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    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui

    Explore This Beautiful Island

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Enjoy this one again or for the very first time. Originally published October 2021.

    We love to hike and when we are traveling we always set aside at least one day a week to hike and get out into nature. And during our recent visit to Maui we discovered another great hike to add to the many favorites we already have on this beautiful island. So today I thought I would share with you six great hikes on the island of Maui.

    West Maui

    West Maui

    The area known as West Maui is home to Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili and Kapalua. We spent six weeks exploring this area recently. Here are two of our favorite hikes.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    This trail can be busy but it’s worth it because it is so beautiful and definitely one of the six great hikes on the island of Maui. Parking can be difficult but look for street parking near the Napili Kai Resort, or paid parking at Kapalua Golf Course. Start the hike right at Merriman’s Restaurant where the trail heads north. The trail then winds through spectacular lava flows where you can see crashing waves and nesting shearwaters birds nesting. Follow the trail along the road at the Kapalua Golf Course and out to the Dragons Teeth Labyrinth. Round trip about 4 miles. Learn more here.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    The Village Course and Duck Pond

    The Kapalua Golf Club closed one of their three courses in 2007. Today the cart paths of the defunct Village Course are a unique and somewhat eerie (and steep) walk through a golf ghost town. It’s astonishing actually how quickly nature has reclaimed this course, making the fairways essentially unrecognizable only fourteen years later. The walk is about four miles round trip at the top is Duck Pond, a nice stop to rest or picnic before returning down. Learn more here.

    The Village Course Trail

    South Maui

    South Maui is usually defined as Kihei, Wailea and Makena. We have spent a great deal of time in this part of the island and we love it.

    South Maui

    La Perouse/Hoapili Trail

    This is one of my favorites of the six great hikes on the island of Maui, but also a bit rough and difficult. Traversing over sharp lava beds, come prepared with the right shoes. It’s a hot and arid trail but provides some stunning views across to the Big Island of Hawaii. The trail is also a sacred trail for Hawaiians, once part of the King’s Highway that circled the island. Crossing the 300 year old lava field is a unique experience, if you are up for it I recommend it highly. Wear a hat and bring lots of water. Learn more here.

    La Perouse Hoapili Trail

    Central Maui

    The region sometimes referred to as Central Maui is home to the airport in Kahului and the government seat city of Wailuku as well as malls, shopping and industrial areas.

    Central Maui

    Waihee Ridge

    About a 7 mile drive north and west from Wailuku you find the parking area for the Waihee Ridge Trail. We have done this trail several times and had a wide variance in weather each time. Come prepared for rain, wind, fog or clear blue skies…you never know. Arrive early for parking. The trail goes up and up the green and beautiful ridge for about 2.5 miles and if you are lucky the views are phenomenal. Learn more here.

    Waihee Ridge

    Haleakala

    The astonishing volcano Haleakala rises 10,000 feet (3048 meters) out of the island and can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. If you go to do either of these suggested hikes get an early start. Often the volcano is clear in the morning but clouds roll in later in the day. BE PREPARED, Haleakala can be very cold in the morning…cold enough to warrant a stocking cap and warm coat.

    Haleakala

    Sliding Sands

    This is one of my favorite hikes on the island. Starting at the top of the volcano at the Visitor Information Center, Sliding Sands, as it’s name implies, is a red sandy trail that goes down inside the volcano crater. Don’t do more than you are capable of on this eleven mile round trip trail, because you need to come back up! Along this trail you will feel like you are on the moon. It’s beautiful, and you will also see the rare and endangered Silver Sword plant known only to grow in this volcano and the two volcanoes on the Big Island. Learn more here.

    Sliding Sands and Haleakala Silver Sword

    Halemau’u Trail

    Approximately 14.2 miles up Highway 378 but before you reach the summit, you will see the Halemau’u Trail parking on the left side of the road. This trail often starts in the mist and clouds, but don’t despair. As you walk the ridge and then go down the rock face trail into the crater the weather usually warms and clears. There is a picnic area that is a good turn around point. Or you can hike all the way through to Sliding Sands and back up to the Visitor Center. But you will need to either have two cars or someone to bring you back to the Halemau’u parking area. Learn more here.

