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Adventure at Sunriver

Situated just 15 miles south of Bend, Oregon, convenient to Central Oregon's abundant attractions, Sunriver is the perfect family getaway, for two- and four-legged alike.

Written by Brandie Ahlgren; Photography by J. Nichole Smith

I have to admit, when asked to visit Sunriver Resort, I was thrilled. You may recall in the Fall 2009 issue of CityDog Magazine, we feature one of our favorite getaways ever, Suncadia Resort, located in Cle Elum, Wash. Sunriver Resort is Suncadia’s sister property, so I’d been dying to check it out ever since.

Upon arrival, I’m amazed at Sunriver’s sheer size. Located at the base of the Cascade Mountains near Bend, Oregon, the resort’s 3,300 acres is bordered by the eastern side of the Deschutes River. In 1968, the first condominiums were built as well as Sunriver Lodge and today, the community is home to more than 4,000 privately owned residences, with a permanent population of approximately 1,700—during peak vacation season Sunriver’s population can reach upwards of 20,000— and Scout, Ziggy and I are there during peak season! The place is hopping and how could it not be with 35 miles of pathways for pedestrians and bicyclers, two swimming pools, 26 tennis courts, an amphitheater, two parks, four golf courses, a spa, an airport, a marina and horse stables—plus, there’s the Village at Sunriver featuring a variety of restaurants, retail shops and the Sunriver Country Store. Once we settle into our dog-friendly digs, we will head over to the Country Store to stock up on snacks.

Sunriver Resort has over 70 accommodations available for you and your hound including private homes in Caldera Springs, Sunriver’s newest development, as well as Lodge Village guestrooms and suites. We are staying in one of the newly renovated Lodge Village guestrooms, which features a king-size bed, gas fireplace, private deck, complimentary high-speed Internet access, flat screen TV and of course, a doggie welcome packet with treats.

As it turns out, Scout and Ziggy aren’t the resort’s only four-legged guests. As we head outside to explore the large grassy area conveniently located right behind our room, we meet an Airdale, a dachsund and a basset hound. Plus, pal Olivia, a great Dane, is there too! The area is perfect for a potty break and romp in the grass with furry friends after the long car ride from Seattle.

After the doggie meet and greet is done, we head over to the Village at Sunriver. Our first stop is the Sunriver Country Store, which features a hot and cold delicatessen, fresh produce, meats and seafood, one of Oregon’s finest wine selections, and even a liquor store. The prices are reasonable—what you would expect at any grocery store—and we pick up a bottle of wine plus cheese and crackers to enjoy later on the deck.

As we continue our stroll through the Village, we stop into Sebastian’s Healthy Pet Food & Supply, which is stocked with a complete line of wet and dry dog food plus an array of toys and treats to please any pooch. We also can’t help but notice Hot Lava Baking Company and make a mental note to be back in the morning. Hot Lava has over 30 years in the Village and rumor has it, it’s a Sunriver tradition to start your day at "The Bakery" with a fresh made donut or pastry.

Since it’s approaching late afternoon, we decide to stop off at the local watering hole, Village Bar & Grill to enjoy one of Oregon’s many micro brews—Mirror Pond pale ale being a favorite, which is produced by Deschutes Brewery. There’s an outside seating area that is dog friendly and in the evening there’s live music and dancing. The Village Bar & Grill menu features classic American fare—salads, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, seafood and a variety of specialty dishes. If this doesn’t suit your fancy, other restaurant choices include El Pescador, Marcello’s Italian Cuisine, Pellerito’s Pizza and South Bend Bistro.

The Village at Sunriver is bustling year-round with activities for the entire family. This Fall, there is Halloween at the Village, with trick or treating, a haunted house, kids carnival and cake walk. During Thanksgiving weekend, guests can enjoy the grand opening of a new ice rink, a visit from Santa Claus and the tree lighting. Other winter activities at Sunriver Resort include sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, skiing at nearby Mt. Bachelor and snow mobiling. However, we are here in July, and our selection of summer activities is seemingly endless!

The next day, we rise early and after coffee and a donut at Hot Lava, we hop in the car and head to the horse stables. Sunriver Stables is the perfect place to saddle up for adventure. Guided trail rides are available for guests of all experience levels, from beginner to advanced riders. There are also pony rides for the little ones (age two to six), horseback riding lessons for all levels, hay wagon rides through Sunriver Meadow along the Deschutes River, and carriage rides.

