Somewhere between Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and the high desert lies Bend. Once upon a time, it was called Farewell Bend, because here the pioneers on the Oregon Trail crossed the Deschutes River and kept going. Today, Bend is a destination in its own right.
Bend can rest secure in its well-deserved reputation as an outdoor sports enthusiast’s paradise: It has mountains, a desert, and a river. The cool evenings and sunny skies typical of its climate are just a bonus. Among the outdoor sports Bend accommodates and facilitates are skiing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, white-water rafting, fishing, hiking, and camping.
Less well-known but definitely worth a visit are a few indoor attractions.
At the High Desert Museum, the cultural heritage and natural history of the region are on display. Specimens of local wildlife live in naturalistic enclosures, and scenes from the past – a pioneer wagon train, a trapper’s camp, a boomtown – are recreated in detail.
The Old Mill District retains visible elements of Bend’s past life as a lumber town. Once, two rival lumber mills competed for business and profits in the district. Today several of the original structures still stand, now renovated and put to new uses. A collection of shops, galleries, and restaurants has turned the Old Mill District into a thriving tourist hub.
Pine Tavern is the oldest restaurant operating in Bend – and one of the most popular. Its dining room and patio overlook the river, and two improbable ponderosa pine trees grace the interior. Its garden overlooks Mirror Pond, itself a product of the Deschutes River.
Worth Checking Out
- High Desert Museum
- Pine Tavern
- Tower Theatre
- Old Mill District
- Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe
Dudley’s is nice, but I’d have to pick Looney Bean over Dudley’s