College towns are best in the summer time… I love the activity of the school year, but I relish the quiet while the students are away. Plus, you can always get a parking space, waits at restaurants aren’t nearly as long, and you can enjoy the lake without hundreds of double decker pontoon boats scooting around.
School is back in session, but since it’s the last official weekend of summer and there are plenty of hot days ahead this September, I wanted to share a few of my fav summer spots in Bloomington with y’all.
If I can’t be on a beach with my toes in the sand and surfing the salty waves a big blue lake will do. I got hooked on paddle boarding when we lived in Hawaii and love having this huge lake ten minutes from town. If you don’t have your own paddling gear check out IU Outdoor Adventure for rentals. They have a wide variety of gear and it’s extremely affordable. Don’t want to do the work? You can rent boats from Paynetown Recreation Area.
Ride down the B-Line (urban walking biking trail) and stop by Le Petite Cafe for a bite, croque madame and crepes are my favorite. Then meander through the farmers market to do some shopping (and maybe some more eating), and enjoy the people watching. The Farmers Market is open from April-November.
My favorite patio in town is Cardinal Spirits, hands down! It’s right on the B-Line making it really bike friendly and is the perfect place to soak up some sunshine and enjoy a cocktail. Bonus: On Tuesdays they create special tiki drinks and most nights you can enjoy delicious Mexican food from the La Poblana food truck.
You can often find me here on Sunday afternoons eating pulled pork nachos and drinking beer. This Friday they’re hosting one of my favorite bluegrass musicians, Larry Keel, and a slew of other Americana bands for their annual fundraiser for Sycamore Land Trust. Can’t wait! BTW if you don’t have tickets yet their doing a giveaway on their instagram account now!
My ideal Sunday is sleeping in, coffee, bike ride through Bryan Park to brunch at Feast on their patio. Lunch and dinner are equally delicious.
Charles Deam Wilderness
When Ryan and I want to get away but don’t have time for a big trip, we head to the Charles Deem Wilderness Area. They have miles of trails to explore and plenty of camping spots. This area is seems to be less used than the state parks in the area so if you’re looking for solitude, this is the place. For an even more remote camping excursion, try paddling to one of the lakeside camping spots not accessible by trails. For maps and more info click here.
Hope y’all have a fun Labor Day Weekend!