Whether souvenir shopping is on the agenda during a trip to Central Oregon, or the holiday gift giving season is once again creeping up, there is no shortage of shopping here in the high desert. While it has become easier than ever to shop from behind a screen, there’s a special feeling that comes with shopping local—whether it’s for art, local specialty foods or experiences that showcase the best of Central Oregon.
Handmade Products in Central Oregon
There’s a little red building on the outskirts of Bend’s Old Mill District known as the “Little Red Shed” that is worth a visit during a future shopping trip to the area. It’s inside this cozy 20-foot by 20-foot workspace and showroom that Anna Amejko Peterson creates her nomadic woven artwork. For her company, Amejko Artistry, Peterson designs scenes of mountain and desert landscapes, as well as other patterns she’s inspired to make. The artist said she’s inspired by a lot of different global designs, and has a love of geometrics and elements of nature that show up in her designs.
Down the road in Redmond, jeweler Erica Porch handcrafts jewelry inspired by the landscapes of Central Oregon and beyond for business, Derive Jewelry. She creates necklaces with mountain and forest scenes and pieces inspired by the moon and wildflowers. “I’m using inspiration that I derive from the earth,” said Porch, who describes her jewelry as both a souvenir and a travel companion. In addition to selling jewelry on her website, Porch regularly has booths at Central Oregon farmers markets and has displays in local stores. Watch this Central Oregon Makers video to learn more about Derive Jewelry.
With a little digging, shoppers can uncover more Central Oregon companies that take inspiration from the region’s landscapes and spirit to create artwork and handmade products. Other locally made products can be found at The Workhouse in Bend or the Made in La Pine store.
To try making something with your own two hands, make a visit to The Art Corral in Prineville for a paint night or a class on the pottery wheel. Leave with a gift for yourself or someone else that was made with care in Central Oregon.
Central Oregon Specialty Foods
Looking for a way to spice up typical gift giving? Browsing through products from Sakari Farms in Tumalo just might do the trick. With everything from spices such as basil and thyme to hot sauces, salts and teas, these flavor-packed specialty foods are a great way to liven up a meal.
Sakari Farms owner and indigenous agriculturist Upingakraq “Spring” Alaska Schreiner first started a seed exchange more than a decade ago. In 2018, she and husband Sam Schreiner bought land to begin their own six-acre farm in Tumalo, where they run a tribal seed bank, offer on-farm classes and grow tribal peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, herbs and one-of-a-kind native flowers.
To get a taste of Sakari Farms traditional tribal foods and specialty food items from partnering producers, try the Fall/Winter First Foods Box, featuring Sakari Farms tea and hot sauce along with products including wild rice, coffee and jelly from other Native American-owned companies.
Central Oregon’s specialty food offerings are broad, and range from sauces and honeys to sweets and jellies. Dry Canyon Salt Company in Redmond offers a selection of wine salts, which are hand-crafted, small batch salts infused with wine. Also made in small batches in Redmond, Justy’s Jelly offers sweet, spicy, savory and even boozy jellies. Bend-based Holm Made Toffee offers its signature toffee, along with roasted hazelnuts and other seasonal food favorites that have become staple treats during the holiday season in Central Oregon. In Madras, Casad Family Farms ships out boxes of their regeneratively grazed beef and pastured heritage pork, perfect for a family gathering or any occasion. Foods grown and produced here in Central Oregon make excellent gifts for foodies, but also can offer anyone a tasty reminder of a trip here, or entice others to visit and experience more of the region’s local food scene.
Experiences to Try or Gift in Central Oregon
Whether it’s for a giftee that seems to have everything, or for those who value experiences, gifting tickets, a tour, a gift card or another type of experience in Central Oregon may be the perfect fit.
For a night on the town in Bend, browse the schedule and pick up tickets for a show at the Tower Theatre. Affectionately referred to as “Bend’s Living Room”, the Tower Theatre offers film screenings, live music, comedy shows and theater events throughout the year. Gift cards or tickets to a Tower show can make an excellent stocking stuffer, said Ray Solley, executive director. “Connecting with family and friends through music, dance and comedy makes the best memories,” Solley said.
For winter enthusiasts, book an unique experience with Oregon Trail of Dreams, owned and operated by Iditarod finisher Rachael Scdoris. Choose from a standard sled dog ride (about an hour experience) or opt for the 26-mile round trip sled dog ride for two to Elk Lake (includes a delicious lunch). Trips begin at Mt Bachelor. The Hoodoo Anycard offers skiers and snowboarders five days of access to Hoodoo, northwest of Sisters on Santiam Pass.
For creatives, give the gift of a class at Bend’s DIY Cave, which offers workshops focused on leatherwork, jewelry making, blacksmithing, home brewing and more.
