Bend lies in the shadow of the Cascade Mountain Range and sits on the edge of the Deschutes River. She's quaint. She has a huge food scene, roasts amazing coffee, brews delicious beer, hosts live music on the river every week, and offers incredible hiking, biking and fly fishing within inches of her city center. She's perfect. It's all the things that make Oregon magical, but without so much rain. It's also our pickup location for our Crater Lake Biking and new Walking & Hiking trips. Not only is every day on our trips a visual and physical adventure through Oregon's Cascades, you get to spend time eating and playing in our favorite mountain town before, during and after your trip. If you find yourself making the good decision to visit Oregon, here is where I would tell you to go eat -- just try not to tell everybody our secret. Bend is a quiet place in the morning. Locals start their day with a run along the river before heading to work. I recommend enjoying the crisp, cooler air of the early hours and experiencing a little bit of Oregon's breakfast and coffee culture.
- Lone Pine Coffee Roasters exemplifies how serious Oregon is about their coffee. With that, your espresso might come with a little 'tude. I assure you it's worth it.
- Thump Coffee is right around the corner from Lone Pine but offers yummy pastries and a slightly more relaxed vibe with your coffee.
- Victorian Café is set in an old cozy house on the West Side (of the river). This place is always packed and offers up a tasty home-style breakfast and raved-about scones.
- McKay Cottage Restaurant is a local favorite and not far from the Backroads pickup and drop-off hotel. Sit on the back lawn under the shade of their many umbrellas and perhaps splurge on their famous eggs benedict.
Following a float down the Deschutes River or a stroll around town and along the river walk, midday and afternoon establishments open their doors and the options become endless.
- Planker Sandwiches is right downtown and perfect for a quick lunch. The BLT on ciabatta is my sando of choice.
- Jackson's Corner takes the lunchtime cake. A short walk through Bend's historic neighborhood gets you to this corner diner. The bread is fresh, the ingredients are local, and everything I've ever tried is mouthwatering.
- Crux Fermentation Project and 10 Barrel Brewing Co. are the perfect spots to experience Oregon's rich micro-brewery culture, both have outdoor spaces great for sipping beer in the afternoon sun.
After a full day exploring the mountains or walking through the downtown neighborhoods, suppertime in Bend is not to be overlooked.
- Spork sits on the West Side. It began as a wildly successful food truck and now serves its flavor-packed global cuisine in a casual counter-service setting.
- Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats has a colorful, artsy ambience and serves unusual Thai dishes. Try the Khao Soi noodles and definitely order some sticky rice.
- Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails is my fancier suggestion. Get ready for some southern cuisine made from honest ingredients. And be sure to have a reservation.
- Bontà Natural Artisan Gelato scoops up heavenly organic gelato with optional handmade candy toppings.
Your Backroads leaders will have countless suggestions once you arrive on trip, but this should hopefully get you hooked on our dear not-so-secret city.