A picture is worth a thousand words. But the new hand-painted mural outside Bend’s Newport Avenue Market will be worth a million smiles.
“The Bend Wall” is the work of local artist Kim Smallenberg, a project she started painting in May.
And it was no small task considering her canvas was 100 feet wide and 20 feet tall.
Newport Market CEO Lauren Johnson said they gave Smallenberg an overview of their vision for the project, but gave her free reign to work her magic and capture the spirit of Bend.
“We wanted to bring a little joy to our corner of the world, and to give people a reason to smile,” Johnson said. “We gave her a broad canvas, literally and figuratively, to use her talents to help us celebrate all the things we love about Bend.”
The artwork includes several of the 30 breweries in town, Pilot Butte, some of our parks, our beloved ski area Mt. Bachelor, Tumalo Falls, the historic Tower Theatre, Les Schwab Amphitheater and more.
“I believe tourists and people from out of town can come here and get a real good lay of the land,” Smallenberg said. “It’s like a real, living map of Bend and one can come here and open their horizons on where to look and go explore in Bend.”
The mural even includes an homage to the Great American Eclipse, which passed directly through Central Oregon in late August 2017.
The big red heart was the first thing Smallenberg painted on the mural, using it, she said, as a sounding board and for rotating messages of love. She said she knows of at least one couple who got engaged in front of the mural with the heart as a backdrop.
“That just made my heart so warm,” she said. “I hope that happens many times over.”
Smallenberg, a Bend resident for more than 22 years, has been an artist nearly all her life. A lot of artists, she said, do pieces that only a few eyes see.
That certainly won’t be the case here. Newport Market is in the heart of Bend’s bustling west side and has been one of the region’s most popular grocery stores since opening in 1976.
“I’ve been able to do an amazing piece of artwork that so many eyes are going to see and so many images are going to be taken of it,” she said. “It’ll bring lots of memories. a lot of smiles.”
THE MURAL IS LOCATED ON THE WEST SIDE OF NEWPORT AVENUE MARKET ON 12TH STREET IN BEND.
Have you ever been to cupcake heaven? If not, be prepared to have your world rocked when you visit Central Oregon’s famous, Ida’s Cupcake Cafe.
The team at Ida’s three locations, two in Bend and one in Redmond, custom frost cupcakes and create memorable wedding cakes and sweet treats for every occasion. Imagine “emoji” themed cupcakes and cakes decorated with your favorite Oregon sports team. Whatever you can dream up, Ida’s can bring to life.
Central Oregon’s obsession with all things sweet doesn’t stop there. Goody’s Chocolates counts as one of the other legends in town, the company was started in Sunriver in 1984. Now, Goody’s has multiple locations including their factory where they do tours of their chocolate making process and a classic soda fountain and candy shop in downtown Bend. Goody’s manufactures over 20 tons of chocolate each year, and although we don’t recommend eating that many candies – buying a box of Goody’s is is like taking a sweet piece of Central Oregon home with you.
The 2017-18 winter was one for the record books in Central Oregon, especially Mt. Bachelor.
The ski area had one of its top 3 seasons on record – a season that included three straight months of more than 100 inches of snow. For a long stretch, it seemed like every day was a powder day. (Both on the mountain AND in town.)
It was perfect timing too, as Mt. Bachelor opened the Cloudchaser chairlift – the first new lift in nearly 20 years. Cloudchaser opened up 13 new runs and 635 new acres of skiing, pushing skiable acres to more than 4,300, making Mt. Bachelor the 6th largest ski area in the U.S.
Bachelor has been the hub of Central Oregon skiing for nearly 60 years and is already known for having one of the longest seasons in the industry (November to Memorial Day,) but all that snow last year led to a bonus: JulySki! Independence Day revelers were able to start the day with some runs from the Summit! You’ve seen so many swimsuits on a ski hill.
Will the 2018-19 season live up to last year? That’s up to Mother Nature. But some early October snowfall has whet our whistles for sure and got many folks up doing an early snow dance.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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:
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
You can start off the weekend with the monthly First Friday Artwalk in downtown Bend. Yes, there’s art – lots of it. But Artwalk is more than that, as businesses keep their doors open later, and offer wine and spirits to create a very festive atmosphere in every small shop you walk in.
