Central Oregon Fall Wedding feature by Stott Shots Photography

Katy and Chris were married at FivePine Lodge & Conference Center in Sisters Oregon on October 5th, 2013. We woke to rain showers and dark clouds, but these two lucky love birds didn’t see a drop of rain come the time to say “I DO” !! And they got the benefit of the storms, dark dramatic sky!!! So excited to share these shots with everyone, especially Katy and Chris! Enjoy!!!

Visit Stott Shots Blog to view all the wonderful pictures from the wedding:


Tumalo Reservoir

Have you ever heard of Tumalo Reservoir?  It’s southwest of Sisters about 20 miles.  Do you know what Tumalo means?  Geographical name historian Lewis A. McArthur says the name came from the Klamath Indian word for wild plum: temolo. Or their word for ground fog: temola. Or from an original name of Tumallowa, meaning icy water. “Any of the above explanations might fit the facts, so there you are,” McArthur wrote.

view from Tumalo Reservoir

Currently, the Tumalo Reservoir area is a popular location for hiking, horseback riding, running, mountain biking and the occasional dirt bike rider.  The reservoir is owned by Tumalo Irrigation District and they do allow public access with a few guidelines, such as respect the area!  There are incredible views of the Cascade Mountains, endless trails and great footing for the horses, and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the area.  My favorite time to be at the reservoir is at dusk, when the light captures the amazing hues of the red dogwood and willows around the water’s edge.  The serenity and peacefulness is healing and one appreciates the natural beauty whenever we see the Bald or Golden eagles fly overhead.  It’s a magical place and a bit of a hidden gem.

The history and formation of the reservoir and surrounding flats is very interesting.

Tumalo was home to Central Oregon’s first irrigation project under the auspices of the Carey Act, a piece of 1894 legislation meant to encourage Western settlement and reclamation of arid lands. It allowed settlers to gain title to 160 acres of land if they agreed to irrigate 20 acres within 10 years. The act also encouraged the development of irrigation systems by private developers, who could make a profit by selling land with water rights to settlers.

The Carey Act and its subsequent investment in Central Oregon irrigation systems was crucial to the settlement of Central Oregon, but not all irrigation projects worked as planned.

The Tumalo Irrigation Project in 1904 promised to irrigate about 27,000 acres of land near Tumalo Creek, a tributary to the Deschutes. After the developers suffered nearly 10 years of financial, managerial and engineering disasters on the project, forcing some farmers to go bust, the state took over the irrigation system in 1913.

The state’s solution to the Tumalo project, which lacked enough water to irrigate all of the promised land, was to build a storage reservoir. Tumalo Reservoir was completed in 1915 but failed to hold water when giant sinkholes opened on its floor. The reservoir now holds about 5 percent of its capacity, and about a third of the original Tumalo land is actually irrigated today (the rest of the land includes a mix of undeveloped, dryland ranch and residential property). The project was possibly the most vexed Carey Act irrigation development in the nation, according to researchers.

There are still remnants of the dam on the north end of the flats with a beautiful canyon on the opposite side.  Makes one wonder about the original plans for the area and how it would be so different if it had been successful.  For those of us that use the area, we’re glad it didn’t work out!!

After spending a day riding or hiking around the area, we love to end our day at Three Creeks Brewery for a refreshing brew and then a relaxing massage at Shibui Spa or vice versa!  The perfect scenario is a relaxing final soak of the night and a restful sleep in a quaintly, luxurious cabin at FivePine Lodge.

Tricia Maxson – Events Director at FivePine Lodge


Shopping in Sisters


When a visitor drives into Sisters on Cascade Ave. they may get the impression that this Western-themed town is similar to many other small towns when it comes to the retail businesses.  Of course, Sisters does have its restaurants and eateries, gift and clothing shops just like the other towns, but it has a lot more. If you can take a little extra time, maybe step away from the main street and discover the businesses that make this creative community of Sisters unique.

As someone who calls Sisters my hometown, I’m guilty of overlooking some of those unique shops too, so I decided to re-visit some of my favorites and find out “what’s new”.

Hood Ave. has some of my favorite galleries like Donterra Artworks, which showcases many local artists with their diverse selections of pottery, outdoor art, furniture, jewelry, and fiber arts.  Next door to Donterra is a new gallery, called Vista Bonita, with a selection of functional art and blown glass pieces.  Down the street is the new Clearwater Gallery, with displays of distinctive western, landscape and wildlife art from Northwest artists, including owner/artist, Dan Rickards.       

