inside palate coffee wall hangings

*written in collaboration, as always.

On a recent Friday afternoon, around 4:30, Jason Rhodes of Palate was deep in conversation with someone over the back fence at Palate. (Palate = only the most exquisite coffee bar in Bend, Oregon; lovingly owned and operated by Jason Rhodes and his rad partner, Jodi Groteboer.). I waited some breaths while Jason finished up his exchange. We were to have a casual chat and photo session for what would be the (eternal) Beginner’s Guide to Bend’s first installment of What’s In the Bag?, wherein we ask local stand-outs, well, what’s in their bags.

As we like to do, the hour prior Laura and I had been using Palate as our cozy, caffeine-flush space-away-from-our-home-offices office. You know, how most Millennials do these days. We were all business and at the tail end of wrapping up the creative content for this company, owned by local sweetheart and Paleo pioneer, Debbie Fred. (FYI, Debbie is probably someone we’ll probably write about in a probable future BGTB blog post. Which reminds me: heads up! We’re currently plotting out our editorial calendar, sooo… if you’d like to be considered for guest blogging on the BGTB, get in contact sooner rather than later. Either that or just keep your ear to the wind, as we’ll be rolling out upcoming themes and a general call for submissions here soon.).

inside palate coffee bar

Palate’s got the whole texture thing going on.

palate coffee bar ceiling

When in doubt, look up.

inside palate coffee wall hangings

Heart. A whole fuck-ton of it.

OK, like I said, we were all business, which is why stepping through the back door and into Palate’s backyard was all the more like passing through a tesseract. Not that the interior of Palate is anything but aesthetically refreshing—we have commented that the room itself is comprised of magic—it’s curated with tufts of curious things (a plastic cowboy figurine, nearly edible slivers of geode, patches of lichen the color of limeade), and it seems to expand as you take your seat —but out back? Now THAT’S a fucking SPACE, and one where anything can happen and where the rules of physics and/or metaphysics may or may not apply. Have you ever read Gary Zukav? If not, you should.

plastic cowboy figurine

‘Sup, bro.

River rock lies on the ground in various states of subduction. A stage (about which Laura inquired: What’s this, the Stage of Life? And to which Jason replied, without hesitation: Exactly.) erected from repurposed lumber rises, slightly and to the left. A freshly hewn stump juts up behind the bar that will eventually open itself to  A Broken Angel, the vegan food cart in residence on the other side of Palate’s back fence (more on THAT in another post). Despite the chill, Jason is at ease in a t-shirt, having just taken down a tree (for space and for use, of course). Bella, a sweet, lumpy love of a golden lab, sticks close, sniffs often.

Palate coffee bar backyard stage

Waxing poetic on the Universe (and things). Annnd cue The Stage of Life backdrop.

jason rhodes and dog bella


After exchanging a handshake and a hello (that was it for preliminaries and pleasantries,just my style) the next half hour was a rich and somehow weightlessly speeding exchange of ideas and memory and experience and vision. Thirty minutes of art and death and Oregon real estate, of community and civic responsibility and, yup, politics. It was as invigorating and as easy as passing a hand through a waterfall. To say that tapping into the subdural veins beneath the public veins inside the community is neat, is an understatement.

When the three of us finally got to emptying Jason’s bag, we were friends. And maybe what I mean by that is not that we were familiar, but that we knew something elemental and human and real about one another. Some things we can only hope (aim?) for in every conversation.

Jason rhodes

That’s Jason. He’s rad. You can even make eye contact with him the next time you’re in Palate.

But before we get to the bag (because we love to make you wait, and because haven’t we already opened “the bag” through meaningful, undefined, and heartfelt exchange?), back to the SPACE, and what this space means for those of us in Bend who are seeking community and connection beyond the lights. Looking at the bones around us, at the materials foraged with an artist’s sensibility, you could see that the backyard at Palate would shape and shift and fashion itself to accommodate the moment. Friday, that moment was an inspired and inspiring interaction. And in that space, in this summer and beyond, I bet we can look forward to moments and afternoons and perhaps a few evenings of vegan feasting, acoustic performance, and—who knows?—a slammin’ poetry show or two.

Jason envisions Palate beyond it’s realm of meticulously pulled Stumptown shots and Coava pour overs. He sees the coffee bar’s shapeshifting backyard as cultural loci, a place for many elements to meet and come into play. And that’s us, the citizens of Bend and the humanimals just passing through. We are the many elements. As Jason said, “I don’t want to be reinforced by what I already believe.”

