This article is a re play on our previous blog “5 Things Costa Rica Has that My Backyard Definitely Doesn’t”. Not all of us can just hop a flight and leave the country whenever we may please (we may hope to win the lotto but that will have to wait for another day). However we can have an adventure within the states or our own backyard (my backyard!) I happen to call Bend, OR my home base and the diversity that Oregon offers as a state is ridiculous compared to almost anywhere else I have traveled and lived. And Yes; I claim all of Oregon as my backyard!
So here it is; 5 things that are definitely in my backyard!
Snow & Sunshine: Forget about it! Bend, OR claims an amazing 300 days plus of sunshine a year on average and Mt Bachelor, which is a mere 20 miles away from the heart of the city gets at least 300 inches of snow a year (this year we have 473 inches and still a month and half to go). At this rate I’ll be taking good morning slushy turns on my favorite mountain and then having an afternoon dip and camp by a cascade lake at the end of May. Who has their sunscreen??? Oh that’s right my mates Ben & Bobbi @ Snowskin Sunscreen
Outdoor activities: Beyond your favorite winter activity of skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, snowmobiling or anything else that might capture your heart with this kind of snow pack; there is also endless opportunities within the other 3 seasons. Pedal your way along the road or on the endless mountain bike trail systems, rock climb the world renowned Smith Rocks or boulder till your fingers go numb, slay the local trout out of the Deschutes River , endless hiking and back country camping trails within the National Forest, calling “FOUR” at your favorite greens, oh and after it all how about a dip in a hot spring that are always warm from the volcanic activity that resides throughout the cascades.
Coast: There are a few other beautiful coast lines out there in the world; oh I know and I have taken the time to stumble along my fair bit of them but I still claim homage to the Oregon coast- rough, rocky, & raw. It is unparalleled to others in the sense of diversity once again found in Oregon. The southern bit of the state is filled with warm sand dunes blowing in the salty breeze; however follow Highway 101 north and you will be lead to drastic changes. Rocky out cropping and sea stacks being pounded upon by mighty blue waters will meet your wildest imaginations. It might be a little colder than your tropical destination of say the Maldives, but that same chill keeps your beaches desolate and your surf breaks empty.
Vineyards: Do I even need to say it: PINOT NOIR!!! But don’t think that you are limited to just Pinot Noirs, Oregon boasts a variety of different varietals. If you are a wino or just a simple taster; there is nothing more satisfying than an Oregon Pinot. Lush hillsides with rocky bottoms and moist cool winds create a perfect Terra for these vines. Spend your afternoons cruising through vineyards; enjoying the moment and sampling until your taste buds are content.
Portland Food & Culture: The wines of the valley maybe great but the food scene of Portland will blow your mind right off your head. I just exposed myself to the indulgence once again for a 48 hour mission with my girlfriend; within the first 4 hours of entering the city limits we had eaten at four different restaurants.
Evening Day 1:
Burgerville- local fast food: rosemary sea salt french fries, peppered bacon cheeseburgers & marrionberry shakes- fast food really?
Whiskey Soda- a Thai influenced whiskey bar that plays age old kung fu movies all night long
Pok Pok- The Greatest Thai restaurant I have been to- street food for the soul
Pix Patisserie - A late night patisserie that will encourage your sweet tooth, espresso dreams, and champagne bubble
Jam on Hawthorne- down home great cooking for breakfast. You will not leave without your smile
Lotus de Fuego- food cart Arepas. The food cart scene of Portland has exploded and rivals fine dining when it comes to flavors available and diversity without the inflated price tag
Bridgeport Brewery- Handcrafted brews for your libation needs
Beaker & Flask- Curiously dynamic cocktails and meals w/ a view of the city skyline
Le Bistro Montage- Late night dirty macs, red beans & rice, vino in mason jars and all of it served by those in old time white tuxes with Portland attitude
Public Domain Coffee- An espresso bar that transcended me back to Italy
Pambiche Cocina- Start swaying your hips to the Cuban beats, and don’t forget the Tres Leches cake- I might have drooled a little bit
And before you leave the city don’t forget to stop by Powels Bookstore to get lost within the 1 city block 4 story building that “DOES” contain every book you could have ever wanted. I highly recommend leaving your cash, credit cards, papers to your house & life with a friend so that you don’t try to buy the store.
So as you may not be able to leave the country on an around the world excursion; you can take advantage of what is right here. Oregon may not be as close to some as others, but I am keen to hear what your backyard has that mine doesn’t??? Give us a shout!