It's with delight and a few nerves that my home was named one of "52 Places to Go in 2015" by The New York Times.
Bend being my hometown, it's possible I'm slightly more protective of the beauty than its' newcomers. So, a NYT article bringing in more people to Bend does make me nervous. That said, it has been nothing short of a blessing to have such talented, good people move their families here–– and in big, climbing numbers–– over the past 10 years. Our economy has boosted and offered people like me and my family members the opportunity to be successful entrepreneurs in a small mountain town–– with a lifestyle (and wardrobe) that usually gets lost with a big city career. Think, Patagonia. :)
With all the good comes challenges: less trees, more pavement, more traffic, higher cost of living, packed restaurants, lines at the mountain, a college crowd, and more footprints in remote areas that used to be secret spots. Most of the time, I don't recognize Bend anymore. Which is a fun re-discovery, but sometimes it's just hard to know if I'll raise my family here when the time comes.
Until then, I'll keep finding new restaurants, boutiques, hikes, rivers, and people in my own hometown. And, while I'm at it–– I'll land myself in a NYT photograph, on a SUP board at my brother and I's favourite place in the world; Smith Rock State Park (photo by Tyler Roemer).