Talking Behind Our Backs

Back in September, we talked about how Bend was named top dog among the nation’s dog-friendliest cities by Dog Fancy magazine. That’s pretty cool. But the fact is, we have so much more to brag about.

For instance, National Geographic recently included Bend in their list of the World’s 25 Best Ski Towns, right next to Chamonix, France and Whistler in British Columbia. The article cites Bend as “best for multisport junkies with a taste for microbrews.” Can’t argue with that.

On the microbrew side of things, a little newspaper called The New York Times published an article in April entitled, “Bend, Ore., a Brewer’s Town.” The newly expanded Deschutes Brewery downtown was the inspiration for the article, as it has become the fifth largest craft brewer in the nation and has contributed to one of the highest brewery-to-resident ratios in the country.

Bend is certainly not lacking in the “multisport junkie” department either. In a May 2011 edition of Outdoor Life magazine, Bend came in at number one on their list of America’s Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen for its “embarrassment of sporting riches.” What’s more, in a 2009 article in Mountain Bike Action magazine, Bend was named America’s Top Mountain Biking Town that “seems like it was founded just for mountain bikers.”

We were even awarded best tasting drinking water in the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade to Coast section of the American Water Works Association for its “clean, crisp and grassy” flavor with a “nice aftertaste.” Grassy? Whatever.

The latest writer to wax fondly about us is Nathan Borchelt who began his article in The Washington Post in last month by stating, “I hate Bend, Ore.” But that’s only because he says, “No place should have it this good.” Truly, the man had nothing but positive things to say about our humble abode.

See for yourself what all the fuss is about at Visit Bend. Then don’t be surprised if you start bragging about it yourself.

Bendʼs flourishing community of yogis

Find your center with Bend’s yoga scene.

Bend may be known for its great outdoor recreation, but many Bendites have developed an incredible passion for a predominantly indoor activity: yoga. Unlike mountain biking, snowboarding and paddle boarding that have gained popularity in just the last few decades, yoga is an art that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. And Bendʼs community of yogis embrace their fellow participants, whether young, old, beginner or experienced.

Why is it so popular here? Besides the obvious increase in flexibility, posture and strength, accompanied by a decrease in stress, locals can find their own personal use for the practice. Take skiing cycling, or rock climbing, for example. Cross training for each of these with yoga can improve balance, strength, focus, and coordination, and therefore improve performance on the mountain, in the saddle, or at Smith Rock, while decreasing risk of injury. So you donʼt have to miss a second of what you love to do in the outdoors.

There is a yoga studio for everyone here. In addition to various beginner though advanced classes, Namaspa (voted best yoga studio in the 2012 Source Weekly poll) offers classes for kids and tweens, as well as “Shake Your Asana,” which is accompanied by music for an upbeat end to your busy week. All classes at the 2011 Source poll winner Groove Yoga studio are taught to music, and you can occasionally take classes from world-famous snowboarder and surfer Gerry Lopez. For a more strenuous but highly rewarding experience, Bikram Yoga offers yoga classes in heat over 100°F. Thankfully, itʼs located right on the Deschutes River, so you can always go jump in and cool off after.

These are just a few of the many great studios in Bend. It is recommended that you take a class at several different places to find one that feels right for you. Most studios have a one-month introductory special of some kind, which is just enough time for you to feel out the studio and to start to notice your tracks getting a little crisper on the slopes.

All About Roundabouts

It’s worth taking a round-about route for this view.

While Bendʼs many roundabouts often catch visiting drivers by surprise and lead to some tentative entries and exits, Bendites embrace them as gas-saving alternatives to traffic signals and four-way stops. And their artwork is always a popular topic of conversation.

Heading into town on Century Drive, itʼs not uncommon to encounter at least five roundabouts on your way. While their function is to aid traffic flow and increase safety, their form has become a staple of Bend culture. From the “Flaming Chicken” on 14th Street and Galveston to the Mt. Bachelor Compass on Century and Mt. Washington Dr., roundabout artwork has created several city landmarks.

One of my favorite pieces of roundabout art in Bend is the “Lodestar” on the hill at the intersection of Bond Street and Reed Market Road. If youʼre driving to the West side from the other side of town and you hit this roundabout in the evening, you can catch the sun setting over Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters. In this sublime lighting, you are treated with a spectacular view of the sparkling Deschutes River running through Farewell Bend Park.

The art that was chosen for this particular site is a rounded copper-colored sculpture, which frames each mountain as you circle it. Itʼs almost worth an extra lap around to take in the whole view. It is at this moment in my busy day that I can take a breath and gain a renewed sense of gratitude for the beautiful city I live in.

Roundabout art is featured as its own tour, just like the Bend Ale Trail. The Bend Visitors Center provides maps of the 20 roundabout sculptures in the city, and you can even win a prize if you answer all the trivia questions correctly. So when youʼre done exploring in the mountains for the day, feel free to explore the city… by roundabout.

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