    Halemau’u Trail

    Maui Hikes

    These are just a few of the many hikes available on the beautiful island of Maui. No matter your hiking skill level you can find a walk or hike on this island. If you are looking for additions to the six great hikes on the island of Maui check this out.

    See our post about things to do in Napili Maui here.

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    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Maui Hidden Gems

    Maui Hidden Gems Treasures Throughout the Island

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Enjoy this one again or for the very first time. Originally published October 2021

    Most people come to Maui for the beach. And yes the beach is pretty incredible. I should say the beaches are incredible, because there are so very many to choose from. And I get it – the lure of the tropical ocean breeze and the lapping waves in the golden sand. It’s a perfect way to shed your stress and just relax. Ahhh…but you are missing Maui hidden gems.

    Wailea

    Maui has so much more than just the beach in front of your hotel or condo. And I want to convince you to get out and see the magic of this diverse tropical paradise and find Maui hidden gems.

    Kula Botanical Gardens

    So come with me on a around-the-island-tour of my favorite hidden places, businesses and vistas – Maui Hidden Gems.

    Start in Kula and head north for a full one or two day tour described below. Also start in Kula and head south to do the Going to Hana Backwards tour (see link below)

    Upcountry

    Our tour begins in Upcountry, away from the beaches. This interior area of the island offers a slower pace, a cooler climate and some of the island’s lushest and most diverse flora. Here’s our upcountry hidden gems;

    Kula Lodge – Recently purchased by long time Maui restaurateurs, Kula Lodge will be reopening the 5 Palms Restaurant previously located in Kihei. This is a fun development. The view here is amazing. I sure hope they keep the pizza oven.

    Pizza at Sunset on the Kula Lodge patio

    Kula Botanical Gardens – privately owned and beautifully presented, this hidden gem showcases tropical plants of all kinds, tucked into the mountain terrain.

    Maui Veteran’s Cemetery – located in Makawao, a brief stop here provides the visitor a peek into the reverence and respect Hawaii has for it’s veterans of all wars.

    Ocean Vodka

    Ocean Vodka – enjoy a tour and tasting, take some vodka or gin home, and marvel at the view from this mountain top distillery in Kula.

    Kahului and Wailuku

    Most visitors don’t see more than the airport in these two island cities. Both cities are home to much of the islands full-time residents, government seat and industry. But hidden here are some of our favorite shops and one of our favorite Maui hidden gems restaurants.

    Sam Satos – low key and no website, this local noodle shop is rarely frequented by visitors. But it has become one of my favorite places to eat in Maui.

    Fabric Mart – I love picking up Aloha fabrics when in Hawaii. There are several fabric and quilting stores around the island, and the Kahului location of Fabric Mart is one of my favorites.

    Mochi from Maui Specialty Chocolates

    Maui Specialty Chocolates and Mochi – most visitors go home with Hawaiian Host chocolates. You’ll never buy Hawaiian Host again once you visit Maui Specialty Chocolates in Kahului. Try the Mochi too.

    Kahekili Highway (The North/West Tip Road) – Everyone has heard of the road to Hana, but Maui has another twisty, winding road with spectacular views – the hidden gem Kahekili Highway. Start this road in Waihee just outside of Wailuku and drive the lesser traveled route to Kapalui.

    Kahekili Highway

    West Maui

    Napili, Kapalua and Kaanapali make up the area known as West Maui and your drive around the tip of the West Maui Mountain on the Kahekili Highway will land you in Kapalua.

    Pineapple Hill – home to luxury homes with incredible views, Pineapple Hill can be walked on foot for an exhilarating hike. Watch for historic markers that explain the Maui hidden gems history of the Kapalua area, the Baldwin family and Pineapple Hill.