What would an historical western town be without its western shops?  There’s the long-time favorite, Leavitt’s Western Wear on the corner of Elm and Cascade with its impressive selection of stylish western clothing and boots.  Another of my favorites is Cowgirls and Indians Resale on Oak St. This western boutique is a favorite with western art collectors and urban cowgirls with a keen eye for quality and a bargain.

If antiques are what you are looking for, then you must go to the intersection of Fir and Hood. With the relocation of Old West Antiques, this is becoming the hub of the antique shops in town.  The only one missing from that location is Kalamazoo Antique Mall,   which is still at its long-time location on Cascade Ave. 

Another group of shops offering that unique shopping experience are the ones with local hand-crafted items.  Sisters Log Furniture has two stores on Cascade Ave. each packed with one-of-a-kind pine and juniper furniture and rustic home décor items.  A little further west on Cascade Ave. is The Jewel, one of the most diverse galleries of gems, minerals and jewelry design I have seen.  I especially love the sterling jewelry cast from plants and flowers.   Canyon Creek Pottery is off the main shopping area, but it is worth the trip over to Adams and Larch.  Ken Merrill’s rustic gallery has a wonderful selection of his functional and decorative pottery.  This is hand-crafted pottery at its best.

Of course, possibly the best hand-crafted business in town would be Beacham’s Clock Shop on the corner of Hood and Oak.  This business is in a class of its own.  Not just because of the amazing selection of clocks and watches, but because of the owners, Ed & Kathi Beacham’s, unique talents.   Ed has been making clocks since the 1970’s and is one of a few clockmakers in the country who designs and builds from scratch, not just the delicate inner workings of a clock, but also the cases that contain and display them.   They have over 1000 clocks in the shop, including an 1870 German castle clock commissioned by King Frederick III and an amazing reproduction of a 15th century astronomical tower clock that resides in Prague. This amazing masterpiece was built by Ed Beacham, master clockmaker.   Try and visit on the hour, so you can get the thrill of hearing the chimes of all the clocks. 


Sisters is constantly changing and new retail businesses are opening up all the time. The shopping in this small town has never been better.


Cinco de Mayo

DSC_0091If you would like to join a special fundraising event at the AAA Diamond Resort FivePine Lodge, you should try the annual Cinco De Mayo event.  Guests who stay at Lodge, locals, and others passing through are all welcome to participate, but keep in mind that they tend to sell out.  It offers fresh authentic food and a silent auction that raises money for the Spanish Coalition and Sisters Park and Recreation District. This event occurs each May and is loaded with fun and entertainment.  This year, the event will be held on Thursday, May 2nd at the FivePine Lodge Conference Center from 6-9pm.  Tickets may be purchased at Sisters Park and Recreation and are $20 per adult, $10 per child under 12.

The fifth day of May (Cinco De Mayo) is part of the Mexican history as they struggled to gain their independence.  This was actually the day Napoleon III was defeated by the Mexican army in 1861 at the State of Puebla, known as The Day of the Battle of Puebla (El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla).  This success kept the French from taking over the Mexican government and prevented them from gaining a larger advantage over the United States during the Civil War.  Over the years and as Mexican and American cultures grow together, this day has turned into a celebration of large proportions.  It used to be mainly the focus of Mexican-American communities, but both societies fully recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

The event at FivePine begins months before with the planning, but decorations and cooking begin 24 to 12 hours before.  Volunteers and employees start decorating with the colors of the Mexican flag (red, white, green) on the tables and ceilings to make it quite festive.  All the Hispanic community comes for this event and everyone that cooks with me enjoys spending their time for such a good cause.  Everything we cook is authentic, fresh Mexican food that takes hours to prepare, but is well worth the wait.  Starting as early as 10 am, we make everything from tamales, enchiladas, green chilis, sopes, oaxaca mole, and hard rolled taquitos to “famous” spicy salsa you can enjoy with chips.  There is always enough to feed 150-200 people, but don’t expect leftovers.  It is too good of a chance to pass up.

While waiting for the excellent meal, you can browse the silent auction donated by many local companies and find the perfect item to take home with you.  There tends to be a good selection that makes it fun to bid and compete.  Be sure to save room, because great desserts are provided after dinner; past selections have included 3 milk cake and flan.  Some of these events also offer great entertainment of baile Folklorico Dancing, where dancers perform this special authentic Mexican dance to celebrate the wonderful occasion and history. 

FEATURE: GoNomad Travel

We are excited to be featured on GoNomad Travel.

