Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend Wanderings: Sunriver Resort

5 Reasons to Hightail it to Bend, Oregon.

If you live in the PNW, you’ve likely heard rave reviews about a little town in Central Oregon where the scenery is stunning, the people laid-back, the community strong, and the quality of life enviably high. After one quick visit, it’s pretty obvious why so many feel the magnetic pull toward Bend.

Oregon Trail pioneers named the area for the fordable part of the Deschutes River, known as “Farewell Bend,” and these days folks flock here for the bounty of outdoors sports, the sensational natural terrain and a thriving food and drink scene that includes the tasty Bend Ale Trail. Staying at Sunriver Resort means deluxe accommodations with awesome amenities, placing folks close enough to the downtown action if they care to partake, but also far enough to relish their picturesque, tranquil, 3,300-acre retreat.

Courtesy Sunriver Resort

Photo by Sunriver Resort.


Driving between Seattle and Bend can take around seven hours, which can be broken up with a fun Portland pit stop. (Sunriver Resort sits about 15 minutes from “downtown” Bend.) However, why not make the commute extra easy by hopping on an Alaska Air flight to Redmond/Bend? The journey takes no more than 45 minutes and comes with killer mountain views, friendly flight attendants and a tasty bonus—the choice of complimentary (local) beer or wine.

Photo by Corinne Whiting


…And could for awhile longer! This has been a particularly white winter, much to skiers’ delight.

In this outdoors mecca, alfresco activities abound in any season, and early spring is no exception. The Deschutes National Forest and its surrounding wilderness areas allow visitors and locals to get their fresh-aired, adrenaline-soaked fixes with sports like mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, world-class skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and—in warmer months—whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, fly fishing and so on.

Mt. Bachelor, the crown jewel of Oregon skiing, sits 18 miles west of Sunriver and features more than 70 groomed runs and an average annual snow base of 150 to 200 inches. Also, explore recreation options on the Sunriver property (like 40 miles of paved bike paths plus brand-new cross-country ski trails), or tag along with knowledgable, friendly and witty Wanderlust Tours guides that make any adventure educational and fun. (They even lead moonlight and starlight snowshoeing tours!)

Jeff Gartzke of Wanderlust Tours, photo by Corinne Whiting

Jeff Gartzke of Wanderlust Tours, photo by Corinne Whiting


A healthy, fresh breakfast (or evening glass of wine) enjoyed on a porch rocking chair that looks out onto the mountains or savored indoors by a roaring fire … I mean, c’mon, does it get much better than that?

Sunriver offers lodging options from hotel guestrooms to luxury cabins and homes. The welcoming spaces have perfected a rustic-chic vibe with warm hues and bonus perks that make it feel like home.

Property amenities range from an indoor saline pool plus pickle ball and tennis courts to a top-notch spa, countless onsite dining options and cozy, alfresco fire pits. (A complimentary shuttle transports guests throughout the resort, too.) Come back in warmer months for golfing, the hopping beer garden and a brand-new, giant, “zero-entry” pool. Families also love visiting the Nature Center and stargazing at the Oregon Observatory. The list of activities goes on and on.

Courtesy Sunriver Resort

Photo by Sunriver Resort.

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Sunriver in-room dining, photo by Corinne Whiting


Simply stepping onto the property lowers one’s heart rate, as you effortlessly melt into a slower tempo and refreshingly relaxed rhythm. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a massage more delightful than those given at the Sage Springs Club & Spa. (Try unique options like the Oregon Hazelnut Scrub or Sunriver Nourishing Body Wrap.) It should come as no surprise in this part of the country that the instructors take a holistic approach to wellness and use locally-sourced products that support nearby farmers and communities.

Courtesy Sunriver Resort

Photo by Sunriver Resort.


Eat and drink your heart out. Delightful Northwest cuisine abounds on the property, showing off the region’s bounty of fresh and seasonal meats, seafood and produce. Enjoy small bites and wine on tap in the spacious Living Room (bside yet another mesmerizing fireplace), dine on Chef Travis Taylor’s tasty dishes at Carson’s American Kitchen (named for famous explorer Kit Carson), or grab a nightcap and shareable plates at the Twisted River Tavern, which can get lively with music and rowdy revelers on weekend evenings.

A surprisingly delightful scallop-bitter chocolate hollandaise dish at a recent Sunriver Tasting Dinner, photo by Corinne Whiting

Sunriver celebrates the region’s most delicious treasures throughout the year. For example, Central Oregon is home to 29 breweries, and the next installation of the Sunriver Resort monthly tasting dinner series (March 25) features one of the most popular neighboring beer producers—Crux Fermentation Project. Past feasts have honored local wineries and other innovators who’re spicing up the Bend food and drink circuit.

Sunriver Resort

Photo by Sunriver Resort.

Courtesy Sunriver Resort

Photo by Sunriver Resort.

We encourage you to enjoy the brews, views and everything else Sunriver and Bend have to offer. Chances are—you’ll be planning your second trip down just moments after you’ve arrived.




About Corinne Whiting

Corinne, an east coast native who relocated here from the other Washington in 2011, was bit by the travel bug early on. She lived in Strasbourg, France (during her junior year at Georgetown University) and in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she got a masters degree in Cultural Studies. She feels very grateful to have explored incredible spots on our globe ranging from Bolivia and Egypt to Turkey and China, but there are passport pages yet to fill (and travel tales yet to be written!). After serving as associate editor at Where magazine in D.C. for five years, Corinne has embarked on a new adventure here in the PNW as a freelance writer and photographer, contributing to publications like National Geographic Traveler, the Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine, Amtrak's OnTrak, 1889 Washington, 1859 Oregon, Visit Seattle and so on. She loves exploring this incredible corner of the country while debunking the rain myths, upping her coffee quotient, hearing heaps of live music and finding her Zen near the water as often as possible.
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