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.

The French Market Brings a Taste of Europe to Bend

We’ve got nothing against pub food, actually, our love for it has been well documented – herehere… and here! But if you’re looking for a dining experience that will take your taste buds on an International vacation while you’re visiting Central Oregon – Bend’s French Market could be right up your alley.

Inspired by the European travels of Executive Chef, Luke Mason and owners, Phil and Judy Lipton who lived abroad in France and Spain, the French Market opened in 2017. Chef Mason encourages guests to order small plates that can be shared and experienced together, but his team also whips up unique entrees that impress along with artisan pizzas topped with seasonal ingredients.

The French Market offers a full-bar, local and regional craft beer and an extensive wine selection. Reservations are recommended, especially on the weekend when it can be tough to get a table.

Sisters Weekend Getaway: Romance, Bike Rides & More

A visit to Sisters, Oregon is both a step back in time and a visit to the lap of luxury. Downtown, experience a bit of the old west through vintage storefronts welcoming visitors to a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Venture down the road a bit and you’ll find an upscale, modern mini-resort in FivePine Lodge. And right outside the back door of your cozy cabin is a world of adventure waiting for you on the Peterson Ridge Trail System.

Rustic Elegance

FivePine Lodge features eight suites in a beautiful main lodge modeled after a historic forestry station and 36 craftsman-style cabins. The campus also offers a spa, Mexican restaurant, movie house, and Three Creeks Brewing Co. With the personal touch of a bed and breakfast, the privacy of romantic, cozy cabins and all the amenities of a resort, FivePine is the ultimate romantic getaway.

Shibui Spa is on site and offers a variety of packages, including a three-hour “Day of Indulgence” that features a massage, facial and pedicure.

Giddyup

Saddle up a two-wheeled horse during your stay with a mountain bike rental from Blazing Saddles. Sisters’ only bike shop is a full-service, one-stop shop for everything bike. And with demo and rentals from brands like BMC, Giant and Felt, you’re sure to get a great ride to experience our amazing trails.

According to our partners, Bend Trails, the Peterson Ridge Trails in Sisters were originally constructed in 1989 as a mountain bike trail network consisting of a combination of single-track and old forest service roads. In 2008, a major expansion of the network increased the amount of single track to over 20 miles and included signage and trail markers to aid riders in navigation.

The trails are fairly level and mostly free of technical obstacles (although some lines do have rocks and roots to negotiate).  The trail network is popular with Sisters’ residents and you can expect to encounter lots of walkers, runners, and dogs on the trails. There are also several Horse trails that interconnect into this system.

Dinner and a Show – Sisters Style

A visit to Sisters wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Three Creeks Brewing on the FivePine Lodge campus. Sisters’ only brewpub is a regional favorite that draws visitors and locals alike thanks to their delicious beers and hearty menu. Their Knotty Blonde and Hoodoo Voodoo IPA are always a good choice, as is the Chicken, Bacon, Tater sandwich featuring a chicken breast, thick cut bacon and fries smothered in a chipotle ranch and wrapped in a warm pita like a taco.

After dinner, walk about 10 steps to the lovely little Sisters Movie House where you can catch a first-run film, grab another beer and settle into the quaint theater for a couple of hours of entertainment.

Looking for some down-home comfort food? The Cottonwood Cafe is a relative newcomer to the Sisters dining scene after a complete transformation from Jen’s Garden – which served upscale French cuisine. The new restaurant has a new look, new menu and new vibe that’s been a hit.

Bend Haunted History Tour a Fun Halloween Happening

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Des Chutes Historical Museum

There’s nothing better during the Halloween season than hearing ghost stories from haunted places right in your very own back yard.

To help fuel the fright, the Des Chutes Historical Museum each October leads guided tours of downtown Bend’s most haunted sites, telling terrifying tales of ghost sightings, unexplained sounds and more. (See: Blue orbs at Pilot Butte Cemetery.)

The hour-long walking tour starts at the Des Chutes Historical Museum, site of the old Reid School – Bend’s first modern school building and the place where contractor George Brosterhaus fell to his death during construction back in 1914. He’s been known to roam the halls of the museum – but you’ll have to take the tour to hear the full, super creepy story! More stories await about McMenamins Old St. Francis School, the O’Kane building and several other sites as well.

