Exploring My Future Hometown, Bend, Oregon

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One of the highlights of 2020 is that Sean and I figured out a retirement strategy – whoop! It’s just around the corner, 2 years away if things work out like we planned. Part of the strategy is to move from our beloved state of Colorado and explore the Pacific Northwest by moving to Bend, Oregon. I will miss Colorado and our friends, but also feel the need to explore another part of the country. I think Sean and I were gypsies in another life!

Bend is in central Oregon and has a population of ~100k and growing. It is essentially one giant playground surrounded by world-class mountain-biking, road-biking, skiing, rock-climbing, backpacking, hiking, golfing and boating opportunities. What’s not to like?! It’s an outdoor lovers dream.

Back in May, we bought a home and are using it as a rental until we can move in ourselves. In October, I flew there to check on the house (for potential meth labs – haha) and meet my property manager in the flesh. I also got to spend some time with my Bend buddy, Jules from GO JULES GO. She is a ROCKSTAR to say the least and I’m grateful to have met her through this blogging community. She will teach me a thing or two about plant-based diets. My expanding waistline demands it!

I spent most of my time driving around and getting acquainted with the place. Thought I’d share some photos from the trip and give a taste of what our lives will be like soon enough.

Bend sits on the gorgeous Deschutes River. All kinds of fun things happen on this river – SUPing, kayaking, tubing, rafting, etc. On Halloween, locals dress up in witch costumes and SUP down the river. Jules and I WILL be doing this whether she likes it or not! She’s lucky I have an extra paddleboard. No backing out!

Half of Bend is in a pine forest, the other in the high desert. The altitude is about 3,600 feet – so it’s nice and chilly in the winter, comfortably warm in the summer. The weather is more like Colorado – sunny 300 days a year – rather then the typical rain and drizzle of Seattle and other areas of the Pacific Northwest.

The images below were taken on various drives outside of the city. It happened to snow one day – I was lucky enough to witness it. There are several really nice lakes nearby where we can someday take the paddleboards and perhaps camp along the shore.

The town is SUPER CUTE with little nooks and crannies of amazing coffee shops and food trucks, outstanding breweries and abundant, seasonal farmers markets. Everything is within 6 minutes of our house, sometime 8 if there is a twinge of traffic. When the weather’s nice, we WILL be on our bikes tooling around town. Weekly concerts and festivals are a regular occurrence in the summer – at least when COVID isn’t present. There are plenty of fun-runs and other community events all year round. I definitely want to get involved as much as possible – something I have missed given YEARS of traveling for work.

Since Bend is located in the center of the state, it’s close to everything. Rock-climbing (Smith Rock) is a half-hour away, the beach (Cannon) 4 hours and Crater Lake National Park, 2 hours, tops. Oh, and some of the finest Pinot Noirs are produced a hop, skip and a jump away. If I need a big city fix, Portland is a 3 hour drive and Seattle only 5. There is an airport about 25 minutes from town so it’ll be easy to fly where-ever we need to go.

Sweet mountain biking trails and what I would consider the “Central Park” of Bend are literally within 2 miles of our new home. Yogi is going to love Shevlin Park. He’ll be excited to know he can walk off leash. Apparently, this place is great for cross-country skiing as well. Since I don’t downhill, this is perfect!!!

As you can see, Bend fits our lifestyle wants and needs pretty perfectly. I have barely scratched the surface with this post. There is sooo much more to do here with all of the hiking trails, fishing honey holes, and tons of golf in the area.

We are scared and excited for the change. Seems like everyone we know has a “friend in Bend” they want to introduce us to. That will be nice to have more than a few friends up there, sort of, right away.

As far as Colorado goes, we will be back frequently and hope our friends, near and far, will pay us a visit in our new town.

β€œWhy do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett

Cheers to scary, exciting, wonderful, challenging new beginnings :-).

…i choose this…

Pam

97 comments

  1. Sounds like the perfect choice for you guys. πŸ‘ We made a sea change in 2019 and are loving every minute of it. Like yours our new town has everything we wanted for our future and we are finding quite a few of our friends have moved not too far away either. I’m sure you will love it!

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  2. I am really excited for you. A whole new chapter and glorious adventure awaits. I really admire how you did your homework and picked a place that nourishes you on many levels – mind, body and soul!

    Susan Grace

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    1. Thank you Susan Grace! It will be an adjustment and realistically will have some lonely moments away from the 20 year friendships I have here in Colorado. But, they can come visit and I’ll be back here as often as possible. πŸ™‚

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  3. I think you picked well! Colorado is hard to beat when it comes to outdoor fun, but central Oregon seems like another great playground for the next chunk of your life. You guys are also so good at making the most of wherever you are. You know we will be visiting!

