"Whoever visits bend, moves to Bend," people warned. So frequently, in fact, I took it to be the official motto of this always sunny central Oregon playground ― a blessedly bipolar high-desert home base, where you can trail-run along the rushing Deschutes River in the morning and hit the snowy slopes of Mt. Bachelor in the afternoon. My kind of town.
Direct flights operate from most major cities in the West to Roberts Field–Redmond airport (RDM). Bend is 16 miles south of the airport on U.S. 97. See visitbend.com for more.
WHERE TO STAY
McMenamins Old St. Francis School 19 rooms from $104, 4 cottages from $175; soaking pool free for guests, $5 for non-guests; 877/661-4228.
WHERE TO EAT
BREAKFAST: The Victorian Café Line up with locals for Pacific blue crab Benedict. INFO: $; 1404 Galveston Ave. N.E.; 541/382-6411.
LUNCH: The Sparrow Bakery Chic, couple-owned cafe. INFO: $; closed Sun–Mon; 50 S.E. Scott St.; 541/330-6321.
DINNER: Blacksmith Restaurant ($$$; 211 N.W. Greenwood Ave.; 541/318-0588) Cider-brined pork rib chops.
28 ($; closed Sun–Mon; 920 N.W. Bond St.; 541/385-0828) serves a fresh spin on beef Stroganoff.
WHERE TO SIP
Bend Brewing Co. 1019 N.W. Brooks St.; 541/383-1599.
Maragas Winery $5 tasting fee at the tasting room in town; 643 N.W. Colorado Ave.; 541/330-0919.
The Old Mill Martini Bar Outstanding tapas too. INFO: $$; 360 S.W. Powerhouse Dr.; 541/389-4900.
Portello Wine Cafe $; closed Sun; 2754 N.W. Crossing Dr.; 541/385-1777.
WHERE TO PLAY
Bend WinterFest Truckloads of snow and fun come to the streets of Bend in February.
Deschutes River Trail Farewell Bend Park, off S.W. Reed Market Rd.; 541/389-7275.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort $56, rental package from $30; 20 miles west of Bend; 800/829-2442.
Virginia Meissner Sno-Park $5 parking pass sold at area sports shops; on Century Dr., 15 miles west of Bend; 541/585-2289.
Wanderlust Tours Naturalist-guided backcountry snowshoe tours. INFO: From $47 half-day, including rentals and transportation; 800/962-2862.