Bend, Oregon: What A Butte!

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we decided to stay on the west coast and drive to up to Bend, Oregon, to visit Annie’s two aunts, uncles and cousins. Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade mountains and is a mecca for outdoor activities, even in the wintertime.

 Aside from feasting, we spent our time mountain biking and snowshoeing (with Chris’ back injury earlier this year, we thought we’d play it safe and stay off the slopes). Our first snowshoe trip was a 5 mile trail called Porcupine Loop. Half of the trail was already packed down, but Annie (aka the human bulldozer), blazed a good part of the trail herself. The next day we snowshoed up to Mt. Tumalo for amazing views of Mt. Bachelor and Three Sisters. Our trip ended at the Deschutes Brewery in downtown Bend followed by quality time with the family before we packed up and headed back to San Francisco.

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 If you love the outdoors, Bend has it all! It was the first time both of us have ever been to Oregon and we did not leave disappointed.


A Tour of the Pacific Northwest

We decided to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to head up to the Pacific Northwest to explore Seattle, Vancouver and to catch a music festival at the Gorge. Since our trip has ended, it’s safe to say we are on detox (at least until the weekend). We did so many things in just a few days so we thought we’d just share some highlights:


  • After arriving late evening into Seattle, we caught up with Annie’s cousin for dinner and drinks in Capitol Hill at a bar with great views of downtown
  • The next morning, after grabbing breakfast at Top Pot Donuts, we joined a bike tour to see all the major landmarks in the city, which was a great way to cover a lot of ground in one afternoon
  • We grabbed lunch at Pike Place Market which included a sampling from many of the food vendors: salmon jerky, sandwiches and Beecher’s mac & cheese – delicious!
  • Afterward, we waited in line with Japanese tourists to get coffee at the original Starbucks, such an epic moment for Annie who loves the Bux
  • Fully caffeinated, we picked up our rental car and headed north for the Canadian border



  • After a mere 2.5 hour drive north and being interrogated for our “business” in Canada, we made it through and headed for Vancouver
  • We grabbed dinner and bar hopped around Granville Street (what would be equivalent to Division Street in Chicago or Polk Street in San Francisco)
  • The next morning, we drove to North Vancouver to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Cliffwalk, a wobbly bridge (and tourist trap) that boasts amazing views over the Capilano River and canyon
  • Off to Granville Island where we sampled several local beers at Granville Island Brewery Co. before eating lunch among the vendors and stalls at the public market
  • Afterward, we rented bikes to ride around Stanley Island, the city’s biggest park and took in the sunny weather, fresh air and views
  • After “working out,” it was time to reward ourselves with some cold beverages…again. We headed to our second brewery of the day, Steamworks Brewing, Co., for more brews and views.
  • We walked down the street to Gastown where we sampled even more flights at the Alibi Room and finally made it to a late night dinner before heading back to the hotel…


Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park    

The Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington

  • We woke up early to head to the Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington for a three day music festival
  • After waiting in line to cross the border and picking up essentials at Walmart (and the liquor store), we made it to the Gorge and pitched our tent for the next two nights
  • If you can catch a show at the Gorge, you will not be disappointed. Nicknamed “Heaven’s Amphitheater,” the landscape and views are absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately, our pictures do not do it justice so just imagine the most beautiful place to ever enjoy an outdoor concert.
  •  After the show, we fell asleep in our tent among the other thousands of campers
  • The next morning, we went down to the Columbia River to stay cool (and maybe bathe) in the afternoon heat. We hoped someone would invite us to party with them on their boat, but no such luck.
  • On the way back to the campsite, we stopped at Cave B Winery for a late afternoon wine tasting and to take in the amazing view
  • Back at the campsite, our college-aged neighbors taught us a new drinking game called Beer Die. Little did they know that we are seasoned drinking pros and having never played before, we still beat them at their own game.
  • That night, Dave Matthews Band played as we watched the sunset over the Gorge. What an amazing show in the most prime location!



Back to Seattle:

  • We packed up our campsite early and headed back to Seattle for round two in the city
  • After lunch at Pike Place Chowder in Post Alley, we met up with our friends Fallon and Matt (who were also up from San Francisco for the weekend) to take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island
  • Two wineries (Island Vintners and Eleven Winery) later, we find ourselves back in Seattle at The Pike Brewing Co.
  • After dinner in Post Alley, we headed back to the hotel to catch our early AM flight back to San Francisco!


This Labor Day weekend marked one year since we became engaged in Chicago.  What better way to celebrate than with a whirlwind trip exploring three cities by rental car, bike and ferry, indulging in local eats and drowning ourselves at multiple bars, breweries and wineries!

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