Indeed, I want to be changed.


Without further ado, here’s what’s in Jason Rhode’s bag right now:

inside the bag

All the things. Or at least most of them anyway.

And what was in his bag 5 years ago:

  • Baby diapers
  • Chewy toy
  • Cigarettes
  • iPod (with same playlist as today)

And what’s going to be in his bag in the distant and pixelated future:

  • 2017/18/19  paper calendar
  • New notepad with projects
  • New books
  • Water bottle
  • iPhone 23
  • NO cigarettes

Also, I’m reading Howard Norman’s memoir, I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place, and so this: There is another world but it is in this one. ~ Paul Eluard

I’ll never forget that people are more important than buildings and neighborhoods more important than freeways. -Harvey Milk

I recently attended a concert at a small music venue in the city (as in: NYC). Pausing atop the piano at one point during his fourth consecutive sold-out show, Benjamin Clementine asked the audience: so, where is everybody from? Responses came like slow rain patter at first: New York… Italy… Venezuela… then picked up in amount, swiftness, and variety: Trinidad!  New Jersey! (one boo from the crowd, really?) Palestine! Brazil!

I remember smiling and thinking damn, this is fucking awesome, this is what I MISS. All these different humans from all these different places, in one single spot. All rubbing elbows and nodding to Mr. Clementine. All gently swaying like one giant technicolor sea anemone. All breathing the same air and simultaneously posting to Instagram while sighing and getting chills and experiencing something. Together. Not melted into one pot, but indeed under one roof

What’s up with the “missing” though?

Well, I’m from New Jersey. Born and raised and I miss that in-your-face beautiful mess of a place.* But I’ve made Central Oregon Culture mine for the last six years now, a decision I don’t regret and wouldn’t change. But while Bend has a lot of glittering / soaring / unbelievable / #amaze things to offer, one thing it inherently and obviously lacks is exactly what that hot, tiny room on the Lower East Side had—people from all over the world. This is the bulk of the impetus behind the missing.

What we do have here is a brilliant Comunidád Latína (8.2% as of April 2010)—yet I have questions and concerns and criticisms and reservations around how we engage with and don’t engage with these (and other smaller yet very real and relevant) percentages of our community. This includes non-white and mixed ethnicities, ESL-ers, disabled persons, veterans, seniors, the homeless population, and non-heteronormative individuals, among others.

If it’s not acceptable to use Black History Month to collectively check a box as a nation—which it’s not—then it’s also not acceptable to use Cinco de Mayo as a checked box at the local or regional level (e.g. here) to do the same. Symbolic gesture is no longer enough. Period. And how I think we maybe move past the symbolic gesture and to a point somewhere more evolved than the checked box is with conversation, to begin, and with action + more conversation, to continue. Part of what this blog post is doing is making a request. It’s asking you who already live here, myself included, and you who are looking to move  to Bend to contribute to the conversation, as well as to the conversation + action. And, though I’m not entirely sure what this looks like yet, bring everything you’ve got when you do. Please. 

photo: Source Weekly

photo: Source Weekly article on Homelessness in Bend

Because what modest stretch of demographic assortment we do have here, we haven’t yet figured out how to fully incorporate into Bend Life as we know it. Again, I don’t mean the assimilative bullshit melting pot metaphor we were taught in grade school. We’re post melting pot, pre full representation. We have yet to fully include the different pieces we do have as part of our whole whole. We have yet to hold them as integral and specific and important and viable pieces of the Bend Community at large.

Catrina mentions in her baton-passing / I’m in Amman post how Bend’s not an easy town for a single 30ish/40ish woman. She’s right, and I’ll add to that: it’s not an easy town for a single, gay, black, cisgendered male or a Muslim family or a transgendered male-to-female woman who’s into women. And so my question is this: if not a 30ish/40ish cisgendered white woman, then who are we subconsciously (or consciously) “letting in,” and how are we engaging with the population that’s already here?

Yeah, I’m aware that Bend is not NYC is not Bend. And I’m not even saying that NYC itself fully engages with or accepts or embraces all of its constituents equally—we have yet to master that as a human race, in any city, anywhere. But, in places like NYC, there’s a certain sophistication surrounding the recognition and celebration of differences. Perhaps the recognition comes out of sheer volume, meaning the larger the presence the more likely the presence to assert itself. But to address our community here, and to circle back to what I miss: how do we both recognize the aggregate demographic of Bend and simultaneously raise our level of sophistication around celebrating it? Because, chances are, we aren’t ever going to achieve enough volume for it to assert itself into the blanched landscape.


