Friday, September 20, 2013

Summer 2013 Part 4: Bend, Oregon

BEND, Oregon. Where do I even begin talking about Bend? Perhaps, I should tell you that DFJ and I are seriously considering a move to this town in the future. Just leave everything we have and live in Bend for the rest of our lives.

DFJ being awesome.

Two of my good friends, Emily and Lori, love Bend! So, of course I asked them for advice on which places to go to Bend and we basically went off with their things-to-do-in-Bend list.  The list didn’t disappoint. Today, I will pass on the list to you because I love you.

Before I do that though, let me tell you some real-life stories to validate my infatuation with this town. We ran across locals who told us their stories and the gist was: they moved to Bend for how awesome it is, not for the money and not for opportunities.

There was that couple from Alaska, the husband is an engineer and the wife is a criminal attorney. They were both successful with their careers in Alaska and knew nothing about Bend. One day, they decided to sell pretty much everything they owned and packed their essentials plus some horses and moved to Bend. He found a job immediately while she started off as a ski instructor. Now, she’s back in her criminal law game.

There was that guy who used to be a nationwide mountain bike champion. He moved to Bend because of everything in nature that it has to offer. This dude doesn’t have the fanciest career. He basically repairs bikes here and there and works full time at a farm market, but he is very happy living his dream. And since his championship days, he hung up his bike, and is perfectly happy playing rugby and trying out different sports (Bend offers so much variety).

There was that yoga teacher from Richland, WA (which was where we were prior to our move). She moved to Bend because it is a pretty amazing place to live in.

everyone in the car show stayed at our motel 

Bend is a small town in the middle of nowhere in Oregon. You basically have to drive up a desert mountain area for hours on end and Bend will eventually appear like a mirage. You might even see the mountain peaks of Bachelor or the Three Sisters if the clouds part when you drive in. By the way, Mt. Bachelor and Three Sisters… isn’t that the cutest mountain names you’ve ever heard?

If you choose to hang out downtown, you can spend all day walking in and out of the cute shops (outdoor adventure gear, bookstores, artsy stores selling local crafts, art galleries, etc). The food in Bend is great! Pretty much everyone in the food business over there care about the quality of food that they serve and are into serving local, organic, and fresh food. There are so many great restaurants to choose from and DFJ and I had really good experiences in all the places we went to. Um, beer anyone? Great breweries abound in Bend, they even have a Bend Ale Trail (if you’re interested in craft beers). Yoga everywhere! Lots of choices for different styles of yoga. I only went to one class and I enjoyed it.

runner, beer tourists on a 6-person bike (it's normal inOregon)

The outdoors, oh my! There are countless miles of gorgeous hiking trails in the Deschutes National Forest as well as mountain bike trails. Skiing is a big thing there too in the winter. Smith Rock is a haven for rock climbers, hard core or newbies. There’s also good hiking there, which you must be prepared for… LOTS of water, a HAT, and SNACKS. Bend also offers water sports, there’s kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, tubing, floating, and rafting in the river. Need I say more?


Crow’s Feet: This is a fun place to hang out and meet people. They have coffee, beer, some pastries, bikes, and skis. They also rent and fix bikes. Such a random business combination but so awesome.

Barrio: They have amazing food… think fried plantain sandwiches with pork carnitas; giant shrimp over a bed of delicious eggplant with tomato sauce; curried cauliflower in tomato confit; and so on… Everything was delicious! Drinks are great too! I recommend going there during happy hour… best happy hour ever!

10 Barrel Brewing Company: GREAT beer! GREAT atmosphere… campfires outside, barrels to set your drinks on as you visit with strangers, communal tables, outdoor bar, super cool vibe. They have delicious pizza too!

La Magie Bakery and Café: Cute place for breakfast and a nice selection of pastries.

Thump Coffee: Calling all coffee lovers!!! This is the place for you. Do not look elsewhere in Bend. For the chai tea lovers, they make their own chai tea and it tastes like no other. Very fresh and full of delicious spices. None of that powdered $#!+ that coffee places call chai tea elsewhere.

Jackson’s Corner: Super quaint place with simply delicious food. They also have a great drink selection from juices, to kombucha, to beer. We had their pulled pork bun that was top of the line and an amazing roasted beet with bacon and honey mayo sandwich. Grab some lunch there, hang out, bring a book, bask in the sun. Seriously the place is bright and airy with lots of sun coming in. I love the wooden tables and the modern yet homey vibe that they have.

