Finding Purpose in Bend, Oregon

In December I wrote a three part series about finding your purpose (part 2, part 3). My journey ended with a strong purpose statement and a purpose destination. Bend, Oregon.

I was reminded during my Soul Cycle class this morning about the power of purpose (thanks, Andrew Stinger – you rock!). Not only does Andrew inspire with his story about beating some incredible odds to walk again. He also quit a job at Google to become a Soul Cycle instructor and joined the non-profit organization, watsi, funding healthcare for people around the world. That’s purpose!

The decision to move my family and career to Bend was not simple. I turned down a promotion and am leaving what many refer to as the mecca of career opportunities – the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have looked at me puzzled, asking the question, “What about your career?” My career is just fine. Opportunities on the horizon include: actually taking some months off to transition my family after the move (insert fist pump), starting a consulting gig, working for one of the many Bend startups (creating order out of chaos) or commuting to a new role outside of Bend.

I wrote the below travel guide entry for an upcoming school auction item. The words poured out easily. It was another defining moment that underpinned my purpose. All from the heart. For an area that has driven purpose into my life. Enjoy. See you in Bend…

Destination: Sunriver, Oregon
Name of Family: Newcomer

A little bit of Newcomer history… while Todd and I were dating, we spent quite a few winter moments snuggled up in Sunriver Resort. Todd eventually proposed to me on New Year’s Eve 1999 (millennial!) and we were married at the Great Hall in Sunriver on May 26, 2001. We subsequently have gone back almost twice a year – to celebrate Thanksgiving and to compete in the annual Pacific Crest Sports Festival (Olympic Triathlon is our favorite). Todd and I had always planned to retire in the Bend, Oregon area and decided why wait! We will move our family in July 2016. We will miss the Woodside community. This town welcomed us warmly from the beginning and our girls have flourished at Woodside Elementary. Thank you and come visit us in God’s country!

Age of Children/Recommended Ages: 0 -110

Length of Stay: 5 – 7 days (or move there when you fall in love with the area as we did)

Lodging Recommendations:
  1. Sunriver Resort – three options for all group sizes:
    • Lodge Village – sleeps 2 to 6 people in rustic central Oregon lodge d├ęcor
    • River Lodges – newer and more space to spread out with a deck and views of the Cascade Mountains and the Deschutes River. Todd and I stayed in the suite for our honeymoon.
    • Vacation Rentals – these are beautiful homes for rent that range from cute and cozy to simply luxurious, sleeping from 6 to 14. Todd and I rent a luxury home when we celebrate Thanksgiving every year with our family.
  2. Bennington Properties – the way to stay at Sunriver is to rent a house. Bennington is a pet and family friendly business that has never steered us wrong. They have beautiful homes, most with hot tubs (our favorite must have for winter soaking in the snow) and appropriately stocked kitchens for Thanksgiving cooking (dishes, utensils and double ovens). We have some favorite homes – just ask us.

Restaurant Recommendations:
  1. Blondies Pizza – we have a tradition of getting Blondies Pizza for dinner on the night we arrive. They never disappoint. And don’t forget to grab a large container of their famous garlic powder mix. We know it’s time to go back to Sunriver when this jar is empty…
  2. The Crosswater Grille – This is a great place for a more formal family dinner. The food is fresh Northwest style with seafood and free range animals. Todd and I have had many anniversary dinners here.
  3. Goody’s – This is a family sweet treat. With handmade chocolates, candy, caramel corn and ice cream, a family gathering is not complete without a stop here. There is also an assortment of cute stuffed animals that somehow always make it home with us…
  4. Marcello’s Cucina Italiana – We recently discovered this gem. Great Italian food. Won’t disappoint.
  5. Sunriver Brewing Company – A great place to wind down after a day on the mountain or the sunny trails. Tasty craft beers and a great atmosphere.
  6. Hot Lava Baking & Coffee Co. – Great cup of coffee and the best cinnamon rolls. Also great if you need a special occasion cake or cupcakes.

Local Transportation Recommendations:
We recommend you rent a car. Choose any of the national rental car companies that are at the Redmond/Bend airport or Portland airport (if you want to enjoy an easy and beautiful 3.5 hour drive to Sunriver).

Babysitting/Nanny Options:
We have not used these services, but have heard three great options to include:
  1. Bend Snappy Sitters – great website and recommended by Sunriver resort for wedding guests
  2. Babysitters on Call – Bend, Oregon. Around for over 17 years.
  3. Ft. Funnigan at the Sunriver Resort for day camp activities and supervision for all ages

Positives and Negatives of this vacation:
  • 1 ½ hour direct flight from SFO
  • Year round recreational fun: Summer or Winter
  • More than 40 miles of paved bike and running trails that cross the entire resort – most houses stock bikes to use
  • Four Golf Courses
  • Sharc Aquatic & Recreation center
  • Summer activities for the whole family, any age (see below)
  • Winter fun activities for the whole family, any age (see below)
  • Clean mountain air, including…
  • More than 29 micro-breweries in a 30 mile radius – the Napa Valley of beer
  • Mt. Bachelor ski resort is a short 20 minute drive away (see below for details)
  • No sales tax!
  • You need to rent a car… which you may need to chain up
  • Book early for July/August or you won’t get a good place to stay