Currently, it’s snowing here in Bend. I’m sipping local coffee mixed with coconut cream, tapping away on a Mac Air from my living room couch. I’ve just had breakfast and there’s all this cold white stuff piling itself on top of this little getting less-little town. It’s gorgeous. It also gives me the opportunity to insert the old adage about no two snowflakes being alike, but that’s cliché and I can do better. So I’ll just make a nod towards it instead and allow its non-mention to infiltrate your brains. Because cities are snowflakes. And because, yeah, I miss my old snowflake. I miss all its different skin tones and accents and beliefs and roots. Its different foods and chants and views and ways of dressing and expressing. I miss the city’s chaotic engagement with and of differences. And because you can miss something while also loving where your feet are presently planted, I also wonder what we can do to create our own version of that, here in Bend. In our own beautiful Bendite way, of course.   

Japan in Bend! #jitenshafriends


*Editors’ Note (because, yeah, we’re both from Jersey): please, don’t say you’re sorry when I tell you where I’m from, nobody wants to hear that. Also, don’t try to imitate my accent of origin by saying Joyzee, eh? Neither of these things are endearing or funny or even original. In fact, they’re instant conversation killers.

When Catrina invited Laura and me to carry forth the BGTB torch, via The Poet, we were stunned by her generosity. Disoriented, even.

And our shock was a bit shocking. Not because the fine residents of Bend are ungenerous, as a rule, or unfriendly, but because we may have become a bit too accustomed to the inherent agenda that seems to be at the core of so many conversations in Bend, poster town for the modern Entrepreneurial Economy.

So, while Laura and I are indeed Bend entrepreneurs, and I harbor many an agenda, I want to say this blog is an exercise in generosity, in sharing the real experience of life in Bend, Oregon, with whomever is interested.

We made our move to Bend 20 years ago, come April. Our first Saturday in our Westside rental, I watched the snow fall, wondered what cultish Scandinavians could invent a Pole Peddle Paddle, what sort of human was taking shape in my 5- month pregnant belly, and what the hell my husband and I were going to do for money.

From where I stand today, I can see that I spent a lot of time early on banging on doors I did not necessarily want to pass through. I smiled doggedly at groups of mothers at story time who persisted in greeting me like a stranger every time we met. I attended all the fairs, parades, and kid-friendly events like religion. I figured my people would reveal themselves there. Once, at a release party for a children’s CD, when I commented out loud that my free-styling toddler was a piece of work, a younger, more self-assured mother in better active wear corrected me, “She’s a piece in work.” It was a busy, lonely, stretch.

Still, it was a few years in before I identified what I felt as joy, upon stepping out of Roberts Air Field after a slog to Arizona or Nebraska, to an unimpeded view of snow capped mountains, and a snootful of clean, clean air. Welcome home, indeed.

I don’t ski worth a damn, can’t run for my life, and hold zero ambition to enact down dog on a paddleboard. I could walk for days, however, and often credit the River Trail for what sanity I enjoy.

Where Bend is concerned, as in many other areas, I am an Eternal Beginner. Our Editor-at-Large has reminded me that in 20 years, I have yet to see the inside of the Sons of Norway Lodge, though I know it’s the place to learn the best Norwegian drinking songs.

Sure, we all gotta make a living. And this ski town/river town/tourist town/beer nirvana east, the perceived Bend lifestyle, can be, and is being, commoditized. One cannot live in a commercial, however, and we are more than our marketing. This is the place to share the big picture, the small moments, the real deal that is Bend. I am happy and grateful to be here.


First and foremost, we would like to begin by expressing something: our gratitude! Seriously, we’re more than excited to have The Beginner’s Guide to Bend blog baton being passed our way. Catrina has done solid work with TBGTB thus far, obviously, and we can’t say thank you enough for the opportunity to continue its growth and shift and expansion and reach. We’re ecstatic about the idea of continuing to present fun, no-gloss, informative, and (for lack of a better word) different content to Bend and beyond.
Here’s a few of the things we’ll be (continuing) to do, ethers we’ll be extending into, directions we’ll be (mostly) taking.

  • Offering a no-gloss, non-advertorial perspective for the existent Bend community and potential new citizens (you?). We do not presently see a source beyond TBGTB for this type of information dissemination. As dedicated and experienced Bend residents, we see this as a component of an intention to expand the community in a meaningful way, rather than simply expanding it. Value over volume. And if Bend is headed toward that 100,000 population mark, so be it, and welcome. Because size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it that counts.
  • Collaborating with others inside and outside the community – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally – to offer interviews, features, and other posts that push boundaries rather than reenforce them.
  • Rolling out a more robust editorial calendar. Meaning: subscribe or check back often, because we’re excited about what we have up our sleeves and you should be too.

