We’ve been in Bend the past few days, enjoying the cool desert climate, a comfortable bed and time with N’s parents. Since top 10 lists are so yesterday, I figured a top 8 list would be different – and easier for me to come up with ideas. In no particular order:
1. Mountain biking – The trails around Bend are smooth, buff and have a lot of flow. For someone like me who’s still struggling to master many of the technical sections on trails in Tahoe, I love these trails, for they make me feel like a rock star.
2. Juniper Pool – Bend Parks and Rec makes South Lake Tahoe’s Parks and Rec look like amateurs, especially when using Juniper Pool as a comparison. Not only does this facility have an awesome new 50 meter outdoor pool, multiple Masters swim team workouts that anyone can attend, and a hot tub, but it also boasts an impressive fitness center/gym, and the most amazing children’s pool area I’ve seen at a public facility. Water slides, fountains and other gizmos makes me envious of the kids who spend summers here.
3. Deschutes River Trail – Whether you hike it, mountain bike it or trail run it, this trail, which follows the Deschutes River near Bend for about 10 miles, is a fantastic way to both see Bend’s natural scenery as well as its locals. Unlike the trails that I tend to run at home, this one is consistently gentle, and often shaded, and not sandy.
4. Downtown Bend– N’s parents used to have an art gallery here, and while I know that the new Mill area is now the shopping mecca, I prefer this 4 block square area for its organic assortment of restaurants, shops, offices and coffeehouses.
5. The Village Baker – N’s parents get *all* their daily bread here, making sandwiches all the more tasty. They do a fab nut and raisin (currant) loaf that, when topped with honey, is a dessert unto itself.
6. Newport Market – I love this little market, if only because it’s everything the supermarkets in Tahoe aren’t. And yes, I know that Bend has its fair share of Safeways and bigger shops, but this place was the first food emporium I encountered here, and I thus identify it with Bend…the westside, anyhow.
7. Mt. Bachelor – While ski season is but a memory right now, the few times I’ve skied at Bachelor I’ve been really impressed by the great snow and lack of crowds. There’s no feeling of aggro locals on a powder day like I see in Tahoe, which results in less anxiety about how fast to ski. I can’t attest to it as a local though – I hear they’re not so great with season pass pricing.
8. Roundabouts – Yes, I love these. In South Lake Tahoe, admitting this is akin to heresy, but on Bend’s Westside, the numerous roundabouts we encounter to go anywhere really keep traffic moving. And there’s usually some cool sculpture or landscaping on them as well – utility and aesthetics combined.