    Maui historic churches

    Kapalua Coastal Trail Labyrinth – Also called the Dragons Teeth Labyrinth this beautiful prayer labyrinth was built and is maintained by locals and is a true Maui hidden gem on the rugged Kapalua Coastal Trail. Walking the Coastal Trail is also a highly recommended activity.

    Labyrinth

    Historic Churches of Maui – throughout the island you will find many historic, often century-old structures. Some still in use today as places of worship, while others have been converted to other uses. West Maui has it’s share of this hidden gems.

    Lahaina

    Although it is one of the oldest Hawaiian settlements and was home to Hawaiian royalty, I am continuously disappointed in Lahaina. Over the past several decades Lahaina seems to have fallen from grace and needs someone to resuscitate it. Years ago it was home to shop after shop of local artisans including jewelry, sculpture and one of kind paintings. Today there are many boarded up windows and lots of tacky tourist tschotskis, alongside a handful of restaurants. Sidewalks are poor, paint is chipped and peeling and the town is a sad reminder of its former self. Lahaina does have some good restaurants worth a visit that keep this town alive. We really recommend Mala Ocean Tavern, Star Noodle and Down the Hatch.

    Additionally the Hawaiian government has lacked the initiative to preserve some of this island’s most sacred sites, that lie in ruin often behind chain link fences in Lahaina. These places are truly part of Maui hidden gems.

    Maui
    Maui Ghost Tours

    Maui Ghost Tours – take a walking tour of Lahaina and learn about the hidden gems of sacred sights, royal sights and lost sights important to the local Hawaiian people. It’s a fascinating tour.

    The Old Pali Road – as you drive from Lahaina south towards Kihei on today’s two lane highway called the Honoapiilani Highway, watch for remnants of the Old Pali Road built around the turn of the century. This old road remains in bits and pieces, a reminder of a simpler time on this beautiful island. You can walk parts of the Old Pali Road too.

    Koholo Brewing

    Kohola Brewing – hidden in a back parking lot of an industrial area of Lahaina, Kohola Brewing is a definite hidden gem of Maui. Maui is home to several outstanding breweries, but we loved Kohola’s industrial vibe and unpretentious operation. Go in search of good beer here.

    South Maui

    Kihei, Wailea and Makena make up the area known as south Maui and include some of the best beaches and hidden coves on the island. This desert area sits in the shadow of Haleakala and until the early 1980’s the road stopped at South Kihei where today the 5 Palms Restaurant is. Everything south of there has developed since then. It used to be a two day trip to get to the far end of the island. Today it takes about 30 minutes.

    Around the Island Trail

    Historic Around the island path – built in the 16th century the path used to circumnavigate the entire island, giving kings the power to control the island. Today remnants of the path can be found and accessed in many places.

    Hoopili Kings Highway – sometimes called the La Perouse Trail, this part of the old King’s Highway is the best maintained. Follow South Kihei Road until it ends, and you will be at the Hoopili path. Wear close-toed shoes and bring lots of water for this hot and barren landscape that crosses a 300 year old lava bed.

    La Perouse and Hoopilii Trail

    Secret Beaches – as you drive in South Kihei and Makena keep your eyes open for the many (often unmarked) beach access trails. Here you can find the secret beaches of Maui, often tiny coves and sometimes broad golden beaches.

    Wailea Path – if you aren’t staying at one of the fancy ocean front resorts in Wailea you may not know about the beautiful public boardwalk that runs the entire length of Wailea, about a mile and a half. A great place for a morning run, evening stroll and whale watching. Parking is available at several locations. It’s also a great way to get a glimpse at the beautiful resorts.

    Additional Hidden Gems

    Jolica Jewels

    Jolica Jewels – if you are looking for a perfect memento of your time on Maui, or maybe a special gift for that special someone, check out Maui based Jolica Jewels. Beautiful one of kind pieces of jewelry to fit any budget, all with a special Hawaiian flair, lovingly designed and created by local Jolica.

    Fresh Fish Maui – get the daily fresh catch report and order online with Fresh Fish Maui for the catch of the day delivered direct to your condo door. It’s the freshest and most delicious fish you can get on the island.

