The Perfect Summer Day in Bend

Now that Memorial Day weekend is over, we’ve all got summer on our minds.

If you had one summer day to spend in Bend doing whatever you wanted, what would you do? This is one of the most difficult questions I have ever had to answer. The thing is, there are multiple different ways that a day could go in Bend that I would consider “perfect.” Here’s just one scenario.

Please note: all activities can be done with dog and/or beer.

1. Spend the morning paddleboarding or kayaking at Sparks Lake, just 25 minutes up Century Drive from PointsWest.

2. Grab some fish tacos at Parilla Grill for lunch–trust me, they can’t be beat. Enjoy them on the deck as you people watch the other Bendites and visitors go about their perfect days.

3. Go mountain biking at Phil’s Trail. PointsWest is perfectly positioned for this–you can practically get on the trail from your own house! An afternoon ride through the forest never felt so good.

4. Catch the sunset on top of Pilot Butte. Whether you drive up or hike up, nothing compares to watching the sun set over the Cascade Range and our city.

5. End the night with dinner and brews at 10 Barrel on Galveston. World-class drinks, great food, a fire pit, and good people. There’s nothing like a summer night in Bend, Oregon.

PPP: Kids Edition





It’s almost time for everyone’s favorite race of the year again: the Pole Pedal Paddle! Every May, fun seekers throughout the area round up their downhill and cross-country skis, road bikes, kayaks, trail running shoes, and crazy outfits from the depths of their garages and compete for the title of most athletic and outdoorsy Bendite.

My love for the PPP began when I was growing up in Bend. My parents signed me up for the Kids Mini PPP race, which is on Sunday after the “grown-up” race on Saturday. Back then, the race was held in Drake Park, but now it’s at the Old Mill. The race is for kids in grades 1-6, and you do it with a team of five other young competitors. It now includes about 225 teams and more than 1,000 pint-sized competitors. That’s a lot of youthful athleticism & enthusiasm!

Here’s how the kid’s race goes. The team jumps into a raft with a guide and paddles down the Deschutes. Then, one team member rides a mini cyclocross course in the grass across from the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Next, four team members run, jump, skip, and tumble through an obstacle course. The last team member does a sprint outside the course until he or she crosses the finish line with a couple hundred people cheering them on. I don’t remember much about how my team did or the color of the ribbon we all got for competing. But I do remember the free t-shirt and ice cream we got after the race. That will always be one of my favorite memories of growing up in Bend.

The PPP and Mini PPP are the epitome of everything awesome that Bend has to offer. On top of taking advantage of the unique outdoor activities we are blessed to have in our town, the events demonstrate the strong sense of community we have built. Even if you’re not a participant, they’re a heckuva a lot of fun to watch. We’ll see you out there on May 17 and 18 at the Old Mill, poling, pedaling, paddling and cheering!

Highlights of the restaurant scene in Bend

There are a lot of things to love about life here in Bend. Sure, our little town is famous for our world-class outdoor playground, 300 days of sunshine a year, and thriving craft brewing industry. But the food scene is also getting national recognition. Bend was even named one of the top cities with the most eateries per capita by the Huffington Post. To whet your appetite, here are a few Bend restaurants that will soon become your favorites, if they aren’t already.

The Classics

Jackson’s Corner was mentioned in AAA Via Magazine as one of the “Northwest’s favorite place to eat” for its use of local/organic ingredients on its breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Pine Tavern has been a local staple in Bend for over 75 years and is famous for its scones with honey butter, incredible patio overlooking Mirror Pond, and the real pine tree in the middle of the dining area. Zydeco and 900 Wall are two of downtown’s most popular places to sit on the sidewalk and enjoy upscale dining and drinks. Finally, Pizza Mondo is another downtown favorite. Just trust me–I’ll let the pizza speak for itself on this one.


At Parilla Grill, you can get deals on tasty wraps, clam chowder, and beer on your way down from the mountain. Or “do a snow dance in your snow pants” to earn a free soda. The stylish Rim Rock Bar at Seventh Mountain Resort has established an apres ski reputation. Indulge in low-price, well-executed food and perhaps play a game of chess. And everyone has heard of the Deschutes Brewery & Public House, especially since it just earned the #1 spot on USA Today’s list of the Top Ten Ski Resort Breweries.


Chow is a sustainable business that sources many of its ingredients locally and is very gluten-free/vegan friendly. Don’t know what to order? Ask for the “vegan surprise.” The Victorian Cafe on the corner by the flaming chicken roundabout is a popular one and always has people mingling outside by the fireplace, sipping their famous bloody mary’s while waiting for a table. McKay Cottage has been named the “Best Breakfast” in Bend for 4 years running now.


