This past week I was so excited to welcome my parent-in-laws to our new home in Bend, Oregon! They were our first set of visitors since we moved out here in March and it was great to spend time with them and show them around!
We’ve been scouting out some good restaurants and cool sites to take them to while they were here! We did a lot of exploring and a lot of eating.
They arrived at the Redmond airport from Florida around 11:45 pm on Monday night and I know they were exhausted! We gave them a quick tour of the house and headed off to bed pretty quickly. Our two dogs Story and Linkin were so excited to see them and I had to drag them out of their room to go to bed. Luckily, they are dog lovers too so they didn’t mind!
I woke up pretty early to find them already awake, showered, and dressed for the day! I thought they would be tired from their travels, but considering they were still on Florida time, it was late for them!
We started out by going to McKay’s Cottage Restaurant for a late breakfast. It was warm enough to sit out on the patio and the food was incredible, like always. I got the strawberry crepes because who can pass that up?
After breakfast we went to the Tumalo Falls area and were a little disappointed to find out that the road to the falls was closed for construction, which means it would be a much longer hike than we were prepared for. I didn’t pack any waters and it was a hot day, so we decided to turn around and head back to town. Next time they come hopefully we can make it to the falls! We did get to see some gorgeous forest and mountain views though!
We then took the 30 minute drive to the town of Sisters. This town is so adorable! It looks like an old country western town, but everything is kept up nice and clean.
We walked around the tiny downtown for a bit and ate dinner at The Porch. Everyone got the chicken and waffles except me. I opted for the margherita flatbread (after finding out that they were out of sweet corn fritters) and it was delicious! Of course, I also got to try some of their chicken and waffles too!
After dinner, we headed back to Bend and called it a night.
We started out by going to the Lava River Cave, about a 15 minute drive south of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest. We had heard about the cave since moving here but had waited to visit with our company.
We went prepared this time with jackets (it is about 40 degrees in the cave), headlamps, a lantern, and some waters. You definitely need to bring a lot of lights when you go because the cave is super dark! If you don’t have one, the ranger can rent a lantern to you for $6. It didn’t cost us anything to get in because we brought our own lights and we have an annual national park pass which is also honored by the U.S. Forest Service. Glad we bought that!
The cave was about 1.2 miles long one way and there is only one way in and one way out. It was pretty cool to walk through the cave! Some areas were small, while others opened up into a large area. The only thing I didn’t like about it was how cold it was! I think next time I go I will bring a heavier jacket!
After the caves, we stopped at our favorite burger place in Bend, Hardy’s and had lunch. It was another gorgeous day outside so we opted to sit out on the front porch and eat. Coming from Florida, they were so impressed with being able to see the mountains from almost anywhere in Bend! It is definitely a change of scenery from Florida, one of the reasons we love it here so much!
After lunch we headed about 30 minutes north to Smith Rock State Park for an afternoon hike and gorgeous views. Wes and I just love Smith Rock and we knew this was a must see for them! When we went we hiked the misery trail, but this time we opted for a little easier (but still scenic) route on the wolf tree trail.
That night we picked up pizza from Papa Murphy’s Pizza (the cinnamon wheel is amazing) and headed home. It was a great day!
Wes had been planning this day out since the day his parents said they were coming out! It was the opening day for Jurassic World and we are big movie buffs, so we planned the day around seeing it!
We headed to the Old Mill District around 1 p.m. (after spending the morning getting some work and relaxation done at home) and took a 3-mile walk along the Deschutes river trail. This is one of our favorite places to walk in town and we try to go often!
After the river walk, we went to Greg’s Grill for dinner where they have delicious New England clam chowder and filet! I am not a big steak person, but their’s is a must!
We took them on a little tour through the gigantic REI and then headed to the movie. The Old Mill District in Bend is one of our most favorite places in town because it has everything…gorgeous river trails, shopping, restaurants on the river with awesome food and views, and a huge movie theater. We literally spent all day down there and I think they fell in love with that area too!
I was shocked to see how crowded Jurassic World was! There were tons of people waiting in line and we barely got seats in the theater. Come to find out, that movie broke all the opening day records. It was good and I would definitely recommend seeing it, as long as you don’t like to be a little frightened!
We started the day at about 8 a.m. and drove the one and a half hours south to Crater Lake National Park. We had heard such great things about Crater Lake but wanted to wait to go until we had visitors. It definitely didn’t disappoint! The views of the lake are spectacular and the blue color is gorgeous. I don’t think I have ever seen a color that deep blue in nature before in my life! It almost outdid the color of the water in Bora Bora (which is more of a teal color).
We ate our packed sandwiches and drove around the lake, stopping at each and every lookout point. Just when you think it can’t get prettier, it does! I already can’t wait to go back and explore some more!
I was really glad that the entire rim drive was completely open for us to drive around the lake. I read online that it had just been closed the day before so we got lucky!
Again, we didn’t have to pay anything to get into the park since it is a national park and we have our annual pass! Score!
We spent all day at Crater Lake and then got back to the house in the late afternoon, took naps, went for a neighborhood walk with the dogs, and headed back down to the Old Mill District (duh, because it’s awesome) for dinner at Red Robin out back on the patio.
Saturday ended up being a more chill day, but still fun! We headed out to downtown Bend around 10 a.m. and walked around the Saturday market, had lunch at the Pine Tavern (I had a lobster roll…delicious!) and walked around some of the other shops downtown.
It was another gorgeous day so we ate out on the deck at Pine Tavern. Come to think of it…I think we ate outside for every meal! You just can’t beat the weather right now in Bend!
On our way home I spotted a little creature on the side of the road out of the corner of my eye! We are all animal lovers so of course we pulled over to get a closer look. Come to find out, it was a mountain beaver! This was our first time seeing one so in true Floridian tourist fashion, we all started snapping pictures. We probably looked like weirdos, but oh well!
We started off the day at church and then drove up the Pilot Butte to get an awesome view of Bend from above.
After lunch we went home, grabbed our jackets, lanterns, and headlamps and headed out to try to find Boyd cave. I had read about Boyd cave and realized it was right around the corner from our house, so we decided to check it out.
I have to admit that it was pretty creepy. We were the only people out there and it was pitch black. Even though the lava river cave from a few days before was dark, there were a lot of people walking in and out of it so it didn’t seem so scary. Even with the four of us at the Boyd cave, we didn’t want to walk very far. It was a lot harder to walk through this cave too because it was very rocky and narrow. We walked in about 500 feet and decided that was good enough!
Sunday was a pretty low-key day, but that’s what Sundays are for!
This was their last day in Oregon so we wanted to make sure they saw everything they could! We decided to head out along the Cascades National Scenic Byway to check out the Cascade Lakes. We started at Elks lake and took a little walk on the beach.
Then we went to Sparks Lake and were shocked to see how beautiful it was! It takes a little more effort to get to Sparks Lake, as you drive down a dirt road, but it is so worth it! The scenery is beautiful. There were several people out there canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. It is definitely somewhere I would love to go paddleboarding. I just need to get a paddleboard first!
For lunch, we went to Dandy’s Drive-in and had our final meal with our company before they headed to the airport.
It was so great having them here and I was sad to see them go! It was exciting to show them all the beautiful things that Bend has to offer, and to share our new home with them! We had a full week of wonderful food and adventures! I definitely love having company and I am looking forward to having others out to visit this summer!
Have you ever been to Bend, Oregon?
What’s your favorite place to visit?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?