Baton in our hands, faces to the Bend winter sunlight–thanks for bringing us into the fold with such abundance. Until the next post.

Yrs & Yrs,

Irene & Laura

Kaycee Anseth collage

Local public art in Downtown Bend, by Kaycee Anseth. Peep it in Tin Pan Alley Art Collection.

Hey y’all,

I have some news. I’ve loved dishing on our little mountain town over the last three-plus years, however infrequently, but I fell in love and got married and everything changed, in the best possible way (except for the leaving Bend part).

Yep, I’m leaving Bend, Oregon. I thought I’d be here forever, but then life threw me a curve ball. Where am I moving to? Some big fab city? New York? Seattle? San Francisco? Some hipster haven? Austin, Asheville, Portland? Nope. I’m moving to the Middle East. As in THE Middle East, not the middle of the Eastern U.S.

Before I go any further, you should know, I’ll be passing the torch to two rad women who are total pros at Bend-ing. You’ll love them. They’ll be introducing themselves shortly – expect this site to get a lot more attention than it did under my stewardship!

So, random musings on what it was like, living in Bend for the last few years… Grab a cup of coffee or open a beer. This is going to be a long one.  A few weeks ago, I packed up our life in Bend and got on a plane with Betty (the Argentinian rat hound and all around snugglepuss) at Redmond Airport and headed to Amman, Jordan to join my husband. It was an intensely bittersweet departure.

While I was in the midst of moving, every time I drove over the Portland Ave bridge, my heart hurt a little. I will miss the Deschutes River more than I can reasonably explain. Aaaand my brother just moved back to town after a three-year absence – moving away from him and his soon-to-be-wife was straight-up brutal. Not to mention saying goodbye to my Valley-dwelling mom, dad, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousins etc. Also, moving away from the Drake and the stellar staff and management (who became my most favorite people in Bend)… yeah, that wasn’t fun. Then there’s The Poet. You know, I met a lot of really nice and interesting people over the years, but the only friendship that really stuck was my friendship with The Poet (she may make an appearance here in the future since the new BGTB chicas are fans as well). Maybe it was the fact that we went on 5 mile runs on Sundays in ANY weather with a pitstop in the middle at McKay’s Cottage for manmosas, or maybe it was the fact that we both love words and sort of fell out of love with God in our 20s. Whatever it was, I miss her already.

But there I go, getting bogged down in details. Beginner’s Guide to Bend isn’t really about me, it’s about offering a glimpse into the REAL Bend Oregon. So let’s get to it!

How was it living in Bend for over three years? Glorious! And torturous, at times. I guess all the personal rambling above is relevant because Bend and I never really gelled in a big way and you can see it in the social circle (or lack thereof) that I left behind.

I love Bend. Truly. I hope to end up back in the cottage on NW 2nd Street someday. But it is not an easy town for a single 30ish / 40ish woman. For the first two years, I dove in. I took classes, I taught classes, I wrote a few pieces for The Source Weekly. I forced myself to go out alone. I went solo to shows at Tower Theater, I went to TedXNight Light, Armchair, Ignite (the latter two, I actually got up on stage), Last Saturdays, First Fridays, every street fair, random beer events even though beer is so not my thing… but eventually I became a little weary of the circles growing tighter as I approached. There is a fierce protectiveness against outsiders that trumps any sense of manners or politeness – I get it, I’m not judging, who likes the random outsider who shows up solo? She must be weird. (Okay, yeah, good point.)

In some towns, it’s considered inhospitable to ignore the only person who arrives alone to a social event. Not Bend! You can smile, use open body language, try to start conversations, but if you don’t have a crew, you’re mostly invisible. So I eventually gave up and retreated back into my little solo world. I didn’t even meet the super cool neighbors on my street until I had a going-away garage sale. My fault for not being more agressivelly social, but will someone in Bend please revive some sort of old-school welcome wagon tradition? That would be pretty great.

My sustained outsider status wasn’t really Bend’s fault. I’m a bit of an introvert; I was horrible at following up on fledgling friendships and never gregarious enough socially to break through the Bend Barrier except in a few rare cases (see: Drake and The Poet). Bend isn’t the kind of place that will naturally envelop you in a metaphorical snuggie – unless you have some Bend social currency, like you’re a former pro athlete, you would sooner give up breathing than give up your chosen -ing (boarding, skiing, kayaking, climbing, biking, etc…), you have kids and/or jobs that provide organic opportunities for friendships, etc. I had none of those, so Bend was a wee bit stand-offish. And to be fair, so was I.

