattle where I lived during college, but also because of the chic artsy vibe it brings to the space and of course because it has by far the best coffee in town. It’s roasted on site in a shiny red roaster.

When you first walk in, the wall behind the register captures you with it’s poetic description of coffee: ” Inspirer of men of letters. Delicious libation which we pour on the alter of friendship. …A restorative sparkling wit.” It’s a community gathering house, full of people talking about life, tasting good coffee and enjoying the art. Since college intentional community has been a passion of mine and coming into Lone Pine to meet friends, discuss life’s ups and downs and our dreams for the future reminds me that life is rich and beautiful like a good cup of coffee. The foamy cup of decadence on the table in front of me is just that, rich and beautiful. A well-brewed cup of coffee that steams from the cup, warming you from the inside out and invoking meaningful conversation between friends, or bringing together new friends to savors life together. Lone Pine serves the famous ocean roll from Sparrow Bakery, my number two favorite place in Bend, a deliciously savory and sweet roll with hints of cardamom.

Sparrow Bakery is tucked away by an industrial part of town on SE Scott Street, a tiny hole in the wall bakery with a giant grape vine growing over the little herb garden along the stone wall near the entrance. Known for sea salt bagels and lox, which I highly recommend, Sparrow’s treats are delightful for the palate. It also has one of my favorite patios in town. I take a good book, usually a travel essay on a far away exotic place, sip on a cup of tea, eat a bagel with lox and capers and people watch. The crowd of locals always has the inside scoop on the best hikes, food and happenings in Bend. And if you get there around 10 o’clock in the morning, fresh baguettes are just coming out of the oven which smell heavenly! Coffee, food and good company at either place, a perfect way to spend my staycation.

Sarah McMurray is a wanderlust, a hopeful romantic, an artist, a writer and a passionate connoisseur of coffee and culture. She holds a BA from Seattle Pacific University and has been transitioning from higher education to the non-profit sector. Currently she resides in Bend, Oregon where she feels she is the luckiest girl in the world to call herself a native.

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