Author Archives: Ted Taylor

Ted Taylor

About Ted Taylor

Ted Taylor manages COVA's digital content, media relations, PR and social media. He's an award-winning reporter and editor who has worked in newspaper and televisions newsrooms in Nebraska, Colorado, Arkansas and Oregon. A former assistant golf professional, Ted still loves to sneak in a quick 9, but you're more likely these days to find him on the mountain bike trails when he's not spending time with his family. He's called Bend home for 17 years.

Fall Golf in Central Oregon: Amazing Course Conditions & Even Better Deals

Considering we have three of Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses and half of Oregon’s Top 10 courses according to Golfweek, there’s really no bad time of year to play golf in Central Oregon. Even in the middle of winter, courses such as Meadow Lakes in Prineville remain open for play. But for my money, fall is by far the best time to tee it up. Here’s why:

PERFECT WEATHER

September and October are usually pretty mild and a welcome reprieve from the summer heat.  Sure, the daylight might not extend as far into the evening, but there’s still plenty of time to get in 18 holes. (And if you tee off early enough, you can even get in 36.)

Sunriver Meadows Course Near Bend

CHEAPER GREEN FEES

Beyond the weather, fall golf in Central Oregon means discounted green fees. As a tourist destination, some of the resort green fees during the summer are a little steep for some folks. Come fall though, those rates go down dramatically making some of the country’s best courses more affordable. Sunriver Resort, for example, is offering an amazing unlimited fall golf package that includes 3-nights of lodging for less than $260/person.

The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Resort

Fall = Pacific Amateur Golf Classic

For 21 years, the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic has been the Northwest’s premier amateur tournament. The event, now held exclusively at Sunriver Resort, includes 54-holes of tournament golf with a fourth and final championship round for the top qualifiers in each of several flights. The field is limited to 300 players and is held at Sunriver’s Meadows and Woodlands courses and the famed Crosswater Club.

River’s Edge Golf Course, Bend

FEWER PEOPLE

The crowds have thinned and the tee sheets are WIDE open, making it the perfect time for that group outing you’ve been wanting to throw for your clients or office. Pronghorn Resort has a sweet deal through September for groups of eight or more. Starting at just $549 per person, you and your buddies can enjoy:

*  2 nights in a luxurious 4 bedroom Villa

* Unlimited golf on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course

* One box lunch

* Free round-trip airport transportation

* Unlimited range balls

Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project, Ben

OFF THE COURSE LIFE

The “shoulder season” as we call it in the tourism biz, also means fewer crowds at some of the region’s most popular off-the-course spots. Brewpubs like Deschutes, Crux and Bend Brewing Co. can get packed during the summer, but you’re better off quickly finding a table for you and your 7 bros come fall. (Speaking of Deschutes, a brewery tour is a fun group activity after a round of golf and before dinner. )

Looking for a great golf-n-grub combo? After a round at Tetherow, head upstairs to The Row for one of the best 19th Holes in Central Oregon.

Airbnb Contest Offers Chance at Unique Eclipse Viewing Experience

A post shared by Airbnb (@airbnb) on

A once-in-a-lifetime astronomical experience deserves a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to witness it.

Airbnb and National Geographic have partnered with Ranch at the Canyons for a truly spectacular contest in which the winner and a guest will get to spend the night in a geodesic dome just outside Central Oregon’s iconic Smith Rock before taking a private jet into the sky to witness the total solar eclipse on August 21st.

What’s more, you’ll be joined by Dr. Jedidah Isler, a National Geographic Explorer and internationally recognized scholar who was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University. According to the Airbnb listing, “she’ll join you for an intimate dinner under the stars, sharing her passion for the power of natural phenomena to unify us all. (She’ll also be glad to answer your questions about the sun, moon, or stars beyond.) And you’ll meet Babak Tafreshi, a National Geographic photographer and science journalist, who will teach you how to capture the night sky.”

“The adventure starts the day before the eclipse, upon arrival to your accommodation – a custom geodesic dome surrounded by an observation deck equipped with a variety of telescopes – where you’ll be outfitted with everything you’ll need to set out on your expedition. Located near Smith Rock, a world-renowned destination for rock climbing and hiking, your home for the night will offer a spectacular and secluded base camp, set against a backdrop of Oregon wilderness.” – AirBnb

On August 21st (eclipse day) you’ll get up early and board a private jet in Redmond where you’ll set off for the Oregon Coast and become one of the few people to see the first moments of the eclipse as it moves across the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected in Central Oregon for the eclipse, but this has to be the most elaborate and unique viewing opportunity. You can enter clicking on the contest link above. Good luck!

And if you’re into glamping in the woods, Central Oregon offers several different ways to experience nature but with a few comforts of home. Check it out in this blog post.

