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Places We Go : Sisters, Oregon


The very nicest thing happened to me this Thanksgiving. Ruthann's husband, Bobby, offered to fly me to Sisters, Oregon to surprise Ruthann. I hadn't been to Ruthann and Bobby's vacation home in almost 20 years. As you might know, Sisters is in beautiful Central Oregon's high desert. As I landed, I could see the snow covered Mt. Jefferson out the window. I was about to have a magical visit. Let's take a look.

On the way home from the airport, we had a delicious dinner at Rancho Viejo, a family-runned Mexican restaurant. Sister's main street was decked out with holiday lights.

The next morning, a mule deer buck was eyeing 5 or 6 ladies. I took this photo from the wall of windows in Ruthann and Bobby's living and dining rooms. If you look carefully, you can see the wire fence which separates their house from the Deschutes National Forest. Nature, up close and personal.

One of the wall-length windows has glass shelves in it. When the sun shines through Ruthie's cut glass collection, it's magical. She'll add more red ornaments as she finishes her decorating.

One day, after Ruthie and I got the Forest Service $5 tree permit, we got in JJ (the sweet old house truck with over 200,000 miles on it) to find two Christmas trees - one for Sisters and one for their house in Portland. Above, Bobby checked out the top of a grand fir.

Ruthann and Bobby cut juniper boughs, along with these "red sticks." They are actually Red-osier Dogwood.

Bobby cuts fir boughs for their decorating and making swags. They also cut lodgepole pines, complete with small pine cones. All the boughs are made into garlands and draped around both houses plus they get plenty to give to their friends. When I lived in Portland, they bought be a fresh tree. Such a treat!

Here's Ruthie in front of a magnificent grand fir. Guessing putting on the lights will take hours, but it will be stunning.

There's a couple of sculptures in their yard. This iron chair sculpture by their son, Ryan, got a Christmas bow.

Sisters town center is a 5 or so minute drive from Ruthie & Bobby's house. Sisters is named after the Three Sisters mountains - Faith, Hope and Charity - part of the beautiful Central Oregon Cascade Range.

Sisters charming main drag - Cascade Avenue.

The Sisters Saloon's building was built in 1912.

One day, we walked Cascade Avenue, filled with shops, restaurants and a small museum. We went early as the Christmas parade and tree lighting were starting in the late afternoon.

The Stitchin' Post store was opened in 1975. The famous July quilting show began when the founder hung quilts in front of her store one July weekend. "It's now internationally recognized as the world’s largest outdoor quilt show, displaying more than 1,300 quilts representing fiber artists from around the world. More than 10,000 visitors from all 50 states and multiple foreign countries flock to Sisters on the second Saturday in July," according to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show's website.

One small corner of the Stitchin' Post.

One of Ruthie's favorite stores is the Habitat for Humanity nonprofit thrift store. There's always a treasure to be found.

The Culver Cabin Interiors store has a Western vibe.

Rescued Living is a beautifully curated store - I wanted everything!

We even liked the simple gift wrap. The "ribbon" is made from Sari silk fabric. (more on that next Sunday.)

We stopped at The High Desert Chocolates shop for hot coco.

Another day, we visited the amazing off-the-grid home of Ruthann and Bobby's friends. The home-owner built this gate using a piece of juniper as the archway.

As an added bonus, Ruthann refreshed my memory on how to knit. I had such a great week. The wood stove crackled and some of us ate pie most mornings for breakfast.


One morning was 10 degrees and everyday, the high in the mid30's. Up in the woods, I wore two pairs of pants, two sweaters, a vest, and a down jacket. I felt like the kid in A Christmas Story. It had been a long time since I'd felt cold and it felt good. Just before they drove me to the airport, Ruthie and I noticed two gift-wrapped boxes in the living room. Surprise! Bobby had bought us twin Christmas angels. (You'll see mine next week.) Thank you, Bobby, for the wonderful gesture of surprising Ruthann. And thank you, Ruthann, for being such a good friend for almost 50 years. Spending a week with the two of you was truly magical.

Ruthann's Thanksgiving yams turned out to be the inspiration for my Christmas decor this year. I'll give you the skinny next Sunday. In the meantime, have a wonderful Sunday (and Go Niners).


P.S. Sisters is in Central Oregon's high desert with an elevation of 3,182 feet. The population is 3,093. It's 23 miles from Bend, the largest city in Central Oregon. It's a 63 minutes flight from SFO to the Redmond airport. Seen from everywhere in Sisters are Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas which are home to iconic mountain peaks, high alpine meadows and lakes, and old growth forests.



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