City slickers looking for a bit of the old west can find it where they might not expect — eastern Oregon.
The city of Pendleton, Oregon, is caught in a bit of a time warp. Made famous by the iconic Pendleton Woolen Mill and the annual Round-Up, the city gives visitors a unique peek into the iconic American old west.
That’s not to say the city is backward in any way, golfers will be happy to play around at the gorgeous Wildhorse Resort golf course. The course, designed by legend John Steidel, is nestled in Oregon’s Blue Mountains and weaves by calm lakes and over rolling valley hills. The Wildhorse Resort also features a casino with all the amenities.
Foodies can mosey on over to the Plateau restaurant — also housed in the Wildhorse Resort — and take in a winemaker’s dinner or attend special dining events featuring local specialties.
The real draw to Pendleton, however, is western culture.
RVers interested in Native American culture can check out the Tamastlikt Cultural Institute and get a new perspective on the local Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes. The site features a rotating tribal art gallery and a exhibits the rich history of the local tribes.
Focusing on another grand cultural shift in the region, the Round-Up & Happy Canyon Hall of Fame examines all things rodeo. The Round-Up goes back to 1910 and brings some 50,000 people to the area each year in mid September. The hall of fame, however, keeps things interesting for the rest of the year with exhibits historic and modern.
To stick with the cowboy motif, visitors should also take a peek at the Montana Peaks Hat Company. Worn by cowboys, actors or everyone in between, their handcrafted custom hats are truly masterpieces. And they go great with a pair of spurs.
Before leaving Pendleton, visitors must take a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mill. The free tour weaves through one of the last remaining American textile mills and home of the iconic and sought-after Pendleton flannel shirts and gorgeous bright blankets. Tourists can watch the luxurious virgin wool turn into a blanket, flannel or one of Pendleton’s countless other goods. And don’t forget to pick up one of the mills “seconds” or blemished goods — one missed stitch means a fantastic flannel or blanket for a fraction of the normal cost.
Decked out in the local goods, with a belly full of the area’s finest local foods, you may have a cowboy swagger for miles down the road.
Places To Stay
Visitors can choose from several RV Parks in the area, but the highest rated parks were the Pendleton KOA and the Wildhorse Resort; which also features a tipi and tent village.