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Central Oregon Adventures and a McMenamins Recommendation?

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Apr 4th, 2014, 05:38 PM
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Central Oregon Adventures and a McMenamins Recommendation?

We are returning to Oregon to repeat our enjoyable time at Depoe Bay. In addition, we are adding on some time to further explore Central Oregon - we stayed in Bend 1 night and did the Lava River Tube, but felt the area needed more time.

Last time, we did the week in Depoe Bay plus about 10 more days driving a loop covering Astoria, Forks, Redwoods National Park, Crater Lake, Bend, Hood River. Not to repeat those - looking some recommendations for day trips from Bend, as we have 6 nights at Seventh Mountain Resort.

Specifically - some casual hikes, scenic drives, horseback rides in scenic areas, shops with old junk treasures, oddball things. Oh - and way back when, my mother had a beer business in Prineville (in her young wild days), so am doing some research to maybe capture some family history.

We have stayed a night at McMenamins in Bend, but that's not in the cards this time. Have 2-3 extra nights before we need to head home; any suggestions on your favorite Mcmenamins? Maybe wine country or Portland? I am having difficulty picking, they are such a funky concept, so hard to judge and decide.
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Apr 4th, 2014, 06:11 PM
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Shoot - forgot to say, this is mid-September this year
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Apr 4th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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The John Day area is beautiful and in the town of John Day the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site is quite intriguing:

http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm
http://www.oregonstateparks.org/inde...kPage&parkId=5

Farther on we like Baker City and the Oregon Trail Interpretative Center, and beyond that the Wallowa Mountains and the towns of Enterprise and Joseph.

Oregon is quite a wonderful place, with some of its treasures summarized here:
http://traveloregon.com/cities-regio...ign=7W_2014_US

HTtY
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Apr 4th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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Spend a few hours at the High Desert Museum only 6 miles south of Bend. Did you stop at the Lavalands Visitor Center before going to the tube? Get a pass to drive up Lava Butte (limited parking at top).
Go out past Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Highway. Make a stop at Elk Lake. By mid September the Elk Lake Guard station will be closed for the year. Through August it will be staffed with a Passport in Time volunteer.
Off Rt. 58 going toward Eugene, you can see Salt Creek Falls from the top.
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Apr 4th, 2014, 06:45 PM
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For McMenamin's are you looking for a place to stay or a restaurant/pub? This is the last McMenamin's I visited.
http://www.mcmenamins.com/313-barley-mill-pub-home
Hawthorne Blvd in the SE part of Portland.
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Apr 4th, 2014, 07:14 PM
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Thanks, tom. We enjoy the offbeat, funky décor more than anything. So, mostly looking for a place to stay. Microbrews... not so much. Really authentic fruit brandy? (not just fruit flavored brandy) - point us in the right direction.

Having said that, we will likely visit the Barley Mill Pub too. In Bend, although we won't stay at St. Francis School, we are looking forward to some evenings there. It's just that we have timeshare use that we can apply to Seventh Mountain..

And yes, we've done both the Visitors Center and the drive to Lava Butte - will do another visit. Happened also on a very interesting Obsidian flow near Newberry, but had limited time to explore. That's on the must-do list. Would like to explore other volcanic features in this area, for sure.

btw - missed High Desert Museum last time, will do it this time. Have done Sonoran Desert Museum (Tucson area); very interesting in what the Sonoran desert presents as it moves north (have also been in southern BC - Osoyoos).

HTTY - many thanks. Travel Oregon has found my email and is already spamming me. I've been particularly interested in the Oregon Trail for some time, and will also check out John Day and the Wallowas.

Any thoughts on Prineville or Sisters?
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Apr 4th, 2014, 10:12 PM
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One of my favorite spots is close to Sisters at Camp Sherman on the Meltolius River- variety of places to stay but Metolius Lodge is likely the funkiest- right on the river.

http://www.metoliusriverlodges.com

Lake Creek Lodge is nice too but not on the river- however, it does have a restaurant and a community room and I believe a swimming pool.