    And Those Are Our Favorite Maui Hidden Gems

    There you have it, some of our hidden gems of Maui. There is so much to see on this beautiful island, you can never see it all. So you’ll always need to come back for more. Maui no ka oi.

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    See last week’s post about hiking in Mount Saint Helens.

    Check back next Friday for Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui.

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    North America Travel

    Fall Hike in Mount Saint Helens

    We usually do our mountain hikes at Mount Rainier, it’s about an hour and half from our summer home in Washington. But we decided to venture a bit further, and drove the two and half hours to Mount Saint Helens National Monument for a fabulous Fall Hike in Mount Saint Helens.

    Mount Saint Helens

    May 18, 1980

    I was in college in May of 1980 when Mount Saint Helens blew her top. It’s a day I will never forget. One of those “where were you” moments. Fifty-seven people died, the entire region was ravaged and the landscape was forever changed.

    Spirit Lake with Mount Adams in the distance

    It’s been probably twenty years since I was in the national monument, and I was astonished to find how scared it still is. It’s a testament to both the power of the earth and the rebirth of nature. I stand in awe at this mountain, as I do for all the mountains in the great State of Washington.

    Johnston Ridge

    Fall colors

    We drove to the Johnston Ridge Observatory to begin our hike. Named for David Johnston, a 30-year-old volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, who was swept away by the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens on the morning of May 18, 1980.

    At the observatory there is plenty of parking and a visitor center. This is the start of several hikes. We decided to do Harry’s Ridge Hike.

    At the top of Harry’s Ridge overlooking Spirit Lake

    Harry’s Ridge

    Named for Harry R. Truman (October 30, 1896– May 18, 1980) was an American businessman, bootlegger, and prospector. He lived near Mount St. Helens, an active volcano in the state of Washington, and was the owner and caretaker of Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake near the base of the mountain. Truman came to fame as a folk hero in the months leading up to the volcano’s 1980 eruption after refusing to leave his home despite evacuation orders. He was killed by a pyroclastic flow that overtook his lodge and buried the site under 150 ft (46 m) of volcanic debris. (source Wikipedia)

    The trail is well maintained by dry and dusty

    The Ridge is an out and back 7.5 mile hike with fabulous views of of Spirit Lake and Mount Saint Helens. In the fall the area is covered in colorful red bushes (blueberries) and other low growing foliage, creating a beautiful Fall Hike in Mount Saint Helens. This hike offers almost no shade and can be very hot and dusty. Bring more water than you think you will need.

    Picnic lunch on Harry’s Ridge

    Visit Mount Saint Helens

    There is so much to do in the beautiful area from hiking and camping to fishing and sight-seeing. Learn more about Mount Saint Helens here.

    Hail Mount Saint Helens

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    Read about our favorite Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest here.

    See last week’s post Palm Springs Weekend

    North America Travel

    Palm Springs Weekend

    I had a wonderful time in beautiful Palm Springs California recently with a group of women I went to high school with. We try to get together every year to celebrate our long friendship and our continued comradery. This year’s reunion was a Palm Springs Weekend.

    Palm Springs

    Palm Springs Weekend

    Our annual reunions have been everywhere from Las Vegas to Nashville, Scottsdale to Seattle and once we did a cruise. We look for places with a variety of activities to fit everyone’s interest. Palm Springs fit the bill. Three days is not a lot of time but we squeezed a lot in and had a really fun time. Here are some of my recommendations for a Palm Springs Weekend with a date or with girlfriends.

    Where to Stay

    The Renaissance Marriott Palm Springs – I’m so glad we chose this hotel. It’s very close to the airport and an Uber is only $16. For our Palm Springs Weekend we did not rent a car, because the Marriott is so strategically placed. We joked that it was a half mile walk to everywhere. Very easy to get around. The Marriott rooms are spacious and comfortable and the pool side rooms have an amazing view. We also enjoyed the coffee shop and the bar. The staff was very helpful. Rooms start around $250 and up.

