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Written by kmikewood on 06 May, 2003
The lovely tourist town of Sisters in the high desert country of central Oregon is named for three drowsing volcanoes that delight and inspire. North Sister is Faith, and at an elevation of 10094 feet is just a smidgen taller than sibling Hope, and about…Read More
The lovely tourist town of Sisters in the high desert country of central Oregon is named for three drowsing volcanoes that delight and inspire. North Sister is Faith, and at an elevation of 10094 feet is just a smidgen taller than sibling Hope, and about 300 feet shorter than Charity to the south. The sisters are part of a seven mountain contingent which includes Mt. Jefferson, Three Finger Jack (some say it’s named for a trapper who lived in the area and whose hand was not as fast as the jaws of his trap), Mt. Washington, and Broken Top, which lost its head in a volcanic eruption eons ago.
Visitors can find pleasurable exercise ranging from leisurely day hikes to more serious backpacking or mountain climbing, horseback riding, water skiing, wind surfing, rafting, fishing, biking, and golf. Winter months beckon alpine and cross-country skiers. Less athletic warm-weather visitors can pick huckleberries, bird watch, or just revel in fields of wild flowers. Year-round the natural scenery is a tonic to the senses and an inspiration to painters and photographers.
On a roadmap, Sisters is the top of a triangle with its base angles at Bend and Redmond, each 20 miles away. The leg running northwest from Bend is Highway 20 -- a bit wobbly as it crosses through the tiny settlement of Tumalo, location of the Tumalo Feed Company, a restaurant which boasts the best steaks in Central Oregon and where martinis are served in canning jars that will fill your glass twice. Highway 97 connects Bend and Redmond and forms the base of the triangle. Sisters has a population of only 911 year-round dwellers, one of whom exults that the nearest traffic light is 20 miles from town. All three points of the triangle share equally in views of dark buttes and perennially snow-clad peaks.
Logging and cattle have long taken a backseat to tourism as Sisters’ main source of income. The town fills up for the annual outdoor quilt show on the second weekend in July. B&Bs near Camp Sherman on the Metolius River must be booked well in advance of the summer months, when events and activities are most numerous and when outdoor weddings take place at the scenic locales of Black Butte, Smith Rock, Eagle Crest (a popular time share destination), and other sites in town not far from Sisters.
Golfers can select from courses such as Aspen Lakes in Sisters, three courses at Eagle Crest, and two at Black Butte. Also nearby are courses in Redmond, Prineville, and Crooked River Ranch.
Within a 100-mile circle of Sisters is some of the finest lake, creek and wild river fishing in the American West. The Metolius River springs from the ground near Camp Sherman. Toss bread crumbs into the stream from the Camp Sherman bridge and watch trout the length of your forearm gobble them up.
Visit Sisters, Oregon, if you have the chance. You will feel like part of the family.
Written by kmikewood on 28 Aug, 2003
After enjoying familiar lodging at Eagle Crest, we took a restful drive east on Highway 242 over McKenzie Pass where it becomes Highway 126. We encountered almost no traffic on the short trip to Holiday Farm Resort in Blue River. Nine of the resort’s…Read More
After enjoying familiar lodging at Eagle Crest, we took a restful drive east on Highway 242 over McKenzie Pass where it becomes Highway 126. We encountered almost no traffic on the short trip to Holiday Farm Resort in Blue River. Nine of the resort’s twelve units sit so close to the McKenzie that the river’s babbling lulls accompanies one’s dreams. Our cottage was named Honeymoon --despite its two queen-size beds. After a round at nearby Tokatee Golf Course, there was time for me to catch a trout from just below our cottage porch and to exchange pleasantries with people in passing drift boats before cocktails and dinner at the historic farmhouse, built in 1876 as a stage stop, and now the resort’s main office building and recreation area.
The stops at the Blue Spruce and Holiday Farm would ordinarily have been sufficient self-indulgences, but the crowning extravagance was still on our agenda. From the old growth forest of the McKenzie, we drove east through Eugene to Florence on the coast and then turned south on Highway 101. We spent a night in a motel in Bandon, visited the renowned Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes golf links with lunch at Mulligan’s Pub, and continued to Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge seven miles inland from Gold Beach. Here we reveled in casual luxury surpassing my most fevered imagining.
The wild and scenic Rogue River runs close to the cedar-planked main lodge and guest rooms. Dirk and Laurie Van Zante operate the business with help from their son Drake and daughter Kyrsten and other help. Sixteen guest rooms, two suites, and two cottages for families of six or more blend into the surroundings and match the understated elegance of the main lodge and dining room. The lodge takes its name from the Tutuni Indian tribe which once occupied the region.
The guest rooms are named after terrain features of the Rogue, such as Brown Flat Riffle, Copper Canyon, and Hayes Eddy. Our unit was called Bony Point -- not suggestive of the comforts provided. Each of the two beds had a down comforter and six (!) down pillows in paired sizes to go along with a foam covered mattress. Along with the customary hair dryer, iron and ironing board, shampoos, conditioners, and air sprays, there was a Look Good-Feel Good basket supplying forgetful travelers with ear plugs, q-tips, hair spray, shave gel for women and foam for men, deodorant, hair spray, bandaids, sight savers, nail polish remover, after shave, toothpaste, toothbrush, lint lifter, and safety pins. A pair of cotton bathrobes hung in the closet. All light switches have rheostats so brightness can be adjusted, unless you prefer candles to cast light and shadow on the fresh flower bouquets.
