Old St. Francis School // Bend, Oregon

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Earlier this month we were faced with what to do over spring break. We needed to take a life break something fierce, but Kiddo was in the midst of track season, and was therefore required to attend a minimum of three practices. And so we were left with a conundrum: Where could we go that would feel away, but wasn't too far (geographically speaking)?

The answer came in the form of Bend, Oregon. It's three easy hours from Portland, and the raves about this mecca for all things outdoorsy had us curious. Let me tell you, it looks like an awesome place to live. The culture is funky, but not so funky it's unrelatable, and the aesthetic is beautiful. The town feels like it is an extension of nature—it doesn't compete, but rather melds into the scenery. It's not large, but obviously growing, yet it maintains a small town feel. The riverfront houses are swoonworthy, as are the abundance of lovely arts & crafts + bungalows. (I'm a sucker for a sweet bungalow.)

The food scene is also on point, and we had some great meals while we were there. We stayed for 3 days/2 nights, and never ran out of things to do. One afternoon we meandered down to Sun River, a small town just south of Bend and walked around the quaint village. It may be the first town we've seen with more trails than roads. It has tentatively been placed on the vacation home bucket list. You know, for when we're millionaires.

We decided to stay at the Old St. Francis School, which was an adventure in and of itself. We are still utterly fascinated by McMenamins  properties, though word on the street is most locals aren't so keen on them. Selling out to the masses or something? They have regular restaurants, but also several properties whereby they converted old buildings into hotels. St. Francis was a Catholic school, so eacch room was once a classroom. (The rooms are named after students.) The property also boasts a saltwater soaking pool, loungey movie theater, restaurant, and two bars. And it's right in the heart of downtown Bend. The aesthetic is super quirky with whimsical art and dim, ominous lighting. (I don't work for their PR department, but perhaps I should?)

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