Suggested Itinerary for Activities: 
  1. Mt. Bachelor ski resort: Boasting 88 total runs, 3,683 acres of skiable area, a base elevation of 5,700 ft and a top elevation of 9,065, sun and dry powder skiing abound. A new 10-year Master Development Plan was approved by the USFS in 2013. Approved projects include Summer Downhill Mountain Bike Park, Zip Line, eastside quad lift and trails, replacement of Rainbow and Sunrise lifts, new/larger Sunrise Lodge & expanded Sunrise parking, Alpine Race Training Center at West Village and West Village Lodge renovation/expansion. Sunriver has a Mt. Bachelor ski shuttle.
  2. Cross country skiing
  3. Tubing 
  4. Wanderlust Winter Tours: Moonlight snowshoeing is one of our favorites. Serene, beautiful and an insular quiet in the snowy mountain. Wanderlust also has other fun tours to include: Bend Brew Bus, Lava Tube Cave Tours, Deschutes River Canoe Tours and a Coffee Tour.
  5. Central Oregon Adventures Snowmobile Tours
  6. Oregon Trail of Dreams Sled Dog Rides
  7. Sage Springs Club Spa @ Sunriver Resort: I’ve been here for Swedish massages, maternity massages and pedicure treatments. Never disappointing. Always relaxing. I also love the lavender steam room and the hot tub room that mimics the starry Central Oregon sky.
  8. Sharc Aquatic & Recreation Center: Aside from sunbathing and water play activities, SHARC's 22-acres of fun includes a tot pool and sand play area, cafe, picnic area, playground, basketball court, bocce ball court, year-round tubing hill, picnic pavilion and an outdoor amphitheater. We have spent a lot of fun winter days on the tubing hill. The indoor water park area is perfect for little ones to burn off steam. Perfect for all ages.


Suggested Itinerary for Activities: 
  1. Pacific Crest Triathlon & Sports Festival: Pacific Crest is known as the jewel of multisport events in the Northwest and it has become a traditional destination race for athletes from across the nation, as well as from across the globe. Coupled with finishing in a five star destination resort, it is the perfect family vacation destination. Pacific Crest events begin Friday morning, with the competition and fun continuing into Sunday afternoon. The full, fun weekend includes Tour de Crest Bike Tours, Long Course, Olympic & Ultra-Sprint Triathlons, Duathlons & AquaBike, Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10k, 5k and three kids’ events – truly something for everyone! Todd and I have competed in the Olympic triathlon distance with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training for 3 years.
  2. Whitewater Rafting with Sun Country Tours: Todd and I took our family on a fun trip down the Deschutes River on our honeymoon.
  3. Crater Lake National Park: A two hour, 115 mile drive south is well worth it. The fifth oldest national park in the United States and the only national park in Oregon. The lake is 1,943 feet (592m) deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the ninth deepest in the world. A natural wonder of the world, Crater Lake has inspired people for thousands of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
  4. Sharc Aquatic & Recreation Center: Aside from sunbathing and water play activities, SHARC's 22-acres of fun includes a tot pool and sand play area, cafe, picnic area, playground, basketball court, bocce ball court, year-round tubing hill, picnic pavilion and an outdoor amphitheater. We have spent a lot of fun summer days in water play and on the tubing hill. Perfect for all ages.
  5. Sunriver Golf: Named one of the top 10 destinations for family golf by Golf digest, January 2016. Four courses – Crosswater, Woodlands, Meadows and Caldera Links.  Caldera Links has golf boards instead of golf carts (all the rage). Each of Sunriver Resort's four golf courses was designed by an acclaimed architect. Crosswater, a recipient of a host of national golf awards, was designed by Bob Cupp. Meadows, one of Oregon's most unique golf courses, was designed by John Fought. Robert Trent Jones Jr. was the mastermind behind The Woodlands, regarded by many as Oregon's finest championship golf course. Caldera Links, another Bob Cupp design, is a family-friendly nine-hole course that makes the game of golf approachable for all skill levels. Graced with carefully preserved wetlands, forested meadows, and sparkling waters, Sunriver Resort offers 63 holes of the best golf in the West.
  6. Wanderlust Summer Tours: Another line up of fun, fun, fun combined with breathtaking views. Choose from Bend Brew Bus, Cascade Lakes canoeing or kayak tours, Deschutes River tours, Moonlight & Starlight canoe tours, Lava Tube Cave Tours, Volcano tours and Coffee Tours.
  7. Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours: Half day, one day and up to 6 day tours. Enough said!
  8. Sunriver Resort Tennis
  9. Sunriver Resort Ropes Course: A half day challenge.
  10. Sunriver Stables: Trail rides, pony rides and horseback riding.
  11. Sunriver Resort Marina: floats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards.
  12. The Cove at Sunriver Resort: the brand-new pool complex for lodge guests. At The Cove you will find a giant zero-entry pool and hot tub, private cabanas, a waterslide, nature discovery area, lakeside trails and a spacious deck and lawn.
  13. Nature Center and Oregon Observatory: The Sunriver Nature Center & Oregon Observatory offer education and insight into the world that surrounds the Sunriver Area. Visitors can learn about native plants and animal species through educational programs and interpretive exhibits. 
  14. Fly Fishing
  15. Rock Climbing: guided rock climbing trips to Smith Rock State Park.
  16. Mt. Bachelor Disc Golf: Mt. Bachelor's Disc Golf course is a PDGA listed course. Ride the Pine Marten chair up to hole #1 and work your way down the mountain to the final hole #18. Elevation and the varied terrain add extra elements to your game!
  17. Sage Springs Club Spa @ Sunriver Resort: I’ve been here for Swedish massages, maternity massages and pedicure treatments. Never disappointing. Always relaxing. I also love the lavender steam room and the hot tub room that mimics the starry Central Oregon sky.