As I sit here, the sky is blue, I see people walking up Pilot Butte, our town is beginning to reopen, businesses are offering secure shopping opportunities, restaurants have scattered their tables in respect for social distancing, the parks and hiking trails are being revisited and life is slowly returning to normal, albeit a new normal.
So I decided to explore a little, and just 10 minutes north of Bend is a small town called Tumalo. The town was originally called Laidlaw, after W. A. Laidlaw, the town promoter. The Tumalo Irrigation Project and Tumalo post office had been established in 1904. Although the project ended and the post office closed in 1913, by 1915 residents of Laidlaw changed the town name to Tumalo. The name Tumalo derives from an old Klamath Indian name meaning icy waters, or ground fog.
These days Tumalo is a beautiful area, full of charm and history. As you enter there is a small farm stand to the right of the main road, offering fresh Oregon blackberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, assorted vegetables and fresh farm eggs. Molly, who runs the stand, also takes wares to the Bend Farmers Markets.
Next to the Farm Stand is Beyond the Ranch, a unique antique store, containing everything from old gas station pumps, kitchen gadgets – think hand wringers for laundry, antique furnishings and Western ware.
It’s definitely worth a visit just to browse and they also have a sister location in nearby Redmond. From there I headed into town, all of 30 second away! Literally if you blink you may miss it but don’t because it’s worth stopping and checking out The Bite, an area of permanent food trucks, and bar surrounded by a grassy seating area which is just perfect on a mild sunny day.
Across the road is the Tumalo Cider Company, full of delicious local ciders and sparkling waters to choose from, brewed right there on the premises.
Down the road about 2 miles is the Tumalo Lavender Farm, they also visit the local Bend Farmers Markets with their products. They are open to the public but most of their business is through online orders. The fields are just beginning to bloom and their small shop is well worth a visit if only to breathe in the wonderful scent of lavender!
Tumalo is a little haven, just 10 minutes north of Bend, very unique and another Central Oregon treasure!