Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Exploring the parks of downtown Bend

Oct. 1-9, Bend, Oregon

drake park

In addition to day trips out of town, we also like to discover urban walks with dog friendly eateries as a mid-way destination. Bend has many beautiful parks in the downtown area and they publish a local map which shows different options for walking and biking trails that take you from park to park. I learned there are 37 developed city parks here which include the more well-known Farewell Bend Park, Drake Park, Brooks Park, Juniper Park, and Mirror Pond Park which is also famous for the local brew called Mirror Pond Ale, a Gold-Medal American style Pale Ale crafted by the Deschutes Brewery.

 Mirror Pond Pale Ale

The Deschutes River flows through the downtown area and is the main attraction in most of the city parks. I only recently realized how much rivers running through my hometowns have been an important element in my life. From the age of 5-10, my family lived in McHenry, Illinois on the Fox River. Hard to believe now, when I see the pollution and overuse of this river with jet skis and all kinds of motorboats, but we used to swim in the river and ice skate on it in the winter—fond childhood memories. I did also learn to waterski on the Fox River, so even back in the 60s boating was the major pastime on the old and dirty Fox River. Later in life, I went to college in Missoula, Montana—the setting for the Norman McLean novel, A River Runs Through It.  Actually three rivers run through it, converging in the downtown area not far from the University of Montana campus: the Clark Fork River, the Bitterroot River, and the Blackfoot River (where most of the movie was filmed). My biggest geographic love affair happened in Missoula and the rivers played a major role in offering my heart to the Big Sky country. The place I lived the longest in my life, almost 30 years in Corvallis, Oregon, is home to the Willamette River, which was always an important feature of my life there. Notably, the river also has much to do with creating the valley that is so famous for growing the much-coveted pinot noir grape and is now home to over 300 world-class wineries. So, it is no surprise that I am so attracted to the Deschutes River in Bend with its abundance of trails and beautiful vistas

colorado street dam

Walking on the downtown trails, we especially enjoyed looking at the historic homes and cottages in what is known as Old Bend. Many of the cottages were originally mill houses in the 1920s when timber reigned supreme in these parts. As a result, there is a healthy mix of small cottages and grand homes that look like they may have been built by the lumber barons.

drake park home

Homes on Mirror Pond

dog friendly park

Tourism is the leading industry here now—with Mt. Bachelor ski area as a major attraction in addition to several area resorts that promote golfing, hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, and lots of beer drinking. Bend is coming to be known as the microbrew capital of the United States with fourteen breweries and counting.  Here is how the Visit Bend website describes this phenomenon: “Bend is a "Beervana,” with one brewery for every 9,111 people beating out our nearby neighboring city of Portland, Oregon. Bend celebrates this achievement with what we call the Bend Ale Trail.”  The Ale Trail involves getting a passport card which is stamped as you visit nine breweries that are within walking or biking distance in town. You can also choose to travel the trail by trolley, pedi-cab, brew bus, or cowboy carriage. The prize for getting all nine stamps is a free commemorative Silipint—an earth-friendly flexible pint size “glass” made of silicone. They seem to be all the rage here and are sure motorhome friendly as they are heat-proof and unbreakable.

We have yet to get our Passport book, so we better get going as we leave in ten days. We have been to the Deschutes Brewery, Crux Fermentation Project, Goodlife Brewing, and 10 Barrel Brewery. The amazing part to me is that all four of these brew pubs were dog friendly (with outdoor seating areas) and one even had Silipint dog water bowls. 

yard art

This weekend we are looking forward to experiencing our first indie film festival: BendFilm, a celebration of independent cinema, a four-day event with seven film venues featuring over 100 films. We have to do some serious planning to figure out which films to see and the after-parties are supposed to be even better than the films—ha, ha. Even though the weather is getting on the cool side (low 30s at night with daytime highs in the 60s), we are enjoying the crisp fall air and the abundance of things to do in Central Oregon.

autumn color in park

1 comment:

  1. Bend sounds like a great place. So many bloggers in Oregon this year and every where they go sounds like I want to be there. So many places, so little time.

    Love the tree with the scarf. All he needs is some snow..........oh no I didn't say that.


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