Fiery Midwinter Fun Inside and Out in Bend, Oregon

Posted March 16, 2010 by Jamie Moore

Bend Nestled in a mountain valley, Bend, Oregon, has wintertime fun with a fiery twist: bonfire snowshoeing. Before embarking on this hottest new snow adventure, cozy up at an eclectic inn and put some fire in your belly with a one-of-a-kind midwinter brew.

The Mill Inn
: Cozy up at The Mill Inn, a refurbished boarding house located just minutes away from downtown Bend. The 10 rooms are each decorated with unique themes guaranteed to make you feel right at home, and the complimentary breakfast will fill you up for a long day of exploring. Rooms start at $70 per night.

Deschutes Brewery
: A must-do Bend activity is sipping a one-of-a-kind Bend brew. Indulge at Deschutes Brewery where almost every beer has won an award. The seasonal Jubelale is a perfect pre-snowshoe-trek pint, warming your insides with its rich, malt flavor. Or go for something always on tap like Black Butte Porter, crafted from chocolate and crystal malts. Gluten-free brews, pale ales, organic beer, and stouts are just a few of the other on-tap choices. Feel good trying more than one—this community-minded brewery has donated millions to local causes. (Beers cost $4.75 per pint).

Wanderlust Bonfire Snowshoe Tour
: Feed your thirst for adventure and knowledge on a magical evening snowshoe trek ($75). Follow snowy, moonlit paths as an expert guide illuminates the backcountry's history, botany, geology, and wildlife. Your final destination? A roaring bonfire, tucked into a natural amphitheater. Stargaze, sip hot chocolate, indulge in delectable desserts, and swap fireside stories as you soak in the beauty of the crisp winter night. There's even a New Year's Eve trek ($85) for those wishing to celebrate with natural bells and whistles.

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(Photo: Jon Larson/iStockPhoto)

Portland, Oregon's Artistic Side Shines in its Pearl District

Posted February 26, 2009 by Kate Hamman

OR-Portland-PowellBooks-DEF With lofts housing the tortured artistic elite, cafes fueling their creativity, and shops designed to capture their spirit around every corner, the Pearl District is Portland's premier arts area. Wander the stacks of dreams fulfilled and lost in a giant bookstore. Or take inspiration from contemporary artwork displayed in a local gallery. After you've spent the day appreciating the visual arts, you can indulge in creative concoctions at a trendy bar.

Powell's City of Books: You'll find a contender for the world's largest bookstore straddling downtown and the Pearl District on Burnside Street. Housing 68,000 square feet of new, out-of-print, and long-forgotten titles, Powell's City of Books is where hardcovers and paperbacks are given a second chance at a new life. The store buys and sells books of all shapes and sizes for all tastes. You can get lost in the maze of massive shelves overflowing with the written word for months, even years. It's free to browse, and most used books are marked way down from the original price.

Froelick Gallery: Museum admissions can add up, but it doesn't cost a thing to go to an art gallery. Since 1995, the Froelick Gallery has exhibited and represented contemporary artwork from different regions of the world, and includes a strong Pacific Northwest influence. The inviting and sparse display space highlights the work and encourages you to view each artist's talent free from distraction. Exhibits change monthly, with a public reception on the first Thursday of each month.

Vault Martini: If you've ever wondered what sloth, wrath, envy, or greed might taste like in liquor-form, Vault Martini is here to quench your curiosity. With more than 44 diabolical and angelic elixirs, this hip lounge turns martinis into an art form. The menu features concoctions named after the seven deadly sins, along with sweet and savory tastes like banana bread and cilantro. And, you can sip your drink next to the fireplace for warmth or at the 18-foot ice-glass bar if you need to cool down. Happy hours martinis cost $4 Mondays through Fridays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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(Photo: Powells Books)

Portland Invites You to Twisit. Wait, What?

Posted February 13, 2009 by Carl Unger

Portland_or_local No, that's not a typo. Portland, Oregon, is the first U.S. city to launch a Twisitor Center, which allows visitors to communicate with Twisitor Center staff members and receive all sorts of tips and ideas for fun Portland activities and money-saving vacation deals—all via the micro-blogging tool Twitter.

The Twisitor Center is operated by Travel Portland, and even allows residents who aren't affiliated with the agency to answer questions, giving the program a local's-eye view as well. Visitors seeking information can add "inpdx# to their tweets, which alerts Travel Portland staff and signals to other users that someone has a question.

Travel Portland will also send out several tweets each day, covering topics from dining tips to green travel ideas and travel deals.

Visitors can hook up with Travel Portland's Twitter stream directly from the agency's website, and then follow the stream to read Travel Portland's messages along with tweets posted by visitors.

(Photo: Yellowpages.com)

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