We drove through miles of national forests on our way to Bend. I had visited Bend last summer and was very impressed with what the town has to offer. Tim had wanted to see for himself what had attracted me to this town, so we made plans to spend a few days here. As we’ve mentioned before, Tim and I are using this trip as an opportunity to explore potential towns where we might move once Tim retires. Bend was on our list, although neither one of us knew too much about it.
Bend is located in the heart of Central Oregon and is known as a recreation mecca for both summer and winter sports. Although that’s one draw, I especially liked Bend’s vibe, with its lively, historic downtown and its interesting, new Old Mill District. Performing arts, galleries and other cultural offerings are important elements as well. Tim and I made our first stop at the Old Mill District, an area once covered by timber mill operations. Today, the district is a popular destination for shopping, dining and entertainment. The Deschutes River runs through the district, and hiking and biking trails line the river. The Old Mill District is a very walkable area, and interesting housing is part of the mix.
|The Deschutes River Runs Through Bend|
|The Historic Powerhouse Is Now the REI Store|
in the Old Mill District
|The Historic Tower Theater Is Bend's Performing Arts Venue|
|Interesting Shops and Restaurants Draw People Downtown|
|Public Art Is Featured on Downtown Sidewalks|
After a wonderful lunch, we walked along the river and talked about trying to identify neighborhoods with condos or townhouses that might appeal to us. As we started to drive around, Tim spied a Coldwell Banker real estate office and suggested that we pop in for a little guidance. Craig Long graciously spent quite some time with us and described to us the types of properties that might fit our criteria. He pulled up a few listings and offered to take us to see them today. We explained to him that we didn’t want to waste his time since we didn’t even know if Bend would be “the” city, but he didn’t seem to mind.
We met Craig this morning and visited six properties. It was so much fun to look at houses and see what features I liked and what Tim liked. Neither one of us had looked at real estate in quite some time, and it was interesting to see what’s on the market. Despite the depressed housing market, I was surprised to find the units priced higher than I might have expected. We looked at townhouses within walking distance of the Old Mill District and/or downtown, and liked some, and not others.
But one property stood out far and above the others. It was the most urban and hip of all the townhouses we looked at and is a part of the Mill Quarter mixed-use development. Locals call the townhouse a brownstone, although it’s a brick (not sandstone) row house. The unit for sale has somewhat of an industrial feel, and fronts directly on the sidewalk. What’s interesting is that the unit includes a retail space on the ground level that can be leased for an income source. I really liked the exterior, but the interior was amazing, and I could have moved right in without changing a thing. The kitchen and bathroom finishes were gorgeous, and the rooftop terrace was such a cool space to unwind, enjoy a glass of wine and take in the view of the surrounding mountains. Tim agreed with me that this townhouse was the best of the bunch by far.
|Mill Quarter Mixed-Use Development|
|This Is the Unit We Looked At|
|Three-Story Living Space Overlooks the Street|
|We Love the Kitchen|
Even though we have no idea at this point what town we might move to (who knows, we might stay in Colorado), Bend has surely made it to our short list. Looking at potential real estate was such a great exercise to help us focus on what type of property might work for both of us. We had a great day and have lots to think about.