“Last year we stopped at one of the locations and were telling our story and a couple of people in the group said ‘Oh my gosh – the curtains just moved,'” Museum Manager Vanessa Ivey tells us. “I’m a skeptic, but I went back and asked if we had fans running and they said no.”

Ivey says most of the stories are from first person accounts from current community members. But some of the guides tell stories of paranormal experiences they’ve actually had themselves.

And the tours are hugely popular.

“Bend has a lively history. It was a rough and tumble kind of town and stuff happened and people are interested in that,” she said. “And there are people out there who just love a good ghost story. They like to know, I don’t know, that maybe there’s something out there after death.”

The tours cost $10 and this year happen Oct. 13th and 14th with 12 one-hour tours between 4:30 and 7:30. The admission fee also gives you access to the museum itself, where you can see some really cool historical artifacts and learn more about Bend’s interesting past.  Ivey recommends reserving your spot on the tour by calling or stopping by the museum early on the day you want to attend.

For more information, visit the Des Chutes Historical Museum website. Got a ghost story of your own? Leave it in the comments below!

Start the Day Off Right: Central Oregon’s Best Breakfast Spots

There might be some debatable data out there about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. But I think we can all get behind the idea that it’s the most delicious meal of the day. (Because, bacon.)

Central Oregon has tons of great spots for your morning meal – whether you prefer the stick-to-you-gut favorites like pancakes, waffles, bacon & eggs, or lighter fare like muffins, croissants, quiches and more.

Rockin’ Dave’s Bistro, McKay Cottage, and Cafe Sintra are three of our favorite spots because of their diverse menus, fun atmosphere and, of course, delicious food. (All three also serve lunch.)

Rockin’ Daves serves up a variety of bagel sandwiches and full breakfasts like the House Hash, which includes your choice of pastrami, corned beef, pulled pork or pork belly. Looking for the perfect on-the-go breakfast to take along on your hike? You can build your own massive breakfast burritos to stuff into your backpack.

McKay Cottage, located across the street from the Deschutes River in the heart of Bend, has been one of the region’s top breakfast spots for years. In fact, readers of our local alternative weekly have named it “Bend’s Best Breakfast” every year since 2010. The cozy cottage is always filled with hungry patrons while the spacious front yard serves as an outdoor dining room when weather permits.

The cozy cottage is always filled with hungry patrons while the spacious front yard serves as an outdoor dining room when weather permits. Enjoy dishes like stuffed French toast, lemon ricotta pancakes, biscuits and gravy and several variations of eggs benedict. McKay Cottage also offers award-winning scones, muffins and more.

In Sunriver, Cafe Sintra has become the go-to spot for breakfast with a unique menu featuring eight different omelets, five delicious eggs benedict options, spinach & egg crepes and much more (including pancakes.)

A Taste of Summer During Central Oregon’s Winter

Kids taking a winter plunge in the pool at Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend, Oregon

A warm pool on a cold day at Seventh Mountain Resort

Splashing Through the Snow

It’s true that when winter rolls around in Central Oregon, most people’s minds veer toward things to do in the snow. With Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo, sno-parks and more, there’s plenty of options for folks to get out and play.

But with our high desert climate, there’s also plenty of opportunities for more “summer-like” activities like hiking, cycling and yes, even swimming and golf.

On many days you can wake up to two or three inches of the white stuff out your window, but come lunch time the snow’s gone, the temps have warmed up and it’s the perfect weather to get outside.

Swimming

There’s something invigorating about hitting the pool when there’s a blanket of fresh snow on the ground. For starters, kids will take any chance they can to go swimming regardless of the temperature outside and nothing says “vacation” like a day at the pool.

Central Oregon has some great places to splash around all year, including the indoor pool at the SHARC aquatic center in Sunriver, at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center in Bend. Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend and Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa in Warm Springs all have heated outdoor pools for their guests that will quickly have you forgetting what season it is.

