written by Jen Stevenson
To begin your weekend wanderings in Central Oregon start by heading east on Highway 22 from Salem, stop for a marionberry scone break at homey Rosie’s Mountain Coffee House in Mill City, or continue on to Mountain High Grocery in Detroit for the homemade doughnuts. If traveling via Highway 26, brake for blueberry cake doughnuts and apple fritters at Joe’s Donut Shop in Sandy.
In Sisters, get a hearty start to the day with The Cottonwood Cafe’s Big Tree Benedict, piled on a flaky homemade herb biscuit. After poking around the local shops, take a golden milk latte and crêpe break at Suttle Tea teahouse, pick up local provisions and organic smoothies at Melvin’s Market, then share wood-fired pies on the patio at Boone Dog Pizza cart. Or, drop in for lunch at Rainshadow Organics, an enchanting 200- acre working farm and market 15 miles northeast of town, then drive two miles south to scenic Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards, a unique 312-acre high desert winery specializing in cold-hardy varietals. If visiting on a Saturday, stay for the live evening concert and wood-fired pizza. Otherwise, return to town and continue wine tasting on The Open Door wine bar’s picturesque patio, then grab a few local ribeyes or homemade kielbasa for the grill at Sisters Meat and Smokehouse, an artisanal butcher shop with a strong sandwich menu and eight local beers and ciders on tap. Greet the day in Bend with a cortado or citrus ginger mint cold brew at Spoken Moto, part coffee shop and craft beer bar, part motorcycle shop. Walk a few steps to the Box Factory, a historic former, yes, box factory, turned collective of hip local restaurants, breweries, bars and shops—keep things light with an açai bowl and Meet Your Matcha smoothie at Fix & Repeat, or indulge in the sweet potato sage waffle with poached egg and smoked paprika hollandaise at beautifully bemuraled Foxtail Bakeshop. For lunch, chow down on a meatball sub with arugula pesto or BLB (Bacon Lettuce Beet) at Jackson’s Corner’s cheery westside location, then log a few stamps in your Bend Ale Trail passport (or book a seat on the Bend Brew Bus).
For dinner, go the white tablecloth route at Ariana, join the merry crowd at globe-trotting Spork for pozole rojo and spicy pork noodles, or backtrack to the industrial district for grass-fed burgers with poblano harissa by the bonfire at Scoutpost food cart, which also turns out some of the best doughnut holes ever fried. Cool down with post-supper scoops at downtown’s Bonta Natural Artisan Gelato, then sip a Rozata Sour nightcap at The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin. Before lacing up your hiking shoes at Smith Rock State Park, stop in Redmond for a cappuccino at Green Plow Coffee Roasters, followed by the thick-cut pepper bacon- topped buttermilk pancake tower at charming One Street Down Cafe. After a morning on the trail, brave the mile-high bacon cheeseburger and herb-seasoned waffle fries at the Food Fellas cart, parked next to Wild Ride Brewing. Burn off a few calories cruising the local antique shops, or continue 15 minutes up Highway 20 to Maragas Winery in Culver, for an afternoon of sipping award-winning 2015 Blanco alongside the bocce ball court.
Plan your Sisters escape mid-week, and catch one of Suttle Lodge’s Wednesday Night Cookouts, held in the lodge’s lakefront beer garden; or, book one of the summer Dock Dinners, which pair top Portland restaurants like Mae and Tusk with renowned wineries like St. Reginald Parish and Cameron. In Bend, check into a luxury lodge room at Tetherow, and risk never leaving the 700-acre resort—play a round of golf on the 18-hole course, take a yoga or barre class in the new state-of-the-art fitness facility, lounge in a poolside cabana and dine on seared pheasant with a view at Solomon’s, then settle in on your patio with a glass of Oregon pinot noir to watch the high desert sunset.