Old Mill Roundup


(City Home | Photo courtesy of Old Mill District)

There’s always something happening in Bend’s Old Mill District, a hub for shopping, dining, entertainment and more. Recently, the Old Mill and the businesses that call this area home have seen more than a few changes, including a new eaterie, exciting new libations, new featured artists and more.

Vanilla and City Home

Two popular retailers, Vanilla Urban Threads and the Portland-based furniture store City Home, are in the process of swapping locations. City Home will be moving into a larger space, next to SW Columbia Street and Lululemon, while Vanilla will be moving into a more central location, across from REI.

According to the owners of each store, the idea for the swap was proposed by the Old Mill for a number of reasons. According to Beau Eastes, marketing director of the Old Mill, the location swap was proposed for the benefit of everyone involved, including shoppers, delivery drivers, the stores themselves and the district as a whole.

“City Home will be moving to a location with more than double the floor space, providing much more room to set up their furniture,” Eastes said. “Additionally, City Home’s new location will include an awning space outside, allowing the store to better showcase their outdoor patio furniture.”

City Home’s new location will place them adjacent to a much larger parking lot, allowing for easier access for delivery drivers and customers who are loading large pieces of furniture into their vehicles. For Vanilla, a very successful and well established retailer in the Old Mill, their new location will put them in the center of the district, an area with high foot traffic. This premium location will allow a greater number of customers to pass by the store and stop in to shop.

On the swap, Eastes said, “It is so nice to be able to work with business owners who are open to ideas like this one, that benefit the entire district.”

Va Piano

The popular wine tasting room, Va Piano, is adding a carefully curated list of champagne to their tasting menu. Va Piano Vineyards’ Bend Manager, Mauri Brown, said that guests to the tasting room would regularly ask about champagne, and many people seemed eager to try out new varieties of the bubbles. “We were surprised by the overwhelming request for folks to get their hands on bubbles,” Brown said. “After tasting over 70 sparkling offerings, we selected about two dozen to add to our menu. We plan on rotating them seasonally to keep the menu interesting, even for our regulars.”

Va Piano will still heavily focus on producing full-bodied reds, but Brown acknowledges that these types of wines might not be the best libation for a hot summer day. “We are predicting that a significant number of our guests will be excited to enjoy sparkling wines on our riverfront patio when it opens back up again for the season this Spring, and tasting flights will be available on a daily basis during the summer months.”

Brown added that Va Piano is excited to help guests commemorate celebrations and milestones, “Bubbles are such a celebratory drink–buying a new house, getting engaged, honoring a birthday or anniversary–endless reasons why people love to pop a bottle! We’re glad we can play a small role in our community members’ celebrations.”

Lady Bird

Chef John Gurnee, the culinary mastermind behind popular Bend eateries DRAKE and Washington Dining & Cocktails, has opened up a new fine dining establishment in the heart of the Old Mill: Lady Bird Cultural Society. Gurnee has stated that Lady Bird is “not just a restaurant, but an experience.”

The menu offers guests a mix of farm-to-table offerings, along with year round favorites, such as balsamic beef short ribs, truffle stuffed camembert, duck mafaldine and a wide variety of freshly made sourdough and gluten-free pizzas. However, it is important to remember that many offerings are seasonal, so the menu will change regularly.

The Mediterranean-inspired menu surely has offerings for any eater, including an extensive list of beer, wine and cocktails, including an entire section of Prohibition-era libations, and a section dedicated to non alcoholic and low ABV selections.

Lady Bird also features a private area called “The Nest,” a VIP area reserved for special events and corporate gatherings. The eatery is open for dinner from Tuesday-Sunday, with plans to unveil a weekend brunch.

Hayden Homes Amphitheater

The Hayden Homes Amphitheater, thanks to the Take Note Initiative that began back in 2016, has quickly become one the most environmentally friendly live-music venues in the nation.

This is achieved in a number of ways. First, all food and beverage items sold at the venue are sold in 100 percent compostable containers, including silverware and napkins. The sale of single-use plastic water bottles has been banned and replaced with free water stations where guests can fill up their own reusable containers.

In 2022, the Hayden Homes Amphitheater diverted nearly 77 percent of all waste from the amphitheater away from landfills due to recycling and composting efforts; the venue composted 85,000 pounds of food and recycled 19,880 pounds of cardboard, 5,000 pounds of wood, 281,000 plastic bottles and 9,000 glass bottles.

Arts in the Old Mill

The Old Mill is home to plenty of local art and galleries, including Amejko Artistry, Lubbesmeyer Studio & Gallery, The Stacks Art Studios & Gallery and Tumalo Art Co. Other retailers around the district also showcase local art.

New exhibitions open up each month, where local artists can share their recent work, connect with the community and collaborate with other artists. On the first Friday of each month, the district hosts an art walk, where guests can peruse various galleries and retailers for local artwork.

In February, guests can admire a wide variety of work from local artists. Painter Lindsey Gilmore has shared a variety of abstract pieces that are inspired by local landscapes, while simultaneously forgoing any sense of realism, and instead, opt for expression through the use of different marks and gestures.

Oil painter Kira Frances is exploring “Goddess” as a subject and source for inspiration. By investigating various mythological archetypes, her recent work draws together early beliefs about the Goddess figure in relationship to nature. Her intention with this project is to create new ways of seeing ancient figures that may have been lost in time.

Photographer Alyson Brown recently wrapped up shoots for various local publications and businesses. A variety of her work is currently on display, and in addition to photoshoots, she has also re-released her book, The Flower-Infused Cocktail, a visually stunning look at libations.

An oil and acrylic painter with a knack for unique textures, Jennifer McCaffrey is this month’s artist-in-residence at The Stacks. Her work is movement-focused and often features the natural world, drawing inspiration from the sky, wind and light.

These artists and more will have their work on display at various galleries across the Old Mill.



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