Luxury, stunning views, incomparable food are all available at Central Oregon’s Brasada Ranch.
It’s gray, cold, and raining in Portland, Oregon, and my college-aged daughter, Olivia, and I need a break. While other trips together have taken us kayaking in the Everglades, exploring caves in Kentucky, and horseback riding in Colorado, this time around, we just want to feel a warm sun on our faces. We have only a few days together and we don’t want to deal with traffic or airplanes. And so we devise the perfect little getaway to Central Oregon; that area of the state that is high desert country—where our visit is timed for dry, sunny days and cool nights.
Central Oregon, east of the Oregon Cascade Mountains, is a prime destination for just about any outdoor activity you can imagine. There’s downhill and cross country skiing and other winter sports, and year-round fishing, horseback riding, golf, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, camping, paddling, floating, and white water rafting. Bend, the fifth largest city in Oregon, with a population of about 78,000, has all the shopping, dining, arts and sports entertainment you could want.
There is no shortage of rooms, cabins and home rentals throughout Deschutes County, but since we’re in the mood for a bit of pampering, I peruse my choice by destination resorts, and end up with a reservation at Brasada Ranch, in Powell Butte.
The drive over “the Pass” from Portland is just the change of scenery we need, and shopping and a happy hour meal at 900 Wall in downtown Bend have us off to a great start. Fifteen minutes from Bend and a quick check-in, and we unload our bags and “ooh” and “ahh” our way through the accommodations. Our two-bedroom cabin is perfect for our long weekend of relaxation.
The cabin is rich in river rock and slate, ironwork, and wood beams, trim, cabinets, and floors. There is a gas fireplace in the living room and a second one in the master bedroom, a great sound system, satellite TV, DVD players and I-Pod inputs. The furniture is new, clean and tasteful. The lighting deserves some mention; great lamps and spotlighting throughout highlight the high ceilings and create snug nooks. I’m already looking forward to some late night reading time on the comfy leather sofas and oversize armchairs. The bathrooms are large, with walk-in slate-tiled showers and an oversized tub in the main bath. The freshly scented grapefruit and ginger Dani toiletries from full-sized bottles add yet a little more sunshine to the trip.
Morning Yoga and Spa
The next morning, while my sleep-deprived daughter sleeps in, I prepare my coffee and breakfast in the spacious kitchen and enjoy my meal wandering between the two decks and watching the rabbits hop around the sagebrush. Then I slip out for a workout and the morning yoga class at the Athletic Center. Complimentary classes are available year-round and at various times of the day.
During our visit, there’s core strength training, zumba, aqua fitness and yoga. The instructor, Luanne, welcomes me, does a friendly check-in and introduces me to the attendees who had already arrived. She’s an exceptional yoga teacher, which doesn’t always happen in a class that draws from a wide variety of skill levels and the teacher doesn’t know her students. Luanne puts us through a vinyasa flow and, afterward, I feel stretched out and at peace.
The class also lends the opportunity to chat with two women who live at Brasada, having built their homes on purchased lots. Brasada is not only a resort; it’s a community where people can buy land to build houses and these two residents love their new homes. Theirs are two of the 44 homes currently built. Nine more are going up; the summer months are expected to bring 20 more, plus a few spec homes. In total, there are some 200 lots initially sold, so they are far from built out. A general store is expected to open in 2014. The Ranch House and Range restaurants provide dining for guest and residents, and plans for even more options are in the works. Care is going into creating a strong community for residents and creating opportunities to live the healthy, active lives for which Central Oregon is known.
The Athletic Center is a 17,000 square foot LEED-certified facility that includes a small apparel shop, a snack bar, the Hideout (a rec center for families with young children and teens), a fully-equipped gym with ample cardio and circuit weight gym equipment, and a yoga studio. Outdoors there’s a beach volleyball court, a playground, and a tennis court.
It’s Olivia’s first spa visit, and I splurge on a couple of deep tissues massages. Spa Brasada is very nicely done, with the usual “I’ll take one of everything, please” menu of massages, facials, and body treatments. Soft lighting and tastefully subdued décor, and friendly, capable therapists and technicians complete the experience. My daughter is smiling in her cozy spa robe and slippers, sipping tea and snacking from a little bowl of dried fruit, nut and chocolate trail mix after time in the steam room. It’s the only spa in Bend with a private outdoor pool, a nice addition during high season when you may want to honor a more adult pool experience and avoid children with floaties.
Guest demographics at the Ranch are all over the board—families and multi-generational reunions for spring break and the summer months, wedding groups May through October, and couples, golf groups, and business groups throughout the year.
Brasada Ranch is situated on 1,800 acres. There are miles of equestrian trails, and equestrian boarding available for guests and residents lucky enough to have their own horses, and seasonally, trail rides are available for the rest of us.
My daughter and I head out daily for hikes. On the advice of a Brasada resident, we first seek out the trail to Spirit Rock. But there are no signs and we end up not lost—but also not sure of where we are. No matter; we get better directions the next time out, and I’m told that the trails and miles are currently being marked. And the views make us not care which trail we’re on. At every switchback, we take in yet another panoramic view of the canyons and snow-capped Cascades and breathe in the scent of pine and juniper and sage. We’re rejuvenated!
When we golf at Brasada Canyons 18-hole course, we wander a bit off one of the holes. Like the trails, each and every one has inspiring views. We laugh that the views might prevent us from keeping site of our ball.
After the hike, we head over to the Ranch House for a terrific meal: salad, soup and steak and lamb shank entrees.
The concierge at the resort is be happy to help guests work with outside local companies for helicopter tours, fly fishing excursions, white water rafting, and other excursions. But for me and my daughter, relaxing in indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor hot tubs, the athletic center, our spa visit, eating well both at the restaurant and in our cabins, wine on the deck, and hiking the local trails is just what our spirits craved. –Nancy Zaffaro, RFT Contributor
If You Go
Brasada Ranch is located 16 miles from Bend, Oregon. www.brasada.com
900 Wall for lunch, dinner or happy hour www.900wall.com
For more about Central Oregon www.visitcentraloregon.com
Like Nancy Zaffaro’s work? Check out her story “International Pinot Noir Celebration, McMinnVille, OR”
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