The sun has finally shown its face after months of chilling rain and grey days here in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re anything like me, you’re torn between your can’t-stop-won’t-stop addiction to reading and your desire to soak up some of that sweet, sweet sun while you can. Lucky for us, I’ve created a list of ten books and corresponding activities for this summer. To keep it local, I’ve made sure all of the books are set in the Pacific Northwest, and all of the proposed activities are set in Oregon, primarily the Portland area.
- Book: The Ocean in My Ears by Meagan Macvie
Activity: Ice Cream Tasting!
While navigating the drama that comes with being a senior in high school, 90’s teen queen Meri Miller spends quite a bit of time devouring ice cream at her local Dairy Queen in Soldotna, Alaska. So, in her honor, the first activity is ice cream tasting! There are a lot of wonderful ice cream shops in Portland. You could hit up the famous Salt & Straw, which offers a tasting option where you can try a few of their deliciously unique concoctions. Or there’s Ruby Jewels Scoops, Cool Moon Ice Cream, and many more available on this list.
Don’t forget your copy of The Ocean in My Ears; the lovely watercolor-style design of the cover next to your sweet treat will make an Instagram-worthy moment you won’t want to miss!
- Book: 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests by Sierra Club Oregon Chapter
Activity: Hiking, of course.
50 Hikes is a guide curated by the Oregon Sierra Club providing trail information and maps, directions, and a guide to regional plants. The guide has options for all skill levels and different hike lengths, all within an hour of the city, so it’s the perfect option for any Portland hiker. Grab a hiking partner, pack some provisions, and take in the sights of these beautiful, underrated forests.
- Book: At the Waterline by Brian K. Friesen
Activity: River Tours
At the Waterline follows a man who finds himself living and working among a motley crew on the Willamette River. Take a river tour, of which there are many, which can be found here, here, and here. If you’re looking for another option that involves drinking beer in an active group setting, consider the BrewBarge. Get familiar with the setting of this wonderful novel and enjoy some of the most interesting characters you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about while soaking up some sun on the river!
- Book: Dot to Dot Oregon by Sid Miller
I’ll admit this activity is a bit more of a commitment, but road tripping is such a quintessential summer event, and this book lends itself to it so well that I couldn’t resist including it. In fifty poems, Sid Miller explores seven routes covering a variety of environments, including the coast, mountains, and Idaho border. And, for those Portlanders looking to stay closer to home, there are even some routes for inner-city Portland. These poems will make you look at Oregon in a whole new light and bring you into summer with fresh eyes.
- Book: Brew to Bikes by Charles Heying
Activity: Brewery Bike Tours
Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy profiles local businesses and explores the way businesses, from microbreweries to bike manufacturers, have changed the way locals consume. In its honor, I suggest doing a bike tour between some of Portland’s many microbreweries and not-so-micro-breweries. There are a few different services where you can rent bikes both for groups and individuals, including the Nike Bikes conveniently located all over the city. They’re bright orange, so you really can’t miss them. For breweries, here are a few places you can find some lists to inspire you: An Essential Guide to Portland’s Breweries, Travel Portland: Portland Breweries, PortlandBeer.Org: All Breweries.
Have fun, be safe, and soak up the sun while you can!