Oregon Outback

Greg Robeson and Jim Prosser, Guest Author
May 18, 2012 (Updated May 31, 2013)

Jim Prosser, Winemaker with a Wild Side:

Jim Prosser makes Pinot Noir at J.K. Carriere in the Willamette Valley. He didn’t always. Jim grew up equal parts free and reckless where the Cascade Mountains meet the high desert in Central Oregon. There was plenty of sunshine and sagebrush out there, but alas, no grapes. When he can, Jim heeds the call of the blue-is-blue sky, snow-capped mountains and sparkling waters of Central and Eastern Oregon. Amidst these environs Jim says friends and bottles and bites become elevated and often boundless. Here are a few of Jim’s tips for exploring this part of Oregon:

Start your day:
Down the road from where I spent my youth in Bend, McKay Cottage serves breakfast to those in the know. Victorian Cafe on Bend’s west side makes a killer Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary.

A treat worth driving out of your way:
Dandy’s Drive-In in Bend is the local, old school, skater-served, eat-in-the-car, non-fancy, perhaps best tasting burger and shake combination in the state. I wish I could transport it from the main drag in Bend to wine country near me.

Grab your camera:
Shoot the surreal landscape, or burn off those pancakes hiking along the river at Smith Rock State Park. Afterward, kick your feet up on the wooden porch at Juniper Junction with one of their famous huckleberry ice cream cones.

Meet the maker:
The Bend Ale Trail is quickly becoming a national destination for those in pursuit of “Beervana.” Follow your malted beverage inclinations to Bend’s best craft breweries.

You’ve gotta see this:
Head south out of Bend to meet bobcats and porcupines at the High Desert Museum, and then continue on to the beautiful panoramic destruction that is the Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument.

Can’t-miss dinner:
Put on your boots and bandana, and get your hungry pony a couple of hours forward and a hundred years back through the sagebrush to Silver Lake and The Cowboy Dinner Tree.

Unique sleeps:
After some day tripping through Steens Mountain, pull up a chair at a long wooden ranch table for a family-style dinner and an overnight in one of Oregon’s original B&Bs, the Frenchglen Hotel.

Want some inspiration to help create your own tasty trail? Download our Trails To Feast booklet featuring seven culinary paths throughout Oregon.