Crater Laker & Bend, Oregon

I’ve always imagined I would end up in a small, mountain type town, with beautiful lakes and snow capped mountains, great restaurants with outdoor seating, and residents really making it feel like a community.  Though I have dreamed of this place, I have never actually been to said destination.  Then, I went to Bend.

On the cruise up we decided to swing by Crater Lake.  WOW!  This place is gorgeous! It almost looks fake – this volcano inside a volcano!  A must see if cruising through southern Oregon.  I would also recommend staying at the Green Springs Inn & Cabins outside of Ashland.  It was in the middle of the… forest?… and we loved it!  The rooms were amazing – and the restaurant was great!  The gift shop even had a box for PCT hikers like I read about in Wild!

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Ah yes, Bend.  Bend is… well, it’s perfect.  It’s technically high desert, but Mt. Bachelor sits just a stones throw away, snow capped even in mid summer.  The downtown is absolutely delightful, with the Deschutes Rivers meandering through – full of folks floatin’. You can stroll the darling shops, great restaurants, craft breweries and chat with all the NICE people!  We actually saw a sticker saying “Be nice, you’re in Bend“.  Ha!

We had the privilege to spend the 4th of the July weekend there – and boy oh boy do they do it big!  The parade was massive, and after the parade everyone heads down to the park by the river for a huge festival.  Tons of booths, drinks, food, games – you name it.

Accommodations:
We rented the cutest studio!  Just 2 blocks from downtown and perfect!IMG_8409 IMG_8410IMG_8412 IMG_8411

Exploration of the Cascade Lakes:

Devil’s Lake – The most clear, turquoise lake I have ever seen!  And freeeeezing!

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Loved this shot I got of some paddlers!

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Todd Lake – super peaceful and secluded with beautiful views from the parking lot!

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Mt. Bachelor in the background

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Elk Lake – not a great shot – but a perfect spot to rent a kayak or lounge on the beach.

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4th of July Madness!  This is where you want to celebrate ‘merica!

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Yes, that’s a dog up there 😦

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Pano of the post parade festivities!

Craft Breweries! 

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Side trip up to Sisters
must do!  

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The town of Sisters is absolutely darling – and not far from Bend. You MUST eat at Cottonwood Cafe!

First Fridays! SO happy we stumbled upon this!  I would actually encourage you to plan your trip to Bend during a First Friday.  All of the shops offer free beer/wine/cocktails and snacks and the whole town comes out!  There’s live music on just about every corner, and it really solidifies the sense of community.

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Beautiful Bend

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We had an incredible time, and can’t wait to return!  (I might be actively seeking career opportunities…)

Until next time… I’ll be dreaming of Bend.

God is good friends.  God is good.

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‘Tis the Season for Festivals!

I LOVE a good festival.  Beer Festivals, Art & Wines, Street Fairs, you name it.  The sun, the greasy, sweet of corn dogs, and the delicious beverages – you can’t beat it!

The season is just kicking off – and I’ve had a blast at the 2 festivals I attended.

Festival:  Bay Area Craft Beer Festival

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2 Date:  18 April, 2015 (every year in April)
Location:  Downtown Martinez, CA
Cost: $35 – buy in advance – they sell out!
Info:  http://www.bayareacraftbeerfestival.com/
Highlights:  Good beer (though I wasn’t overly impressed – I thought the 2014 selection was better) good food (we indulged in a Indian Tika Masala wrap – YUM), free shuttle from Concord Bart.
Bummers:  There’s just so many people, and it’s a relatively small space, you need to get there about an hour early – the line to get in gets insanely long!

Festival:  Walnut Creek Art & Wine

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5Date:  30 & 31 May 2015
Location:  Heather Farms Park, Walnut Creek
Cost: FREE!
Info:  http://www.artwinefestivalwc.com/
Highlights:  Good beer & wine, lots of good food options, great music playing all weekend, variety of arts & crafts, kids area, dogs welcome, free shuttle from Walnut Creek Bart and Shadelands Business Park.
Bummers:  None!

Here’s some other festivals I plan to attend:

Todos Santos Music & Market Series – http://www.cityofconcord.org/page.asp?pid=3000
Every Thursday Evenings, May – September, Todos Santos Park, Concord, CA

First Fridays in the Park – http://visitmurphys.com/first-fridays-in-the-park/
Murphys, CA

Operation Red, White and Brew – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/operation-red-white-brew-wine-craft-beer-tasting-event-benefiting-contra-costa-blue-star-moms-tickets-16213403727
June 28, 2015 in Martinez, CA

Lafayette Art & Wine Festival (my favorite!) – http://www.lafayettechamber.org/events/art-wine-festival/
September 19 & 20, 2015

Here’s some links to how I find out about what’s going on:

http://calendar.insidebayarea.com/
http://sf.funcheap.com/
http://www.visitsfbayarea.com/events
http://www.hiddensf.com/390-best-sf-bay-area-events.html
http://www.sfstation.com/music/calendar/bay-area/

If you have any event suggestions, or other ways to find out what’s going on in your area – please share!