Was I happy in Bend? Yes. I loved my trail runs, being able to walk downtown, the stellar views, the pristine air, the drinking culture combined with the we-get-up-the-next-day-and-get-our-cardio ethos, weekend trips to my family’s place on the McKenzie, the biodynamic/local/organic/sustainable farming/ranching community (Juniper Jungle, Rainshadow Organics, Central Oregon Locavore, Windy Acres, etc.). I loved The WorkhouseNewport MarketCHOWHotBox BettyThe Drake – especially Bob’s gnocchi, Derek’s bespoke cocktails, Mel’s always-warm welcome, Ted’s laid-back hospitality, Chef John Gurnee’s geniusness and general love of fennel – and the River Trail. I adored the one-park-and-one-brewery-for-every-square-mile thing, the dog friendliness, the people friendliness (in passing, you always smile and say hi on the trail, and usually on the street too), the traffic circles (yield!! don’t stop!!), the 7,000 amazing hikes within a few hour radius – oh, and the maintained trails – you don’t appreciate that until you hike in a developing country… and on and on.

Did I find love in Bend? Not exactly. Women write me via BGTB every few weeks asking what the dating scene is like in Bend, discouraged by a few of my previous posts. Well, I won’t sugar coat it: The dating scene in Bend is not exactly vibrant for the over-35 set. BUT one can complain about the ‘dating scene’ in any city really, except maybe the towns in Alaska where men outnumber women 2 to 1 – and even then there’s something to kvetch about, I’m sure. Here’s the bottom line: (excuse me while I step onto this soapbox here) Love isn’t some wilting flower that will only grow in pristine idyllic environs; it will find you; it will hunt you down if it must; it is hardy and relentless – even if dormant at times. Go where your heart leads you. Don’t listen to anyone’s yammerings about how wonderful the dating scene is or isn’t. If you’re single and looking, stop looking and start living. Love WILL find you. Sidenote: FYI, I married a man I knew for six years, we knew each other when I lived in LA. He moved to Bend last year so we could build a life together – and then he got a posting in Amman. And I’d follow him anywhere, so here I am, in Amman…

At the moment I’m sitting on our Amman terrace, looking out over the creamy limestone sugar-cube buildings, literally listening to the birds chirping, watching a beat-up tail-less tomcat slink across the garbage-strewn empty lot across the street and disappear under a flowering dogwood tree. I never thought I’d leave Bend, Oregon. I never thought I’d live in the Middle East. But I love that life continues to inspire me. The adventure is all. If it wasn’t for falling in love, I’d still be in Bend, having a different sort of adventure. Honestly, maybe three years just isn’t enough time to crack a tough nut (especially when you have a bit of lone wolf in your blood). If I hadn’t been swept off my feet by the love of my life, I’d still be in Bend, wondering what John and Bob were whipping up for daily specials at Drake, checking the tequila supplies for after-work cocktails with my brother and sister-in-law, and probably scanning The Weekly for the weirdest event I could find (The Poet just WhatsApped me about an annual crab louie fest at Sons of Norway – yes, that).

So, if you’re thinking about moving to Bend, my experience is just that: mine. Even with the challenges, it is one of my favorite places on the planet. Was it a little tough for me? Sure. Would I move back? Yep, in a heartbeat. This isn’t sour grapes, it’s just the unvarnished (and very subjective) reality of my time in the center of Central Oregon. Bend is an amazing place to live, but like any town, it has its thorns, and thank God. Who wants to live in perfect Pleasantville? Boring. Take a look around the site for more tips on choosing Bend, living in Bend and navigating the town. There’s more to come; I can’t wait for the next chapter of BGTB unfurl! Subscribe in the sidebar to get the latest posts in your inbox.

I’ll pop in here from time to time, but in the meantime you can find me at Wandering Circles (my new Amman blog) or on Instagram. Stay in touch! Viva la Bend!

I’ll end my goodbye post with a few photos. One of us on our honeymoon, and a few of Amman shots:


Mexico – honeymoon! (Yep, love found me)


One of the local mosques – the melodic call to prayer has become a part of our lives in Amman.


