Bend, Oregon Travel Blog + Vlog

We headed down to Bend, Oregon over the Columbus Day weekend to check off another item from our Pacific Northwest bucket list. It was such a fun getaway and Oregon has officially solidified it's place in my heart as one of my favorite states. T.J. got home from work around 3 on Friday and I had tried to have mostly everything ready to go so all we needed to do was load up the car, change the baby's diaper one more time, and hit the road! It's about a 5 hour trek from our home to Bend and we did it mostly in the rain and in the dark but we made it safely to our little AirBnb cottage and Tommy was a trooper on his first real road-trip. The new Eric Church album helped.

After letting Tommy explore our home-base for the weekend, we quickly set up the pack 'n' play and then all collapsed, ready to get some good sleep so we could explore the next day.  We woke up to a cold, gray and rainy day but being the good Pacific Northwesterners that we've become,  we threw on our rain coats and headed out. We saved the hike for the next day and instead made our way to the High Dessert Museum. It is called a wildlife and living history museum and had so many cool exhibits indoors featuring Native American culture, and a desertarium, plus tons of trails through the woods that lead to the birds of prey exhibit and the cutest otters' habitat, and then winded around to an authentic homestead and sawmill with reenactments. It was super kid-friendly, the grounds were beautiful, and while we joked that the high dessert seemed awfully wet, we enjoyed walking around in the beautiful golden fall colors. Plus! Everything is more fun with an adorable little yellow raincoat-clad toddler in tow!
After that outing we headed back to our cottage so Tommy could nap and so we could watch the Clemson game. It was the perfect cozy afternoon and got us recharged to hit up the downtown area once Tommy was up. Our Airbnb was in walking distance of some of the breweries T.J. wanted to check out which made it so convenient. We also seemed to have chosen the perfect weekend to visit as it was their Fall Festival. There were several blocks closed off and lined with booths, music stages, and yummy food trucks.

Our first stop was Bend Brewing Company which had a fun outdoor area right on the Deschutes River. T.J. grabbed a beer and his first stamp on his Bend Ale Trail passport. There are 16+ breweries in Bend and if you download the app and check in at each one you get a free glass or something. We weren't quite that ambitious but it was fun to cross off a few while in town and the app gives you info on each brewery like their location, a little about their history and what's on tap.
After, we meandered through the Fall Festival and were immediately drawn to the prettiest little food truck I've ever seen for some fresh hot donuts with butterscotch dipping sauce! We decided to do things a bit out of order and have our dessert before dinner. Vacation, right?? 
We walked to Deschutes Brewery and Pub for the next stop on our "progressive dinner" grabbed another stamp, another beer, and a big yummy pretzel with beer cheese. Feeling a little bit fuller we still decided it was time to actually have dinner and we landed at McMenamin's Old St. Francis School. McMenamins are a Washington and Oregon establishment. Each one is uniquely funky. The one we visited happens to be a former Catholic school now converted to a brewery, pub, eclectic hotel, and a movie theater with a mismatched mix of couches and arm chairs. It had several cobble stone courtyards with fire pits to gather around, and inside, the brewpub was cozy and dark and just right for a cool fall evening. We split an appetizer and a burger in a little corner booth and Tommy chewed on crayons and flung coasters and had a grand time. 
The next day was drier but still chilly so we bundled up again and headed to Smith Rock State Park, one of the "7 Wonders of Oregon." We have now checked off 4 out of 7: Smith Rock, Mt.Hood, the Oregon Coast, and the Columbia River. I love how different the landscape is throughout Oregon, and Smith Rock State Park felt more like the high dessert that it is. It was simply stunning. There are tons of trails all with impressive vistas. We chose the easy River trail which had the winding river on one side and neck-craning rock walls on the other side. The park is a mecca for rock climbers from all around the world and it was so crazy to see dozens and dozens of them scattered at different perilous heights along the rock faces.
(can you spot the climbers??)
Even the "easy" trail was quite the workout for mama aka the pack mule but it felt good to at least pretend to be active and outdoorsy and cool like all the climbers we passed. Since we were already out of the city we headed a bit further north to check out something that had caught our eye (mostly T.J.'s eye, but I love him so I was happy to oblige) on the drive in- the Erickson Aircraft Collection. A hanger full of rare and vintage aircraft, most from WW2 and most still in flying condition. T.J. was like a kid pointing out all the different planes he recognized (P-51, F4U Corsair...) and it was truly an impressive little museum. I couldn't believe how pristine some of them looked and can't imagine the upkeep they require to still fly them today! 
After this big outing we went back to the cottage and all took a nap and then that evening we headed to one more brewery for our final dinner in Bend. Crux Fermentation Project was in a different part of Bend, near the Old Mill District, and while it's a little tricky to find they have a great set up! We ambitiously attempted to sit at a table indoors but Tommy was one step away from knocking over all their merchandise so we ordered our drinks and food and meandered out to their awesome lawn space which luckily had a roaring fire going along with corn hole and picnic tables. Their food menu is surprisingly gourmet for a brewery and they had food trucks outside as well. I had their kombucha and a yummy green bean salad and T.J. ordered a brat with sauerkrat from one of the trucks to go with the German beer they had on tap. 
We were sad to leave the next morning as there were so many other cool things to do in Bend. But I'm so thankful we got to go even for just a short visit. It was such a fun little adventure with my boys! I made a point to bring my gopro and document as much as I could to put together a little travel vlog. While T.J. admittedly doesn't love stopping for photos or videos he does love watching the final product so I'm trying to make more because I know that in 5, 10, 20 years, we are going to still watch these home videos of ours and probably cry! 


  1. We loved the video. Awesome. We love you guys.

  2. I LOVED seeing your Vlog!! Sure seems to have been a wonderful get-away for you all! Tommy is looking so grown up! You are so right about the Vlogs being treasures in the years to come!

  3. Great pictures and great video! Super trip! I am with you on the dessert before dinner! Ha! Tommy is growing so fast! I love to see the wonder in his eyes!

  4. That coat! I loved the Vlog : )

  5. This place is a gem in this wasteland of small bars. Came to event locations here on a Saturday night around 9:30, not too crowded at that time. Ordered 2 beers and fries and the total was around $16.


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