A complimentary morning coffee tray or continental breakfast is available for those who (foolishly) choose not to attend the sumptuous breakfast served from 7:30-9:30. Iced tea, cookies, and soft drinks are available on the herb terrace every afternoon. Hors d’oeuvres, vegetarian kebabs, cheese and crackers, etc., are in the main lodge for the 45-minute pre-dinner happy hour, during which time the maids are turning down beds and leaving homemade fudge. Morning newspapers appear near the doorways. For the athletic, there is a heated lap pool, a horseshoe pit, kayaks, and four holes of pitch-and-putt golf marshaled by deer and other wildlife. If you take a liking to a variety of dahlia or herb in the various gardens near the apple orchard, management will supply you with blossoms or your room or shoots to take home. If you fall in love with your mattress, they’ll arrange for shipment of an identical item. A word to the smiling hostess will result in arrangements for jet boat trips, guided river or ocean fishing, or massage.
An old brass school bell rings at 6:30 each evening summoning guests to mesquite grilled hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and refreshments from a fully stocked bar, a wide assortment of wines, and of course conversation. We met a couple from Oklahoma who have been coming to Tu Tu’ Tun for ten years and staying a month each summer. Other guests regaled us with accounts of their fishing trips, hikes, and white water adventures. Laurie says that more than 40% of the business involves repeat customers.
Dinner seating is at round tables for eight outfitted with lazy susans. Chef Margaret Pohl prepares sumptuous 4-course repasts. Our first dinner included local sturgeon. and the next night it was cider marinated boneless pork roast cooked over applewood coals. Various potato and vegetable preparations accompany the entrees along with exquisite salads and desserts.
Breakfasts begin with gorgeously presented sliced fruits, sectioned melons, home mixed granola, and three varieties of homemade yogurt-berry combinations. This is followed by a hot serving that may be an omelet, French toast, crepes, pancakes, and rashers of peppered bacon.
Amazingly, owners and staff know all the 40 guests’ first names before they check in. My wife’s official name is Sarah, but when hostess Terry heard me address her as Sally, she quickly made a penciled notation and Sally was called by her nickname for the rest of our stay.
As fall approaches we are in the familiar comforts of our central coast California home with warm memories of our recent trip north and definite plans to include The Blue Spruce B&B, Holiday Farm, and Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge into next summer’s itinerary.
Blue Spruce Bed & Breakfast, 444 S. Spruce Street, Sisters, OR 97759.
Rates: $125 per night (2 people per room). Phone: 541-549-9644 or 888-328-9644.
E-mail: email@example.com / www.blue-spruce.biz
Holiday Farm Resort, 54455 McKenzie River Drive, Blue River. OR 97413.
Rates: $150 per night double occupancy. Phone: 541-822-3715 or 800-823-3715. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.holidayfarmresort.com
Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, 96550 North Bank Rogue, Gold Beach, OR 97444.
Rates: River View Rooms, spring and fall $145 - $375 summer $165 - $375
RiverView Suites $235 - 285. Garden House $290 - $325. River House $375.
Meals: Modified American Plan Daily Rate $52.50 per person
Written by Judy on 08 Oct, 2000
Hwy. 126 takes you to this 4817' mountain pass which is a major winter and summer recreation area. Hoodoo Ski Area provieds downhill and cross-country skiing. Mountain biking and hiking are popular summer activities. The Pacific Crest Train passes through this beautiful area.…Read More
Hwy. 126 takes you to this 4817' mountain pass which is a major winter and summer recreation area. Hoodoo Ski Area provieds downhill and cross-country skiing. Mountain biking and hiking are popular summer activities. The Pacific Crest Train passes through this beautiful area. From here you can also view Mt. Washington. Close
The drive to this 5326' mountain pass follows an old wagon route (now Hwy. 242). At the summit you can view Mt. Washington and explore a 65 square mile lava flow. The Dee Wright Observatory is a wonderful educational exhibit describing the history…Read More
The drive to this 5326' mountain pass follows an old wagon route (now Hwy. 242). At the summit you can view Mt. Washington and explore a 65 square mile lava flow. The Dee Wright Observatory is a wonderful educational exhibit describing the history of the area. You can view six major Cascade peaks if you climb to the top of the observatory. Then you can explore the Lava River Trail which is a half mile informational loop through the lava fields. Close
Every 2nd Saturday in July, downtown Sisters presents a wonderful outdoor quilt show. The entire town is decked out in quilts of every size and color. Demonstrations, classes, lectures and a quilt raffle are part of the annual celebration. It's really a beautiful sight.…Read More
Every 2nd Saturday in July, downtown Sisters presents a wonderful outdoor quilt show. The entire town is decked out in quilts of every size and color. Demonstrations, classes, lectures and a quilt raffle are part of the annual celebration. It's really a beautiful sight. Close