The Metolius River area is very charming in my opinion. There are some hiking trails along the river and a good place to ride bikes too. You can even cross the highway and ride over to Black Butte Lodge which is a high end resort. If not bringing bikes, you could rent here. They have a lot of trails and spectacular views of the Three Sisters.

Black Butte is a nice place to stay also, but you said you wanted kind of funky.

At Camp Sherman there is a nice restaurant- gets pretty busy though and reservations might be needed. I think restaurant is called the Chinook but would need to check that for sure.

There are some nice hikes in the area of course. Canyon Creek Meadows is one. A few years ago there was a big fire and a lot of trees burned. You do have to walk through that area and I have not done that recently so not sure how much has regrown. The meadows are beautiful with snow capped mountain- in the spring and summer lots of wild flowers but you will miss that.

Another hike that is supposed to be great but I have not done is Tam McArthur Ridge out of Sisters- I think I will try to do it this summer.

Any interest in kayaking- flat water kayaking? You could arrange a trip in Bend . Sparks Lake is off the charts in beauty- 3 snowed capped mountains can be viewed from your kayak- although can not guarantee snow this year.
There is a lodge and cabins at Elk Lake and they have kayak rentals there and some funky cabins that are expensive for what you get but have stayed several times. There is also a restaurant with great lake views.

Well there's a couple of ideas - open for questions
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Apr 4th, 2014, 10:19 PM
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The restaurant at Camp Sherman is not the Chinook- its the Kokanee --LOL- well I knew it was a fish name.

http://www.kokaneecafe.com
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Apr 4th, 2014, 10:42 PM
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Canyon Creek Meadows hike

http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide....ek_Meadow_Hike
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Apr 5th, 2014, 01:54 AM
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We too enjoyed visiting John Day, and also walking through the fossil beds. The ranger there was extremely helpful and informative.
You really can't go wrong with most of what Oregon has to offer. I'd love to go back and explore some more.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 06:18 AM
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sunbum1944 - you were the one who steered us to the McMenamins St. Francis School in Bend on our last visit 3 years back. This time, we are thinking of trying one of the others on our way back to Portland, perhaps McMinnville or in Portland itself. Have you stayed at any of those?

We did try to fit a bit too much in last time and short-changed Portland, never made it to the Willamette Valley for wineries either. This time I am holding on to a couple of days to rectify some of those failures.

You also recommended the Lava River Tube (loved it, going back to spend more time in that area). I found those couple of threads and see other suggestions that we will have time to pursue this time. Thanks for those as well as these additional ideas.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 06:49 AM
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The fruit brandy you seek: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/i..._acquires.html
Please don't arrive in John Day after 5PM with less than half a tank of gas. I was sitting at the gas pump at 9AM waiting for them to open.
Plan on driving to the top of Paulina Peak in the Newberry National Monument. There are several hikes from there.
There is a good hike over a footbridge at Benham Falls out the road from Lavalands.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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The only other McMenamins I have stayed at is the Edgefield in Troutdale- good location as close to the PDX airport and also the beginning of the Gorge. It used to be a poor farm, then a nursing home and now a resort. There is a brewpub, a winery, a couple of restaurants and a movie theatre. I think its a fun place to stay. There is whimsical art painted on every door and wall and even pipe fittings.

I think the one in McMinnvelle would be good too and of course, you would have all that wine country around to explore.

Do you have Smith Rock on your list of things to? It is closer to Redmond - world famous for rock climbing. Nice trail along the Crooked River and you can watch the climbers in action- I saw a person fall one day but of course was roped up.

Agree there is a lot to do in Central Oregon. I have seen a lot of it but always more to explore.

I do like the John Day area too but maybe more driving than you would like. It is a fascinating area but pretty desolate. The Painted Hills are spectacular.

What part of the Willamette Valley are you thinking about for wineries? If you will be in the Eugene area let me know and I can recommend a few.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Thank you so much, tomfuller - I have been on the hunt for just this exact thing. Checked Cler Creek's website and find we will be able to visit the distillery in Portland. Pears grown in bottles; how cool is that.

Duly noted about gassing up. We drove the Freedom Road to Bella Coola last fall, and the same rule applied - "See a gas pump, fill it up."
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