Get your beer and burger fix at downtown Bend's Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House. // © 2016 Deschutes Brewery
Feature image (above): Adventurers will love the wide variety of outdoor activities in Bend, Ore., such as visitng Tumalo Falls. // © 2016 Valerie Chen
For those who would rather be outside, the town of Bend, Ore., is a delightful breath of fresh air. Nicknamed the “outdoor playground of the West,” Bend soaks in nearly 263 days of sunshine per year, enabling locals and visitors alike to frolic to their hearts’ content without a roof overhead.
That might mean biking on trails through high-desert terrain dotted with sagebrush, bitterbrush and juniper; traversing around snowcapped volcanoes; gazing at turquoise-blue alpine lakes; or hitting the snowy slopes of Mount Bachelor. And at the end of the day — no matter what adventure has been conquered — unwind with a locally made sundowner. You’ve earned it.
Also on tap is Bend’s bustling craft beer scene. Twenty-two breweries confirm the town’s devotion to the fermented drink, and chances are, once you’ve polished off a pint at one beer pub, another is just a hop away. Among them is the renowned Deschutes Brewery, native to Bend since 1988. Though its products are now distributed across the U.S., beer geeks can drink up where the magic happens — its Bend brewing facility — on a free guided tour.
Less than 2 miles away, the downtown Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House provides the carbs necessary for soaking up all that beer. A doughy pretzel served with a cheese dip and a mustard made with the brewery’s Black Butte Porter beer, as well as a juicy elk burger with Gruyere cheese and brown sugar chipotle mayo, will do the trick.
Opened in 2014, the 50-room Tetherow Lodges is part of a 700-acre master-planned community in Bend. In turn, guests of the luxury property can benefit from an assortment of first-rate amenities, such as a heated pool with cabanas, a large event pavilion and the creme de la creme of golf courses.
Spectacular views of the nearby Cascade Range, including the Three Sisters volcanic peaks, surround a sprawling 18-hole, Scottish links-style course. To navigate the rolling greens, players (and spectators) can hop on Golfboards, electric four-wheel-drive vehicles that are essentially a hybrid of a golf cart and a skateboard — and fully a good time.
Guestrooms are modern, spacious and well-appointed, with thoughtful details such as a cozy gas fireplace and local coffee, tea and chocolate. Our Deluxe Corner King room opened onto a balcony overlooking the golf course and beyond, and the bathroom included two sinks, a large soaking tub and a double-headed rain shower.
The pet-friendly Tetherow offers free shuttle service around town, along with superb service.
Listed as Bend’s top-rated tour operator on TripAdvisor, Wanderlust Tours does a fine job of highlighting the destination’s greatest hits, such as discovering lava tube caves, exploring ancient volcanoes and off-trail snowshoeing. We opted for the fittingly titled Brews & Views canoe tour and spent more than two hours paddling the stunning Hosmer Lake in Deschutes National Park (a 45-minute shuttle from Wanderlust’s Bend office).
Along with occasional pauses to rest, admire the stunning views and learn about the region from our naturalist guide, there were, of course, brews. About halfway through, our group docked our canoes to taste four different types of microbrews from Deschutes Brewery and another local favorite, Cascade Lakes Brewing Company.
We paddled back to shore as our adventure neared its end and, as if right on cue, a bald eagle soared above us.
Tours typically require at least four people; if the minimum is not met, the tour will be canceled with at least 48 hours’ notice.