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.

At Panacea at the Canyon near Terrebonne, your lodging is the escape; your tent an off-the-grid oasis that truly allows you to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. Not only is the compound signal free, but you’re asked to leave your phones behind at check-in.

Relaxation, romance and adventure abound in a holistic natural spa setting where raw nature meets civilized luxury.

The 40-acre resort features 7 luxury tents complete with plush beds and linens, a private deck with chairs, gas fireplace, local and organic bath products to use in your private, on-suite open-air bathroom.

There’s a spa on site, as well as a relaxing pool that overlooks the property and the rugged scenery nearby.

Several dining options are available. You can bring food and cook your own meals in the upscale outdoor kitchen (including a brick-oven) or in the traditional kitchen inside. There’s a large fridge and freezer available as well. Saturday night is pizza night at the resort featuring a chef preparing made-to-order brick oven pizzas. You can even arrange to have meals brought to your tent (for an additional charge.)

Spend the weekend sitting on the deck or at the pool, or get out and explore what Central Oregon has to offer. Panacea coordinates an array of workshops and activities including hot air balloon rides, rock climbing, archery, horseshoes, yoga, birding and more.

Bend Area Breweries: Where to Go and What to Get

It used to be our little secret: That along with the countless recreational opportunities in Bend and Central Oregon, there was a burgeoning craft beer scene. That trying to decide which brewpub to hit after a day skiing at Mt. Bachelor was a two chairlift ride discussion. There were options. And lots of good beer.

Then word got out. Publication after publication when writing about the amazing skiing started including lines about Deschutes Brewery or Bend Brewing Co. Then beer publications sent dutiful writers here to see what all the fuss was about. Then travel magazines and newspapers dedicated entire stories to Oregon’s true “Beervana.” (Sorry Portland.)

It’s not a secret anymore.

Patio seating at 10 Barrel Brewing Company located in Bend, Oregon.

But that’s ok. Because the increasing popularity of craft beer meant more and more breweries and brewpubs in our little slice of Heaven.

Today, there’s nearly 30 breweries making beer here – from Prineville to Sisters, Redmond to Sunriver. They’re all different, but in some ways connected. A brewer who learned the craft at one place is now the head brewer at another. A line cook at one pub is now, after years of developing his own palate, the head chef across town.

Everyone here has a favorite, but we tend to visit them all. If you have a chance, you should too – grab a Bend Ale Trail passport and set out on your journey. But if you have to choose, here’s a pretty good start of where to go and what to have. But please – just please – do NOT walk into these places and order a Bud Light. The locals will mock you and most of them don’t even carry it. Cheers!

Deschutes Brewery – Bend

This is the brewery that started it all for Central Oregon in 1988. Today, you can find Deschutes beers in more than 25 states and across the world. The pub downtown is one of the most popular spots in town every night of the year. Like the brewery, the pub itself has nearly doubled in size in recent years, meaning there’s usually a shorter wait for a table. But don’t let the wait deter you. Just head into the bar, choose one of the dozen or so beers currently on tap (Local tip: Bachelor Bitter on Cask is a must-have if you can only have one beer.) Mirror Pond is one of the flagship brews and I’ve heard some locals use Black Butte Porter to brush their teeth – it’s that good.  The food blurs the line between pub grub and fine dining. The beef used in their burgers comes from cows fed spent grain from the brewing process, making them some of the tastiest burgers anywhere.

Worthy Brewing – Brend

One of the newest breweries to the game, Worthy has quickly garnered a name for itself as one of the most popular (thanks, in no small part, to the amazing Hopservatory.) It’s expansive east Bend location off Highway 20 (Greenwood Ave.) sets it apart from the others, as do the variety of beers. The Easy Day Kolsch might be the official beer of floating the Deschutes River in the summer. Food wise, you’ll find mac and cheese at just about every pub in town – but few can match Worthy’s gouda and Sriracha creation.

Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. in Bend
Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. in Bend

Cascade Lakes Brewery – Bend

Born in Redmond, Cascade Lakes is one of Central Oregon’s Old Guard of breweries. The popular bend Lodge is on the road from Mt. Bachelor and a locals go-to apres ski spot before heading into downtown. Perennial brews there include the easy drinking Blonde Bombshell and the nutty 20″ Brown. On the menu, how about some wild boar and kobe beef meatloaf or their classic Cascade Turkey Melt?

10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Two locations in Bend

With its huge outdoor patio and fire pit on Galveston Avenue, 10 Barrel‘s original West Side pub is a perfect spot to grab a beer al fresco. Its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years with solid brews like Sinister Black and OG Wheat IPA and the simple-yet-perfectly-named canned creation “Pub Beer.” Maybe the only thing better than the beer is the food. The pizzas are Top 5 in Central Oregon hands down. Too long a wait at the West Side spot? Head over to the brewery’s new, larger East Side location.

sunriver brewery in bend
Sunriver Brewery, Galveston Pub

Sunriver Brewing Co. – Bend and Sunriver

Initially started just south of Bend in the resort community from which it took the name, Sunriver Brewery‘s flagship pub is worth the drive from Bend and worth going to every day if you’re staying in Sunriver or Sunriver Resort. The Fuzztail Hefe is a nice introduction to Central Oregon craft beer while the Vicious Mosquito IPA packs a little more of a punch. Parents, bring the kids because the brewery has a large and fun play area with a huge chalkboard and lots of toys. Don’t want to make the drive to Sunriver? A new Sunriver Brewery Galveston Pub opened in Bend in Spring 2016.

Bend Brewing Co. – Bend

Known as “The BBC” by the locals since it opened 20 years ago, Bend Brewing Co. is the Central Oregon version of your local watering hole. Small and narrow, the pub is located in downtown Bend and has great views of Mirror Pond from the patio. Ask for a High Desert Hefe or a Big Eddy Bitter and you can’t go wrong. Food wise, the fish and chips are among the best in the region and the wings might actually be tops in Central Oregon.

Three Creeks Brewing Co. – Sisters

Three Creeks is in Sisters on the campus of the FivePine Lodge. Home to local favorites Stonefly Rye and Knotty Blonde, Three Creeks might have the best menu of the bunch with dishes like the Knotty Schnitzel and the Chicken Bacon Tater pita taco thing that I can attest Will. Fill. You. Up.

Wild Ride Brewing. – Redmond

Wild Ride Brewing is a production brewery and Tap Room located in the heart of downtown Redmond. Food options are available from the food cart community located in the parking lot just off our patio outside of the family-friendly Tap Room, which offers indoor and outdoor seating. Try the 3 Sisters American Red Ale. This beautiful beer has a sunset red appearance and can be both bitter and sweet, as the select hops represent the northwest in every way possible.

Crux Fermentation Project – Bend

Situated smack dab in the middle of Bend, Crux is the go-to spot for sunset brews thanks, in part, to its Sundowner Hour special: Discounted beer and food a half hour before and after the sun goes down over the Cascades – for which you will have the best view around. Co-founded by one of the brewers who helped launch Deschutes, Crux’s favorites include On the Fence Northwest Pale Ale and Outcast IPA. Food wise, the pub gets super creative with a panini machine, soups and salads. On Mondays the kitchen is closed, but you can grab some amazing tacos or brats from the food carts outside. When it’s nice, play some cornhole or other lawn games on the giant field next to the pub.

Craft Kitchen & Brew

Craft is where you go to get tasty beer with a side of southern BBQ. Located in an up-and-coming area in Northeast Bend, Craft’s food menu is the stuff of comfort food dreams. Try the fried chicken sandwich with a side of house mac-n-cheese. Top it off with the Old Mill Lager, a nod to our former mill town roots and the brewery’s first location. It’s a light-bodied American Lager with a slightly sweet finish and refreshingly clean palate.

McMenamins Old St. Francis School – Bend

You’ll find McMenamins all over the Pacific Northwest. The family restores old hotels/schools/insane asylums and turns them into new pubs/theaters/hotels. Bend’s St. Francis School was just that – a Catholic school in the heart of downtown. Today it’s a campus of three pubs, a movie theater, Turkish soaking pool, rental homes and classrooms-turned-hotel rooms. Beer wise, Hammerhead Stout and the fruity Ruby are the go-tos for locals and visitors alike. And you can’t go wrong asking for a “Rubinator” – a Terminator Stout/Ruby mix like a black and tan. As for the menu, some have said McMenamin’s Captain Neon burger and famous Cajun tots would be part of their last meal.

