Guess what! We’re leaving Las Vegas and moving to Bend, Oregon. It was a difficult decision. For a while, we considered moving to Boulder, Colorado, possibly San Diego, and then later, downtown Las Vegas. However, once we visited Bend, all other previous ideas were blown out of the water. We fell for Bend and have decided to move there this summer.
1) Bend offers us a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Firstly, Bend is known for its easy access to nature; lakes, mountains, forests, deserts, rivers—you name it, Bend has it right there. We want to be more active in our daily lifestyle and we believe that living in Bend can help us answer that call. More specifically, we discovered recently when we visited Bend that the Old Bend Neighborhood is walkable to amenities in the area, including downtown.
We’ve been interested in moving to a walkable neighborhood – ever since we read Walkable City by Jeff Speck – for our social and physical health. We’d like to walk and bike to places in our community, rather than drive. You can see why the Old Bend Neighborhood is such a great, walkable location by viewing this walkscore map of the area (overall walkscore of the neighborhood is 80/100).
2) Kristin was born in Oregon and ultimately thinks of Oregon as home.
Kristin feels a call to return home to her family and the Pacific Northwest after being away for many years. Although Central Oregon is not somewhere Kristin has spent much time, she grew up in the Portland area and is excited about returning to her home state with a new perspective and renewed appreciation for Oregon.
Attention Family Members of Oregon and Washington: More summer weekends at Lake Merwin Camper’s Hideaway, here we come! 🙂
3) Bend has fresh, clean, air.
This might seem strange (we never said we were normal) but to us, clean air is high on our priority list. Now that we’ve seen the layers of smog and dust engulf parts of Las Vegas on a continual basis, with air action alerts and warnings, we’re seeking cleaner air in our next community. Bend is reported to have very clean air. In fact, if you are curious, you can check your own city and state’s air quality HERE.
4) Bend is stunningly beautiful!
Anyone who has visited Bend will tell you that Bend is a gorgeous place. The town has idyllic scenery; from the Deschutes River running through town, to the large and gorgeous parks everywhere, the snow-capped mountains in the distance, and the old brick historic buildings all over downtown. Bend, Oregon is charming and beautiful. We felt enamored by its beauty.
5) Bend holds many festivals and events—sometimes nearly every weekend.
We love going to community events. Activities like TED Talks, Tower Theater shows, film festivals, dog walks, community volunteer events, beer fests, and art fairs are usually high on our list of things we consider to be a lot of fun. We think these Bend events will keep us entertained for a long while. As an added bonus, we’re hoping we can walk or bike to those once we get a house in a prime location there.
6) Independent shops, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
We saw a plethora of local, independent businesses and creative types all over Bend, and especially in the charming and vibrant downtown.
For instance, Mike is super excited about an old-school arcade that serves local beer downtown called Vector Volcano Classic Arcade (plus, can you imagine if we could walk to places like this?). Mike says he wants to have his birthday party there, if we make it to Bend by September. You’re all invited!
The unique shops downtown Bend and all around the area inspired us and made us feel like we were hanging out in an authentic, locals-centered, creative community. There’s a lot ingenuity there, which we love.
7) The downtown area is affordable for us personally, compared to other walkable U.S. cities.
Like many places around the country, there is an affordable housing crisis in Bend. There clearly needs to be more affordable homes, especially more options to rent, for people who live and work in Bend.
However, in regards to purchasing a house in the Old Bend Neighborhood, we found a few homes that were in our price range, albeit very small and old, but that’s okay with us, since it’s just the two of us and our pets.
As a comparison, when we visited Boulder Co., earlier this year and other places like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, we were disappointed to realize that we were mostly priced out of those housing markets unless we wanted to get a home that didn’t entirely fit our top needs.
In Bend, we are not priced out of the area we liked. We can get a small bungalow, be able to have a yard for the dog, a backyard BBQ, and still be able to walk to tons of amenities.
8) We’re looking forward to experiencing different seasons again.
Coming from the Las Vegas area, as much as we liked the sun and blue skies, the weather gets old if you get too much of anything without major changes to the seasons throughout the year (that’s how we feel anyway). Bend offers unique seasons and a mix of weather that will keep us stimulated.
During the summers, we can envision taking our Casita travel trailer camping on the weekends. During the winters, we imagine having a fire in the fireplace and drinking hot cocoa while watching the snow flurries fall out the window. However, we admit that we’re a little nervous about how we will tolerate the winters and what it will be like to drive in the snow—we shall see; we’re willing to give it a try.
9) Cajun tater tots are awesome.
It’s peculiar how much we craved tater tots from places like the McMenamins Old Saint Francis Pub. We absolutely relished all the food and drink in Bend! (I guess in fairness though, we love food and drink practically everywhere we go. Also, this is another reason we have to walk to more places, because we like going out to eat and drink at delicious restaurants and breweries so much.)
10) A new adventure.
We enjoy exploring and we’re ready to see what it’s like to live as local Bendites. What’s it like living in a smaller community? What’s it like to live in a place that experiences a winter wonderland? What are the nearby trails and recreation like, the lakes, and the nearby towns, such as Sisters, Oregon? We want to check it all out.
It’s been a valuable, eye-opening adventure living in Southern Nevada these past three years. We will miss the strikingly beautiful Mojave Desert, and most of all, our friends and relatives who live in Nevada.
Nevertheless, As Helen Keller aptly said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” We agree and so we’re headed to Bend!
Kristin and Mike