After a couple fun-filled days in Portland, we headed out early to make the drive to Bend. About 3.5 hours from Portland, there are several ways you can go to reach the central Oregon valley, but we decided to try the adventurous route and go over Mt. Hood. The views on this route are stunning (at least, so long as you’re in the mountains) but you might not want to try it come winter.
About 30 minutes out from Bend, right off highway 26, we pulled off towards a bright red barn known as the Maragas Winery. And it was a truly fantastic stop! Seven tastings cost $10, or you could purchase by the glass or bottle and enjoy it at any of the tables located outside with excellent views of the vineyard itself.
Photo courtesy Maragas Winery. (Click “continue reading” to see more)
We opted for the tasting flight, and were very impressed with a couple of their reds: Carl loved the 2008 M, an unfitered blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon; I fell in love with the Legal Zin, a blend of four wines that was barrel aged for more than 3 years – impressive! And here’s a tip: if you happen to be flying Alaska Airlines, they’ll waive the baggage check fees for you if you’re checking a case of Oregon wine. A great way to take some of your vacation home with you.
Finally, we made it to Bend around 2pm and were ready for lunch, so we headed over to the Deschutes Brewery Public House for some burgers and yet another beer tasting. My favorite was the Nightmoves Saison, a pub exclusive.
After that, we headed to the Bend Fairfield Inn, where we stayed on a free-night certificate. Marriott often does promotions where if you stay at least twice, you earn a free night. The catch to these free nights is that they’re only good for the bottom three levels of hotels in the Marriott chain – however, in smaller cities like Bend, the Fairfield Inn (or similar) is about the nicest hotel in town anyways, so it’s a great use of these freebies.
From there, we cleaned up and got ready for a beautiful wedding surrounded by views of the Cascade mountains. The next morning, we set off bright and early to drive back to Portland in time to fly home. So all in all, a quick but lovely first adventure in Oregon!