The sport – Flowriding is not just a ride, it is a sport… a 21st Century alchemy that has the look of surfing, the ride of snowboarding, the tricks of skateboarding, and boards derived from wakeboarding. Since the early ‘90s, the world’s best board riders have cross pollinated
into flowboarding. This new alternative board sport is taken seriously from the mountains to the sea.

Looking to take it up a notch? How about an afternoon surfing Oregon’s only indoor FlowRiderwave machine! The Sunriver Fitness and Aquatic Center on Sunriver’s northern edge offers two-hour sessions for $20.

Soaking tub at McMenamins in Bend, Oregon

Soaking tub at McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Several of the hotels, including the brand new Hampton Inn and Suites in the Old Mill District have indoor pools as well. And there’s the unique experience of ornate Turkish bath at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in the heart of downtown Bend.

Hiking

One of the most popular go-to hikes for folks during the winter is the Deschutes River trail near the Bill Healy bridge west of the Old Mill District. This gentle hike (it’s more like a walk on dirt than a “hike”) is a 3.5 mile loop up one side of the river, across a footbridge and back down the other. You can add some distance by parking in the Old Mill (a perfect place to grab a bite to eat or hot chocolate after your hike.)

Pilot Butte State Park in Bend, Oregon

A lot of locals also like to hike Pilot Butte’s trail in the winter. This is actually a pretty good hike – not long, just strenuous in that it’s quite a trek up to the top of this 480-foot butte located in the middle of town. The road is closed during the winter so you won’t have to worry about cars, but you should be careful of icy spots on the north-facing side if there’s been a recent snow.

And, of course, there’s the grandaddy of winter hiking spots – Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne. Winter might just be the best time to explore all of the hiking – and biking – options available because the park can get scorching hot during the summer months.

You can find more info on our “urban hikes” here.

Cycling

Cycling wise, most mountain bikers head east of Bend for the best trail conditions during the winter. Complexes like Horse Ridge and Horse Butte stay snow free most of the winter except in rare cases and offer some great trails and amazing views of the area. Hikers and horses can also often be found at Horse Butte. You can combine several loops in the area for longer rides, but the Coyote Loop Trail-Arnold Ice Cave Trail loop is about 12 miles. Be sure to check out the Arnold Ice Cave as well – a super cool lava tube in the middle of the loop.

horse butte trail

The trails at Horse Butte in winter

In Redmond, try the Radlands and in Sisters, some of the Peterson Ridge trail system is rideable during the winter months too. You can also mountain bike the uber-scenic Smith Rock State Park. Prineville has some great backroads and mountain bike trails that are perfect for winter riding.

“If folks were coming to Prineville to ride mountain bike I would push them to the Lower 66 trails at the Grade as you enter town coming into Prineville from Bend/Redmond,” said James Good, owner of Good Bike Co. in Prineville.  “It is located at the south part of the Ochoco Wayside State Park. It is 66 acres that has roughly 3.5 miles of single track trails encompassing two loops and a connecting loop at the West end of the trails. Trails are for beginner to intermediate riders.”

Good Bike Co. is a great place to stop before you hit the trails – James is a wealth of information.

The Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway is a rideable route for road cyclists in the winter because the 30-mile loop is entirely in the warmer climes of Jefferson County.

Golf

Several Central Oregon courses are open year-round, weather permitting and often the weather most certainly permits. I worked one winter at Lost Tracks Golf Club in Bend and we were open every single day. Sure, there were some really cold days and the greens froze over a few times, but the course stayed snow-free the entire season and we had players nearly every day.

Meadow Lakes Golf Club, Prineville

Meadow Lakes Golf Club, Prineville

In Bend, River’s Edge Golf Course is another popular winter golf destination; Prineville’s Meadow Lakes Golf Course is a popular winter spot even if there’s no snow in Bend. It’s a fun course and the weather’s usually a tad warmer the farther east you go. To the north, Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa is a great winter golf course.

