For Mike's birthday (6 months ago) I gave him a winter weekend at the McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend, OR. I presented his gift in the form of flash cards, which he was quite tickled with, and which have sat on my desk for the last six months until it was finally "winter" enough to go. While the East Coast suffers under many feet of snow, those of us in the Pacific NW have had a very mild winter. We decided that this last weekend was the perfect time to head east of the mountains and remind ourselves what it looks like.
It proved to be more elusive than we thought, as we had to drive high up the mountain before we saw any. Our plan was to snowboard, ski and snowshoe, but we didn't actually do any of that. At $140, the snow on the slopes wasn't worth the money, and while we did trek through the snow, we didn't actually need our snowshoes as the snow was so hardpacked that our trail shoes were more than adequate. At first we were mildly disappointed, but then realized that sunny days, blue sky and gorgeous views were easily just as enjoyable as snow.
Bend is home to 7 breweries, and on this trip we checked out the Bend Brewing Co., Cascade Lakes Brewing and the brewery at the Old St. Francis School.
We also tried dinner (and breakfast) at the Old St. Francis (dinner was okay, breakfast was great). In addition to the on-site brewery and restaurant, the Old St. Francis also has a movie theater, with complimentary admission to hotel guests (we saw Due Date - which is a good movie if you don't have to pay for it).
We also tried the open air, saltwater soaking pool, which was incredibly relaxing. The only problem was that it's also open to the public, so we had to wait until 11 pm in order to enjoy it in peace. Not really a problem, as soaking in the pool was a wonderful thing to do before bed.
Happy Birthday, Mike! Let's do it again in 6 months...