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.

California Coast Part 1: Santa Cruz Region

Do you ever just need to run away, if only for a night?   I needed escape from the everyday routine.  I know I didn’t want to go too far, but far enough to feel like a mini-vacation.  We decided to go to the Santa Cruz region.  We picked Santa Cruz because 1) Boo has never been there 2) I have only been to the tourist Boardwalk & downtown 3) I heard it’s lovely.   As usual, I like to talk to folks who know the area to get some recommendations on where to eat and what to see.  I used the handy dandy interweb to find a good place to stay.  Here’s what we did.

Accommodations:  Redwood Croft B&B
Room:  The West Room with private patio.
Cost:  $225 + tax (that was with a military discount.  Yikes!)
Rating:  This place got rave reviews online.  I’ll give it an A for location and scenery, a C+ for breakfast and host.  The host seemed a bit… passive aggressive.  It was a bit odd.  Another couple raved about the breakfast, so I was a bit disappointed when plain pancakes and sausage came out.  Overall, we enjoyed out stay, but will likely not return.

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As usual, when I travel, I look for the best spots to eat.  I got these 2 recommendations from a friend who used to live in the area – and she was on point!

Breakfast (on our arrival morning):  Whale City Bakery, Davenport, CA
I heard the pastries were awesome but we went for a meal and split the Huevos Tortillas which was pretty good.  The coffee was tasty and the outside patio was awesome – and dog friendly!

Lunch:  Pizza My Heart, Downtown Santa Cruz
This place has grown significantly since I visited last.  It used to be a hole in the wall, and now it’s a huge restaurant.  The za was fine, nothing to rave about anymore.

Dinner:  The Cremer House, Felton, CA
If you’re in the Santa Cruz area and don’t want to head downtown for dinner, you HAVE to hit up The Cremer House.  This place is awesome!  The historic building is charming, with a nice wrap around porch for outdoor seating (with heaters).  The inside is super cozy, and you feel like you’re walking into a friends house.  After out late pizza lunch, we decided to go light and split the “Bob Salad” which was amazing.  We also ordered a flight of beer (3 of 8 were good) and the donuts… which were ah-mazing.  The staff is great, and everything else on the menu looked amazing.  Great spot.

IMG_0358 IMG_0360 IMG_0362On the drive home, we made a pit-stop in a little town called Pescadero to grab coffee and check out the shops, took a shot of the coast, and enjoyed every winding minute of the famous Highway 1.

IMG_8261 IMG_8258 IMG_8254 IMG_8260 IMG_8257 IMG_8256 IMG_8255 IMG_8253Great little runaway.  Very blessed to be able to take little vacations – so close to home.

God is good friends.  God is good.