Pacific Northwest: Bend, Oregon

In September, Philip and I went on a super relaxing vacation to the Pacific Northwest. It was much needed and truly felt like ten long days away from home and work. Our trip included Bend, Portland, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle. In true Laura fashion, we packed a lot of sightseeing into every day, so I’m going to break our blog posts up by city, giving you our top five picks for each one.

We’ll start with Bend since that was our first stop. We absolutely adored this town! It was so clean and well-manicured, it almost felt like the set of Stepford Wives. Seriously, freakishly perfect. But these residents obviously care about their property, and it really shows. We would love to one day own a summer property here, or at least go back often to escape the Arizona heat. If you’re interested in flying to Bend from the Phoenix area, check out Allegiant Airlines for $39 fares each way. We stayed at AmeriTel Inn, which is in the super charming Old Mill District. Our hotel was very nice, conveniently located, and they gave us a free room upgrade at check-in. Bonus!

Laura and Phil's Top Five Picks for Bend, Oregon:

1. Sea of Lava
West of Bend, on the way to Portland in the Willamette National Forest, are three lava flows - Belknap Crater Flow, Yapoah Crater, and Little Belknap Flow. We didn't even know this existed until we drove right into it. Amazing!!!  It's crazy to imagine red hot lava flowing here 1,500 years ago. There are casts of trees that the lava flowed around, and the Dee Wright Observatory, a sweet tower built out of lava rock. So cool!

This was our first stop when we arrived in Bend, and the perfect start to our trip. Tasty food, great beer, and a fun and relaxing atmosphere. Be sure to try the Mirror Mirror, a barrel-aged barley wine (Phil's favorite), and BenderWeisse, a light, sour German beer with traditional syrup sweeteners of Rasberry and Woodruff (Laura's favorite).

3. Tumalo Falls
Just outside of Bend are the Tumalo Falls. The viewpoint of the 100 feet high falls is just off the parking lot, but a short hike took us to the top of the falls and a beautiful overlook. Another .75 miles through Deschutes National Forest are the Middle Tumolo Falls, a series of three cascades totaling 60 feet in height. We really enjoyed how quiet and peaceful the forest was, and breathing in that fresh, mountain air!

4. Beer Festival
What better way to get to know a town than to attend a local festival?! We were fortunate enough to be in town for the Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew Festival, featuring beers aged in wine barrels, whiskey barrels and oak barrels, which uniquely flavors and intensifies the beer. There were ten breweries at the festival, as well as great food, live music, and lots of friendly Bend locals!

5. Sisters Coffee Company
Just west of Bend is a cute little town named Sisters, and in Sisters is a cozy coffee shop named Sisters Coffee Company. A log cabin with a big wrap around porch, this is the perfect spot to spend a lazy morning. Be sure to try their Banana Nut syrup - it was the best latte I've ever had!

I would also suggest checking out McMenamins. It's another great pub and brewery we stopped in, but was pretty quiet that night due to the Little Woody Beer Festival. You can grab a beer and a seat on one of their comfy couches in the movie theater, or take a dip in their saltwater soaking pool! Lot's of fun to be had in Bend!

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Two newlywed's adventures in home renovations, traveling and experiencing life together.

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