by Ashley Lodato
If you're smitten with Bend, Oregon, you're not alone. No matter the season, Bend is a sweet spot to spend some time in--a high desert mountain town with both an urban vibe and a small town feel. And for good reason! Not only is there much to see and do in Bend, but if you just feel like doing a whole lot of nothing, it's a great place for that as well. Here are just 5 of the many reasons to love Bend:
1) A River Runs Through It
How many towns do you know that have a river flowing right through the middle of town? Just imagine--this north-flowing river, critical habitat to salmon and other fish, offers abundant opportunities for recreation (rafting! kayaking or SUPing at the Bend Whitewater Park! fishing!) as well as the chance to get involved in protecting and restoring it.
The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (which Bronwen Jewelry proudly supports) seeks to enhance and restore Central Oregon's world-class rivers by "protecting and enhancing clean water, improving native vegetation and promoting the kinds of stewardship activities that seek to balance the human and ecological needs in local communities." Learn more about restoration priorities here. And while you're wearing your Tiny Charm Wave, Waterweave Bracelet, or any other piece of Bronwen Jewelry, know that you are contributing to river health in Central Oregon.
2) A Bicycle Built for Two
Yeah, ok, most of us would agree that a bicycle built for one is a lot more satisfying, but whether you're a solo or a tandem cyclist, Bend has something for you. One of the driving factors of moving Bronwen Jewelry’s studio from Berkeley to Bend in 2012 was the proximity to world-class biking. Mountain biking, road biking, fat tires, cruising around on townies and electric bikes, and hauling cargo bikes with kids—you name it, Bend loves its cyclists, and the resident and visiting cyclists who come from all over the world love Bend.
Our love of cycling inspired us to become members of the Central Oregon Trails Alliance (COTA). COTA constructs and maintains human-powered multi-use trails and promotes safe and quality mountain biking experiences throughout Central Oregon. Bronwen Jewelry joined COTA not only because its founders are avid users of the trails and want to contribute to their maintenance and care, but also because we are passionate about outdoor recreation in general and stand behind COTA’s mission of enhancing the outdoor experience.
Like any good mountain biking community, Bend offers easy access to a vast network of trails. Many Bend residents work a full day and still have time for an epic ride after work, due to the ease of getting on the trails. While we at Bronwen Jewelry can't quite manage daily rides, we do jump at the chance to get out on some of our favorite trails whenever possible, such as Marvin's Garden.
For bike rentals or purchases, visit two Bend retailers whose support of bicycle sports is unparalleled: Pine Mountain Sports and Bend Electric Bikes. Both shops promote outdoor cycling and are great shops to rent or buy the bike that suits your needs.
At Bronwen Jewelry we’re all about cycles: the moon, the seasons, even the pattern of regularly repeated events we engage in, from Bend’s First Fridays to the annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. And yes, the rotation of those wheels on the bike of our choosing. At Bronwen Jewelry, we like to keep the wheels spinning. And as new ideas roll in, we make fabulous new products (like our Tiny Charm and Active Jewelry lines) available to you.
3) Downtown, Everything's Waiting for You
Bend's downtown scene is both bustling and friendly. You could spend every night for a month eating out in different restaurants and still not hit them all, but you'd sure have a rewarding culinary trip in the process. Some of our favorites are Zydeco Kitchen (northwest cuisine with a southern twist), Barrio (Latin-inspired), Mother's Downtown Kitchen (fresh, healthy, seasonally diverse), and 900 Wall (modern American). Crow's Feet Commons has an incredible backdrop of Mirror Pond and is a lovely place to sit in the sun overlooking the river, sipping a cider, coffee, beer, or wine. And you'll want to schedule a stop at the landmark Deschutes Brewery--the oldest of Bend's breweries in a burgeoning craft beer industry.
Between stops for sustenance and libation, you can visit Bend's fun and funky downtown shops--like Bronwen Jewelry for example! Bend Store carries local and regional products, Ju-bee-lee is a women's lifestyle and accessories boutique, Kitchen Complements is a wonderland of housewares, and Bendy Dog is a canine lover's delight. And those are just a few of the many places to tickle your fancy in downtown Bend.
Whether you're out on the town straight from a bike ride or all dolled up and ready for some nightlife, you'll feel especially put-together in one of our Artisan B necklaces or handcrafted sterling silver or gold earrings. In the summer months, you'll really shimmer in our beaded anklets.
If you've never been in a historic soaking pool, you'll want to visit the hot pool at St. Francis McMenamins, especially in the colder months. Soft, buoyant water cradles soakers while they gaze around at the shimmering turquoise tilework and up above at the open sky above. Time spent in this sparkling gem is both relaxing and invigorating, and followed by a glass of wine constitutes all you need for a full evening of activity. Best of all, any of Bronwen Jewelry's active line of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings can withstand the soaking pools, providing you with glimmer and gleam while you're in the water.
4) The Call of the Wild
Downtown Bend is captivating, but we're guessing that like us, you're enchanted with the great outdoors. And that's why visiting Bend is so appealing. Not only can you access incredible mountain biking trails, but you also have the Mt. Bachelor front and backcountry just outside of town. Are you an alpine skier? How does 4000 skiable acres and 3365' of vertical drop sound to you? Prefer Nordic? We've got you covered with 21 varied trails. You can hike to Mt. Bachelor's summit in the summer, or explore the high alpine Cascades Lakes.
Accessorizing for mountain adventure is simple: Tiny Charm Snowflake for winter, Tiny Charm Dandelion or Fish for summer. And the all-seasons, salt/sweat/water friendly Tiny Charm Mountain or Landscape Mountain necklaces look and feel great any time of year.
5) Get Your Groove On
Bend's yoga scene rivals that of bigger cities, without all the highfalutin attitude. In Bend, we do yoga for flexibility, calm, strength, and focus. Bend's yoga classes are well-attended by men and women alike--which as any yogi knows, is quite unusual. Groove Yoga has terrific teachers, loud music and sweaty yoga. Mmm, good! We recommend our Seated Lotus Necklace to help you find your center during one of these yoga sessions. For traditional Ashtanga, The Yoga Lab has some of the best instruction on the west coast, and fellow yogis will be dazzled by your Lotus Pod Necklace.
Oh, yes, we love Bend--you will too.