Bend’s Smaller Sibling Offers Plenty To Do for Outdoors lovers

By Mandana Marsh

The first time I saw the life-size statue of a rearing horse at the gateway of Sisters, Oregon, I knew this was a place for me.Sisters celebrates its roots as a cowboy town with a rodeo attracting professional competitors and big crowds every June. (73rd Sisters Rodeo, June 7-9, 2013).

But Sisters is more than a summer attraction. During the winter months, visitors can downhill ski, snowboard or slide on a tube at Hoodoo Ski Area as well as cross country ski there or on the many nearby trails.

Spas, restaurants and Three Creeks Brewing Co. are among many businesses open for post-winter sport relaxation. Sisters, which was named for three 10,000-foot snow-capped peaks around it, is close to the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain range.Set in central Oregon, the town is sheltered by the mountains from the rain and storms coming off the Pacific Ocean affording it 300 days of sunshine a year. Sisters population of 2,000 is dwarfed by its neighbor, Bend (pop. 80,000) located 20 miles further east. Sisters offers tourists most every opportunity as Bend, however—just on a smaller scale. To an easterner, small is a relative term in Oregon where Ponderosa Pines grow to the height of a 16-story building.

No Neon

Adding to Sisters quiet charm is the absence of neon signs. Stores and fast food joints are wood paneled in the style of an 1880s Western town. The arts (painting, music, quilting, crafts) and the importance of the horse are emphasized here. Like the rodeo, there is an outdoor quilt festival (July 13, 2013) that draws people from around the world.

The quiet month of January allowed me space to savor the attributes of Sisters. I paid a lengthy visit to the Shibui Spa, on the campus of Five Pine Lodge which offers rooms with a waterfall soaking tub and fireplace. A large Buddha and the trickling sounds of a waterfall greeted me and the efficient staff put me at ease.

Tensions of travel were massaged away. I emerged with fully moisturized skin, shiny red toenails and a new lease on life. In between appointments, I sipped Japanese tea and ate almonds in front of a stone fireplace in their peaceful waiting room.

BlackButteBlack Butte Ranch at Sisters, OR.Next stop was at The Open Door, an art gallery and restaurant. The quinoa-mango-avocado salad was colorful and tasty. On the way out, I admired the Western-inspired art and jewelry created by local artists.

Fit Locals

Most residents appear fit and healthy, no doubt due to easy access to forest paths and cross country skiing. Families with babies peeking out from inside a parent’s coat or toddlers riding behind on toboggans populated a trail one Sunday afternoon. The familiar squeaking of skis as I glided over fresh powder reminded me of why cross country is such a great sport: it feels effortless when at the same time you get a good work-out.

Often the towns of Bend and Sisters don’t have snow on the ground due to their high desert climate. But just a few miles drive towards any of the Cascade Mountains brings you to all the snow you need for skiing or tubing. Hoodoo Ski Area, west of Sisters, offers both, again on a smaller scale as compared to Bend’s monster-size Mount Batchelor.

Black Butte Ranch, all 1800 acres of it, is seven miles west of Sisters, and works closely with the town to encourage tourism. Black Butte Ranch offers lodge rooms on up to six-bedroom homes for rent. It is a sprawling planned community, built in the 1970s with spectacular views of the three Sisters mountains (South, Middle and North).

The Lodge

A restaurant called The Lodge overlooks a lake and even has a Ponderosa Pine tree standing in the building’s center. Visitors can choose from almost every activity known to mankind. Black Butte offers horse riding to the public, two 18-hole golf courses (Glaze Meadow reopened last year following a $3.75 million renovation by architect John Fought), a spa, five pools, 19 tennis courts, 18 miles of bike trails and even its own fire and police departments.

About 300 people live there full-time. The summer season attracts several thousand; often they are generations of families returning for vacations. During the holidays, Black Butte has popular winter carriage rides.

South SisterSouth SisterAfter leaving the ranch, I stopped at Sisters Coffee Co. to bring home their richly roasted coffee beans as gifts (Black Butte Gold). I enjoyed the tastiest homemade tomato soup topped with big croutons and cheese sprinkled on the top.
People sit around a big fireplace sipping coffee and working on laptops. Like everyone I met in Sisters, the people were laid-back and friendly. At Sisters Bakery, I purchased their homemade granola and admired the marionberry pies in the case.

Jen’s Garden

My last dinner in Oregon was at a gem of a restaurant, Jen’s Garden on East Hood Avenue. The southern French-inspired chef cooked a duck dish that fueled me all the way back to Virginia the next day. I opted for the three course prix fixe menu, starting with roasted pepper soup with coconut lemongrass foam and pistachio powder. The grilled duck breast was surrounded by sweet potato hash and baby bok choi with a red curry broth. Olive oil cake was the crown to a glorious dinner.

