August is here, so it’s officially my birthday month in Bend.
Thank you, thank you . . . you can go ahead and send gifts to the Bend Visitor Center.
In all seriousness, just being in Bend right now is a gift for me. The weather is warm, the nights are starry, and there’s an air of festivity that (much to my amazement) has little to do with strangers wanting to celebrate the month of my birth.
Here are five reasons I love August—my birthday month—in Bend, Oregon.
A high-altitude dinner
One of my favorite summertime rituals is dining at the stunning altitude of 7,800 feet above sea level. If you think the views would be incredible, you’re absolutely right. If you think August (with its warm temps and getting-earlier-every-evening sunsets) would be the best time to enjoy it, you’re also right.
Each year, Mt. Bachelor serves up sunset dinners at their Pine Marten Lodge beginning in July and going through early September. It’s a narrow window of time, and reservations go super-quick, but oh, what a view!
The food is spectacular, the wine and beer list impressive, and did I mention the views?
Visit their website for dates, times, and reservation info. Also, remember to bundle up and bring extra layers. It gets chilly up there!
The sunsets, oh, the sunsets!
Sunsets are spectacular all year long in Bend, but there’s something about sunsets in August that makes them extra colorful.
Okay, fine. That “something” might be smoke from forest fires around the Pacific Northwest, which turns normal sunset hues into Technicolor glory. Reds, oranges, pinks, purples . . . you’ll see all the colors of the Crayola box in August’s evening skies.
Check out this post for ideas on the best spots to catch a summertime sunset in Bend.
Wanna get fresh?
Our growing season is short in Central Oregon, which can be tricky for local restaurants that specialize in locally-sourced food. But August is a time of bounty, so it’s a great time to hit dining spots with on-site gardens or a reputation for snagging the best local produce.
Chow has a glorious array of garden beds on their property, and their menu reflects it this time of year. Ask your server what’s fresh that day, and choose your meal based on what’s being harvested just a few feet away at that very moment.
Worthy Brewing is another spot with on-site gardens that yield much of the restaurant’s produce. They also have their own hop growing yard, which doubles as a research facility for Oregon State University. That means you can eat and drink the best of what’s fresh and local.
Some like it hot
I’m perpetually freezing, which might be attributable to a low-functioning thyroid or to my co-workers’ great love of air conditioning. Take your pick.
But since August brings some of the high desert’s toastiest temperatures, I absolutely revel in it. I could spend all day out on my standup paddleboard letting the bright sun beat down on me, and then head to happy hour at Anthony’s or Greg’s Grill or one of Bend’s other amazing riverfront dining spots (there are 11 of them!) to soak up the last rays of sunshine.
If you share my fondness for long days with glorious, warm sunshine, you’ll love August in Bend.
What’s got everyone so giddy?
There’s a noticeable jubilation in the air when it’s August in Bend. People are skipping along hiking trails or dancing at concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. They’re strolling hand-in-hand around Downtown Bend, and they’re splashing on the beach at Riverbend Park.
Yes, I’ll be the first to admit there are a lot of people in Bend when August rolls around. It’s peak tourist season, and that means a whole lot of bodies are packed together.
But the happy, smiling, laughing faces attached to those bodies? Priceless.