Looking for small town charm mixed with cowboy flair while you’re in Redmond, Oregon for the FMCA Convention in August? Drive about 25 miles over to the town of Sisters and spend an afternoon boutique shopping along its 1880s western-style Main Street while enjoying the surrounding high desert scenery. If you haven’t been on the east side of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, you’ll notice it’s no ordinary desert filled with sand and scrub. In fact, sweet-smelling Ponderosa and lodgepole pines, sage, juniper, and grazing llamas create spectacular roadside scenery that’s anything but desolate. And that’s just the lower half of the landscape— a variety of snow-capped Cascade Mountain peaks are sure to fill your windshield and side mirrors, so take your camera!
History of Sisters. Three prominent peaks, all glaciated dormant volcanoes topping 10,000 feet—Faith, Hope, and Charity (South, Middle and North Sister Mountains)—are known collectively as the Three Sisters and give the charming tiny town of Sisters its name. The settlement, once just a handful of humble wooden buildings, got its start when the post office at Camp Polk, a temporary military camp three miles to the north, closed in the 1880s and moved to the junction of the McKenzie and Santiam Roads where Sisters is now.
Shopping in Sisters. Today, the tiny town still retains its 1880s western charm in terms of style, but it’s by no means back woods in terms of the top-notch art galleries, antiques, crafts, and specialty stores. Shopping in Sisters is indeed exceptional thanks to dozens of local artisans. Unique pottery, wood sculptures, stained glass, jewelry, and distinctive giftware make magnificent souvenirs, and there’s even an award-winning clock maker in town. A variety of small merchants sell western wear, outdoor gear, and even gourmet culinary supplies. And there’s no shortage of restaurants once you’ve shopped ‘til you drop—try Bronco Billy’s for the best burgers.
Celebrations in Sisters. If you don’t come to Sisters for the shopping, you’ll definitely want to visit often during the year for its special events. Although the population inside the city limits is small—about 1,700—residents are big on fun and festivals! Sisters annual professional rodeo, dubbed the “Biggest Little Show in the World” since 1940, is held the second week of June, the famous Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show takes place each July, the Sisters Folk Festival is in September, and a Sisters in Sisters Celebration occurs every October. That’s the short list! An annual Jazz Festival and Custom Car Classic, in addition to the town’s holiday festivities, provide a full calendar of entertainment.
BEFORE YOU GO:
Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce 541-549-0251
Central Oregon Visitors Association 800-800-8334
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com