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Central Oregon artists Karen Eland and Katie Daisy are thankful for the towering canyons and sun-soaked sagebrush that decorate the surrounding landscape. They draw inspiration from the songbirds and wildflowers, the rushing rivers and the peaceful solitude that blankets the high desert.
So when approached by Visit Central Oregon to paint a series of murals that depict the area’s vibrant communities of La Pine, Maupin and Redmond, the artists, who are also good friends, saw this as a perfect opportunity to portray the region through their own creative lens. “Adapting our own interpretation of each town has been a fun way to highlight unique aspects of each place while still keeping a unified feel to the artwork,” Eland says.
The theme of the mural project was inspired by the cheery “Greetings from…” vintage postcards that were popular during the 1930s through 1950s. Here’s where to see them on your next Central Oregon road trip.
Deep River Canyons in Maupin
When visiting Maupin, Eland and Daisy were enamored with the umber-colored canyons that cradle the Deschutes River, and their “Greetings From Maupin” mural reflects this. “We fell in love with the scenery and incorporated the canyon, river and various other aspects into our painting,” Daisy says. “It’s been such a delight to travel around to these lesser-known Oregon towns and study the area.”
The “Greetings From Maupin” mural can be viewed at Oasis Cabin Resort (609 US-197, Maupin), a family-run fishing resort located along Highway 197, right across from the Deschutes River.
“We researched the animals and plants who call [the region] home and added them to our design,” says Eland. “Maupin is well-known for fishing and rafting, so we included those activities as well.”
While in Maupin, take some time to explore the magnificent Deschutes River by booking a rafting or fly-fishing trip with one of the many local outfitters in town. For a scenic waterfall hike, head to White River Falls State Park, located in Tygh Valley and just a 20-minute drive from downtown Maupin. If you’re there on a hot day, take a dip in the swimming hole that sits at the bottom of the 90-foot waterfall. Enjoy the river views while booking your stay at the low-key Oasis Cabin Resort or the Imperial River Company, a lodge nestled right on the banks of the Deschutes. Getting hungry? Grab a bite to eat at The Riverside, a local favorite known for its smoked meats, live music and outdoor seating overlooking the Deschutes.
Rustic Enchantment in La Pine
About 45 miles south along Highway 97, visitors can’t miss the “Greetings From La Pine” mural on the side of the La Pine Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (51429 Huntington Rd.). A departure from the bright, sunny skies that dominate Central Oregon, the mural highlights a clear night sky that hovers over Paulina Lake. Taking inspiration from summer vacations on the lake, Eland and Daisy depict a cozy lakeside cabin with pine-tree silhouettes and a mountain peak in the background. There’s also a fire, a bear, an otter and an osprey in the corner.
“Oregon has one of the darkest skies in the whole United States, and it’s really a great feature that we have, so we wanted to do a celebration of that,” Eland says. “We were also drawn to the old historic cabin, and how long the area has been used for vacationing and enjoying the beauty of Paulina Lake.”
(Note: Stargazers may also want to book a camping trip at Prineville Reservoir State Park, 80 miles northeast of La Pine, recently designated as Oregon’s first International Dark Sky Park for its vast expanse of natural nighttime darkness.)
While visiting La Pine, be sure to stop by Legend Cider, a family-owned business on Highway 97 that’s just a five-minute drive north of downtown. The company brews delicious cider with natural juices for a refreshing, balanced flavor. Cinco de Mayo Mexican Restaurant, a three-minute walk from the mural in downtown La Pine, has been locally owned since 1995 and offers authentic Mexican cuisine, not to mention some of the best margaritas in town. Explore the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, where you can spend all day exploring 50,000 acres of lakes, lava flows and other geological features that are unique to the region. Get cozy while staying in one of the rustic cabins at Paulina Lake Lodge, where you’re just steps away from outdoor recreation and the beautiful Paulina Lake.
Coming Soon: Small-Town Charm in Redmond
About 70 miles south on Highway 97 in Redmond, Daisy and Eland sought inspiration for the “Greetings From Redmond” mural while walking along the picturesque streets in Redmond’s historic downtown district. The close-knit town is a slice of Americana in its own right, and the artists wanted to depict the charming, historic buildings that line the main street along with the iconic Redmond street sign welcoming visitors as they pass through. A portion of the painting depicts the town’s iconic Smith Rock State Park as well as local flowers and wildlife. (Note: Smith Rock is a popular attraction and parking can be challenging, especially during the peak season and weekends. Beat the crowds and visit on a weekday. Respect the uniqueness and fragility of this natural wonder and stay on marked trails. Take photographs and leave only footprints.)
“We love to go antiquing and enjoy various restaurants and coffee shops with our friends who live here,” says Eland. “I’m always inspired by the ever-changing light and shadows on Smith Rock, even seen from a distance, and the mountain views are wonderful as well.”
If visiting Redmond, you’ll find more than your fair share of dining, shopping and outdoor recreation. Book your stay at the eco-friendly SCP Redmond Hotel and grab a pint at Wild Ride Brewing, where you’ll find seasonal and year-round brews as well as a variety of food carts. Or stop by Oishi for inventive Japanese fare. Peruse antiques at the Redmond Antique Mall or visit the Redmond Caves, where you can explore five volcanic flows from the Newberry Caldera.
“There’s so much beauty to behold in this region, and I’m beyond grateful every single day to be a resident in this part of the world,” says Daisy.