Silver Moon Brewing – Bend

A recent Silver Moon radio commercial ends with the tag line “Same Great Beers, Same $#%-tty Location.” They’re right about both. But the cool outdoor patio and beers at Silver Moon are worth google mapping the pub, especially the Voodoo Dog ISR and Snake Bite Porter. It’s also one of the prime spots for live music in Bend. On the menu, spice things up with the jalapeno slaw on the slow roasted pulled pork or make a meal out of the Crater Nachos with ground beef.

Immersion Brewing – Bend

Immersion is Bend’s first and only “brew-it-yourself” pub and craft brewery. You can go there and create your own brew – wait three weeks and come back for five gallons of your personal creation (or they can ship it to you in Oregon.) Or, you can just pop in for some of their fantastic beers and grub. Featured dishes include Poke Marinated Ahi, Short Rib with edamame avocado succotash, and an antibiotic-free Duroc pork Porterhouse with spent beer grain spätzle and brussels sprouts, the restaurant is as central to the brewery experience as the beer.

Drink a brew from our 10-barrel brewing system. Try a Big Chilla, a Belgian-style NW Pale Ale; Little Fawn, a Saison; Bender, a Belgian-style NW IPA; or an IRA (Immersion Red Ale), a red ale. Choose from a craft cocktail menu and a selection of wines.

Grab a Pint & Catch a Game Central Oregon Style

Yes, Central Oregon is known as an outdoor adventure paradise where hiking, mountain biking and skiing are a way of life and the reason many people visit. But sometimes your team’s got a big game. And all you really want to do – even on your vacation – is find a great spot to watch it with a few more diehard fans.

Don’t worry. There are several great gameday locations – more than simple “sports bars” –  to belly up to the bar, grab a local beer, some great food and do nothing but watch football, playoff baseball, soccer the NBA and veg out while probably eating meat.

Bend’s truest sports bar is Sidelines, in the heart of downtown. This is THE local’s place to go to catch games all day every day. They have a million TVs and tons of beers. And there’s a pretty darn good breakfast for those early East Coast Saturday games and the 10 a.m. NFL starts on Sunday. (Remember, you’re on the West Coast.)

McMenamins Old St. Francis School, Bend
McMenamins Old St. Francis School

For really big games (and most Duck/Beaver games) you’ll want to head to McMenamins Old St. Francis School in downtown Bend. The theater screen becomes a really Big Screen TV for the games with plenty of couch seating available along with great food and beer. The famous cajun tots are a must. It’s the next best thing to watching it at home except you can’t flip the channels between plays (but you do have someone waiting on you!)

Currents Restaurant
Currents/Riverhouse on the Deschutes

If you’re after a diverse beer selection to go with your game, the newly-redesigned Currents Restaurant at Riverhouse on the Deschutes is the perfect place to spend a couple hours. The bar features rotating brews from just about every Central Oregon brewery, giving you a chance to essentially do the Ale Trail without leaving your seat. It’s your Seattle Seahawks gameday headquarters with some great food and drink deals as well.

Immersion Brewing offers discounted beers and a great all-day happy hour menu on gamedays – and if you have a big group and want to do something different while watching the game, you can brew your own beer!

In Downtown Bend, the Beach Hut Deli might be the best place to watch a game that nobody’s heard of yet. Several big screen TVs are always showing games – and some of the booths have their own TVs! You can find TONS of sandwich options, gameday specials, a spacious patio, fire pit an amazing beer tap lineup.


If your team stinks but you just can’t miss the game anyway, you might need some awesome views to take your mind off the outcome. The Row, a pub at Tetherow Resort, has a couple of big screens in addition to amazing scenery out the huge windows overlooking the golf course. (A golf course ranked No. 63 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Public Courses.)

