Now that we did a fake trip to our own hometown, how about we discuss a REAL trip we took to Bend, Oregon? Doesn’t that sound fun?! Two weeks ago we took a trip up to Bend (in the midst of a GIANT snowstorm) to visit Ian’s sister Nicole and her husband, Justin. Bend is a hip, outdoorsy town with plenty to see and do. If you are in the mood for some cooler weather, we recommend you check it out! Oh yeah, and it doesn’t hurt that they have some great places to eat!
WHERE TO EAT IN BEND:
- Planker Sandwiches- This is the place Ian always requests we go when we are in Bend. It is high quality, handmade sandwiches with delicious ingredients and great bread. We strongly recommend the turkey or the BLTA. Honestly, anything you get there will be good– including the cookies! (The Roasted Turkey is a PERFECT sandwich – Ian)
- Bangers & Brews- As the name implies, this is a funky sausage place with housemade sausages, amazing toppings, and even better appetizers. We had some of the best chili cheese fries we have ever eaten! The pretzel and beer cheese is worth every calorie as well!
- Sno Cap: Ok technically this is in Sisters, Oregon (about 45 minutes from Bend), but you’ll be out there doing outdoorsy stuff anyways, so go stuff your face with an incredible burger. Make sure to try one of their enormous selection of milkshakes! It’s your classic Mom-and-Pop old school burger joint with a line out the door.
- Arianna- We have to include a high end restaurant on this list right? Arianna is quaint, upscale, and fantastic. The drinks are top notch and the food is fabulous. The pork chop is out of this world. If you’re lucky, maybe you will see Matthew Fox from Lost there (as Nicole has in the past).
- Spork- A fun, fusion place with lots of diverse dishes to choose from and enjoy!
WHERE TO DRINK IN BEND:
- Crater Lakes Spirits: The location in downtown Bend has a tasting room of their diverse offerings of spirits, but also little mini cocktail tasters! They are so cute! Very adorable atmosphere too. I recommend the Keylime Martini or the Bloody Mary!
- Three Creeks Brewing Co- Also technically in Sisters, but the beer here is too good to pass up! Try the IPA flight!
- Deschutes Brewery- Everyone knows Deschutes! Ian is a huge fan of the Mirror Pond IPA, but check out their other selections as well!
- Vector Volcano- Ok, so not like a bar technically, BUT it is an arcade where you pay per hour AND they have craft beer options available! It is so much fun and such a great time! The whole paying per hour thing is great because then you can play as many games as you want! (Play Warlord’s with 4 people. It’s addicting, and vaguely Game of Thrones-esque – Ian)
- McMenamins- This place is too cool. It is an old catholic school that has been converted into a hotel, bar, theater, and cigar bar. The outside bar area is super cool (or should I say cold since it was eleven degrees while we were there?!). If you are on the in, then you should try to find the hidden bar called the Broom Closet. I shall say no more as to not ruin the surprise, but go check it out! The drinks are heavenly.
WHAT TO DO:
Ohh boy this could be a long list. I will condense it a little to save you, but there is so much to see and do! How do we even choose?!
- HIKING/EXPLORING- Legitimately, I don’t know where to tell you to start. I am sure Nicole is reading this and shouting out plenty of suggestions- and that I have failed her miserably. Please feel free to add some in the comments, Nicole. Our readers will be waiting! We like to visit Sisters, Tumalo Falls, Deschutes River Trail, and Smith Rock. To be honest, I have no idea where we have or haven’t visited. Usually I just get in the car and see where Justin take us! There are so many good spots and views though, you honestly cannot go wrong. You can also go canoeing or kayaking on the crater or glacier lakes.
- MOUNT BACHELOR- This is the resort with hiking trails, skiing/snowboarding, tubing, rafting, and so much more! There is a cute little lodge and everything. Apaprently, they make a mean Bloody Mary!
- BLUE POOL- Also known as Tamolitch Falls/Blue Pool. It is off the Mckenzie River Trail. As the name implies, it is a beautiful blue pool of glacier water (coming up from underground) that is just absolutely freezing. Very brave (or foolhardy) people, including Ian and Justin, like to jump in it and freeze their butts off. To each their own, I prefer just watching!
- DOG SLEDDING- Ok, technically this is done at Mount Bachelor (though not directly through them), and could have been a part of that bullet point. BUT, we had such an amazing time thought that I felt it needed its own category! I was really worried (being a veterinarian and all), that the dogs would be not well cared for or not in good shape. I couldn’t have been more incorrect. Those dogs were the happiest dogs and they were well-cared for and healthy. They also retire them around eight years old (or whenever they don’t want to run anymore), so Ian and I are considering looking into it for our next doggie! Let’s be honest, I would have all the doggies if I could.
- DOWNTOWN BEND- There are plenty of cute shops, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops downtown to check out. We recommend getting a specialty latte at Looney Bean. The smores one was AMAZING!
- HIGH DESERT MUSEUM- We finally got to go on this trip! It is more like a living museum with some adorable rehabbed local critters. There is also great information on the local history! The river otters are the best part of the whole thing, sorry history.
I’m sure I have accidentally left a few things off this list, but Bend is just so fun that it is hard to squeeze it all into one trip! If you want a little change of scenery (and pace), we recommend you go check out Bend. It isn’t far from Portland (I think like two hours), that you could even do both in one trip if you are really missing the city. Maybe if you are lucky, Nicole and Justin will open up their home for you! They like guests 🙂