Painted Hills – Prineville, Oregon

I may have already mentioned this, but my husband and I are horribly lazy campers. We have both gotten to the age where we love being outdoors, and we also love sleeping in beds and having a flush toilet.

So when our good friends invited us to Prineville Oregon to go camping and hike the painted hills we groaned a bit. And then they told us there were camping cabins at the Prineville State Park. There may have been a cartoon shaped hole in the office door as we dashed to the computer to book our trip.

**Second Painted Hills site as you drive into the park**

We drove down after work, so we were both pretty tired and very thankful when we rolled into campground to a well lit cabin. The heat was running, the cabin was clean and there was a full sized bed, with a bathroom and a shower. Now mind you it is a foam mattress covered in industrial rubber, but it was a bed and we were so thrilled we didn’t have to try to set up a tent in the dark.
The next morning we woke up to one of the most glorious views I have ever experienced.

**Drinking coffee while looking at this doesn’t suck**

We made coffee for the others, left our door slightly ajar and hiked along the ridge of the reservoir until the others we ready to go.  We drove out to the Painted Hills State Park just before noon, knowing it would be a little over an hour. We really didn’t know what to expect, other than we all thought it would be an actual hike. Turns out it is more like a couple view points that you walk up to. We did all the “hikes” in the park in a couple hours, sat and chatted for a bit and then drove back for dinner.

**First Painted Hills site as you drive into the park and the most photographed**

Since we were there for Halloween we had made sure one of us had rented the deluxe cabin with a dvd player and tv. I brought a bunch of horror movies, and we all sat around the rest of the evening watching movies, eating and chatting. It was actually one of the better Halloweens I have had.
The next day we again hiked part of the ridge, and then down into the basin of the reservoir. We all had breakfast together and then drove back home.

**I was honestly very sad to leave this little cabin**

We had planned on hiking Smith Rock on the way back since the Painted Hills hikes while beautiful weren’t very strenuous but we hit an accident on the way out of Prineville and killed a bunch of our time. Instead we just drove back, enjoying the high desert views, and the full view of the cascade range before making our way back into the Willamette Valley.

Questions:

Have you ever been down to Prineville or Painted Hills State Parks? Are there other things in the area that you would suggest seeing?

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McMenamins Hotels – Oregon

I am sure locals to the Portland Metro Area have a lot to say about McMenamins franchise as a whole. Some love them and some hate them. It is just one of those things.

I have no strong feelings either way on the restaurants. The food is fine, the service is usually fast and the interiors are pretty interesting. The thing that my husband and I really like though as the destination hotels. Particularly the Edgefield, Kennedy School and Grand Lodge locations.

Edgefield will always be my favorite. With cheap beautiful rooms, several bars and restaurants, a golf course, spa, music venue and theater it is really an mini vacation just outside the city. I have spent several birthdays there, playing golf and using the spa. They also have a large outdoor music venue that I have enjoyed several concerts at.


**Sunset on Grand Lodge table tops**

Kennedy School was our go two for a long time, it was near our house. And with several bars, billiard games, a soaking pool and a theater it was a great place for date nights and with hotel rooms if you couldn’t drive home, you could always check in and get a delicious breakfast before going home. We had our VERY informal rehearsal dinner here and had our wedding pictures taken in one of the court yards. A couple months ago a friend and I even stayed over so that we could go to a Bowie cover band and then not have to drive all the way back out of the city after the show.

 

**Kennedy School Views**

The Grand Lodge is new to us, but is currently the closest location to our house. With a hotel, spa, soaking pool, theater, and disc golf course we wind up spending a good deal of time down there. We haven’t managed to make it there for a movie or even Frisbee golf. But we did walk around a medieval festival this spring and I can usually be found sitting on the porch enjoying a cup of coffee or a drink while reading a good book.


**Grand Lodge’s porch**

All the hotel locations are great for weekend getaways, there is plenty to do, you never have to actually leave them and everything is relatively well priced. I love staying for special events, since we now live out of the city it is really fun to stay at one of the hotels so we don’t have to go back. Or even for a special even like New Years, with inclusive design you can have a drink, walk around, try a different bar and then just wander back to your room. No driving needed.