Happy Hour Alfresco

Sure, it might be a little cold, but several of the region’s hot spots for dining/drinking outside have found ways to keep customers warm. Places like 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Crux Fermintation Project, McMenamins Old St. Francis School and others have firepits that only add to the already cool ambiance. You can check them out in this video on breweries taking the party outside. 

mcmenamins okanes fire

Fall Favorites: Here’s Why Autumn is Awesome in Central Oregon

doggett - mirror pond fall

courtesy Alice Doggett Photography

In Central Oregon, autumn’s arrival is both a welcome repreive from the heat of the summer and the early sign that winter is right around the corner. It’s an odd time when many of us here desperately try to hold on to some semblance of summer while our loved ones are across the room doing a snow dance. We’re seasonally conflicted.

But where we can agree is that autumn in Central Oregon is pretty awesome and thanks to perfect weather, fewer visitors and did we mention perfect weather, it might just be the best time of year to visit. Here’s a few highlights of the season to prove our point.

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock Cool Down

Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne is one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. But in the heat of the Central Oregon summer, it can feel like a furnace, turning away many visitors who don’t like the heat. Come fall, the scenery is just as beautiful (if not more photogenic) and the temperatures on the trails below the spires are much more pleasant. It’s also a great time to watch the rock climbers who also stay away during the summer months due to the heat of the rocks they’re trying to scale.

Broken Top Club Golf Course Sunset

Discounted Golf

If there’s anything a golfer wants more than a perfect swing – it’s a good deal on green fees. Once the “shoulder season” begins here, many of our 30 golf courses drastically lower their rates – including Pronghorn, Crosswater and Tetherow3 of America’s Top 100 Public Courses according to Golf Digest. Even better is the fact that our amazing summer weather has created absolutely perfect golf course conditions that last well into the fall. Throw in easier-to-get-tee-times and autumn most definitely is the best time of year to hit the links in Central Oregon.

Sparks Lake hiking in a lava flow

Lonely Trails

Hiking is the No. 1 thing people like to do in Central Oregon and in the middle of the summer, many of our popular trails can feel more like a walk in mall (albeit a very scenic mall.) Once school is back in session, the trail use thins out and you can once again have the forest seemingly all to yourself. From our urban trails close to town to some of the high alpine trails that close down at the first real sign of winter, you’ll be able to experience nature a little more like you probably envisioned.

The same can be said for our 300+ miles of mountain bike singletrack. With our sunny summer months come dusty and relatively busy trails. When the temperatures start to dip a little, the dirt firms up, creating some of the most ideal mountain biking conditions anywhere.

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Pumpkin Patch-Palooza

There’s no shortage of ways to get into the seasonal spirit here thanks to several local pumpkin patches that open the first part of October.

Smith Rock Ranch is a Central Oregon favorite for celebrating the fall harvest season. Operating as a regular farm throughout the year, during the October the Ranch opens to the public each Saturday and Sunday so guests can enjoy fun activities that include Pumpkin Picking, Zoo Train Rides, Petting Zoo, Archery Shoot, Miniature Golf, Farmer’s Market, Pumpkin Cannon Shoot, plus live entertainment and great food booths. Visitors can also challenge themselves to make their way through the paths of The Amazing Maize, a 7 acre corn field complete with bridges and spectacular views.

Smith Rock Ranch is also available for private parties and school or group field trips.

Top 5 Family-Friendly Adventures in Central Oregon

Sunriver Resort Near Bend Oregon

There’s nothing quite like seeing your child’s face light up during a fun family activity – even if they’re laughing at you down on the ice after a spectacular, unintential and rather painful triple axel.

Ah, the family memories right?

Central Oregon has plenty of opportunities for you to reconnect with your kids while keeping them disconnected from their phones for at least a little while. Here’s some of your best bets for Kid-Friendly Fun in Central Oregon:

Ice skaters move around the public ice rink in Downtown Redmond at dusk.

Ice Skating

Everyone looks a little silly the first time they strap on a pair of ice skates. But it takes just a few timid shuffles along the ice to pick it up enough to have some fun. Enjoy the outdoor covered rinks at The Village at Sunriver and The Pavilion in Bend or the open air rinks at Seventh Mountain Resort and Centennial Park near downtown Redmond. All of the locations have rental skates and charge very nominal fees for use. If there’s snow falling, it might just be the most Normal Rockwell thing you do all winter long.

