If you’ve read my latest novel, “Switchback,” then you’ve heard of Bend, Oregon. If you follow me on social media, you may know that I absolutely love that laid back, outdoor loving city. Several people have asked which places in the novel were real, so I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of my favs with you all.
First off, Bend is in the high desert east of the Cascades, so it’s not all “rainy gloom” like some people tend to imagine the Pacific Northwest. Mt. Bachelor paints the horizon and Three Sisters peaks are in the distance. There’s a nice mix of green and red among the natural environment and the lush forests aren’t all that far away. Volcanic features are abundant. The Pacific Coast Trail runs through the area. Rivers and lakes can be found by the dozens including the Deschutes River that cuts through downtown where you can kayak, tube, and even surf. Sparks Lake is home of some of the most breathtaking pictures you can find on the web if you look up Oregon. Biking trails, like McKenzie River Trails, are rated among the best in the nation. Portland is only about 120 miles away. In fact, it wasn’t too bad of a trip to hit the coast or even Crater Lake.
Yes, there is a zipline at Crater Lake. We did not get to do it since the area was still snowed in, but I hope to when we revisit next summer. The lake itself is beautiful and quite the sight to behold, even with a nice coat of snow on the ground.
The moral of this story is, if it’s outdoorsy, you can do it in Bend. Sometimes even in the same weekend. This past season the snowfall allowed skiing into July and Mt. Bachelor had both the bike and ski trails open Fourth of July weekend. Want to ski, mountain bike, and kayak all the same weekend? Here’s your place.
But there’s more…Love beer? Bend is home to the Ale Trail comprised of 16 breweries to indulge your palate. Not only that, but you can pick up a map, get stamps and bring home some swag like a silly pint. My wife adores beer and hit ten of the breweries to score the souvenir. If you’re like me and beer’s not your thing (I’m a whiskey gal) there are also distilleries, cideries and wineries nearby.
Taco’d is a fictional brewery, although I love the idea and if anyone decides to open a real one, please send me an invite to the grand opening. McMenamin’s is a real business and I highly recommend a stop. There are several around the northwest actually. The one in Bend is indeed an old Catholic school and houses a restaurant, hotel, pool, patio area and yes, the auditorium is a movie theater. We had the chance to watch “Deadpool” while enjoying a drink and lounging on a love seat.
Worthy Brewery was one of my favs because they make a killer Kentucky Mule and have a great view of Mt. Bachelor. They have since expanded their outdoor area and I cannot wait to visit again.
All in all, there was no shortage of amazing food, drink, or scenery. Next time you’re planning a trip, consider Oregon, and if you go, be sure to make a stop through Bend. Tell them S.W. sends her regards!
To take a copy of “SWITCHBACK” for a ride, CLICK HERE