After a quick visit to the stables (this is a "work trip" afterall), we head over to Sunriver Marina. The Marina’s shop has everything you need to enjoy a day on the river including rafts, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Enjoy a leisurely float on the Deschutes River, paddling approximately six miles, and Sunriver staff will shuttle you back to the Marina. They will even outfit you with fishing pole, bait, hooks, weights and bobbers if you’re so inclined. And, if you’re brave enough to canoe with your dog, go for it. I’m afraid our little posse will end up in the river, so we venture off to safely explore more of the resort.

As I mentioned earlier, there are 35 miles of paved trails surrounding and winding through Sunriver—and to go with that, the resort’s Bike Barn has over 400 bikes ready to ride. With dogs in tow, we decide to walk the path and I’m amazed at how many riders, kids and adults alike, are cycling about.

Speaking of kids, if you are visiting with the two-legged kind, then Sunriver has created the perfect place for them, aptly called Fort Funnigan. Fort Funnigan is a state-certified day camp, with all sorts of fun things for kids including arts and crafts, outdoor adventures, or "monkeying around" on the indoor bouldering wall. Kids have the run of the place—literally—with a 2,000 square foot indoor play area and another 3,400 square feet outside in the fenced play yard.

But, no kids with us except those of the four-legged persuasion, so after we drop the dogs back at the room, it’s tee time!

Sunriver boasts four main golf courses plus a putting course and golf academy. Our choice is the Woodlands golf course, designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. Green fees start at $55, depending on season and time of play and include a cart and warm-up session on the practice range. Noted for its superb conditioning and beautiful setting, the Woodlands earned Sunriver Resort a Gold Medal for Winning Resort by Golf Magazine. It is a stunning course, but also challenging and after 18 holes, I’m ready to enjoy that wine we bought!

Believe it or not, in addition to all of the activities mentioned above, there are even more, including glider rides, mountain biking, rock climbing, fly fishing and even paintball. Just visit the Lodge concierge and they will be happy to make your arrangements.

If all of these exhilarating activities make you weary, then perhaps it’s time to visit the resort’s Sage Springs Club & Spa. I decide on the Riverside Relaxer, a 50-minute Swedish massage to relax the central nervous system, relieve muscular tension, and improve circulation and range of motion. Other massage treatments include hot-stone, maternity, gemstone and deep tissue. If a facial is more to your liking, the spa also offers a variety of options for women, men and teens.

As dinner time draws near, we decide to try the Owl’s Nest, located upstairs in Sunriver Lodge. The menu is chock full of mouth watering options and it’s tough to choose, but the grilled flat iron steak with caramelized onions, Oregon blue cheese, house made Worcestershire sauce, seasonal vegetables and garlic fries proves to be too tempting. The wine list features a selection of Washington, Oregon and California wines; I choose a glass of Ménage à Trois by California’s Folie à Deux.

With bellies full, we make our way back to the room, stopping to gaze at the star filled sky and enjoying the last little bit of a fantastic, fun-filled weekend at Sunriver Resort.

Gear up for Suriver at the CityDog Shop.

More Information
Sunriver Resort
17600 Center Drive
Sunriver, Oregon 97707

Rates for a Lodge Village guestroom start at $159 per night. A non-refundable pet fee of $75 is applicable for all pets. If you need a pet-sitter while you’re there, below are a few folks you can call:

Sunriver Pet Lodge (Lisa), 541.593.3809 (overnight boarding available)

Bend Pet Resort, 541.388.0435 (overnight boarding available)

Woodlands Golf Course
For tee times, call 541.593.4402.

Sage Springs Club and Spa
The Spa offers the latest in therapeutic body and beauty treatments including full-body massages, natural body scrubs, aromatherapy body wraps, facials, manicures and pedicures. The Club features three indoor tennis courts, on-site personal trainers, 20-yard indoor pool and fitness area. Spa appointments: 541.593.7891; club reception: 541.593.7890

Sunriver Stables
Open year-round, with extended hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Reservations required: 541.593.4609.

Sunriver Marina
Operates May to September, weather permitting. 541.593.3492

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