Top 10 Last Best Things to Do in August
Just about this time, as sunny, sweet July comes to a close and August rears its fiery head, many Montanans ask themselves the same question: Where did the summer go?! Although I have spent the last 16 years lamenting the notion of a disappearing summer, this year I am going to try something new. I am approaching August with an open mind. I won’t judge it for its harsh temperatures, fire inducing winds, and ever-increasing back to school advertisements in the newspaper. I’m hitting the re-start button and having my “second-summer” if you will. If you can relate to any of these feelings, I share this list with you in the hope you will share with others, and they will inevitably share their go-to August adventures with you. We didn’t endure eight months of snow to succumb to an abbreviated version of our beloved Montana summer. June is fleeting and often damp, July is jamming, and August is all the sweeter, knowing what is sure to follow. So, please join me in a short salute to August in Montana, our “second summer,” and be sure to participate in every last best thing you, your family and friends set out to achieve.
The Sweet Pea Festival
A three-day festival of the arts, with music, a fun run with multiple distance events, parade, and art and entertainment in many forms. August 3-5, Lindley Park. Music lineup: http://sweetpeafestival.org/performances
Visit the M.O.R.
One of the best investments we made for our family when we moved here was our annual membership at The Museum of the Rockies. With the rotating exhibits, The Living History Farm, multi-age focus, early access to camp registration, and the evening and weekend activities, such as Hops and History lectures, the MOR really is MORE. The current exhibit, “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World” is family friendly and interactive. The Taylor Planetarium cools and calms everyone down-a hot summer day must. The museum can get busy, but early morning and evening hours tend to quiet down a bit. Visit www.museumoftherockies.org to plan your August visit.
Climb the “M” before 6am
Join the early birds for a glimpse of the Gallatin Valley before the heat and the crowds arrive. With a choice of paths of various difficulty, you are sure to find the route that works for you and your ability.
Shakespeare in the Parks
Shakespeare in the Park Summer Series returns to Montana! And if you are lucky, you can catch the matinee of Othello, from 3:45-5:45 at Lindley Park, or Love’s Labour’s Lost on August 5, from 5-7pm
Visit a Farm Stand
If you failed to sign up for a summer CSA (like me), and can’t always make it downtown for the market, yet love the idea of picking up fresh vegetables or eggs from a local farm, make a point to visit one of these farm stands during the week.
Gallatin Valley Botanicals: 250 Chester Lane, Bozeman, (Rocky Creek Farm). They offer a weekly farm stand for produce pickup before 5 p.m. Find out more by calling 406-599-2361 or visiting www.gallatinvalleybotanical.com
Three Hearts Farm: 2111 Love Lane, Bozeman. Roadside self-serve farm stand, Wednesdays 4-7 p.m. Find out more by calling 406-404-6639 or visiting www.threeheartsfarm.com
Strike Farms: 67 Rocky Road, Bozeman. Visit Wednesdays until 6 p.m.; farm stand produce varies weekly, so feel free to call 406-438-3914, or visit www.strikefarms.com
Watch a Western
Not a water person? No problem. The Ellen’s Summer Western Series features iconic Western movies in an air conditioned, comfortable theatre. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m., on August 15, 22, 29. For titles and a full schedule, visit www.theellentheatre.com
Beat the Heat
Dip your toes in cool waters of Bogert Pool. As a friend told me, come August, the pool is finally warm enough to swim in comfortably! Located at 325 South Church, you can easily walk, bike, or drive yourself or a carpool of kids down for a dip. All children must be supervised by an adult! Swim hours vary, so be sure to visit www.bozeman.net for the most up to date schedule.
The first summer we moved here, we relied on the advice of near strangers to guide us through our summer adventures. Since we had kids, many people suggested the ever-popular Eagle Mount’s Digger Days event, featuring larger than life trucks and big-rigs of all kinds. On August 25, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., you can experience what it’s like to live amongst the giants. Visit www.eaglemount.org to learn more about this organization and the fundraiser that helps support their mission!
Hit The Rivers
August brings the heat, but it is also the perfect time to wade in some rivers and streams as the water recedes just enough. Missouri Headwaters State Park encompasses the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. Lewis and Clark stayed here in 1805, and the geography, history and natural beauty of the confluence is an ideal August destination. It can be hot mid-day, so pack some snacks, water and your water shoes, and venture out early morning or late evening. The website details activities and special events, including the Speaker Series, which takes place in the evening. Visit www.stateparks.mt.gov for more information!
Pack a picnic
This is our favorite go-to activity when we just need a change of scenery. We aren’t rushing to set a table, eat and clean the kitchen in record time. And for some reason, PB&J inevitably tastes better next to a river, or under a tree, or in a field. My kids still talk about a picnic we shared with their grandparents up at Hyalite Canyon last summer. Some of our favorite picnic spots include: our backyard, Hyalite Canyon, banks of the Madison in any of the day spot areas, the fish hatchery, and the Headwaters Confluence, which happens to be one of the prettiest picnic spots we have found yet.
This commitment to celebrating August has come from conversations I have had with friends over the past few years we have lived in Bozeman. I am inspired by their ability to make summer last, well into August, when I seem to find myself in a semi-depressed-back-to-school-funk. While I am home worrying about what’s to come, they are out enjoying what they have made the most of: Summer. With gratitude and celebration, here’s to August, our “Second Summer,” and the friends, family and community, which help make it so worth the wait.