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  4. Looks amazing! We’ve recently been confronted with the reality that Denver may not be our long-term home and we’ve been searching for smaller places that offer similar opportunities (and also jobs…). We just might have to add Bend to our list πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh no on the Denver part – I am just over the crowding, traffic, etc. We don’t venture too far from home – I go to Denver once a month – MAYBE. So, a smaller place seems to be fitting. The thing about Bend, depending on what you do for a living, not a ton of good paying jobs in town. Most commute, are retired, or work from home.

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    1. It is definitely going to be a change for us, but everything is soooo much closer than here in Boulder. and hopefully much less traffic. It will be an adjustment living in a ‘small’ town, but we will have fun doing it πŸ™‚

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  5. She’s just kidding everyone. Bend is terrible. Don’t move here. (That’s the tongue-in-cheek slogan that some even have memorialized on bumper stickers!)

    I see your Halloween SUP-ing and raise you snowshoeing in Shevlin Park! (Also, did we talk about Good Dog park? Just wait.) Bend is so lucky to have you (soon-ish)!

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    1. Ha! There are tshirts that say “Colorado sucks, tell all your friends.” YES to snowshoeing!! No we didn’t talk about this magical place called the Good Dog park! I REALLY want to be a contributing member to the town πŸ™‚

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  6. Wow! That sounds like an amazing place to retire, Pam! Awesomeness on two years!! We are hoping that we are on a 5-6 year plan. That gets all the kids through college. Not sure where we’ll go, but it’s likely I’ll want to be closer to my family back in Florida. I do love the hiking up here though. πŸ™‚ The scenery in Bend looks stunning….and that river!! Deschutes Brewery was supposed to build a brewery here in Roanoke, but I’m pretty sure that on hold. There is a tasting room downtown though.

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    1. Being close to family makes sense! I have relatives in Florida also, but I need trees and mountains. The river is truly a beautiful bonus to the town. Being close to a little water will be nice. We do love Deschutes – looking forward to spending some quality time at that brewery :-).

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  7. I’ve heard of Bend, but have never been to Oregon [or Colorado for that matter]. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new hometown and state. It looks pretty, pretty. It sounds like you’ve got it going on.

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  8. Great plans Pam! We visited part of Oregon few years ago, and we fell in love. It is so exciting when making such plans, and I think you choose very well! I am thinking more of rural areas when retiring, although my hubby still dreams at his lovely Province😊 We shall see,
    Have a great week ahead!
    xx

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  9. I’d say you are excited, Pam. Watch out, the Chamber of Commerce may hire you. There are reasons why Bend is hopping and you’ve captured several. Peggy and I moved to Southern Oregon 10 years ago and we have never looked back. Every morning we wake up with a smile on our faces. –Curt

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    1. Were your ears burning today???? I was thinking about you this morning! I was going to spend some time on your blog to catch up. Yes! We will be relocating in a couple of years – totally pumped!!

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  10. How exciting for you (the move AND the retirement)! I’ve heard such great things about Bend. We’re considering road tripping out there this summer, but lately I’ve been craving a stress-free fly-and-chill-out type of vacation, so we’ll see what happens. We’ll get there some day, though, I can promise you that!

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    1. YES!! I am elated about it and then I get stressed – LOL. Nothing is ever easy. Well, hopefully we will be living there by the time you make it up there. Would love to show you around. I have hardly scratched the surface, but do have the basics down!! If you make it up there before I get there, between Jules and I, we can give some idea of things to do depending on how long you will be there. Looking forward to knowing what your travel plans might be in 2021!!

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  11. Sounds like the perfect plan for you! We spent a few nights in Bend on a road trip through Oregon decades ago, and really liked it and the whole area – in fact, the whole of Oregon! Although as a Brit I had to smile at the notion that a four hour drive to a beach qualified it as ‘near’ πŸ˜†

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    1. ooh,, you have done so much here – that’s pretty cool. We do have some very nice places to explore. I take it for granted all the time. That IS funny about the distance to the beach. I guess living in Colorado it’s about 16 hours to the nearest beach we would want to visit!!

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  12. We’ve done quite a few road trips in the US – we love your National Parks and wonderful landscapes! In England, the furthest you can live from the coast is 70 miles but most people are closer than that. We don’t consider ourselves as living near the sea but we could be at a beach within 90 minutes from home. If someone here says that the beach is close I would imagine that they lived within a 30 minute drive πŸ˜†

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  13. Cheers to “little nooks and crannies of amazing coffee shops and food trucks, outstanding breweries and abundant, seasonal farmers markets”!!! All the best with this new plan. Sounds absolutely perfect for you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re planning to put our house for sell this Spring in order to move away. I know the feeling!!!
        But as far as you’re concerned, the outdoors will fill you with everlasting joy!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. So happy to hear about this move and to see where you’ll be living soon! Totally relate with your last quote about leaving.
    AND you will be closer to the PCT when I finally make it there πŸ˜‰
    The whole adventure sounds particularly awesome and fits you and Sean soooo perfectly it’s almost unreal!
    You’re the woman who makes all of her dreams come true, I love that about you!
    Can’t wait to hear more adventures of yours in Oregon!
    xoxoxo

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