The pristine setting and clean mountain air create a powerful attraction. Sisters treats its visitors royally so it’s no wonder people return on a regular basis. I liked the quote on a plaque under the gateway horse sculpture which sums up Sisters’ roots:

“The Wild Stallion……is a record of the past, a message for the present and hope for the future.”

How to get there:

saladSalad at Jen’s Garden, Sisters, OR.Fly to Portland (PDX), and drive 158 southeast miles through Salem, or fly to the Redmond Airport (RDM) and drive 20 miles west.

Where to stay:

Best Western Ponderosa Lodge, Bestwesternsisters.com

Black Butte Ranch, BlackButteRanch.com

Five Pine Lodge and Cabins, fivepinelodge.com

Sisters Inn & Suites, sistersinnandsuites.com

Sister’s Motor Lodge, sistersmotorlodge.com

Where to eat:

The Lodge at Black Butte Ranch, BlackButteRanch.com
Jen’s Garden, intimatecottagecuisine.com
Bronco Billy’s Ranch Grill and Saloon, 190 E. Cascade Ave.
Los Agaves, losagavessisters.com
Sisters Coffee, www.sisterscoffee.com
Angeline’s Bakery & Café, angelinesbakery.com
Sisters Bakery, 251 E. Cascade Ave.
Three Creeks Brewing Co., threecreeksbrewing.com
Slick’s Que Co., slicksqueco.com


AAA 2013 Diamond Ratings


AAA 4 Diamond Property

We are extremely excited to announce that for the second year in a row we have been awarded the 4 Diamond award by AAA.  This is a wonderful honor as 13 properties in Oregon were nominated and only three are in Central Oregon.

13 Hotels and 2 Restaurants in Oregon Make AAA’s Four Diamond List

Across the continent, just 4.2 percent of all AAA Approved hotels and restaurants begin the year with the travel authority’s highest ratings

 PORTLAND, Ore. – For the 77th year, AAA is out with its list of the top hotels and restaurants for 2013 that earned the Four or Five Diamond Rating during the past 12 months.  The AAA/CAA Four and Five Diamond Ratings are the travel authority’s highest designations for hotels and restaurants.

AAA Four and Five Diamond hotels are refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes. They offer guests personalized attention and extensive amenities in a luxurious setting.  Oregon hotels receiving the AAA/CAA Four Diamond Rating are:


The Oxford Hotel (2010)


Stephanie Inn (1995)


Whale Cove Inn (2011)


Inn at the 5th (2012)


Hotel Monaco Portland, a Kimpton Hotel (1997)

Hotel Vintage Plaza, a Kimpton Hotel (2001)

RiverPlace Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel (1986)

The Governor Hotel (2001)

The Heathman Hotel (1985)

The Nines (2009)

The Westin Portland (2000)


FivePine Lodge & Spa (2011)


Sunriver Resort (1999)

(note the year listed by each establishment indicates the year the property first received the current, consecutively maintained Diamond rating)

             Restaurants receiving the Four or Five Diamond Rating offer a distinctive fine dining experience. They feature highly creative chefs, complex menus, fresh top-quality ingredients and knowledgeable staff. Restaurants in Oregon earning the Four Diamond Rating are:


The Painted Lady (2011)


Noisette Restaurant (2012)

About AAA/CAA Diamond Ratings:

AAA rates more properties than any other rating entity. It is the only rating system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and the only rating system that conducts professional, on-site evaluations using published guidelines weighted by member priorities.

“AAA/CAA Four and Five Diamond establishments represent the upper echelon of the hospitality industry,” says Doreen Loofburrow, Vice President of Travel and Marketing at AAA Oregon/Idaho.  “Four and Five Diamond hotels and restaurants are committed to providing every guest with a personalized experience and attentive service in comfortable, high quality surroundings and consistently exceed the expectations of the most discriminating traveler – the AAA inspector.”

AAA’s professionally trained inspectors use published guidelines to conduct unannounced hotel and restaurant evaluations, assigning Approved establishments a rating of One to Five AAA Diamonds. Collectively visiting some 1,200 hotels and restaurants every week, AAA inspectors are in a unique position to identify emerging trends in the hospitality industry. Inspectors have observed hotels and restaurants using increasingly personalized approaches to enhance guest comfort and satisfaction.

¨      For 2013, 163 establishments (101 hotels and 62 restaurants) were newly added to the AAA/CAA Four Diamond Award® list. This includes the Inn at the 5th Hotel in Eugene and Noisette Restaurant in Portland.

