Return to the ranch life in Sisters

In central Oregon, the Old West still exists amid the rising ritz. See where to stay and what to do

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  • Try on as many hats as you like at Leavitt's in downtown Sisters.

    Leavitt's in downtown Sisters Oregon

    Charles Gullung

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Eventually I emerge from my time warp, and head south of the main drag, Cascade, to browse a burgeoning cluster of art galleries, antiques shops, cafes, and boutiques.

That's where I find Jen's Garden, with its linen tablecloths and ever-changing four-entrée dinner menu. A few blocks southeast is FivePine Lodge, just opened in May, and its Shibui Spa, with a high-desert-meets-Zen ambience.

Thankfully, ranches still encircle the town ― with elk, llamas, cattle, and horses. Hinterland Ranch is just 3 miles away, and visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds and get nose-to-nose with members of its 170-llama herd.

For a real taste of Old West living, I head to Long Hollow Ranch, 13 miles from town and about a century out of time. Tall poplars line the road leading to the yellow farmhouse, where I'm just in time for lunch on the broad veranda: sandwiches, homemade pickles, potato salad, sliced tomatoes, and berry pie.

Originally part of the huge Black Butte Land and Livestock Company, Long Hollow started taking paying guests just seven years ago, owner Dick Bloomfeldt tells me between bites. That's apparently nothing in ranch years. Many folks come for a week or more ― especially the foreign tourists who make up more than a third of the clientele. In the off-season, the ranch welcomes weekenders too with trail rides through junipers and the promise of helping head wrangler Alicia Lettenmaier care for the horses. They have me, though, at the homemade pickles.

 

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