We aren't in Bend, we are in Redmond.. very close to Bend. I believe there is an AP moms group in Bend that gets together often. I think the population is pretty high over here for enlightened, gentle, instinctual parenting. I hope someone can point you in the right direction for the AP moms club. Kristi
I don't know about AP friendly but I really like it as a town. My sil and bil lived there for a while. It is quite cold in the winter and very hot in the summer though not temperate like a lot of OR.
Its also is very high in real estate.
Thanks for the feedback! We're in St. Paul, MN; which is AP friendly and super expensive to live, so in comparison Bend seems both inexpensive and temperate (we have that 20 below in winter to high 90's and humid in the summer!!!)
I think Bend is one of the most beautiful places to live. There is so much to do in Central Oregon. The mountains, 100 lakes all within 100 miles, the river Descutes, Smith Rocks, Lava beds the list could go on... I went to school there at COCC and lived there for 3 years. The population has skyrocketed since i left in like 1995. I think it is a very laid back type of people and if you ask me I would choose to live on the WEST side of town. I've heard they don't have very good grocery stores tho.
We are in Bend! Grew up here, both dh and I, and then lived in many different places before deciding to move back to start our family. One place we lived was Minneapolis! This is a small world.
So I can give you some comparisons....
First the cons:
It will feel very small compared to your metro area, you'll have to drive to the valley (2.5-4 hrs away) for real shopping/entertainment/etc like you'd easily find where you are.
There aren't the beautiful seasonal changes. It won't feel cold to you in winter, nor get as much snow, but (and this is a big BUT) they don't know how to deal with snow like Minnesotans here, so the roads are horrid to drive on in winter. You won't believe how unorganized they are about that.
You'll have to drive at least an hour to any lake.
The schools are not supported like in Minnesota. Bend-LaPine school district, well, has it's problems.
pm me if you are a teacher or plan to put your kids in public schools and I'll offer some advice.
Music and arts, without the benefit of a university nearby or large public support, is not in the schools or community as it should/could be. (my dh is a musician, so this is near and dear to our hearts)
I get many many comments on my slings and surprise at my homebirth- you don't see much of that here unless you know where to look.
And now some pros:
You are only an hour from lakes, an hour from the snowy cascade mts, 4-5 hrs from the OCEAN! The beautiful pacific ocean, with it's rocky shores and cold waters, sand dunes, and driftwood. There is a butte (small mt) in the middle of town called pilot butte that has a walking path up it and fireworks shot off of it on 4th of july. There is a high desert museum, a new children's museum opening, lava fields/tubes (caves!), and pine forests or flat land (depends on which end of town you are on). You can go cut your own christmas tree. A half hour south is sunriver, a resort town with lots of biking/walking trails. Rock climbing at smith rock. Hiking, cross country skiing, biking, snow boarding (heard of mt bachelor? that's here). Deschutes River (fishing, rafting, canoes, kyaks, swimming, etc) is right here, no drive.
DRY heat and cold, which don't feel quite as hot or cold as if you were to add humidity. Diapers don't mildew (I'm thinking of Indiana here!).
There is music/art in the community- a great symphony and a band that's trying to work it's way up. All summer there is Munch'n Music, which is music in the park at dinner time every thursday. The cascade music festival and sunriver music festival are here each summer too. COCC adds it's part with art classes. The bend summer festival shows off the art int he community. There's a saturday market and a farmer's market. A wild oats and a costco, too. Lots of berry stands, the valley is where berries are grown, and not much beats oregon berries! Produce in general is a bit better than we found in mn, but not as good as in california.
There are 3 homebirth midwives in town who are kept pretty busy (oops and one more who only does hospital births). There's a great ap group that is pretty active- playgroups, mom's night outs, book group, breastfeeding support group (there's no LLL in bend, though), etc. Quite a few naturopaths.
During rush hour it is 30 minutes from the south end of town to the north end. There's a recently installed Parkway, routing traffic around the outskirts of bend, and that takes a bit of pressure off the main street (3rd). You can get north to south on that in 15 min.
clean air, altho you get that in mn too...
oh, housing prices!!!!! I nearly forgot! For an average 3 br house in bend with a small (1/2 acre or less) yard, you'll pay 140-200 thousand. We just paid 140 for a 1300 sq ft 3 br house with a backyard big enough for catch and across the st from an elemenatry school, new construction. Seems it's cheaper to go new here, since there are so many new neighborhoods. If you want land and are willing to be outside town a bit, there's cheaper stuff there too. To rent a 1-2 br apt, you'll pay 450-600, I think, and townhouses we looked at renting were 600-900.
Schools have large fields and playgrounds, mostly fenced, that the public can play on when sschool isn't in. There are parks galore, several (like Shevlin) are largely as nature made them, and state parks like Tumalo St Park are lovely with the river and trails.
We have the regional hospital right here, St. Charles (but the chidlren's hosp is in portland), and we have cocc.
Bend is growing, so there are more arts/entertainment/shopping coming all the time. We have an outlet mall and an organic clothing store, some children's consignment stores, etc. The Old Mill district is growing with the high end clothing stores. The president's own marine band is coming to bend high this fall to perform.
I know there are things I"ve forgotten, so ask if you have any specific concerns/questions! Goood luck in your decision!