Mt. Bachelor tubing

Mt. Bachelor Snowblast Tubing Park

Sledding

Nothing elicits shrieks of pure joy like barreling down a snow-covered hill on a thin plastic sled. Throw in your older brother’s poorly designed ramp right where you reach maximum speed and let the fun begin! Wanoga Sno-Park is the go-to spot for sledding in the area. It’s on the road to Mt. Bachelor and features a large hill, warming hut and restroom. There’s even a food truck there serving hot beverages and offering rental sleds.

For a more “drag-racing-on-snow” experience, keep driving up to Mt. Bachelor and experience the Snowblast Tubing Park. You can pay for a two-hour window or all-day pass and let a motorized rope pull you and your innertube to the top of the 800-foot hill. The ride down is faster than you think, and an absolute blast. The Hoodoo Ski Area near Sisters has a tubing hill of its own. How fast is it? Well, it’s called “The Autobahn,” so make of that what you will.

Porcupine at a museum near Bend, Oregon

Indoor Fun

Sometimes the kids just can’t even with the snow and cold. And to be honest, you’d probably like some time to let the gear dry out. Luckily there’s a few places in Central Oregon for kids to have a blast inside. Maybe the best place for family fun indoors also happens to be a spot where you can mix in some hands-on education: The High Desert Museum. The museum features wild animals, interpretive history exhibits and much more. At Sunriver Resort, the kids will have a blast at Fort Funnigan, home to full or half-day camps with plenty of activities for the kids.

Looking to have the kids blow of a little steam? There’s no better place than Bend’s Bouncing off the Wall. The 11,000-square-foot facility is home to several GIGANTIC inflatable interactives and includes a large area for crafts, activities and other indoor play. They can literally bounce themselves to sleep with all the activity. (Seriously, I’ve actually seen a kid sleeping in one of the bouncy houses.)

bouncing off the wall 2

Sled Dog Rides

Ice skating, sledding…sure, you can do those things a lot of places. Sled dog riding? Now that’s another story – a super fun, unique story. Few places give you the chance to be pulled by a team of excited dogs, mushed by a past participant in the Iditarod. Oregon’s Trail of Dreams Sled Dog Rides at Mt. Bachelor is probably the most fun you can have on snow as you are whisked away into the woods.

dog sled_from J. Scdoris

Catch a Movie, Have a Soak

Sometimes you just want to catch a flick – even on a family vacation. You can find relatively new releases in a unique theater experience at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in downtown Bend. The McMenamins historic campus (dating back to 1936) includes a restaurant, four pubs, ornate Turkish soaking pool, music venue, hotel and theater. It’s one of those “must-sees” when you visit Central Oregon. Drop the kids off at one of the matinees and go have a soak just down the hall. Sounds like a perfect afternoon to me.

Soaking tub at McMenamins in Bend, Oregon

Photographer Shares Insights on Iconic Smith Rock Eclipse Image

Days of planning. Hours of climbing. One minute of perfection. How a small team of athletes and photographers pulled off the most iconic image of Eclipse 2017.

Courtesy Ted Hesser

Surely by now, you’ve seen it. And surely at first, you didn’t quite believe what you were seeing.

A rock climber on Monkey Face at Central Oregon’s iconic Smith Rock State Park silhouetted by the total solar eclipse. An unbelievable image combining a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event with the creativity, inspiration, athleticism, and determination of a small group of photographers and climbers.

One of those photographers was Ted Hesser, a freelancer from San Francisco. He was in Central Oregon for the eclipse as part of project with Columbia Sportswear and Goal Zero, a solar and portable power products business. According to Hesser, he and his crew scouted the location for several days trying to find just the right place to capture a climber in harmony with the sun.

“My girlfriend and I scouted for a few days ahead of time, climbing different rock routes, looking for the best angles,” Hesser told us. “We then spent a few days rigging up the wall and finding the perfect position for the shot down below.”

Getting a climber into the right position was no easy feat – even for experienced climbers.

