We’re less than two weeks from the official start of autumn, and warm daytime temps assure us there’s still plenty of summer fun to be had in Bend.
But fans of autumn’s crisper weather and smaller crowds are already seeing signs of seasonal shift. There’s a dusting of snow on South Sister that wasn’t there a few days ago, and Bend’s stellar sunsets happen earlier each day.
If you’re the sort who salivates for pumpkin spice lattes in August and you’ve already busted out the chunky sweaters, read on for more ways you can prepare yourself for autumn’s arrival in Bend.
Plan your outdoor play for autumn
There’s a swing that happens every autumn where Bend recreationists solemnly stash their kayaks and start tuning up the mountain bikes. Now’s the time to get a jump on it, along with planning your final high-elevation hikes before the snow flies.
Even if you’re not a fan of participating in outdoor recreation, you’ll have ample opportunities to watch others do it. Mark your calendar with major fall events like Cyclocross and Outdoor City USA and get those cowbells ready for clanging.
Take a last stroll through the Farmers Market
If you love fresh produce and locally-produced meats, cheeses, jams, and flowers, you’re already familiar with the Bend Farmers Market happening every Wednesday in the Brooks Street Alley.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, which means the last date for the 2019 Bend Farmers Market season will be October 9.
Stalls are currently brimming with fresh watermelon and squash, so get down there and grab some of summer’s final bounty.
Score some fall fashions
Sweaters make the best souvenirs, don’t they? While I don’t love cold weather, I do love the delicious array of clothing that makes its appearance this time of year. The soft fleece jackets, the buttery leather boots, the colorful scarves . . . all of it signals a shift in seasons, and you’ll find tons of options in Bend shopping districts.
Check out the boutiques in historic Downtown Bend or the huge array of options in the Old Mill District.
Scope out spots to see fall colors
Each year, it’s a guessing game when the leaves on Bend’s deciduous trees will go from green to autumnal hues of gold, orange, and red. Early-October is generally a safe bet, though I’ve seen years where early-season snow shuts down the show prematurely, and other years with colors still popping in early-November.
While I’m no weatherman, the cooler nighttime temps and bright red leaves on the burning bush shrubbery around town leads me to suspect we’ll see autumn colors spreading earlier this year.
Now’s a nice time to start planning your Bend fall vacation and to take advantage of some of the lowest prices of the year on Bend hotels and vacation rentals. Then go here for ideas on where to catch some of Bend’s brightest fall foliage.
Bookmark the Mt. Bachelor webcam
Nothing gets Bend fans excited faster than the first dusting of snow on Mt. Bachelor. The fervor starts early, and if you want to be part of it, bookmark the Mt. Bachelor webcam and follow along for up-to-the-minute updates on how the season’s snowfall is shaping up.
Make your Tenth Month plans
One of the coolest additions to fall in recent years is the creation of Tenth Month, which is a month-long celebration of brave ideas and innovation in art, film, marketing, technology, and design.
To be fair, many of the events that are part of Tenth Month have been around for ages, including BendFilm Festival, Bend Venture Conference, Bend Design Conference, and Swivel.
But Tenth Month pulls everything under one umbrella, making it easier for folks to plan Bend trips centered around arts and innovation. If you’re looking to broaden your horizons, now’s a good time to scope out the calendar and start making reservations for October.
Wash down your pumpkin ice cream with pumpkin beer
Okay, ew. Maybe that’s not the best combination of flavors.
But there’s no better way to signal your brain to the shifting seasons than with a tasty dose of pumpkin spice. Fans of the flavor can rejoice in the bounty of pumpkin pastries, pumpkin gelato, and pumpkin stews popping up Bend restaurants around town.
And it’s always fun to hit the Bend Ale Trail to discover who’s rolling out a hot new pumpkin brew.
Pick yer festival
Locals love to joke that there’s a festival happening every weekend in Bend, and that’s not far off. But for some reason the autumn ones just feel more . . . festive.
Could be the changing leaves or everyone’s excitement over the coming holiday season, or it could just be the sheer silliness of some of the events (Oktoberfest wiener dog races, anyone?!)
In any case, mark your calendar for the Bend Oktoberfest happening Sept. 20-21, 2019. That’s followed a couple weeks later by the Bend Fall Festival taking place October 4-6, 2019.