Thai on the Fly: Food cart style! Super delicious, fast, and cheap. We happened upon this cart on a “First Friday” night and there was a street festival in town (they do this every first Friday of the month), so we got some free coconut rum punch from the optical place next to it and listened to some music while enjoying our Thai food.

Dump City Dumplings: This kid knows how to make them dumplings. Trust me, I’m Asian and I know what a good dumpling is. TRY IT!

Gelato at Powell’s: Perfect dessert to end a day of adventures.

Parilla Grill: Fast-food style, out of this world sandwiches and burritos. I had the blackened salmon with cilantro-lime rice and it totally hit the spot. They also brew their own kombucha and it’s pretty darn good!

Good Life Brewery: Another good spot for local brews!

Sparrow Bakery: I fell in love with this artisan bakery. It is in a little brick building next to a pottery studio in an obscure part of town. Don’t let that deter you though, because this place is so charming and they have great breads, croissants, and desserts. The coffee was pretty good too!

Townshend’s Tea: Apparently Townshend’s has various locations in Oregon, mainly in the Portland area. They have a great tea selection and I loved my matcha tea.

Planker Sandwiches: This tight, little sandwich place rocks at sandwich making. We ordered their pulled pork sandwich with apple chutney and mustard and it was awesome. I wish we ordered another one but silly me didn’t think I would starve that much after hiking Smith Rock (boy, was I wrong!).

Huckleberry Ice Cream at the little store right by Smith Rock State Park: Celebrate being alive and not sliding down the cliff after hiking Smith Rock by gorging on some ice cream. My friend recommended the huckleberry ice cream and I loved it. DFJ got the chocolate ice cream and it was also great.

* Nearby Bend, OR is the town of Sunriver. I recommend checking out the shopping area there and beer tasting at Sunriver Brewery. They have pretty decent Portobello burgers!

Activities/Outdoor Adventures: (There are a million things to do in Bend. This is just a short list of what we did.)

Do the river walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery in Downtown Bend. Go in and check out the cute/quirky shops, you can easily spend an entire day doing this. Walk around town and check out the cute neighborhoods.

Yoga. There are lots of yoga studios in Bend. As we were limited in time, I only went to one class at Juniper Yoga. I know that we should focus inwards during yoga but I gotta say, Bend yogis are hardcore!

Drive through Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in the Deschutes National Forest.

Hike the Tumalo Mountain Trail. It is a pretty steep hike but is only 3 miles round trip. You will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters!

Drive to Sunriver and check out the Lava Tube. If you’re a big fan of caves and walking in the dark, you will enjoy this. I am a scaredy cat and whined the whole time but my husband loves me and conceded to turn after about half a mile in the cave. To truly enjoy the experience, rent a lamp… don’t scrimp (like we did), otherwise you will be miserable with just headlamps and a makeshift flashlight. Wear closed shoes and bring a jacket too, it’s cold in there! Check out the shopping/recreation/restaurant area in Sunriver too. It's neat!

Drive around some more in the Deschutes National Forest. Explore and hike around Little Lava Lake and Lava Lake. Then stop for pictures at Elk Lake (also a great place for kayaking or canoeing).

Hike to Green Lake. This is a beautiful trail with a rushing creek next to you and a waterfall a little ways ahead. Unfortunately, we never got to Green Lakes because it started getting dark.

Hike Misery Ridge at Smith Rock. This is a toughie even though it’s short. I’m a strong uphill hiker but a chicken when it comes to hiking down. There’s this silly fear that I have of slipping and falling off the edge of the cliff and this fear overpowers my will sometimes (ok, more often than I would like to admit). This hike was pretty amazing though and you should try it if you’re in Bend. The view from the top is breathtaking. Bring plenty of water and lots of snacks (especially in the middle of summer) because there is no shade and the sun is relentless. Also, don’t go to a yoga class prior to this hike otherwise you will have a bad case of jelly legs. If you are a big fan of rock climbing, this place is your heaven! Rock climbing is not for me but I had fun watching the climbers and marveling at their courage.

Ooops, this got way too lengthy. SORRY! I just really want to convince you to go to Bend. Are you sold yet? 


  1. Oh my gosh, Bend sounds amazing!! I can't believe I've never heard of it before given how beautiful it is and how much it has going for it!

  2. You have totally convinced me! My boyfriend keeps telling me how gorgeous Oregon is, but this looks like a gem inside an already beautiful state.

  3. wow....Oregon is beautiful and loved that cuppa coffee...makes us crave for it now :-)


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