summer bucket list: may/june recap

This summer I decided early on that I wanted to make the most of the gorgeous weather here in the Pacific Northwest and explore more of my home state, Oregon. My husband helped me choose my top places to see this year, and the #xoxolovelaurasummerbucketlist was born (and is also probably one of the longest hashtags ever. Unnecessary? Probably. Oh well.) If you missed the first post, I’ll link it here so you can check out the full list.

I was pretty proud of myself, in the first month and a half or so, I was able to check off 3 items, with plans to complete at least one more in the next couple of weeks. So today, I want to share my experience from the first three: going to a drive in movie, berry picking, and visiting the Painted Hills.

1) Going to a drive in movie

We actually have been to the drive-in twice so far this summer! The first time we took our friends Bob and Kaeleigh to see Avengers and A Quiet Place. They had a drive-in theater they visited when they lived in Chicago, but hadn’t been to one since they moved to Oregon!

Some tips if you’re planning to visit the 99-W Drive-In in Newberg, OR

  • Get there early! Especially on Saturdays in the summer- the second time we went on a Saturday after school was out, and almost didn’t get a spot even though we got there over 3 hours before the movie started! Which brings me to my next point…

  • Bring dinner to eat while you’re waiting. We usually grab Hawaiian food, but have gotten Chipotle and pizza as well. Get something that will stay hot for a bit while you’re setting up.

  • BUT also make sure you get something from the snack bar because this is how theaters make most of their income. We usually bring our own candy but will get popcorn and/or drinks from the snack bar everytime we go. 

  • Last thing that was a game changer for us this year- we brought an air mattress both times that fit in the bed of Spencer’s truck, and it was way more comfortable than just blankets!

2) Berry Picking

Normally I go blueberry picking every summer with my mom, but this year we decided to try strawberry picking with Bob and Kaeleigh! We went to Bushue’s Family Farm, and picked over 8 pounds of strawberries in just under an hour. Strawberries are out of season, but I’m planning on checking out some other local farms for blueberries and raspberries this month, and blackberries in August!

A few tips for berry picking:

  • Call ahead or check the farm’s website for their picking availability. If their plants are heavily picked over, they may take some time off to let other berries ripen.

  • Most places ask that you bring your own containers, and some only take cash, so make sure you check the specific farm’s guidelines before you leave!

  • I would recommend wearing closed toe shoes when you go, and rain boots if there’s been any kind of moisture recently! There’s definitely uneven footing, bugs, and some plants may have roots so you want to make sure your feet are protected!

3) Visiting the Painted Hills

This one required more planning, and honestly only happened because Spencer and I had a wedding to attend in a nearby-ish town. The Painted Hills are just one unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Park, but unfortunately we were on a bit of a time constraint, so we were only able to check out the Painted Hills unit.

Few pieces of advice from our trip:

  • One thing I wish I had done more research on was the hiking at the unit- we both were wearing sandals and definitely were not prepared to do any kind of hiking. We felt like we were able to see most of what we wanted to see, but if we had more time I would have been bummed that I wasn’t wearing the right shoes. 

  • Another cool thing about our visit was getting to chat with the seasonal park ranger on duty about the park. He was super knowledgeable about the park, and it was cool to hear about his experience with the National Park Service. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to take advantage of park rangers wherever you go, because they have so much experience and knowledge about not just the park they are in, but the system as a whole.

  • Make sure you pay attention to your gas gauge as you’re driving as the park is pretty far out in the middle of nowhere without cell service. 

That’s it for now! I’m excited to share what I tackle in July!


love, laura