A day in Bend is memorable no matter what time of year it is. In the winter, Mt. Bachelor draws crowds from all over for skiing and snowboarding. Bend is a great summer day trip from Corvallis as well, although you may opt to stay overnight because you’ll be exhausted after experiencing all, or even some, of what it has offer.
Start your day out right. Breakfast at the Breakfast Club has been called unadventurous, but not everyone wants adventure first thing in the morning. If you want a basic, slightly-better-than-diner experience, this is the place for you. The coffee is coffee and the eggs are eggs… but it’s really good and it’s where the locals go, so you can’t really go wrong. Insider tip, the Kielbasa Skillet is amazing if you’re into that sort of thing. This place won’t break the bank. You can easily eat and have your morning cup o’ joe for under $10.
After breakfast, it’s a straight shot up Greenwood Avenue to Pilot Butte. Pick any hiking trail from the parking lot at the bottom, because all of them lead to the top. You can also drive to the top on the paved road. No matter how you plan to get to the top, this is an absolute must when in Bend. You can see the snow-capped Cascade mountains, Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Black Butte, and Mt. Hood from the top of this old cinder cone. You can spend as much time as you’d like… and when you’re ready for lunch head back down Greenwood and stop in at Rockin’ Dave’s Bagel Bistro.
If you’re a closet Nickelback fan, you may want to tell a fib when asked at Rockin’ Dave’s unless you’re ready to come out to your friends. Rather than call your name or order number, they call you up by your favorite musician when your food is ready, but that’s not all that rocks about Rockin’ Dave’s. Although they are known for their bagels that they make fresh daily, they have much more to offer. Their sandwiches are amazing, especially the Pork Bomb which is made with smoked pork belly, smoked pulled pork, and ham. Their menu is also fairly inexpensive. You can get a fantastic sandwich for around $10, but you can also get a ham and Swiss bagel for $4 if you’re eating on a budget.
From lava caves to concerts in Drake Park, there is never a dull moment in Bend in the summer unless you want there to be. The dry heat of the high desert climate allows for a lot of outdoor activity in the summer months, but bring a coat if you plan to be out and about when the sun goes down. Temperatures quickly drop to frigid levels at night. Other popular outdoor summertime options: whitewater rafting, rock climbing, hiking, fishing, paddle boarding, bike rentals, canoeing, swimming… the list goes on and on, but if you’ve ever wanted to have a beer or a glass of wine while simultaneously toning your calves, then I have the perfect afternoon activity for you.
The Cycle Pub is exactly what it sounds like. You can BYOB or wine. You just grab some friends and hop on a barstool and start peddling to propel these unique, pedal-powered vehicles. It doesn’t get any trendier than combining an eco-friendly form of transportation and a craft beer IPA. They have cycles that can accommodate up to 14 people. Not everyone has to do the work; there are some passive seats and a bench for those that want to enjoy their beverages sans working out. You can choose your own route or embark on the Bend Ale Trail.
The Bend Ale Trail is exactly what it sounds like. There is a Bend Ale Trail Map and a passport that can be printed off of the website, or you can find one in most brochure racks and at any of the 16 participating breweries. When you visit a brewery on the map, you get a stamp on your passport and earn prizes. Although the Cycle Pub is a great way to travel along the Ale Trail, there are myriad other options including a bus, a horse-drawn carriage, and an 1800s-style trolley car. You can’t go wrong with any of these unusual options, but the best part about Bend’s Ale Trail is the breweries themselves. A number of world class breweries have come out of Bend—in fact, Bend has been dubbed Beer Town USA because it has more breweries per capita than any other city in Oregon.
After a long day in the Bend sunshine, a classy dinner is in order, and there is one dining experience that can’t be found anywhere else. Make a reservation for a sunset dinner at Pine Marten Lodge. You’ll have to also purchase a lift ticket, because the chairlift is the only way to get up there, but you can come up earlier in the day and take in the sights or have a drink in the lounge if you want to make the most of it. The dinner has a pretty steep price tag. The cheapest entree is the Broken Top Burger at $18, but if you decide to splurge on the grilled salmon or the prime rib, you won’t regret it. Although the gourmet cuisine is delicious, the experience is really about the amazing view of the sunset over the Cascade Range, and there is no better way to end your trip to Bend than the scenic ride on the chairlift back to the bottom.
By Hannah Darling