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Oregon Adventure Town

I have been to a few outdoor adventure towns on this journey but I am starting to think they might have been a warm-up to my latest stop – Bend, Oregon.

I had been hearing about Bend for awhile in various magazines but when fellow RV’ers – Ross and Robin in the Magic Bus – did what I did in Ouray CO – i.e. – become so enamored with a place that they extended and extended their stay in Bend in their case for 2 months – I figured this place was definitely worth a visit.

I came here to explore the area, but, not only is this my “journey of discovery”, a “journey de cuisine”, but it is also a “journey to find someplace pretty” – a place to call home if/when it’s time to land the Bunkhouse. Bend sounded like a place worthy of an extended visit of my own.

After arriving at my new base for exploration, discovered that the Magic Bus was checking in right before me – yup – some more of that synchronicity magic at work – they had made a brief run to the OR Coast but had decided to head back to Bend – were even considering making Bend a land base too. Wow – now that is an endorsement of epic proportions!

After getting hooked up, decided to do a little more research about this place…

In what could be classified as one of the worst kept secrets in destination travel, the word is out about the unique combination of outdoor recreation and cosmopolitan sophistication that make Bend, Oregon, one of the United States’ up-and-coming leisure destinations.

Few mountain towns have had as much praise heaped on them in recent years as Bend has, a testament to the former mill town turned adventure playground that has defined itself as the mountain town that’s got it all.

I remembered how Salida CO had received similar press – and I liked Salida too – but this town certainly was receiving more than its fair share…and had much more going for it.

“Imagine a town with amenities enough to win the hearts of urban refugees from San Francisco and Seattle, yet isolated enough to be free of congestion, pollution and the complications that are part and parcel of big-city life. Bend, a high-desert community of about 77,000 residents that is nearly the geographical center of Oregon, has for two decades been a magnet for active boomers yearning to break out of the fast lane and into a place where sunshine, scenery, and recreation rule. The attractions are at once sophisticated and untamed.”-Where to Retire, May/June 2011

“Surrounded by millions of acres of Forest service land, grassland and wetlands, and hundreds of miles of fishable rivers and streams – and with nearly 300 sun-filled days a year to enjoy this embarrassment of sporting riches – Bend, Oregon tops this year’s list of the best towns for sportsmen”
-Outdoor Life, May 2011

“Every place has its season – when living there makes you feel blessed. In Bend, one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, the showcase season happens to be, well, all of them. Take a midsummer night. It’s light until nearly 9:30pm, plenty of time to lob Wooly Buggers into crisp holes on the Deschutes River after work or hop on a bike to catch Beck at the amphitheater. You can ski through May and mountain bike all year and 10,000-foot volcanoes dominate the skyline. And there’s a lot of good beer: five breweries for 67,000 people, plus swanky restaurants, art walks, and film festival”- Outside Magazine, August 2007

“Endless recreation and sunny skies are exactly as they’ve always been, but in the last decade Central Oregon has been utterly transformed in terms of culture. Now, top-tier restaurants, arts, theater, entertainment, classy resorts and four-star hotels round out the Central Oregon experience. Events have boomed – there’s something exciting happening just about every weekend of the year, all accompanied by fine wine, gourmet food and the biggest selection of micro-brewed beer on the West Coast.”-Portrait of Portland, Spring 2011

A heap of praise for sure…

I turned up some interesting history too. (yup – more of the geeky but interesting stuff!)

Seems this town was originally known as “Farewell Bend” – In the 1860s, pioneers heading from points east to Oregon’s rich farmlands west of the Cascades forded the Deschutes River at a place they came to call Farewell Bend. It was the last hospitable place they’d see for weeks to come as they faced the rigors of getting their wagons across the mountains.

Seems the town eventually got its post office – but with the Farewell portion dropped.

Seems Bend was a timber town for decades – with 2 of the largest timber mills in the world here – but over time seems the draw of the mountains, lakes and rivers created a new Bend.

Tucked neatly between the snow covered peaks of the Cascade Mountains and the inspiring high-desert plateaus of Central Oregon, Bend has evolved from a sleepy lumber town to an international mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and people in search of active and healthy vacation experiences

Wow – now this is really sounding interesting…an adventure town with a river running through it – a surrounding countryside full of scenic drives and hikes – for a guy who likes options, this seemed to hold lots of promise…

A warm inviting mountain getaway with a cosmopolitan appeal is what you’ll find when you arrive in the friendly town of Bend, Oregon. Majestic snow-capped peaks permeate the high-desert skyline making for some of the best weather in Oregon—think sun-drenched days and cool nights—along with endless options for plenty of play time. Skiing, snowboarding, golfing, fishing, hiking, biking and rafting are just a few of the outdoor adventures you can tackle in a weekend or a week.

OK – well – first things first – back to the office – need to add a few more days to my stay here – yup, RV Jello planning at its best 🙂

Will need the time to get some of this stuff in…

Take care…see you down the road…

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Robin #

    Shhh, Stephen, we gotta keep this magical destination on the down-low. Great article! So glad we bumped into you here.

    September 29, 2012
    • Stephen #

      Robin
      yes – you’re right – this town seems incredible. so much for me to discover – can’t believe the press this place has rec’d – good thing it hasn’t totally overwhelmed the place! with all your experience here, hopefully you’ll share some of your now own personal “local knowledge” – on the down-low of course 🙂

      September 29, 2012
  2. I stayed in Bend twice this summer – on my way in and on my way out. I “love” Bend. I drycamped at the Moose Lodge since I became a “moosette” this summer. (Deschutes brews are on tap there.)

    I’m sure you made a pilgrimage to the Deschutes Brewery, but you also should do a “nod” to the Cascades Distillary – it’s interesting.

    I’m jealous since I’m home for a time now, but plan to resume my travels around Thanksgiving…

    September 30, 2012
    • Stephen #

      Cheryl
      Bend is a real find – have barely scratched the surface – today is ale trail day 🙂 heading out to visit Deschutes and a few more for tastings and tours – in a town of 80,000 there are now 14 micro brews !! amazing – too many for me to hit during this visit but going to give the all American try 🙂

      October 1, 2012
  3. One of my favorite places also… Have a great time. Don’t miss Sparks Lake!

    October 5, 2012
    • Stephen #

      Diana
      behind in posting but did get to Sparks Lake as well as a number of other spots along the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway…Bend was amazing…will need to return someday

      October 6, 2012
  4. We moved here two years ago. Best move ever.

    November 6, 2012
    • Stephen #

      Bend seems like a great town – my stop there was way too short – definitely on my list to revisit

      November 6, 2012

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