After five days of wine tasting, white water rafting and tons of hiking with spectacular scenery, what better way to end this active vacation than a visit to Bend, Oregon. Per Wikipedia:
Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range along the Deschutes River. Here the Ponderosa Pine forest transitions into the high desert, characterized by arid land, junipers, sagebrush, and bitter-brush. Originally a crossing point on the river, settlement began in the early 1900s. Bend was incorporated as a city in 1905. Economically, it started as a logging town but is now identified as a gateway for many outdoor sports, including mountain biking, fishing, hiking, camping, rock climbing, white water rafting, skiing, paragliding and paddle boarding.
Bend’s population is currently at 81,000 and growing. I guess it is hard to keep a great secret when you have so much variety available for you to do within two hours driving distance. In addition, for dog and pet lovers, Bend is considered the most dog friendly town in the US, click here.
One person we spoke to in one of the breweries we went to said that during holiday weekends Bend and its surrounding suburbs swell to 200,000 from those coming from Portland and Salem.
There are some towns where you automatically feel at ease as if you have lived there half your life. Bend is one of those. Taking Highway 97 from Crater Lake National Park and driving north puts you in the mood as you go through Klamath and Deschutes National Forests and Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The change of terrain is hypnotizing as you anticipate your final destination.
I have sometimes related towns to clothes. When one fits right from the very first time you try it on, you have a winner and Bend fits that mode. The most popular area, the Old Mill District can be done walking, biking or skate boarding. Lots of great shops, restaurants and nearby all the breweries that Bend is known for.
Old Mill District…
In the Old Mill District, there is a giant park with an outdoor band shelter where concerts are held almost every weekend. They were already setting up for quite a bash for that weekend which unfortunately, we were not going to be there for.
The Deschutes River runs right through Bend and they have a pretty cool rafting service where you can rent rafts of just about any size and shape, paddleboards, kayaks and canoes and just go several miles down the river right into the heart of this district. At the end, there is a shuttle bus that takes you back to where you rented your water vehicle. How cool is that!
With 28 breweries in Central Oregon, 21 of them are in Bend. Two of the most highly recommended ones were Crux Fermentation and 10 Barrel. Both part of a beer drinking tour many people come to partake in called the Bend Ale Trail.
We went to Crux Fermentation. On a Thursday afternoon, around 2:30PM the place was packed! We got to pick a sampler of six beers distilled there. Each one was two ounces, enough to get a good buzz going plus know which one you wanted to stick with!
The crowd was very friendly, the appetizers looked very good and we really enjoyed some sort of dip that was on the menu served with flat bread and chips. While there and talking to the locals on where to have dinner, they recommended Zydeco Kitchen, again, about two minutes from where we were at. Although the reviews says they are New Orleans style cuisine, they are much more than that.
The meats, as in every place we visited in Oregon, was grass fed. It is reservation only and we were very lucky that we were able to get one when we called from the bar right at when they opened, 5PM because they didn’t have another opening until late in the day.
We wish we would have made more time for Bend. It is well worth a couple of days there to experience all they have to offer.
For a list of other happenings in Bend, click here.
Craft beer, fine organic food and just a great atmosphere is just another way to be…Fit Forlife!