¨      A total of 2,289 establishments (1,535 hotels and 754 restaurants) throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean received the Four Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for the 2013 Four Diamond Award® list.

¨      The net addition of 44 Four Diamond establishments (all hotels) represents a 2 percent increase over the total 2,245 last year.

¨      Collectively, Four Diamond establishments represent just 3.9 percent of the current 59,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated establishments.

¨      Four Diamond hotels account for 5.1 percent of the total 30,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels; Four Diamond restaurants account for 2.6 percent of the total 29,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated restaurants.

¨      One hundred and ten hotels, including the Heathman Hotel and RiverPlace Hotel in Portland, have maintained the Four Diamond Rating for 25 or more consecutive years.

AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotel and restaurant listings can be found in the downloadable eTourBook® guides and AAA Mobile® app for tablets and smartphones, the TripTik® Travel Planner and Travel Guides on AAA.com, and AAA TourBook® guides available at AAA and CAA offices. Travelers can access information about AAA inspections and Diamond Ratings at AAA.com/Diamonds.

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete Five Diamond hotel and restaurant lists, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

 For more info go to www.AAA.com.  AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 745,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 53 million motorists in North America.


Have you heard about Pinterest.com?

Wow!  What a great place to find inspiration for almost anything.  If you haven’t yet heard of this new craze, pinterest.com is definitely the best thing that has ever been created for social networking.

Pinterest is essentially a virtual pin board.  It’s like the old school ways of cutting out pictures from magazines to inspire a future project, goal or dream, but allows you to pin anything you can find online.    It is great for finding inspiration from fashion and craft projects to recipes and beautiful travel spots.  It is especially great for brides planning a wedding.  I honestly don’t know how someone planned their wedding before Pinterest existed.  I myself am planning my wedding and I utilize Pinterest for everything.  I have been pinning possible venues, caterers, photography ideas, hair styles, dresses and DIY projects.  This allows me to conveniently go back at any point and get a hold of almost every thought or idea I have had for my wedding and we all know it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have a place to organize these thoughts.   Here is an example of just some of the inspiration you will find for weddings on pinterest.com.

You can browse through other pins and boards, pin a picture from different websites, or upload your own pictures.  Each pin is automatically linked to its original site.  So, when you see the tutorial you like for how to DIY your favorite center pieces, you can pin it, then easily go back to where you found it when you are ready to start the project.  Because of this, I have been exposed to a ton of great websites, resources, and blogs to further assist me in my wedding plans.  Some of my favorites so far include greenweddingshoes.com, stylemepretty.com, and wed4lessnw.com.

As if all of this wasn’t great enough, when you find a fellow Pinterester (not sure if that is the appropriate name) whose style you like you can choose to follow all of their pins, or just one of their mood boards.  This way, you can get up to date feeds as to what they are finding out there in the cyber world.  It’s like having your own personal planning committee.  You’ll have hundreds of great ideas and plans in half the time.

To sign up just go to pinterest.com and click the “request an invite button.”  You’ll have to enter a few things in and within a couple of days you’ll receive an invite in your email to set up your account.  Then just start pinning!  Just don’t forget to pin FivePine as your favorite Wedding Venue!

While you’re there check out all of our favorite inspirations that we have been pinning at FivePine and start following us.


Shibui Spa Detox Program

As the New Year is upon us, Shibui Spa is kicking things off with their amazing Detox Program.  You will gain a better understanding of which foods are diuretics, which foods make you bloat, and which foods give you the desire to keep it off.  Have fun with a group of individuals who relate to the difficulties surrounding food.  The detox is approved by the Pritikin Society and will not adversely affect blood sugar.  The program is 10 days and includes:

  • Initial meeting and discussion on Thursday, January 19th from 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • Fast Track Detox Diet Book
  • Mid-week follow up on Wednesday, January 25th from 6:30 – 8:00pm
  • Fasting day on Sunday, January 29th at Shibui Spa from 9:00am – 6:00pm with fun activities that are insightful along with a 60-minute luxurious massage or facial

For more information about the program, contact Shibui Spa at (541) 549-6164.

Breakfast with Santa

Remember Why You Fell in Love . . . True North Parenting

Every couple deserves a romantic weekend getaway and there’s nothing like a quick escape to revitalize a long term relationship. From vineyards to hot springs, Oregon has a wide variety of romantic settings to offer, all within a day’s ride by car. Whether you are trying to rekindle the romantic spark dampened by the demands of work and parenting, enjoying an empty nest, or are anywhere in between, Oregon has the romantic getaway for you . . .

True North Parenting Magazine: Full Article