New Redmond Brewfest Adds to Central Oregon’s Beervana Status

With nearly 30 craft breweries, Central Oregon has staked its claim as a true Beervana for hops and barley aficionados. Throw in a Brewfest nearly every month of the year and there’s truly no shortage of opportunities to taste everything we have to offer.

Add another one to the mix: The inaugural Redmond Brewfest, August 18 & 19 at American Legion Park in Redmond’s beautiful Dry Canyon.

The event happens from noon to 10 p.m. each day and promises more than 300 beers, ciders, and wines from 75 local, regional and national breweries, cideries and wineries. There will be live music, plenty of great food options (20 food trucks!) and more over the two days – including kids events like face painting and an arts and crafts booth.

Admission is free. Beer tickets are $25 through August 17th and go up to $30 at the door. Your ticket includes a custom souvenir mug and five 4 oz. tasting tokens. Additional tokens can be purchased in groups of  5 for $5.

The proceeds from the sale of the beer will be donated to Redmond Area Parks and Recreation District (RAPRD), REACH, Rock of Redmond Wrestling Club, and the Redmond Parks Foundation.

Organizers are expecting a huge turnout for the event thanks, in part, to it being on Eclipse Weekend here in the High Desert. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to converge on the region for what’s expected to be an amazing view of the total solar eclipse.

Cheers to those visitors coming here thirsty!

Warm Springs Grants Historic Access to Heli Tour Company for Mt. Jefferson Eclipse Basecamp Adventure

A Bend-based helicopter tour company and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have teamed up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an unparalleled view of the 2017 total solar eclipse.

The tribe has issued Big Mountain Heli Tours an exclusive permit to shuttle six guests to the eastern flank of Mt Jefferson (Oregon’s second tallest peak). There, alpine guides will fly in ahead of time and fully stock a basecamp with provisions for the length of your stay.

This is the first time in the 138-year history of the Tribes that this exclusive access has been granted.

Your exclusive camp will be staffed by a local mountain wilderness guide, medic, and chef who will help you practice zero impact camping at this unique and stunning location. To the north will be mountain views as far as Mount St. Helens. To the south, even more expansive snow-capped Cascade views. The eclipse will happen directly in front of the campsite with a shadow that will race across the plains and Lake Billy Chinook below before enveloping the entire mountain at 10.05am.

“We’re honored to be the premier partner with the Confederated Warm Springs Tribe on this historic location for Solar Eclipse,” said Big Mountain Owner Patric Douglas. “Our summit team of eco guides will ensure the summit remains pristine and that our time here has no impact on this incredible and awe inspiring location.”

With an unobstructed view from 8,500 feet, the location cannot be beat for viewing the total solar eclipse as it passes through Central Oregon on August 21st. Big Mountain Heli tours will handle all of your transportation, provisioning, and staffing for up to five days at the cost of $80,000. The location permit proceeds will go to Warm Springs Tribal Programs and help fund schools on the reservation, located just north of Madras. The costs can be written off as a donation.

For more information call 541-668-7670.

* There are a number of areas on the reservation that are open to non-Tribal members through the purchase of a fishing/camping permit including Indian Park, Lower Dry Creek, and the High Cascade area including Long Lake, Dark Lake, Island Lake, Boulder Lake and Trout Lake. Maps, additional information and permits can be found online at tribalpermit.com.

13 Images That Will Make You Quit Your Job, Buy a Van & Drive to Central Oregon

Step one: Quit your job. Step two: Sit in these chairs at Suttle Lodge and contemplate your new future.

There are worse ways to start the morning than paddle boarding Sparks Lake. (Literally, every other way would be a worse way.)

FLY FISHING CENTRAL OREGON

This guy used to have a job like yours now he’s fly fishing on a Tuesday morning and he’s not even wearing a watch. You could be this guy.

Please don’t break your cubicle wall after seeing this picture from Smith Rock.

Don’t forget to have your mail forwarded. New address: Paradise.

It won’t take long to adjust to the local cuisine. We call this “the usual.”

Before you make any rash decisions though, you should know we do have a lot of board meetings here.

Floating the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon

And just look at this traffic jam. Gross.

Yeeeeah, we’re going to need you to come in on Saturday.

Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater

Then again, we throw killer parties with folks like Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Paul Simon and some guys named Phish.

Sunriver Brewing Co. Galveston Pub

And you’ll probably make some new friends and have a chuckle around the fire. So much chuckling.

Steelhead Falls on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon

So yeah, let’s stick with the original plan because you’ll need to see Steelhead Falls.

And this mountain bike trail on Round Mountain isn’t going to ride itself.

Safe travels.

Central Oregon Shines in Back-To-Back Outside Magazine Pieces

Seeing an Outside Magazine on the end table of a home in Bend is like seeing a Patagonia puffy jacket in the closet: Not surprising.