The Row at Tetherow Resort

Just about all of the brewpubs are good places to catch a game, especially Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. and Bend Brewing Co. The brewhaus at Sunriver Brewing Co. (both at the Sunriver and Bend locations) is another great option. And get this, there’s a children’s play area at the Sunriver pub.

COVA (21 of 26)
Photo by Talia Galvin

And one of my favorite spots is kind of underrated when it comes to cool sports-watching venues: Deschutes Brewery in Downtown Bend. There’s a big screen TV on both corners of the bar (just beyond the edges of that photo above) and a few more scattered around the restaurant. And, of course, the beer and the food are as good as it gets.

Mt. Bachelor Winter Pass Deals Offer Affordable Skiing Through May!

Mt. Bachelor’s annual winter pass sale means you can buy discounted passes through September – passes you can use throughout the ski area’s roughly SIX-MONTH season.

How does 360-degrees of dry, Pacific Northwest powder sound? With more than 100 runs and 4,200 skiable acres, Mt. Bachelor is the 6th largest ski area in the U.S. It’s a unique resort – located on a volcano in the Deschutes National Forest.

Mt. Bachelor typically is open by Thanksgiving and the season runs through Memorial Day weekend and bluebird days are the norm, not the exception. You’ll find more than 100 runs covering more than 4,000 acres, but without the commercial buildup on the mountain – there are no hotels or lodging at the ski area – it offers the kind of laid-back vibe that harkens back to the old-school ski area days.

This year the mountain will be celebrating its 60th birthday with fun events and activities throughout the season.

Winter Pass Sale Prices:

Full Pass: $959
Mid-week: $659
12-day: $609
4-day: $249

These prices are only valid through September 30th. After that, they increase slightly but are still a bargain compared to the daily lift ticket prices at some resorts in Colorado and Utah.

Central Oregon is the perfect place not just for a ski trip, but for a full-fledged family winter vacation. Non-skiers can take free guided snowshoe tours at Mt. Bachelor, venture deep into the woods on a sled dog ride or rush down the mountain on an innertube. You can enjoy some ice skating at several rinks throughout the region, including the new Pavilion in the heart of Bend or rent a snowmobile for some high-speed fun.

You can go mountain biking, hiking and even golfing at one of our courses open year-round.

You’ll find affordable, family-friendly lodging at one of our destination resorts. Sunriver, Pronghorn, Black Butte Ranch and Tetherow. They all offer something a little different but provide families plenty of dining and recreational options including sleigh rides, Nordic skiing and sledding.

sled dog rides
Sled dog rides with Oregon Trail of Dreams




Sisters Folk Festival Returns

sisters folk festival
Black Lillies at Melvin’s. Rob Kerr / SFF


The Sisters Folk Festival is back for 2018, after a wild one-year hiatus due to wildfire smoke that choked the region last summer.

The 23rd annual festival happens Sept. 7-9 and features more than 40 acts on 11 stages throughout the small town, providing a much-needed folk fix for visitors and residents alike. More than 4,000 fans are expected at the festival, providing a vibrant atmosphere throughout the town.

“The best part about the entire experience is the vibe in Sisters that weekend,” said Ann Richardson, the festival’s director. “People cruise from venue to venue walking, on their bikes, or on our shuttle; blissed out from the amazing music and sense of community the experience in Sisters.”

If you’ve never visited Sisters, be prepared to take a step back in time to the days of no stop-light towns and western storefronts. The tiny village of just about 2,000 people is chock full of mom-and-pop stores selling souvenirs and great food. Come June it’s the rodeo capital of the world; in July it’s home to the largest outdoor quilt show in the world.

But in September, it’s all about the music.

Eric Bibb performing at the Five Pines venue, Saturday session of the Sisters Folk Festival.

The venues range from the lawn at FivePine Lodge to the Belfry (a converted church) to Village Green Park and the Depot Cafe.

Richardson said there are some great options for everyone – including those who don’t want to buy a ticket. Free music is available on the Fir Street Park stage or the Sisters Coffee Company stage. Or, she said, visitors can hang out in the Village Green and hear great music all weekend long.

Sunday morning’s free show features the best of the best of the festival.