    Where to Eat

    We enjoyed dinner out at several great restaurants. Several of the girls also went out for breakfast or walked to coffee places nearby each morning. I recommend the following for dinner;

    Boozehounds – a fun place with indoor and outdoor seating. You can bring your dog to the outdoor seating and they even have a special menu for the pooch.

    Boozehounds

    Lulu’s Palm Springs – one of the most popular and most diverse restaurants in downtown Palm Springs. I had my favorite meal here. We all enjoyed this restaurant and our server was one of the best I’ve ever had.

    Lulu’s

    Las Casuelas Terraza – one of Palm Springs oldest restaurants, family owned and run and authentically delicious. We all enjoyed a variety of Mexican specialties from Tacos to salads and Ceviche. And of course Margaritas.

    Things To Do

    Spend time at the Pool – the pool at the Renaissance is wonderful.

    pool time

    Go to the Thursday night Village Fest – back after two years on hiatus during the pandamit, the Village Fest is all about food, music, crafts, art and people watching.

    Check out the Drag Show at the Copa Nightclub. I had never been to a drag show, but if you want to give it a try, Copa is great for Drag Show newbies. It was loud, colorful and pretty fun. C

    Copa Nightclub

    Gamble or eat or both at the Agua Caliente Casino – a couple of my friends walked away with some serious winnings…but not me. But I did enjoy the drinks and appetizers which are much less expensive here than most bars or restaurants. The casino is also smoke free. Bonus.

    Agua Caliente

    Much More To Do

    Check out my blog posts from when I spent two months in the desert. I wrote about lots of things including;

    My Favorite Dining Discoveries in Palm Springs

    Idyl Away in Idylwild

    Flora of the Desert

    There is also golf, hiking, music and so much more. I highly recommend Palm Springs Weekend or much longer. Learn more at Visit Palm Springs.

    Thanks for reading my post Palm Springs Weekend. See last week’s post Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

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    North America Travel

    Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

    A Must When in Northern Maine

    It’s probably time for me to rewrite my post from a couple of years ago My Favorite Gardens Around the World because I keep finding new and amazing gardens! So many gardens, so little time. On my recent visit to the State of Maine, and on the recommendation of my friends, we made a rainy visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. I am so glad we did.

    Even on a rainy day its worth a visit

    The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are open from May through October. The summer months can be really busy so plan ahead and order your tickets online. Even in the rain in September there was a lot of beautiful blooms, greenery and water features to enjoy.

    The Trolls

    We went specifically to see the amazing Trolls by Danish artist Thomas Danbo. Danbo makes these beautiful works of art from recycled wood. Danbo’s works can be seen at other locations around the world. Learn more here.

    Artist Thomas Danbo’s creations

    Perhaps Danbo will be bringing Troll’s to a neighborhood near you.

    A joyful thing to see

    Plan Your Visit

    Depending on when you visit The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden you can check and see what’s in bloom. The gardens are designed for year around interest and also include many special events and exhibits as well as permanent sculptures.

    Color in every season

    A small cafe is available in the gardens, but be sure to bring water, a sun hat and good walking shoes. Check the calendar of events before you go.

    Very family and kid friendly

    Located in the small town of Boothbay Maine, the gardens are about a three hour drive from Boston.

    Where is it?

    I highly recommend a visit to the beautiful Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

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    See last week’s post about Acadia National Park in the Fall

    See where our international travels are taking us next Away We Go – The Grand Adventure Begins Again.

    North America Travel

    Acadia National Park in the Fall

    Beautiful Acadia Maine USA

    I love the state of Maine. It is one of the most beautiful of all the United States. I’ve been blessed to visit there several times, and this fall I spent four days in Acadia National Park camping with friends.

    September in Acadia is a little too early for the bright fall colors, but it has the advantage of not being too crowded either. That said, Acadia is popular year-around. We saw some rain due to Hurricane Fiona which was passing off-shore but never made landfall in Maine. Temperatures were chilly on our first day but warmed up as our time went on.