The award-winning adventure, sport, lifestyle and travel magazine reaches some 16 million people each month and focuses on everything we love about living in beautiful Central Oregon. But it still came as something of a surprise that two Central Oregon cities were so prominently featured in back to back issues of the magazine in 2017.

In July, Bend power couple and Picky Bars founders Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas were featured on the cover of Outside’s annual “Best Towns” issue while inside the city was lauded as the “Best Multi-Sport Town.”

But beyond the mountain biking, rafting, rock climbing, golf and other activities available here, the story touched on the apres-adventure lifestyle.

“There’s a booming tech industry, an exploding food-cart scene, and a growing number of concerts—this year’s include Paul Simon and Ween. In short, Bend is the kind of place where you can do the nine-to-five job thing—and actually earn a living—then do the five-to-nine fun thing, no problem.”

Just one month later, nearly 10 pages of the August issue was devoted to the surging recreation and industry profile of Prineville, a former timber town-turned-technology hub that houses huge data centers for Apple and Facebook.

“From here one can, within a 30-minute drive, catch trout on the blue-ribbon Crooked River, climb at Smith Rock, mountain bike or backcountry ski in the Ochocos, or cycle buttery roads through High-Desert juniper.

The story, “How Big Data Saved the Mountain Town, dives into the conflicting perspective from the town’s locals – those who balk at the idea of the rural community turning into something it isn’t versus those who hope for the kind of growth that begets a thriving community and economy.

The secret of Prineville is quickly getting out thanks to stories like this and a new commitment to bicycle tourism spearheaded by the team at Visit Prineville and James Good, owner of Good Bike Co.

Good’s bike shop is an oasis for bikepackers pedaling the TransAmerica Bike Trail and for cyclists who flock to Prineville’s stellar mountain bike singletrack and scenic road rides.

7 Times Central Oregon Went Too Far

1. That time we put a beer tap in every bike shop in town. (And barber shop, ski shop, etc.)

2. When they opened up the Summit Chair at Mt. Bachelor on the 4th of July (again.)

3. “Ok, hear me out. I want to put an observatory in the brewery! We’ll call it a ‘Hopservatory!'” – Worthy Brewing Owner Roger Worthington, probably, after a couple of Pre-Funk Pale Ales.

4. When Central Oregon Bungee Adventures tied a rope to a bridge over the Crooked River Gorge and told people to, “JUMP!”

Fly Cascades Winter Wonderland Heli Tour

5. When Big Mountain Heli Tours took you up in a helicopter and took off the doors so you can get a better view of the mountains.

6. That time they expanded the Pine Tavern in downtown Bend and instead of cutting down a couple of giant Ponderosa Pines, they JUST BUILT THE RESTAURANT AROUND THEM.

Soaking tub at McMenamins in Bend, Oregon

7. And that one time we turned an old Catholic school into a hotel, restaurant, bar, brewery, Turkish soaking pool, cigar bar and movie theater.

The Ed House at McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Eat Like a Local: Our Favorite Spots to Dine in Central Oregon

When you roll into a new place for vacation, one of the first things you want to do is find a great, local place to grab a bite to eat. You didn’t drive up from the Bay Area to pop into an Applebees, right? Central Oregon is chock full of amazing local restaurants sure to fit into every culinary category.

Here are some of our favorite spots – we’d say “secret spots” but they’re pretty popular places and, well, nothing in Central Oregon is a secret anymore.

PizzaPizza Mondo in downtown Bend is hands-down the locals’ favorite place to get a slice or whole pie. In fact, the tiny little pizza joint has been named Bend’s Favorite Pizza by readers of the local Source Weekly newspaper every year since it opened in 1996. I mean, c’mon. A lot of pizza shops have come and gone since then – yet “Mondo” remains at the top. And for good reason. Local tip: There’s a basket of brownies at the counter where you pay. Buy one.

 

SeafoodThe Pine Tavern has been a staple of downtown Bend since 1936 for one simple reason: It’s just a great place to get classic American comfort food. And for many locals it’s the go-to spot for some delectable seafood entrees, including baked salmon stuffed with Dungeness crab, bay shrimp, brie and cream cheese. Local’s tip: Don’t fill up on the sourdough scones that come before dinner. Save them and take them home for a perfect late night snack.

Burgers – Nearly all of Central Oregon’s brewpubs have amazing burgers on the menu, but if you really want to dine like a local, go a little under the radar and check out Hardy’s Hot Wings, Hamburgers and Ice Cream. No frills or bells or whistles, just a wide variety of tasty hamburgers and the most Buffalo-esque wings in town. (Ask about the hot-wing challenge.)