Artists love coming to the festival because its known for having a “listening-oriented” audience, Richardson said, and patrons love coming because everyone is so into the music.

The 2018 lineup is headlined by Justin Townes Earle, Dar Williams and Robbie Fulks.

Beyond the music, the Village Green Park will be filled with local vendors and artists selling jewelry, artwork, pottery and more. And those looking to step away from the music for a bit can take a mountain bike ride on the Pederson Ridge trail system or venture into Bend for some hiking and whitewater rafting.

Tickets are still available and a full schedule of artists will be available mid-August. Richardson says it’s a great idea to plan your festival experience in advance.


Deschutes County Fair: Food, Family Fun & Farm Animals Galore

Every summer for the last 90+ years, folks have flocked to Redmond, Oregon for five days of food, family-friendly fun, farm animals and great music at the Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo.

The 2018 Fair and Rodeo runs August 1-5 at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center near the airport and Juniper Golf Course. The fair features a full rodeo each day, a massive midway with tons of rides and games, plenty of food vendors and nightly concerts.

It’s been touted as America’s Greatest County Fair – and who are we to argue?

The concert line-up for this year is pretty amazing and includes:

America – August 1st
Big & Rich Featuring Cowboy Troy – August 2nd
Grand Funk Railroad – August 3rd
Gary Allan – August 4th

Concerts are FREE with a concert pass and paid gate admission!
Concerts are in the First Interstate Bank Center
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Shows start at 7:00 p.m.

To obtain your FREE concert pass, listen to KSJJ 102.9 and KQAK 105.7 from now through June 30th.
The Bulletin and GO! Magazine will be giving away FREE concert passes from now through June 30th! Follow these publications to find out how and where to pick up your FREE passes.

Starting Wednesday, July 4th all Central Oregon McDonald’s Restaurant’s will be giving away concert passes from 2pm –7pm each Wednesday while supplies last. No purchase is necessary. Walk in only, no drive through.

2018 Daily Admission Prices:

  • Adults (13+) $12/day
  • Children (6-12) $7/day
  • Children (5 yrs & under) FREE
  • Seniors (62 and over) $7/day
  • SUNDAY – $6 admission for EVERYONE!

Fair Hours

  • Wednesday and Thursday: 10:00AM – 10:00PM
  • Friday and Saturday: 10:00AM – 11:00PM
  • Sunday: 10:00AM – 5:00PM

If you’re looking for a place to stay for your fair experience, here’s a full listing of our lodging partners in Redmond and nearby in Bend.

Summer Season Arrives at Mt. Bachelor (Video)

The summer recreation season is officially upon us and Mt. Bachelor has kicked off yet another year of mountain biking, hiking, sunset dinners and more. The ski area’s summer activity menu includes chairlift rides, weekend sunset dinners and Gravity Sports summer camps for kids and teens. The scenic lift rides are $20 for those age 13-64, $17 for seniors (65 & up) and $14 for youth 12 and under.

Once you reach the top, you can have lunch, grab a snack or a beer on the deck at Pine Marten Lodge. You can hit the trails and hike around the mountain – even experience some SNOW on the year-round snowfields. Or, bring your discs for a round of disc golf.

Summer Sightseeing on Mt. Bachelor

The much anticipated downhill mountain bike park runs daily from June 16, 2018 through the close of the 2018 biking season (typically late September or early October). Bike park lift tickets will cost $42 for a full day pass for adults and $34 for those 12 and under.

The lift-served bike park had been in the works for years as Mt. Bachelor looked to make the ski area a true four-season destination for adventure seekers. The lifts give mountain bikers access to 13 miles of downhill trails starting at the top of the Pine Marten lift.

The Sunshine Bike Park provides access to a great progression of trails and is the perfect place for new bike park riders to build confidence and get quick laps. If you have your own mountain bike it is probably perfect for the Sunshine trails. The young ones in the family will especially love the Sunshine Park, doing lap after lap on Friday evening while the adults in the family kick back and relax on the West Village Deck.

Access to the Sunshine Park is $19.