    Hiking on our first day

    Camping with a group of friends at Smuggler’s Den was a great location, close to hiking and sightseeing. If you don’t want to tent camp, we also recommend Eden Village just outside the park boundaries.

    Camping with a Group at Smugglers Den
    Eden Village

    A Brief History

    Acadia has a rich human history, dating back more than 10,000 years ago with the Wabanaki people. The 17th century brought fur traders and other European explorers, while the 19th century saw an influx of summer visitors, then wealthy families. Many conservation-minded citizens, among them George B. Dorr (the “Father of Acadia National Park”), worked to establish this first U.S. national park east of the Mississippi River and the only one in the Northeastern United States. Acadia was initially designated Sieur de Monts National Monument by proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, then renamed and redesignated Lafayette National Park in 1919. The park was renamed Acadia National Park in 1929.

    Signs of Fall
    Some late blooming wildflowers

    From 1915 to 1940, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage roads throughout the park.[9] He sponsored the landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, whose family owned a summer home in Bar Harbor named Reef Point Estate, to design the planting plans for the carriage roads (c. 1930).[36] The network originally encompassed about 57 miles (92 km)[8] of crushed stone carriage roads with 17 stone-faced, steel-reinforced concrete bridges (16 financed by Rockefeller), and two gate lodges—one at Jordan Pond and the other near Northeast Harbor.[3 (Source Wikipedia)

    Comfort in the trees
    Relaxing

    Hiking

    We did two days of hiking and enjoyed the beauty of Acadia. There are numerous opportunities for hikes or leisurely walks in the park, and in the surrounding area. If you aren’t one for hiking you can also drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain but you need a reservation to do so.

    Hikes for all levels
    Beautiful scenes no matter where you go

    Park Loop Road

    The park loop road is an absolute must when visiting Acadia National Park. The views in every season are wonderful and definitely part of the experience. The road can be crowded so bring your patience. Or choose to get up at sunrise and drive it early, as our friends did. They highly recommend doing that. You can also take a tour bus or park shuttle.

    Park Loop Road
    Park Loop Road

    Tiny Somesville

    We spent one hour just walking around and enjoying the tiny hamlet of Somesville. Worth a brief stop.

    Lobster

    And be sure to have a lobster roll while in Maine!!

    Acadia National Park in the Fall

    Fall is a great time to visit this beautiful park and the state of Maine….but it’s also wonderful any time of year. Of course it’s much more crowded in the summer months and you really need to plan ahead. I hope you enjoyed my little photo safari of beautiful Acadia National Park in the Fall.

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    Be sure to see last week’s post about where we are headed next Away We Go Again!

    See this week’s top performing pin Monet’s Giverny and a Wee Bit More.

    North America Travel

    A Visit to Bend and Sunriver Oregon

    We spent a week in Central Oregon last month with my husband’s family, enjoying the beautiful city of Bend and the resort of Sunriver. It was our first time in Sunriver, but we had visited Bend several times. Bend and Sunriver are about 20 miles apart. The high desert area of Central Oregon is one of my favorite places in the Pacific Northwest. I wish we had more time, but here are some of the things we recommend on a visit to Bend and Sunriver Oregon.

    Where are Bend and Sunriver

    Located about three hours from Portland Oregon and six hours from my summer home in Port Orchard Washington, Bend and Sunriver are in the high desert of Central Oregon, offering a lovely dry climate with warm days and cool nights in the summer. Winter brings snow and cold but still dry compared to the area we live near Seattle. Bend and Sunriver are year-round playgrounds for hiking, cycling, water sports, downhill skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing as well as many other activities.

    Bend Oregon

    The Deschutes River runs through Bend

    Incorporated in 1905 Bend historically was a quiet logging town on the Deschutes River. Today however, Bend’s population has grown to just under 100,000 with many newer residents moving to the region for its outdoor recreation and beauty amongst the ponderosa pines. The city has a historic downtown, with shops and restaurants, many parks and is known for its many microbrewery options.

