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In the middle of Oregon, Bend is a town of seeming contradictions. It’s a mountain town…on the edge of a desert. It logs an average of 300 days a year of sun…in Oregon. Bend’s quirky polarity is one of the many reasons why the town is so lovable; it’s the best of both worlds. A breath of fresh air, Bend sports stunning views of the Cascade Range, a downtown on the Deschutes River and a cosmopolitan, yet rustic, vibe. Originally a logging town, it’s an adventurers’ utopia—an idyllic, charming city where weekend outdoor enthusiasts can come and play year-round. The draw for Seattleites? A six-hour drive to a sunny, dry destination where the question isn’t “What are we going to do?”; it’s “What aren’t we going to do?”
Travel time from Seattle: About 6.5 hours by car
Bend is the sweetheart of the biking community. In 2009, Mountain Bike Action magazine named it the best mountain-biking town in America. USA Cycling also announced Bend would be home to the National Cyclocross Championships for 2009 and ’10 (this year, Dec. 9–12) in the Old Mill district. So do as the locals do and hit one of Bend’s 200 mountain-bike trails—you’re sure to find one suited to your skill level. Or head out on a one-day excursion with Cog Wild Bicycle Tours. Guides will outfit your whole family with rental bikes, customize the tour to your abilities and choose a trail that satisfies your interests.
What To Do:
We challenge you to find one outdoor sport unavailable to visitors of Bend. We’re talking any and all snow sports, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, biking—you can even go spelunking in Lava River Cave at Newberry National Volcanic Monument (WANDERLUST TOURS will send guests on an exploration with a naturalist guide). Want to do it all at once? Enter the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation’s Pole Pedal Paddle, a six-leg relay race on May 15 that incorporates alpine skiing or snowboarding, cross-country skiing, biking, running, canoeing/kayaking and sprinting. Had your fill of sports? Head to downtown Bend for restaurants, shops, art galleries and a healthy smattering of breweries (eight, in fact). Summertime is festival season: The first Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships (June 5) occurs in conjunction with the annual Balloons Over Bend hot-air balloon festival (June 4–6). Gourmands will want to visit the the blacksmith for a taste of high-end campfire cuisine complete with smoked-cheddar mac ’n’ cheese." Victorian Café is known for the best breakfast in Bend—it’s a wait sometimes, but the eggs Benedict are worth it. And no visit to Bend is complete without a stop at the Deschutes Brewery and Public House on historic Bond Street. Wash down the upscale pub grub with any number of award-winning beers.
Where To Stay:
Modern travelers with a taste for luxury will love the Oxford Hotel, an urban-chic inn in historic downtown Bend ($179–$349 per night). B&B types flock to the tres romantique Lara House Lodge, a 1910 Craftsman overlooking Bend’s picturesque Drake Park and the Deschutes River ($129–$329 per night). For something a little more remote, stay in your choice
of a cozy cabin or the rustic Grand Lodge
at the FivePine Lodge and conference center in nearby Sisters ($129–$329 per night).
All in the Family
Fifteen miles south of Bend, the laid-back Sunriver Resort community boasts 3,300 high-desert acres showcasing glorious mountain views, spectacular sunsets and majesti