If you want to slow down and enjoy life, head to Prineville (pop. 9,000) for an off-the-beaten track lifestyle. 45 minutes northeast of Bend, Prineville is the gateway to the Ochoco National Forest, more than half a million acres of wooded foothills, lakes and rivers make up this year-round playground. Working ranches still exist, yet modern neighborhoods are being built to accommodate the technology data centers which have made this area home.
Prineville was founded in 1877, small town USA still exists and the people are as friendly as you can imagine. Spend an evening at the family-run Pine Theater, shop the locals stores on Main Street, or visit one of the local brewing companies after a day wakeboarding on one of area's great lakes. The Crook County Rodeo and Horseraces are a highlight of the summer, and the winters are a bit more mild than other surrounding areas.