Lunch at the Dead Sea – less than an hour drive from Amman


Typical view in Amman…


Amman at dusk…


Downtown Amman…

Much love to all the Bend devotees out there. I’ll be back to visit. Enjoy every moment you have in your awesome little city. Come visit us soon (you know who you are).

IMG_1433It’s been awhile since I posted, and a ton has happened (more on the latest personal life developments later), but for the moment, I feel I’m doing y’all a disservice by keeping my favorite watering hole / grub spot all to myself. Seriously, I think I’ve sidled up to the bar at the Drake for dinner at least five times in the last seven days. Calling it my “Cheers” would be an understatement. Thank god the owner, chef, manager, bartender and staff are super cool, otherwise I might feel like a weird resto stalker.

If you haven’t been to the Drake on Wall Street downtown, do yourself a favor and stop in. If you can manage,  stop in between 3 and 5 when it’s super slow so you can easily snag a luxurious booth and chat with the attentive (and generally awesome) staff. Bonus: Happy hour starts at 3:00. If you’re more in the mood for dinner, make a reservation (request a booth) a few days in advance. The open kitchen and the French bistro-ish interior gives this spot a relaxed but still elegant vibe that’s hard to find in Bend. Not to mention, it’s truly a chef-driven joint.

Chef John Gurnee is legit. He’s big-city trained and uses as many local ingredients as possible. The quality ingredients, Read More →

What to do on thursday in Bend Oregon Things to do in Bend on Thursday nights

Curious about things to do in Bend Oregon on Thursday nights this summer? Let’s pretend you did all your kayaking, biking, SUPing and hiking the other six nights of the week. So Thursday rolls around and you want to kick back, have a drink, nosh on some great food, listen to some live music and maybe roast some s’mores over an open fire – all with a million-dollar view. Great. I’ve got just the thing for you, but you might have to drive more than 7 minutes from your front door step. It’s worth it, I promise… Read More →

The Stihl Whiskey is one of my most favorite bars in Bend. It’s no secret that I love a well-made cocktail, and the newly opened Stihl delivers. I’m partial to the Kerouac on the cocktail menu: Cazadores tequila, agave syrup and fresh-squeezed lime juice. I know it’s a ‘whiskey’ bar – and yes they have a damn impressive list of whiskeys, bourbons, scotches and ryes – but sometimes I just don’t feel that macho. Luckily, they’re not whiskey snobs, so they have a full bar and a cocktail menu that includes a classic mint julep, a gin and vodka drink with Lillet Blanc (the ‘Vesper’), and a gussied up greyhound with basil and St. Germain (‘Call Me Knighthawk’).

Where to drink in Bend Oregon

The Stihl Whiskey Bar

The Stihl inhabits a narrow space on the ground floor of the big building on the corner of Bond and Franklin, but it looks out on Franklin Read More →

I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Why would I choose to spend a week in an even smaller town in Oregon? Well, read on to find out…

I can work anywhere as long as I have WiFi access. So I figured why not Hood River? I’ve heard lots of good things about it. I think reading about Wildcraft Studio School’s sandal making workshop tipped the scales for me. I figured any area that has a DIY art center offering workshops that combine creativity and nature has to be pretty rad. So I rented a house, packed up the dogs in the Subaru and headed 2 1/2 hours north. These are my notes. They are by no means comprehensive, but they’ll give you a start.

KITE SURFING: I like to watch + dog beach!

Beyond Bend Waterfront Park Hood River

Betty enjoying the ‘beach’ and watching kite surfers at Hood River’s Waterfront Park.

Hood River Waterfront Park Kite Surfer

Hood River Waterfront Park with obligatory kite surfer.

Read More →

I left my urban existence behind and moved to Bend a year and a half ago. I love this place and I imagine I’ll love it for a very long time. When folks ask, “Should I move to Bend, Oregon?” I used to respond with and enthusiastic, “Do it!!! It’s amazing!!” But, the truth is, Bend isn’t for everyone. You kinda have to be ready to ease into the pace and vibe of Central Oregon. If you’re currently living in a big city, this is the post for you. Should you move to Bend, Oregon? It depends…

Should I move to Bend Oregon

If you’re on the fence about uprooting your life and heading this way, I can tell you a few things you should consider, but the best way to answer that question is to spend a week here. This place will either call to you or it won’t.

There are a few things that I’d tell my closest friends to consider before moving here. Keep in mind that my non-Bend friends live in bigger cities by comparison. With a population of 80,000, Bend is still small potatoes.

Before you move, first, stop and think about what you enjoy most about big-city life. Chances are you won’t find it here. Read More →