We get it. It’s hard to really enjoy summer this year. But remember the miscreant kid in your elementary school class who always kept everyone from going to recess because he wouldn’t stop eating the glue? You don’t want to be that kid. The sooner we all learn to behave ourselves, the sooner we can go to recess.
Just because you’re being asked to act like a responsible adult doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, though. After all, being a Pacific Northwesterner means you only have a small window of time to soak in as much vitamin D as you can before the sun disappears for the next nine to ten months.
You may not be able to enjoy Bend the way it’s truly meant to be enjoyed this summer. So redefining what it means to play in Bend is your next best bet.
Embrace your inner child
Nostalgia has come back in a big way in 2020. Turns out feeling nostalgic is totally normal and healthy, too. While you’re acting like an adult, why not act like a kid for a while?
- Break out the sidewalk chalk and make the biggest, baddest hopscotch court your neighborhood has ever seen.
- Build your own American Ninja Warrior obstacle course.
- Play Quidditch.
- Have a backyard campout (complete with s’mores jello shots, natch).
- Go geocaching—it’s like Pokémon Go for adults!
- Play Simon Says. Even better, play Simon Says but make it a (responsible) drinking game.
Find a new hobby
Remember March when we were all locked down and people were whiling away their days doing puzzles, taking part in ridiculous quarantine challenges, and spring cleaning like never before? We kind of miss those days of solidarity. They forced us to find new ways to occupy our time and even discover some of our new favorite things. Now that you’re allowed to at least leave your house, this is your chance to find a new outdoor hobby.
- Take up bird-watching. Not only will you find a lot of birds to watch, but Bend also offers plenty of places to do it.
- Go on a photography walk, even if it’s just using your phone’s camera. It’s a good way to explore your own neighborhood.
- Grow something new. Never tried your hand at growing okra? Go get ‘em, green thumb. Now that you’re a professional chef—you know, since you’ve been forced to actually cook for yourself this year—you’ll be able to live off your land.
- Brew your own beer, cider, or kombucha. Or distill your own whiskey or vodka. Or all of the above.
Do Bend, Oregon 2020 style
Nothing says Bend, Oregon like beer. That might be because Bend is home to some of the state’s/country’s/world’s best beer—and we don’t say that lightly. We miss beer patios, too. Yes, we know they’re open in some capacity, but it doesn’t feel quite the same. Maybe we can bend the rules a bit this year and still feel like we’re in Bend.
- Get beers-to-go from Ale Apothecary, Boneyard, Monkless, etc. and have a beer festival on your own patio.
- Enjoy a backyard concert. We really miss concerts at Les Schwab, even floating the Deschutes and catching a show from afar. Pick one of your favorite concert films (we suggest the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” or Beyoncé’s “Homecoming”), set up a projector in your backyard, and rage against the machine.
- Keep ordering takeout. Besides, ordering takeout or delivery doesn’t mean you’re lazy anymore; it means you’re stimulating the local economy. Win-win! A pro tip: Tip well. With the money you’re saving from not going out all the time, you can afford to give the restaurant or your delivery driver a healthy tip. Least you can do when they’re putting their health at risk so you can get your Taco Tuesday fix.
- Float the river. On second thought, don’t. You shouldn’t be doing that right now. Take a bath instead. It’s even acceptable in these crazy times to take a floating cooler in there with you.
Put your summer toys in self storage—for now
The day we can all break out the paddle boards, inner tubes, kayaks—anything that floats, for that matter—and hit the Deschutes again is going to be sooo sweet. But good things come to those who wait (and wear a freaking mask). In the meantime, we’ve come up with an easy way to rent a storage unit completely contact-free. One day we’ll all high-five each other in one of Crux’s beer gardens while sharing a pint. For now, take care of yourself. We’ll take care of your stuff.