Kayaking the Descutes River at Sunriver Resort, Oregon

That time I kayaked the Deschutes River with a chocolate chip cookie.

Aloha from the air! This post is coming to you from a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet (give or take a few thousand, because I can’t actually remember exactly what the pilot said). Location-wise, my guess is we are somewhere over Montana…though you probably shouldn’t quote me on that either. I never was particularly adept at geography. I am, however, very keen on our end destination: Hawaii! I’ll be sharing photos on Instagram (posts and stories), so you can travel along with me if you like.

We’re taking this trip to celebrate the wedding of one of my best girlfriends. Attending is especially meaningful because of my close relationship with her and because, over the years, I’ve gotten to know her groom-to-be as well. I can’t wait to watch them begin this next chapter of their lives together.

On the opposite end of the wedding spectrum, last week Ben’s grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. More than 60 guests attended the party, the setting and meal were sublime, and when I looked around the room, I felt positively surrounded by love. Every single guest was there out of love of Ben’s grandparents, and the reason for our gathering was his grandparents’ enduring love for each other.

My heart has been heavy with the tragic events of the past several weeks. In the midst of what had begun to feel like an unrelenting series of bad news, I can’t overstate just how refreshing and important a reminder these celebrations have been to stop and recognize the good that is present all around me if I but take the time to look.

Be it a marriage old or new, a fun day shared with friends, or a clear blue sky on a crisp fall afternoon, our days, while peppered with heartache, also shine with moments of brilliant joy too.

In the spirit of honoring the little things that bring me happiness, I have a new list of favorites for you! You’ll find everything from a self-heating shirt (seriously!) to the best-smelling fall candle. I’m sharing a look at my recent trip to Oregon, as well as a sneak peek at what’s up next on the blog too.

Most popular recipe on my site right now: Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Kale

Upcoming blog recipe I’m most excited to share: Pumpkin Soup. It’s live next week and SO GOOD.

^^Pssst! Want to know when the soup recipe is live? You can sign up to receive all my new recipes for FREE here. As a thank you, I’ll send you a free e-cookbook too!

Reading: Moloka’i. Set in the late 1800s in Hawaii, it tells the heartbreaking but beautiful story of a little girl who contracts leprosy and is exiled to a colony on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. I picked the book for our trip because I wanted to learn more about the islands’ people and history, and though it’s certainly not a light read, it’s masterfully written and even inspiring.

For that friend who is always cold (ahem, ?? ): Could this shirt really work?

More ways to stay warm: New York bartenders share their favorite easy cocktails.

Pumpkin spice and everything nice: I can’t decide which of these fall candles to try first.

  • Pumpkin Pecan Waffles sounds delicious.
  • Fireside is a long-time favorite. Just sniffing it makes me want to snuggle under a blanket, and I’m a sucker for Woodwick candles, which make a soothing crackling campfire sound as they burn.
  • Pumpkin Chai. I’m also a huge fan of Nest candles, which while pricey are long-burning and strong enough to spice up an entire room.
  • Amber & Moss. Smelled this one at a shop outside of Denver. It made me feel woodsy and sophisticated at the same time.
  • Sweater Weather. The name alone sells it!

A French vending machine that dispenses oysters: I can’t decide if this is weird or awesome.

Advice I wish I followed: How to pack light. I am easily trapped by the idea of having “options,” so I stuff 2x what I need into my bag. Case in point: everything I brought to Hawaii.

It does exist: The perfect pair of over-the-knee boots (hoping for a sale). THESE are also super cute and actually on sale right now!

Moving: to Oregon. Just kidding. Kind of.

Below is a look at my weekend at Sunriver Resort, just outside of Bend, Oregon. If you are looking for a place where you can relax, be active, and enjoy some good eats, it’s a lovely choice.

Weekend at Sunriver Resort

When I travel, I always imagine what my life would be like if I moved to the city I am visiting. While I’m drawn to the energy of big cities like New York and San Francisco and am tempted by the beaches of San Diego, rarely do I feel more at home than when I am visiting Oregon.

