Things To Do in Bend Oregon This Summer (to avoid feeling like a slug)

Things To Do in Bend Oregon This Summer (to avoid feeling like a slug)

I recently wrote a feature for The Source Weekly, our rad local weekly paper, about my first summer in Bend (read it here if you want), including my list of things to do in Bend Oregon over the summer months. Well, I’m feeling like a bit of a hypocrite. I wrote the piece seven weeks ago when summertime was a glorious fantasy… and now that temps are in the 90s and the days seem to last forever, I feel like a slacker.

Summer in Bend Oregon, things to do

Summer is flying by, and I’m usually at my laptop instead of out climbing rock walls, tearing up trails, and floating down the river. (See below for a list of all the things I intended to do this summer, of which I’ve done approximately, um… none.)

I’m not inside because I want to be, necessarily. I’m inside because just when the nighttime temps started hovering above freezing, I was suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, flooded with freelance writing work. No complaints here. I’m soooo happy to be a working writer in Bend. But I don’t want my first summer in Bend to pass me by like an acquaintance I vaguely remember having a conversation with at a dinner party. I want to surrender to summer and let it leave an indelible mark in my memories…

Sure, I’ve been to a few free outdoor concerts (fave venue so far: Alive After Five on Wednesday nights at Old Mill. Super mellow, spontaneous dancing, dogs allowed, not overcrowded with food trucks or hipsters), I take Betty for a hike most days, and I’ve even been playing a little tennis (poorly, without an opponent, at the Juniper Park backboard). But I’m not really “engaged” in summer. First of all, there’s the heat. I wasn’t prepared for the scorching Central Oregon sun. Sure, it’s usually a dry heat (thank the sweet baby Jesus), but my body wilts if the thermometer hits 90 degrees and I’m not on a beach with an icy adult beverage in hand. I’m acclimating, I suppose, but the last thing I want to do when the temps reach “broil” is go outside and do anything that involves sweating. This makes me feel like a bad Bend resident.

Which brings me to a psychological phenomenon unique to my locale: I call it “Bend Guilt.” When you live in an outdoors wonderland, and you’re not outdoors for several hours a day, doing adventurous FB-post-worthy things, you start to feel slightly ashamed. It’s like opening a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Rosé Fleur de Champagne, having one sip and then letting it go flat in your fridge. What a waste (but at least you’d have a pretty bottle to use as a vase).

So in an effort to alleviate my Bend Guilt and motivate myself to miss a deadline or two (if you’re a client and you’re reading this, I don’t mean YOUR deadline), and get my ass out into the blazing hot sun for some summertime fun, here’s my list of things to do in Bend Oregon this summer, from my Source Weekly article (slightly amended). I may or may not report back on each of these outings as I complete them. Because let’s be honest, so far, my batting average is abysmal.

Things To Do in Bend Oregon This Summer

(Or “Things I should really do this summer, but might not”)

  • Pedicure from Chloe at Tangerine. (Chloe is rad. I trust my nails and toenails to no one else in this town.)
  • Paddle around on the Deschutes river – both upright (standup paddleboarding) and sitting down (kayak). Rent from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe, because they’re right on the river and you won’t have to figure out how to strap that beast to your Subaru.
  • Overuse the word “spelunker” while cavorting through the Lava Caves.
  • Volunteer outdoors for a sustainable farm like Fields Farm, and subscribe to a local CSA already, before the bounty of summer produce comes to an end.
  • Hike a few miles and cool off under a waterfall, like maybe Tumalo Creek.
  • Sip a delicious milkshake at DRAKE, outdoors, at night, wearing a sundress without a jacket.
  • Frolic through the wildflowers at Canyon Creek Meadows…carefully (I’m not a cretin).
  • Do a whirlwind, multi-weekend tour of the Cascade Lakes, swim in all of them, and pick the best one…
  • Religiously visit the Wednesday Bend Farmers Market downtown (3 p.m – 7 p.m. every Wednesday through October 9th) while it lasts, for produce, aaaaand maybe a delicious bison burger, grilled up by Boken’s, er, I mean Dojo’s awesome head chef Justin Goin.
  • Have dinner on the roof at Zydeco, lean over the ledge and yell, “top of the world, Ma!”
  • Take my first real mountain bike ride on Phil’s Trail.
  • See a concert at Elk Lake, with the rest of Bend.

So there it is. I challenge you to beat me at my own game. How many of those can you check off the list this summer? Go for it. Hopefully at least one of us will have a summer to remember…


4 thoughts on “Things To Do in Bend Oregon This Summer (to avoid feeling like a slug)

  1. Love reading your blog! My husband and I found it last night. We’ll be moving to Bend in June (my husband, possibly sooner). I’m an English teacher and hopefully I’ll be able to find a job, but I was curious how you got into the writing business. I have been told by many (and I actually do believe this) that I am a good writer. I’ve always wanted to write professionally, but being an English teacher with 165 students a year keeps me pretty busy. That said, if I don’t get a teaching position right away, it’d be nice to know my alternatives. Would love to meet you when we make our migration up north this summer. Oh, and I’m an LA transplant too (San Fernando Valley to be exact–now you know exactly why we need to move…lol). Except I’ve lived here my whole life so I know it will be a BIG change for me. My husband is from St. Louis originally and has lived in Chicago as well, so he’s used to moving around. While I’m excited, that “Bend Barrier” you’ve been writing about scares me a little, as I will have no one there except my husband. Maybe a new friend for a new beginner? Hope you are well!

    1. @Megan, this is a bit unconventional, but I wanted you to know that you are not alone! My fiance and I are making a move to Bend from LA mid-summer, and I share all the same sentiments that you do around making the move, especially the one about meeting people and making friends. If you happen to read this, it would be fun to join forces once we’re both settled!

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