as chris and i have been traveling, we’ve come upon some hidden gems in both cities that surprised us and places within each of these cities that we just love. for us, we prefer to have one solid coffee spot, a great place to grab a drink and chat, a decent grocery store, and access to nature. the access to nature piece has definitely become more of a focus for us lately as we have realized that in the absence of a huge community, being out in the wild is what gives us life.
so, here is my first city guide. bend, or. bend completely captured our hearts. we had only ever really heard of eugene or portland so when chris landed a job in bend we just hoped there would be something to do. it ended up being some of the best weeks of our life. bend is located on the deschutes river and they have most definitely taken advantage of that with trails along the majority of the river. it is also so close to the mountains that you can easily summit a peak in a day. the old craftsman houses didn’t disappoint either. here are some of my favorite spots.
food, drink and shops
in one word. brilliant. the tap room is set in such a way that you can watch the sun set over the mountains. that view never gets old. crux made the sunset even greater by fashioning their happy hour a 1/2 hour before and 1/2 hour after sunset. ah, the perfect time. they also have a great little outdoor area with games and fire pits. families would come for dinner and a drink and their kids would all play together in the lawn attached. that is a great set up.
chris and i got to know the bar tender there. this ended up being the only place that we wanted to go. we didn’t even try all twelve breweries that are in bend. we tried a few and crux always won. they had a few sippable (aka boozy) beers that were to die for.
this cute little shop is around the corner from the main drag but well worth a dip into the alley way. their chai is to die for. i was trying not to drink a ton of coffee while in bend and this chai certainly helped me out! they make it from scratch (no concentrate here) and it is spicier than most but so good. chris always got a coffee and was pretty pleased.
we made this spot our place to go to chat not work. i visited others to get work done but it was always a treat to have a coffee with chris here.
on one of our last nights in bend, we thought we should at least give another establishment a chance over crux. we chose barrio, a tapas spot. it was amazing. the atmosphere wasn’t nearly as pretentious as some tapas spots and it had a ton of vegetarian options. it was one of those meals that you don’t eat a ton of food but are so satisfied.
this cute little shop has everything you could need for all of the wonderful activities that bend has to offer. it is a second hand shop but so much of the equipment was like new. it is the perfect spot to pick up sporting gear for kayaking, cycling, camping or climbing.
things to do
this is one of the cutest theaters. it has approximately 20 seats and comes complete with a little bar that serves beer, wine, popcorn and snacks although it has to close during the films since it’s right within the theater. the tin pan shows local or independent films. we saw one of the trippiest movies i’ve ever seen but it was worth it for the experience of the tin pan theater.
the river trail was one of the most beautiful and relaxing places to be. it went for miles from city park, duck pond all the way to canyons that made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere. i would take conference calls along this trail and walk and talk if i didn’t need my computer. the runs along this trail were simply wonderful. chris and i dreamed and planned for hours on this trail.
this was by far my favorite hike. we left at 10:30 one morning, climbed the mountain, played around in the freezing glacier lake and was back in bend by 4 pm. not too shabby. this hike isn’t super hard and rewards you with such beautiful views and the glacier lake is pretty rockin.
this was one of the first hikes we did and it was so well worth it. we couldn’t find the lake or the springs so we finally parked in a lot and just tried to figure it out. after a short trek around part of the lake we came upon bubbling water. we found out that when you dig around these “bubbles” you create your own little hot spring. fortunately we came upon others who had shovels and so we have a nice spring dug at the side of the lake. it was certainly hot!
i’ve written about this hike before but thought i should mention it again here. this was one of the most mentally challenging hikes of my life. it starts going straight up through trees which is really quite beautiful. you get a small break on fairly flat land until you are basically walking up a gravel wall. there is also a false summit which is particularly lovely.
my advice is to steer clear of this hike is there even resembles a cloud in the sky. the first time we tried we didn’t bring much along thinking we were pretty good hikers and it would be no big deal. we got caught in a storm with winds and freezing temps. the second attempt was a sunny day and it felt like a completely different hike.