Before you go:

The following items are required in order to ride a bike in Mt. Bachelor’s Downhill Bike Park:

  • Chairlift ticket
  • Helmet
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • A bike with functioning front and rear brakes

The following items are strongly recommended when riding in Mt. Bachelor’s Downhill Bike Park:

  • A bike with full suspension (at least 5″ of travel)
  • A bike with disc brakes
  • Full-face helmet
  • Armor/padding and gloves

bachelor mtb park 2

Central Oregon mountain biking offers a very wide range of terrain for riders of all skill levels, but the current downhill park is designed for advanced or expert riders right now. That will all change in the coming years when more terrain is added. In fact, new cross country trails are being built ahead of the 2015 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships.

Visit the Mt. Bachelor website for all the details.

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: Pull Off For a Central Oregon Adventure

 Sparks Lake on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in Central Oregon

Distance from Bend

Dillon Falls – 11 Miles
Wanoga Sno-Park- 15 Miles
Mt. Bachelor – 22 Miles
Sparks Lake – 25 Miles
Elk Lake Resort – 32 Miles
Lava Lake – 39 Miles
Crane Prairie Reservoir – 42 Miles

The Cascade Lakes Scenic byway is one of the prettiest drives in the U.S. (hence the “scenic” designation.) But it might be the most recreationally rich road you’ll ever drive too. From Bend southwest to the Highway 58 junction, the Oregon Route 372 cuts through 66 miles unique volcanic formations and geological beauty that offers everything that makes Central Oregon an outdoor lover’s paradise. Bring a camera along with a canoe, kayak, road bike, mountain bike, fishing gear, hiking shoes, skis, snowshoes, snowboards and camping equipment. This is a road you’ll want to pull off for adventure along the way. The byway starts out as Century Drive in Bend, and even before you leave the city limits, you’ll find trailheads just off the road. From small, dirt parking areas, you can explore hundreds of miles of Central Oregon mountain bike trails that are gaining traction as some of the best in the country.

Mountain Biking in Bend, Oregon
courtesy Cog Wild

A little further up the road you can hang a left and drive about five miles to the trailhead for Benham Falls, Dillon Falls and Lava Island along the Deschutes River trail. Continue up the byway and you’ll find winter sno-parks turned summer playgrounds. The Wanoga Sno-park is becoming a popular parking area for mountain bikers thanks to a growing trail system on that side of the byway that includes such routes as “Tiddlywinks” and “Funner.” There’s a kids BMX pump track there as well.

Mt. Bachelor

Get your camera ready as you head farther up the road and round a corner where you’re greeted with a majestic view of Mt. Bachelor. The largest ski area in the Pacific Northwest is now a true four-season resort with the addition of a downhill mountain bike park to a summer slate already filled with lift-served hiking, disc golf and sunset dinners at the mid-mountain lodge that takes sightseers up to 7,700 feet. The views of the Cascades from there are brilliant.

Summer Sightseeing on Mt. Bachelor
Summer chairlift ride at Mt. Bachelor

Across the street from the Bachelor parking lot, Dutchman Flat Sno-Park. Several great Central Oregon hikes originate here, including a short, but somewhat steep climb up Tumalo Mountain. You’ll gain about 1,200 feet of elevation in just 1.8 miles up, and the views at the top are well worth it.  The 3.6 mile round trip hike is a good one for kids as well. (Be wary of lingering snow well into the early summer months and come winter, this is a popular snowshoe trail.) One of the more popular mountain bike rides – a 25 miler dubbed “Bachelor to Bend” that features a lot of ridiculously fun downhill sections suitable for even novice riders also starts at this trailhead. (You can also do a fun loop and arrive back in the parking lot to continue on your merry (by)way.)

SUP at Sparks Lake - Central Oregon
Sparks Lake

Up next, about 28 miles from Bend is the turnoff for Sparks Lake, the first of the high alpine lakes along the byway and a hugely popular spot for non-motorized water sports, especially stand up paddling. (Even Outside Magazine says so.) It’s a Central Oregon postcard in itself, sitting in the shadows of Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top and the 10,358-foot South Sister. The Green Lakes Trail parking area is across the byway from Sparks Lake. This popular trail can be done by itself or you can use it to access the lengthy trail that summits South Sister. Hiking, fishing and secluded, walk-in camping awaits at nearby Todd and Devil’s Lake as well.