“Monkey Face is a famous tower for rock climbers. For many years, it held the hardest rock climb in the U.S. and perhaps the world – a 5’14 sport climb, which is a level only dozens of people can climb even today,” Hesser said.  “The route that my girlfriend Martina Tibell and Tommy Smith climbed was much easier than this, but still involved an overhanging 100 ft section of aid climbing. Fairly advanced rope skills are required, and a lot of effort. One essentially does pull-ups to get up by pulling on quick draw placed into a bolt ladder. The rest of the route is straightforward for those who have mountaineering experience, but totally wild. ”

Hesser wasn’t alone in the project, joined by fellow photographers Andrew Studer and Michael Shainblum. Hesson told The Oregonian that the group started their efforts at 3:30 a.m. but weren’t allowed into the park until 5:30. Smith and Tibell started climbing around 7.

Climbers scale Monkey Face at Smith Rock

“Both Andrew and I had similar concepts in mind for the eclipse shot coming to Smith Rock. I have been a climber for 20 years, and so the idea of capturing someone on top of Monkey Face, which is an iconic tower for rock climbers, was really appealing to me,” he said.

As the moment of truth neared and the moon slowly began covering the sun, the group still wasn’t convinced they were going to get the money shot they hoped for.

But as darkness fell upon the path of totality, there was Smith – perfectly positioned in line with the moon and the sun.

“Tommy, it’s perfect, man. You’re in the pearly necklace of the eclipse,” Hesser radioed to his teammate above with the sounds of cheers echoing through the rocks. “It’s outrageous.”

Once Hesser posted his photo on social media, it quickly went viral. To date, the post has more than 60,000 likes on Instagram, 75,000 likes and nearly 96,000 shares on Facebook.

He gained tens of thousands of followers within hours. And as soon as the armchair critics started questioning the authenticity, Hesser, Studer and Shainblum were able to quickly douse the haters with videos documenting the planning and the moments the image was captured.

Days later, Visit Central Oregon’s apparel partner Columbia Sportswear, posted this short video documenting the event as well.

“Totally surprised by the reaction,” he said. “I was shooting the event for Goal Zero and mostly just wanted to do a good job by them, I had no idea this would go this big. I’ve tried to bask in the popularity but honestly ‘going viral’ is a rather stressful situation! There are a lot of real-time demands for one’s time/attention. Looking forward to things settling down a bit soon I imagine.”

Hesser’s Instagram feed is filled with breathtaking images from his adventures around the world. Yet, his most popular post involved something other-worldly.

And like many people who have described the eclipse as “life changing,” Hesser expects the experience to have a lasting effect on him too.

“I’ve never spent this much time planning and setting up for one shot. This experience has taught me how powerful that process can be,” he said. “I’m not sure what I will do with that insight yet, but it definitely makes me think that I can dig deeper and take more powerful images with proper planning and foresight.”

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.

Bend’s Oktoberfest Kicks Off Central Oregon Fall

oktoberfest 3

Experience a little Bavaria in Bend with the annual Oktoberfest celebration downtown September 15th & 16th.

It’s two days of beer, brats and probably more men than necessary wearing ill-fitting Lederhosen, but hey, it’s only once a year, right?

The event is a fundraiser for the Downtown Bend Business Association and one of the more popular festivals of the year. It’s like a mini beer fest with brews and ciders offered from Deschutes, Crux Fermentation Project, Sunriver Brewing Co., Three Creeks, Bend Brewing Co. and others. The event is free, but you have to buy a special Oktoberfest mug to try any of the 18 brews. Special edition ceramic steins are also for sale in addition to a VERY limited edition Silipint.

Along with the beer (have we mentioned the beer?) the festivities include a yodeling competition, live music and the hugely popular wiener dog races.

Bend Oktoberfest wiener dogs

You’ll also enjoy plenty of Oompah music while the kids play on the bouncy houses in the children’s play area; there’s a Hammerschlagen competition as part of the Oktoberfest games and a tricycle race that features some local professional cyclists.

oktoberfest 2

It all happens on Oregon Avenue in downtown Bend starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and noon on Saturday. Both days it runs until 10 p.m. (Please note: Friday night is 21+ only while on Saturday, minors are allowed until 5 p.m.)

For more information and a schedule of events, visit the Oktoberfest website!