I have been notified by the Bend Tourism Board that their tourist activity has gone up 75% since my last blog post. (Just kidding, I think they have an anti-tourism board anyways.) Now if you think I was about to write another post about Bend, Oregon… you’d be right! I had the privilege of getting to spend a few months with my sister, Abby and her family. Even though I lived on a mountain, about an hour away from them, we still found to time eat, drink and experience the amenities this area has to offer.
This is one reason why I love the unconventional life we live. Throughout the year Eric, Sue and I travel all over, sometimes to beautiful and bucket list places (Salem, MA; Philadelphia, PA). We also travel to not so glamorous places but unique experiences are had none the less (McCalister, OK; Dolthan, AL). For a few weeks in the winter and several more in the summer Eric and I have the luxury of choosing where we want to spend that time. I feel lucky that I got to spend a few months with my sister and her family. I had the opportunity to watch my niece grow during a fun time in her life (truly every day is a fun time in her life!).
One of my favorite visits was right before we left at the end of July. Eric got Naomi a blow up shark (she loves Sharks!), the adults took out paddle boards and kayaks. I had been wanting to paddle board all summer long but the water was still pretty cold for this Iowan and I was afraid I wasn’t strong enough to do it. That was until I saw some 10 year old girls doing it and thought… okay time to stop being a coward. And It was AWESOME!
Abby and I paddle boarded over to the hot springs. They were true to their name, they were friggin hot! It was good that at the end of my stay on the mountain I found the hot springs. I’d been pointing in their general direction for months to show guests where they were but had no actual clue where they were. (I should get a retroactive raise!) It was surreal paddle boarding across the shallow flat clear water. Looking down at the lake fauna. It reaching towards the surface like tentacles. Magical.
Eric and I had a night to remember thanks to Abby. She works at the Blacksmith Restaurant in downtown Bend on the salad/dessert station in the kitchen. This was my first time actually going in, I’ve walked past it a bunch of times. It looks so much smaller from the outside but inside it was authentic looking. The bar area was updated, as was all the furnishings but had exposed brick and beautiful artwork that felt vintage (and I assume it was). They are a scratch kitchen with the Chef Bryan Chang (I met him, he has an incredible vision for food!)
Eric and I met up with one of my high school friends and his girlfriend. It was a special experience for me, to meet up with an old friend and go to the restaurant my sister works at. Abby loves working there; it helps appease her creative side. She made two amuse bouche’s for our table. One was shrimp with avocado and cocktail sauce. The other was seared scallop with a pesto sauce. Both were unbelievable! I don’t get to eat pesto sauce typically, as it typically has dairy in it. So this was a big win for me!
Eric has a one question that judges the service at a restaurant. “What kind of gin do you have?” It’s frustrating (as someone who works in the food service industry) how many servers can’t name one gin that they serve. However, at the Blacksmith’s our server, Brook, passed the test naming so many that Eric had to stop her to order his martini. We never went wanting, our server gave excellent silent service (that is my professional judgement on good service). Granted, I name dropped Abby’s name, I saw Brook with other tables and they received just as excellent service as well.
Abby works the dessert station at the Blacksmith’s. They have a bananas foster dessert that she cooks table side for guests. It was really fun getting to see her “perform” this dessert to a neighboring table. We were going to order that, just to see the monkey dance (haha) but Abby prepared a banana bread amuse bouche dessert that rocked my socks! (I joke around about getting dessert, because I never expect to be able to have it with the ole dairy allergy.) Thankfully, my sister knew that and went above and beyond to show us the time of our lives.
The last night I was in Bend Abby, myself and one of Abby’s friends, Krista (another Iowan, she moved out here when Abby did) went to the amphitheater to see Sheryl Crow perform. It was one hell of a show! First of all, she wore glitter jeans that made her look like an angel. Secondly, her hair was beautiful. (She’s 50 and looks better than I do!) And most importantly her voice is still as good as it ever was. We had general admission seats but decided to elbow our way to the front. Well worth the bruises. (See some pics below!) Abby and I drank and sang (off key) and danced. It was the perfect ending to a great summer!
Bend, Oregon offered so many experiences for myself and Eric (And Sue!). I am thankful that our lives took us to Oregon in the first place but also that we found lodging and a job that kept us there. All of it was an excuse to get to spend the summer with my sister and her family. Any experience, even just meeting up with her at the park or for breakfast will be in my memory forever. When Abby moved out here, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever live in the same area again. And lucky for us, we got to have a summer of adventure.
So, now you might be thinking, Is she done talking about Oregon yet? The answer is simple, no. I could write five more posts about it. However, I had a great experience in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that I am dying to tell you about! So for now, I’ll put a pin in the Oregon discussion. But check out the photos below to get (more) of your Oregon fix!
Until next time, keep wandering! ❤ afk