South Sister-hiker beneath
A hiker contemplates South Sister.

As the road snakes behind the ski area another resort appears. Elk Lake Resort is the perfect spot to bask in the summer sun on a rented sailboat, canoe or kayak. Grab a meal at the restaurant inside or snag one of the campsites and do some cooking of your own. Cultus Lake and Wickiup Reservoir are a bit further down the road and both are great places to fish and watch for wildlife, including Bald Eagles and owls.

Elk Lake sailboats in Central Oregon
Elk Lake Resort

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Brings Fabric Artists to Central Oregon

Blankets keep you warm.

Quilts tell a story.

So imagine all the tales to be told at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on the second Saturday of July, when the streets of this small Central Oregon town are blanketed (pun intended) with the creative tapestries woven by thousands of quilters from around the world.

For quilters, every stitch has a purpose. Each quilt has meaning.

I know this because my mother is a quilter and her mom was a quilter too. I have several of her hand-sewn creations, including my personal favorite “Star T” quilt that features my name, “Ted” discreetly sewn throughout. Each of my children has their own quilt from grandma (as do a couple of their dolls.) And the “wedding quilt” is one of our most prized possessions. Some of my grandma’s quilts have seen better days – a little frayed around the edges thanks to 40+ years of use. But they’re no worse for wear, serving as the perfect picnic blanket, dog bed, and beach towel when called upon.

Some quilters would be offended if their creations weren’t heavily used. Others look at the quilts like paintings, and are more likely to be hung on a wall than be found on a bed.

According to the Quilt Show organizers, more than 10,000 visitors from all 50 states and 27 foreign countries attend the show each year. It’s a bucket list event for true quilters and paradise for those who appreciate the woven arts. (What’s more, a stop at the Stitchin’ Post fabric store is a must-do for quilters looking for new designs, inspiration and some pointers from local experts.)

It’s a hands-on event for sure with master quilt makers teaching classes and leading workshops all week long. According to the quilt show folks, hundreds more are displayed in “show-and-tell exhibits” for first-time quilters, youth quilters and – get this – quilts made by men! The quilters range in age from 10 to 92.

Many of the quilters will be on hand near their displays to talk to you about their work. Be sure to seek them out and learn the story behind the stitch.



Hooked on a Feeling: First Central Oregon Fly Fishing Trip a Success

Under blue skies scattered with beauty clouds, we hopped into a 21-foot fishing boat on the banks of Lava Lake.

Cruising slowly to avoid a wake, we passed a few other Tuesday morning anglers who waved at us as if to say “have fun, but don’t take our fish.”

We found our spot on the far edge of the lake, let loose the anchors and got to work.

Fred, our guide from The Hook Fly Shop, handed me a fly rod, gave me a couple of quick pointers and I cast my first line – my first line ever – into the glass-like water.

Less than a minute later, I reeled in a pretty little rainbow trout.

They kept biting, we kept reeling them in. All told, some 33 fish found their way onto our hooks over the course of a couple of hours. Everything from “pizza toppings” to a few 17-inchers. (A few of the “big ones” taunted us, jumping from the water near the boat as a reminder they were still out there…happy to remain the ones who got away.)

“It can’t be this easy,” I thought. But in Central Oregon, it is.

You see, here, fishing is actually fishing. A sport. An activity. Don’t take your eyes off the indicator for a second or you might just miss the next bite. The BIG one.

For a rookie like me, going with a guide was a perfect introduction to the sport.

They’ll get you to the lake. They’ll get you on the boat. They’ll put the rod in your hands and show you exactly how to throw a cast. And they’ll even pull in the fish and take it off the hook. In between catches, they’ll entertain with fishing stories and Central Oregon history.

All you have to do is pose for the photo with your fish and act like you knew what you were doing. Because by the end, you totally will. And just like all the fish, you’ll be hooked.

As we headed back to the shore, we waved again to the anglers we passed before.

“Sorry, we took all your fish.”