    Golf in Bend

    Rivers Edge Golf in Bend

    Bend has many golf courses, but we only have visited a few with our favorite being the Rivers Edge Course right near town.

    Restaurants in Bend

    A huge variety of restaurants are available in historic downtown Bend as well in the surrounding area. We have not been to as many as we would like, but our favorites currently are Wild Rose for its amazing northern Thai Cuisine, Longboard Louies for a quick Mexican lunch, McMenamins for burgers and beer, El Sancho Taco for the best Mexican in Oregon, Sintra for breakfast and Pine Tree Tavern for the history.

    Wild Rose
    Longboard Louies

    Beer in Bend

    Because we love beer, we always make an effort to try some different breweries when in Bend, as we work our way through the more than 25 breweries in the greater Bend area. During this visit we enjoyed checking out Good Life with its great outdoor beer garden, Sunriver Brewing with some delicious looking food although we didn’t eat there, and The Yard located in the courtyard of the Bunk and Brew Hostel.

    Good Life Brewing

    Sunriver Oregon

    Swans on the pond, Sunriver

    The first explorers filtered through the area in the early 19th Century and homesteaders started farming the region in the late 1800s. Sunriver is located on the grounds of the former Camp Abbot, a World War II training facility. The U.S. Army camp opened in 1942, but by June 1944 the camp was abandoned and most of the settlement was razed.

    In 1954, state highway 97 was completed in its current location and four years later, the Mt. Bachelor ski area opened. Both served to make Central Oregon a prime vacation and recreation area. Portland land developer John Gray acquired what would become Sunriver in 1965 and transformed the landscape into a residential and resort community.

    Today about 1700 people are full-time residents of Sunriver, but the population expands on weekends, holidays and in the summer.

    Family dinner on the deck

    Raft the Deschutes

    Since we were on a family vacation with a total of seven people, renting a raft at the Sunriver Marina seemed like a perfect activity for the family. Our raft for seven was meant for as many as ten, but I think ten people would have been uncomfortably crowded. We enjoyed the leisurely drift down the Deschutes on a beautiful day. Ten person raft was $330 (about three hours and includes transportation back to the Marina) but many options are available including kayaks and tubes.

    Family goes rafting
    Old guys pretending to be teenagers

    Cycle and Run or Walk the Paths

    Our giant Airbnb (five bedrooms and six bathrooms) was located right on one of the main paths that meander through the Sunriver resort. So every morning at sunrise I was the first one up and after the obligatory coffee, I was out onto the path for a run. Flat, paved and absolutely beautiful, I loved having that available. The rest of the family enjoyed it for running and long walks as well.

    Several of us brought our bikes and a few rented bikes, and we enjoyed a couple leisurely rides through the forest and along the river on the safe and well maintained trails.

    Family goes cycling
    My morning run

    Golf and Activities in Sunriver

    We did not golf while in Sunriver but there are four courses available as well as several swimming pools, a Nature Center and Observatory, horse stables and a shopping and restaurant center with events, concerts, markets and art fairs.

    About seven miles away back towards Bend on Hwy 97 you’ll find the High Desert Museum. Fun and interesting especially for families.

    High Desert Museum
    MIL with horse art

    Nearby Hiking

    On our final day we did two easy hikes that were perfect even for my 88 year old mother-in-law. Both these hikes would be good for kids and families too. I recommend the Benham Falls hike and the Lava Lands State area hike.

    If you are interested in more strenuous hiking there are many options near Mount Bachelor.

    Benham Falls
    Lava Lands

    A Visit to Bend and Sunriver Oregon

    We had such an enjoyable time in both Bend and Sunriver – a perfect place for a family vacation. I certainly would love to go again. You should consider a visit to Bend and Sunriver Oregon for your family or for couples too. There is so much to do.

    On the river
    With the hubs

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    See this week’s top performing pin Cyprus in My Heart Forever here.

    See last week’s blog post Golfing Around the Sound here.