You couldn’t have picked a better place to celebrate the 4th.
On the 4th, Bend features one of the quirkiest celebrations you’ll ever see – The annual 4th of July Pet Parade is exactly what it sounds like: Thousands of people and their pets parading through downtown in front of some 10,000 spectators. You’ll find all sorts of animals including cats, llamas, mini horses and a dog held airborne by balloons. (You just have to see it to believe it.) The parade starts at 1o a.m. and is immediately followed by an Old Fashioned 4th Celebration down the street in Drake Park. The party features food vendors, arts and craft booths, games for kids, music and much more.
Fireworks across Central Oregon
Bend: Pilot Butte, 10 p.m.
Bend: After the Bend Elks game on July 3
Redmond: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, 10 p.m.
La Pine: Frontier Heritage Park, 10 p.m.
Prineville: Reservoir State Park, 10 p.m.
Madras: Sahalee Park, 10 p.m.
La Pine’s Frontier Days actually start on July 1st with a variety of family-friendly activities, cook-outs, live music and more. On the 4th the party starts at 7 a.m. with a “Woodcutter’s Breakfast” followed by a parade at 10:30.
To see a full listing of all the events and activities slated for the July 4th holiday weekend, visit our Calendar.
But why not do something that really gets the heart pumping? Something that will have you equally scared and excited. Something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Central Oregon has a bunch of high-octane adventures ready to help you take your vacation to the next level. Here’s our list of 9 Central Oregon adventures that will send your ticker into overdrive!
1. Helicopter Tours
Your heart starts beating more rapidly as soon as you step on the tarmac and make your way to the chopper. From there, your BPM likely will hover in the 110s as the helicopter gains altitude and starts flying over some of Central Oregon’s most iconic mountain peaks. See Smith Rock, the Deschutes River, Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top and South Sister like you’ve never seen before as the wind whips through the open doors of your aerial chariot. Big Mountain Heli Tours offers a variety of customizable tours.
2. Backcountry ATV Tours
Buckle up for the ultimate all-terrain adventure as you set out for a half-day tour of Central Oregon’s lava fields, forests, and high desert. Outriders NW offers you the opportunity to pilot the car or just ride along. With over 3,000 square miles of sparkling lakes, spectacular mountains, and wide-open deserts, safely access the rugged forest and high desert to explore and experience the unseen natural beauty, that most people never see in a lifetime.
3. Aerobatic Adventure Flights
For the person who wants to experience the thrills and joys of aerobatic flight without taking the controls. At Advanced Flight Dynamics, you come to their squadron, get your briefing, strap into the airplane, and set off for up to 20 minutes of extreme fun in their Xtreme Decathlon airplane while our pilot does all the flying. The pilots will fly as gentle or extreme as you like. When you return you can watch the video of your flight so all can watch and take it home with you.
4. Downhill Mountain Biking
As an extension to the 300+ miles of mountain bike singletrack offered here in Central Oregon, The Mt. Bachelor Bike Park offers lift-served access to an additional 13 miles of downhill oriented trails. The ski area’s beginner lift, Sunshine Accelerator serves as a great introduction to the bike park for all ability levels. From there, riders can progress to Pine Marten Express where a combination of machine built and single track trails provide a thrill for any adventurous spirit – from intermediate runs to advance double black diamond trails.
5. Rock Climbing at Smith Rock
Smith Rock is the birthplace of American sport climbing and on any given day you’ll see expert climbers scaling the sandstone spires that rise to the sky from the banks of the Crooked River. But here’s the thing: Even expert climbers had to start somewhere. Chockstone Climbing Guides has a variety of guided adventures and courses to let you experience the white-knuckle thrills of rock climbing. No experience necessary – and they provide all the gear.
I’m not sure there’s anything that will get your heart beating more rapidly than literally jumping off of a bridge. Just typing that sentence sent my heart racing. Central Oregon Bungee Adventures gives you the ability to experience the closest thing to actually flying by letting you throw yourself off a bridge at Peter Skene Ogden State Park, into the Crooked River Canyon.