Dessert900 Wall in downtown Bend is known for great food and an amazing Happy Hour, but it’s most popular dishes might just be found on the dessert menu. My wife and I sometimes will plan a date night just for the powdered sugar beignets. They come with a bittersweet chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, and vanilla mouse for dipping.

Italian – Bend’s had its fair share of Italian restaurants open and close over the years, but one has stood the test of time: Marcello’s Cucina Italiana in Sunriver. A staple of classic Italian fare with a PNW twist, Marcello’s has been filling bellies since 1980. You’ll find all the classics like lasagna, chicken parm and spaghetti, but also a few surprises like salmon-n-chips, pork osso bucco, penne arrabiata. Local tip: Stop in on a Wednesday for $10 all you can eat spaghetti – including a side salad or cup of soup & homemade bread.

Brewpub – Now this one gets a bit tricky. Ask five locals their favorite brewpub and you’re more than likely going to get five different answers. Some love Crux Fermentation Project and their huge, grassy yard that feels more like a neighborhood party than a restaurant. Some are old school Deschutes Brewery fans who’ll tell you about the good ole days when the joint was way smaller (but the beer was just as good.) Bend Brewing Co. has staked its claim as being the locals favorite for years while newcomers Sunriver Brewing Co. now boasts popular hangouts in both Sunriver and Bend. My favorite? I’m always partial to Deschutes Brewery where I can belly up to the bar for a burger and a pint of the pub-only Bachelor Bitter. It doesn’t get any more local than that.

Sparrow Bakery’s famous “Ocean Roll.”

Breakfast – Everyone knows the best breakfasts come from the smallest, most quaint spots in town. That’s true to form in Central Oregon where Sparrow Bakery stands out. The original Scott Street location is a tiny little brick building in the Old Iron Works Art District while the newer Northwest Crossing spot is a bit larger, more modern pastry oasis. Ask anyone in town and they’ll say Sparrow’s “Ocean Roll” is among the best pastries anywhere. If you’re looking for something a little more “stick to your ribs,” check out McKay Cottage in Bend. The breakfast landmark has amazing pancakes, eggs benedict and much more in a quaint riverside location.

8 Pictures That Will Have You Rethinking Some Life Decisions (Central Oregon Food Edition)

Is this plate from 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar art or food? (It’s food. Definitely food.)

deschutes brewery burger

This Deschutes Brewery burger from a cow that was fed the brewery’s spent grain. BEER FED BEEF, PEOPLE. BEER. FED. BEEF.

 

Here’s a fish sandwich from Suttle Lodge & Boathouse that makes other fish sandwiches embarrassed to call themselves fish sandwiches.

These powdered sugar beignets from 900 Wall will make you forget the names of your own children.

 

This hilarious plate of nachos from 10 Barrel Brewing that’s on the appetizer menu.

I’ll just be over here at Crux Fermentation Project with the best house-made pretzel I’ve ever put in my face hole.

Cobbler with ice cream Pronghorn Club and Resort Central Oregon

OMG, this tiny cast iron pot filled with cobbler topped with a teeny dollop of vanilla ice cream at Pronghorn is the stuff of my tiny dessert dreams.

Find someone that pours sauce on you like this chef at Carson’s American Kitchen at Sunriver Resort pours sauce on this dish.

Hungry? Check out some more amazing Central Oregon dining options here.

OSU Cascades Offers Lodging, Campout and Educational Events for 2017 Eclipse

Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend is taking advantage of this summer’s once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse to offer visitors a couple of fun and educational experiences to enhance the rare occurrence.

The Central Oregon towns of SistersRedmond, and Prineville are within the coveted band of totality for the August 21st event while Madras, dubbed “Solar City, Oregon” is located directly on the center line of totality. (Madras’ elevation (2,241 feet) and climate (warm, sunny skies) make it an ideal location for seeing the eclipse.) But many people are using Bend as the epicenter for their eclipse vacation planning.

For that crowd, the university is offering a “Bend Eclipse Experience” August 19-20 which includes:

  • Educational events, learning activities and fun
  • OSU-Cascades solar viewing glasses
  • One bedroom with two twin beds in OSU’s new residence hall.
    • Basic linen set (including pillow and towels)
    • Bathroom shared with one neighboring room (lock-off ability for privacy)
  • Breakfast for two each morning

OSU is also hosting a two-day family-friendly festival and camp-out on the Culver High School recreation fields. Culver, located between Redmond and Madras, is in the path of totality. Join OSU-Cascades, the High Desert Museum, Central Oregon STEM Hub, Culver School District and others for a celebration of this rare event.

The Orange and Black Eclipse Festival activities include overnight camping, science presentations, entertainment and children’s activities. Meet guest speaker James Wetherbee, former NASA astronaut and retired US Navy captain, and enjoy the music of Chiringa!

For more information on the total solar eclipse here in Central Oregon, visit our microsite here.