For foodies, set up a private cooking lesson with Ingredient Studio, the Bend-based duo of Marité Acosta and Candy Argondizza, two accomplished chefs who moved from New York City to Central Oregon. Central Oregon’s High Desert Food Trail offers dozens more options for food-centered experiences in the region, with suggested stops at farms and ranches, eateries, farmers markets and lodging ideas.
Give a wine tasting experience with a gift card to Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards, which regularly hosts concerts, and other events at its family-friendly vineyard in Terrebonne.
For more experience-based gifts, Visit Central Oregon has a selection of curated experiences to try, with options such as a visit to the Bend Rock Gym or a scenic hot air balloon flight. Explore more experience ideas to gift here.
Whether it’s an experience, a handmade gift that reminds us of Central Oregon, or the perfect ingredient to put the taste of the region into a meal, there are more than a few ways to approach gift-giving with a Central Oregon spin.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Hot Springs in Central Oregon Near Bend and Beyond
Oregon is known for being an outdoor paradise; where else can travelers discover misty forests, snowy mountain peaks and vast desert expanses in one day? From the Cascade Mountains to the Painted Hills, volcanic activity has helped shape the many different landscapes of Oregon. Along with mountains and valleys, Oregon’s volcanic past helped create a host of hot springs scattered across the state. These hot springs are natural, hot pools of water—natural hot tubs. Some are more developed and have lodging nearby, while others feel completely remote and undiscovered. So whether it’s a soak under the stars in the high desert or a steamy pool in the forest, there’s a hot spring calling.
Ice Skating Rinks You Have to Try in Bend and Sunriver
Bend and Sunriver are two excellent winter destinations. The offering of winter activities in Central Oregon are immense. Snow typically falls fast and heavy and visitors get to experience a winter wonderland filled with snow capped Ponderosa pines and fresh powder. In such a winter wonderland, it makes sense that Bend and Sunriver would have a selection of ice skating spots. Whether guests choose to twirl on the ice, casually glide or just kick back with a hot cocoa while the kids play, a trip to the ice skating rink can help cap off any Central Oregon winter getaway.
Finding the Best Lunch Spots in Bend, Oregon
As Bend grows, so do the tasty options for a great lunch at a great price. With so many restaurants new and established to choose from, the only question is where to begin. Lucky for you, we’ve made finding the best lunch in Bend a breeze.
The Ultimate Guide to Pumpkin Patches in Terrebonne, Oregon
Nothing signals the coming of fall quite like spending the day at a pumpkin patch. It’s tough to not feel the cozy spirit of the season when you’re solving a festive corn maze while bundled up and sipping a hot apple cider. Pumpkin patches in Central Oregon benefit from our desert climate and still get plenty of sunshine, even in late October. While smaller family farms all around the region will sometimes host fall events, the two most popular pumpkin patches both reside in Terrebonne: the Smith Rock Pumpkin Patch and the DD Ranch Pumpkin Patch.
Notable Chefs at the Best Restaurants in and around Bend, Oregon
A little known fact that visitors are picking up on, Bend is a foodie paradise. There’s something about our creative, non-traditional attitude and emphasis on local ingredients that just makes great food. Luckily for visitors and locals alike, there are several chefs running Bend kitchens that constantly push boundaries, experiment, and create delicious and innovative dishes across a diverse array of cuisines.
Top 5 Tours to Take in Bend, Oregon
Bend is a nature-lover’s paradise blended with a hop-head’s dream; nowhere else will you find this much craft beer and this many outdoor activities. The city’s been growing quickly, reaching 100,000 residents in 2020, and with the growth comes plentiful opportunities for adventure. From walking the very halls that brew your favorite beer to any number of adrenaline-inducing sports, we have you covered for the five best types of guided tours in Bend, Oregon.
How to Beat the High Desert Heat
During the dog days of summer, one of your best options to beat the heat is to head up to the high lakes and splash around. But when you’re on vacation with the family sometimes all you want to do is go and relax at the pool. Luckily, Central Oregon has a handful of great places to soak up the sun in between cooling off in the water.
Outward Bound in the City: Central Oregon’s 5 Best Urban Hikes
Hiking in Central Oregon can take you deep into the wilderness, far away from worry and stress. But sometimes all you need is a quick break from reality…just a half hour or so outside in nature, on a trail, alone with your thoughts (or with your dog, husband and two kids.) There are hundreds of hikes and trails available in and around Bend, Oregon and Sunriver, Oregon. These “Urban Hikes” are the perfect remedy to slow down our all-too-busy lives.
Central Oregon Hiking Trails
Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.
Panacea at the Canyon: Central Oregon’s Luxury, Off-the-Grid Retreat
Central Oregon has no shortages of places to unwind. From the banks of a high-alpine lake to a trail alongside the Deschutes River, you don’t have to go very far from your hotel room to find an escape from the real world.