Five Fusion and Sushi Bar’s innovative cuisine, swanky cocktails, and charitable contributions to the community all helped it earn its place as the Source Weekly’s “Restaurant of the Year” in a very competitive field. Noi has also earned special recognition from the source as the “Best Thai Food in Bend.”


Brasada Ranch offers sweeping vistas of the Cascades while offering a menu created daily using the freshest ingredients from local farmers, foragers, and purveyors. Broken Top Club also offers fine cuisine with Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and the Three Sisters looming on the horizon while reflecting in the lake below the expansive deck. The Row at Tetherow is a newer pub/restaurant, but it’s already getting some rave reviews.

Sweet tooth

Goodie’s Chocolates was born in Sunriver in 1984, and quickly became a legendary and loved tradition in downtown Bend with locals and visitors alike. Cuppa Yo is the original frozen yogurt establishment in Bend and has been voted Bend’s best dessert for three years running.

Bend Olympics 2014

A happy Bend-ite sledding at Wanoga Sno-Park.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics are upon us, and we’re excited to cheer on our two Olympic athletes from Bend: alpine skier Laurenne Ross and halfpipe snowboarder Kent Callister. But why just watch when you can get in on the action, too? We’ve compiled a list of our own Bend Olympics 2014. It has all the events, just without the weird toilets and questionable drinking water.

1. The snow gods have answered our prayers and our mountain is getting dumped on! So start out your Bend Olympics at Mt. Bachelor with downhill skiing, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing. Many real Olympic athletes have trained here. Why not you?

2. Head over to Seventh Mountain Resort or Sunriver Resort and show off your triple salchow and double axel–or just your “trying not to fall” technique. (Sequined-outfits and heavy mascara optional.)

3. Want to get a taste of luge, skeleton or bobsledding? Wanoga Sno-Park has the hill and the snow, as well as a cozy warming hut and a fire ring for your Olympic torch. All you need to do is bring a sled, toboggan, saucer, innertube or air mattress and develop your own course. Hey, that’s how the Jamaicans got started.

4. If you have a cast-iron tea kettle lying around the house, take your broom to the pond and try some curling. For that matter, an icy and empty parking lot will do.

5. Three things you can do in Bend that you won’t see in Sochi: snowshoeing (almost anywhere that there is snow), skijoring (skiing powered by your dog), and snowmobiling.

6. Create your own snowman-building contest or have an epic snowball fight. You may not feel like an Olympic champion. But at least you’ll feel like a kid.

7. Finally, for your closing ceremonies, drop by Winterfest at The Old Mill, February 14-16. It’s a huge party with live music, an international variety of foods to sample, and of course, the brilliant ice sculptures.

Sochi may be hosting all the world-class athletes, but we’ve got a world-class outdoor playground right in our backyard. Comment and tell us how your Bend Olympics 2014 goes. Til next time, dosvedonya!

Biking in January? Yes you can!

One happy Bend-ite trying out a fat bike.

Usually, this is the time of year when the bikes are stored away and the skis are fairly broken-in. The thing is, winter in the Northwest hasn’t exactly been behaving like winter this year. And as far as snow goes we’ve got nothing. Zip. Nada. The average high in Bend over the holidays was 51 degrees, and precipitation levels have been historically low. So what’s a Bend-ite to do? Continue biking, of course!

For mountain bikers and road cycling enthusiasts, this wacky weather has turned into an unexpectedly long riding season. For mountain bikers, trails such as Horse Butte, Horse Ridge, and the Maston network between Tumalo and Redmond are often rideable this time of year. But the Phil’s Trail complex on the West side and the River Trail network right next to PointsWest have been unusually great lately with only a few muddy patches to watch out for.

Road bikers have also been able to keep pushing their pedals. Less snow, ice, and cinders means great riding all around town. Many riders are even venturing up Century Drive toward Mt. Bachelor. But that’s likely to end with snow coming back to the high country.

When there is snow, fat tire bikes are just the ticket. Their four-inch wide wheels are great for snowy and icy terrain. People have been taking them up to the snow-deprived sno-parks and riding them on the cross-country trails. I’ve tried it myself, and I can tell you that you can’t have anything but a smile on your face when you’re on a fat bike.

Chances are, winter isn’t done with us yet. But whatever weather comes to our neck of the woods, there’s always some way to get out and take advantage of it!

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