Horses at Sunriver Resort

Last month, I had the pleasure to visit Sunriver Resort, located just an hour and a half outside of Portland. My friend Sandy moved there recently and, in partnership with the resort, invited a small group of bloggers to join her there a few weeks ago. It was such a beautiful place to gather with friends, relax, and recharge.

Kayaking at Sunriver Resort

If you are looking for a lovely escape of your own, be it with family, a group of girlfriends, or a significant other, Sunriver is a fantastic choice. The accommodations are beautiful and the setting serene, and the resort offers incredible access to a variety of outdoor activities too.

Lodging and Activities at Sunriver Resort

Sunriver has a sprawling collection of lovely homes of all sizes, so no matter the number in your group, you can find the right space.

We traversed the property by bikes, rented kayaks to cruise along the river, indulged at the spa, and enjoyed meals together.Birdseed-Granola-Oregon

My favorite was a special four-course dinner cooked by the Sunriver’s executive chef, right in our kitchen. To enjoy food of this quality in the company of friends without ever having to leave the comfort of our home was truly special.

Cheese spread, beet bruschetta, and waffles

During the weekend, we were also spoiled to experience some other culinary gems. Thanks to each of the below companies for making our weekend together so delicious!

  • Birdseed Foods. Makers of the most wonderful granola.
  • Storyville Coffee. Award-winning beans that make an exquisite cup. In addition to making a seriously scrumptious brew, Storyville is also committed to donating funds to help end human trafficking.
  • Hydroflask. LOVING my new water bottle.
  • Noble Pig Wine. I am officially an Oregon wine groupie after trying this Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.
  • DeLallo Foods. Everything you need to make the dreamiest of cheeseboards.
  • Whole Foods Bend. Check out their ultra-affordable store brand, 365 Organics.

Blog Retreat Group at Sunriver Resort

^^Our Oregon group. I feel so blessed by the friendships I have made through blogging. These women uplift and inspire me. (From back row to front, left to right): Cathy, Brenda, Lori, Maria, Heidi, Kristen, Mary, Cheryl, Amanda, Gina, Sandy, yours truly.

Thanks as always for following along with my travel adventures! Any favorite destinations of your own? New links or products you are loving lately? It’s a joy to hear from you!

Sunset at Sunriver Resort Oregon

Thank you Sunriver for hosting our group, and to the other companies who made our weekend so enjoyable too. I was not compensated to write this post, and all opinions are my own.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. It was such a joy to host you here, Erin! So glad you got to experience the beauty here at Sunriver Resort in Oregon! Come again!

  2. Ahhhh…take me back. Sunriver Resort was perfection – this is such a great place to stay!!

  3. As for the butternut squash, do you eat just the stuffing & meat of the squash or can you eat the exterior skin too? I haven’t eaten much squash so i really didn’t know. I love sweet potatoe or yam skins.

    1. Hi Susan, I don’t eat the skin. I do eat sweet potato/potato skins, but butternut is too chewy for my tastes.

  4. So glad you posted this, so I could see what Sunriver is like.  My sister and brother-in-law have have a cabin at Sunriver, that I’m always hearing about.  Oregon is a great place to visit – my sister lives in Portland, and when we visited we got to enjoy a few of their awesome breweries.  That said, I wouldn’t trade where I live – I prefer the weather here, and I love the desert.  Hope you have a great time in Hawaii.

  5. That cookie looks amazing. I can’t find a recipe on your site that seems likely to be it. Did I miss it? Or maybe it’s fodder for a future post.

    1. Hi Daniel, I had the cookie during a retreat I was on, so unfortunately it’s not a recipe from the site. (But I hope you were able to find another cookie that piqued your interest when browsing my recipes!)

  6. i have a new found love for oregon after this trip. such a beautiful place, that allowed me to relax. great spending time with you!