It was happenstance that we stumbled upon Anna Jacobs’ Instagram feed. It was very deliberate when we reached out to ask her to contribute to our magazine (shortly after, she launched her photography website). Here, she takes us on an adventure through Bend, Oregon – from sleeping under the stars to hiking green and misty waterfalls and standing atop awe-inspiring cliffs to take in awe-inspiring views.
Located in Central Oregon, Bend has been one of the fastest growing cities in the country these past few years. You’ll spot it on “Best Of” lists for outdoor enthusiasts, retirees, settling families and wanderlusts alike.
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, beautiful scenery year round, mountains and waterfalls-galore, and an unbelievable dedication to community-focused events, Bend makes for a pretty wonderful place to call home.
I moved to Bend about 2.5 years ago from New York City. It was a leap of faith, a wonderful adventure moving 3,000 miles away from home to a place I had visited just twice. Bend has encouraged me to explore the great outdoors and to rediscover my love for photography.
One of my favorite things about Bend is its close proximity to breathtaking places like Sparks Lake. The lake is situated about thirty minutes outside of town, and offers incredible views of three grand peaks: South Sister and Broken Top on one side and Mount Bachelor on the other. During the summer months, we take kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards to the lake and explore its many canals. I grab wraps from Devoures (pre-made organic deliciousness) and they make for a great and super convenient lake-side lunch.
Toketee Falls is a full day adventure from Bend, but boy is it worth it! These falls drop 113 feet and the hike is an easy 2 miles round trip. There are a lot of waterfalls in the area, but the reason this one “makes the cut” is because of the adventure that awaits upon reaching the viewpoint. Each time I visit Toketee, I crawl under the fence that lines the steps to the viewpoint (do not attempt this at home 😉 ). I make my way down a fairly sketchy, steep path, grabbing ahold of tree roots, climbing over fallen trunks and slippery rocks; the prize: an up-close-and-personal encounter with these magical waters.
Sahalie & Koosah Falls
When friends come to town, this is one of my favorite places to bring them. Sahalie and Koosah falls are a quick 45 minute ride from Bend, and the experience is exceptional. From the parking lot you can almost see Sahalie Falls, crashing down into the pool below it, creating large cascades of mist. I often try to convince my guests to crawl their way, through the mud, to a little hill that rests besides the base of the falls. They return soaking wet but awed and grateful for the experience. Then we follow the McKenzie River down about 15 minutes to catch sight of Koosah Falls. Two birds with one stone 😉
Broken Top Summit
There are so many wonderful hikes near Bend, but Broken Top is something else. During the summer months we drive up a rough road, with fingers and toes crossed that my car won’t get stuck in a massive pothole. From the trailhead, the hike is only about five miles round trip, and can easily be done in an afternoon. Upon reaching the summit, we climb over piles of lava rock to find “No Name Lake”. This glacial body of water and the scenery around it is just too good to be true. Once upon a time, in a tent beside the water, we watched shooting stars skim above us as we fell fast asleep.
I love a good, cutesy movie theater. Tin Pan is set back in an alley, you’d never know about it if someone didn’t point it out. They have a couple dozen vintage theater seats that face a projector, framed by dashing red velvet curtains. With beer on tap, candy, popcorn and wine behind the bar, this place is hard to leave. Oh! And of course a theater like this isn’t showing the box-office hits, they show small-name indie films, more commonly seen in cities far larger than Bend, Oregon.
After a long weekend of playing in the outdoors, and before diving back into the hustle and bustle of the week, I like to spend an evening sharing good wine with good friends while snacking on yummy bruschetta. Every Monday evening Portello features $5 glasses of wine – the perfect ending to a perfect Bend weekend…