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8 ways to survive Election 2016 by hanging out in Bend, Oregon

October 13th, 2016

Is anyone else feeling bogged down by all the negative garbage in this election season? The bickering, the accusations, the comment trails that leave you wishing you could poke your eyes out with a rusty fork . . .

Escape election cycle insanity with a walk int he woods!

Escape election cycle insanity with a walk int he woods!

With nearly four weeks to go, it’s easy to see how you might feel a little disheartened by politics and the world in general. While I won’t claim we’re immune from political lunacy here in our little Bend utopia, I’ve rounded up eight ways you can shake off the election season blahs in Bend, Oregon.

 

Indulge in a little nature therapy

There’s something about fresh air that always hits the reset button on my attitude. Luckily, there’s plenty of that to go around in Bend.

Go for a fall hike someplace the colors are at their peak right now. Tumalo Falls, the Deschutes River Trail, Drake Park, and Shevlin Park are all great options at the moment (er, at least until the storm knocks all the leaves off the trees!)

For a stronger adrenaline rush, book a mountain biking tour with Cog Wild or do something really wild like bungee jumping with Central Oregon Bungee Adventures.

If you prefer to find serenity on the water, book a canoe or kayak outing with Wanderlust Tours or Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe.

 

Distract your brain from the madness

With the constant onslaught of nasty Facebook posts and debate coverage, it can help to focus your mind on something less chaotic.

Give your brain a break from politics by visiting the Deschutes Historical Museum and checking out their awesome Nordic skiing exhibit.

Give your brain a break from politics by visiting the Deschutes Historical Museum and checking out their awesome Nordic skiing exhibit.

Scope out the schedule at AstroLounge and hit their ever-popular Trivia Night to exercise your mind muscles in a way that doesn’t involve leaving fiery comments on your crazy uncle’s Facebook posts.

You can also flex your brain with a visit to Bend Escape Room. In a nutshell, your group is locked in a room and given the clues to escape. It makes a fun team building or family activity for 2-6 people.

For more cerebral distractions in Bend, check out the critters and natural history at the High Desert Museum, or learn about the historical side of bend at the Deschutes Historical Museum.

You can also get your science fix (along with a tasty craft beer!) by attending one of the Science Pub events at McMenamins Old Saint Francis.

For more mental distractions, peruse our Event Calendar to learn more about special events like Tenth Month or opportunities to catch a play or concert.

 

Watch the tails wag

Few places on earth are as happy-making as Bend’s off-leash dog parks. There are eight of them to choose from, and each one offers a joyful abundance of gleeful tail wagging and giddy pup play.

Watch the tails wag (and giggle like a 12-year-old over scenes like this) when you visit an off-leash dog park in Bend.

Watch the tails wag (and giggle like a 12-year-old over scenes like this) when you visit an off-leash dog park in Bend.

It’s fun to watch even if you don’t have a dog, but you should really remedy things if that’s the case. How about adopting a rescue dog from the Humane Society of Central Oregon or Brightside Animal Center? Those pups have been trail tested on Central Oregon terrain, so you know you’ll get a buddy who’ll be happy to join you each time you return for a dog-friendly Bend vacation.

 

Do good deeds

When you’re feeling crappy about humanity (and let’s be honest—this election cycle is making a lot of us feel that way) it can help to do something nice for someone else.

You'll find plenty of "voluntourism" opportunities in Bend (including things like Wanderlust Tours' annual cave cleanup event).

You’ll find plenty of “voluntourism” opportunities in Bend (including things like Wanderlust Tours’ annual cave cleanup event).

It can be as simple as buying a treat for the person in line behind you at a Bend coffee shop. (Note, if I happen to be in line behind you, I’m especially fond of the chai at Thump Coffee).

If you’d rather lend an outdoorsy twist to your do-gooding, tuck a trash bag in your pack and pick up garbage along the trail during your hike. That way you’ll leave Bend’s outdoor spaces a little nicer than you found them!

You can also seek out organized volunteer opportunities through Connect Central Oregon or by scoping out some of the “voluntourism” opportunities I rounded up in this post.

 

Be a kid again

Remember when you were six years old and cared more about your gumball collection than who might become president of the United States?

Recapture that lost innocence by planning a kid-centric outing (even if you don’t have children!)

Blogger Tawna's family prepares to cruise in the go karts at Sun Mountain Fun Center.

Blogger Tawna’s family prepares to cruise in the go karts at Sun Mountain Fun Center.

Ride go-karts at Sun Mountain Fun Center. Frolic in piles of leaves at Drake Park. Go roller skating at Cascade Indoor Sports.  Play vintage arcade games at Vector Volcano. Go bowling at Lava Lanes. Run around like a maniac at one of Bend’s 80+ parks and playgrounds.

Then cap off your day of fun with a treat at Goody’s or a burger and fries at Dandy’s Drive-In (where the servers will roller skate to your car to deliver your food!)

 

Treat yourself  

There’s no shame in self-care, and there are plenty of ways to pamper yourself when you’re in Bend.

Massage is a great way to offset political stress with a healthy dose of bliss.

Massage is a great way to offset political stress with a healthy dose of bliss.

Schedule a massage or facial at a Bend day spa, or go the extra mile by booking a couples’ massage class at Brasada Ranch so you and your sweetie can replicate the experience at home.

Buy yourself a tasty gelato at Bonta, or treat yourself to a super-special meal at one of Bend’s renowned restaurants like 5 Fusion, Jackalope Grill, Ariana Restaurant, Chow, Greg’s Grill, Trattoria Sbandati, or the Blacksmith.

Want to indulge in a little retail therapy? You’ll find tons of great shops in Downtown Bend and the Old Mill District, or check out our abundance of thrift stores and consignment shops to score a secondhand find.

Sometimes just sitting still is a great way to feel better about the world.

Sometimes just sitting still is a great way to feel better about the world.

 

Soak up some feel-good photos

Seven days a week, 365 days a year, Visit Bend is out there posting beautiful Bend photos on our social media channels. We promise they’ll lift your spirits and give you something to smile about even when you’re not able to be in Bend.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to make sure you never miss a post!

 

Sit still

Find a park bench. Maybe it’s somewhere in Drake Park overlooking Mirror Pond and the distant mountains. Maybe it’s in Downtown Bend where you can watch people strolling past with steaming mugs of cocoa and bright fall sweaters.

Have a seat. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be still. Feel the tension slowly draining out of your shoulders.

Ahhhhh….


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