8. Hot Air Balloon Rides
Experience “The Art of Flight” with Big Sky Balloon Company. Hour long scenic hot air balloon flights provide a one of a kind experience in Central Oregon. Big Sky flies once a day, early in the morning and the flights are very weather dependent. Typically they’re airborne within an hour of sunrise.
Not interested in flying in a balloon? You can just enjoy the scenery at the annual Balloons Over Bend event in late June.
9. Zip Lining
Crater Lake is just 90 minutes south of Bend, making it a perfect day trip for one of the true “must see” natural wonders of the world. Drive about a half hour further and you can experience Oregon’s largest zipline. You’ll experience Oregon at its finest on your 3-hour tour with Crater Lake ZipLine. With magnificent views of Upper Klamath Lake, Cascade Mountain peaks and surrounding National Forest, you’ll be thrilled by the beauty and the adventure.
Looking for some more exciting adventures?
Take your group into the woods for an hour of paintball action with Paintball Paradise. Test your investigative skills with the Bend Escape Room – a physical adventure game where participants are placed into a room and have to use teamwork along with elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. Each room is themed and has a unique storyline that engages the players through their environment.
Known for our 300 days of sunshine, folks are flocking to Central Oregon this summer to spend two minutes in the dark.
The first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in American since 1918 will pass directly through Central Oregon around 10 a.m. on August 21st. Most of the U.S. will be able to partially see the eclipse, but to experience total darkness, you must be within a 67-mile band of the shadow.
The Central Oregon towns of Sisters, Redmond and Prineville are within that band while Madras, dubbed “Solar City, Oregon” is located directly on the center line of totality. What’s more, Madras’s elevation (2,241 feet) and climate (warm, sunny skies) make it an ideal location for seeing the eclipse.
“Madras has the distinction of having the least August cloudiness anywhere along the central line of the eclipse track,” said meteorologist Jay Anderson, the world’s pre-eminent eclipse weather predictor.
The Oregon SolarFest has several fun events planned August 17-22, including live music events, family-friendly camping options, plenty of local craft beer, local spirits and great food. NASA scientists also will be on hand to lead activities, discussions and more. Looking for a unique adventure? Big Mountain Heli Tours will be there to give visitors a birds-eye view of the massive Central Oregon landscape with up-close-and-personal views of Lake Billy Chinook and the Three Sisters. They’ll pick you up right there at SolarFest.
Oregon SolarFest will happen at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Complex in Madras and costs just $45 for the week. Tent campsites (20×20) will cost $150. Solar City is located in a farmers field just east of the Madras airport and Hwy 26 at the intersection of Hwy 26 & NW Dogwood Lane. Camping is located near Highway 26 and cost just $75.
And Suttle Lodge is offering an amazing FREE music event. Chris Funk of The Decemberists has invited bands from Portland’s music scene to play outdoors in a two-day music festival that culminates in the eclipse. The lodge will have tons of food and drink specials on site as well.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is planning ahead to keep Oregon moving, and they encourage you to do the same. Here’s a few more tips from ODOT:
Expect delays. Traffic backups are inevitable. Preparation ensures a good time for visitors and residents alike.
Expect traffic changes. Normal travel paths may be disrupted. Communities may close streets to through traffic or ban left or right turns to keep traffic moving, especially around venues with many visitors.
Be prepared. If traveling, plan for your basic needs such as food, water, gas for the car and bathroom breaks in case you’re stuck in traffic. If friends or family are coming to visit, warn them to #DriveHealthy: Arrive early, stay put during the eclipse, and leave late afterward, in case everyone else jumps on our highways all at once. Remember, all travelers have a shared responsibility to stay safe.
Stock up early. Food, prescription medications, water, and gasoline may be hard to obtain if you don’t get them early. You’ll be ready and stores can restock for our visitors.
Do what you can to help. Can you work from home or flex your work schedule when your local roads are full? Avoid roads being used to get people in or out of a local event. Ride your bicycle when possible, to avoid congestion!
Look out for each other. This is a rare opportunity but it brings potential hazards. We all must do our part to be prepared. You may see travelers unfamiliar with the area. Be friendly, helpful and patient!