A Day in Portland, Maine

Words and Photos by Gretchen Powers 

Twenty minutes south of the Toad&Co Store in Freeport, Maine lies the beer capitol of Maine: Portland. When a commitment free afternoon presented itself midsummer, I called up my friend Giuliana and we charted our course for a beer-tasctic day. We discussed matters of the utmost concern (specifically which brewery to sample) and found that sometimes lots of options can really complicate things!  We narrowed it down to two local favorites: Bissell Brothers Brewery or Lone Pine Brewery. A simple flip of a coin had us heading in the direction of Lone Pine Brewery. As we were en route, I learned that one of my favorite Portland food trucks, Tacos Del Seoul, was heading for Lone Pine at the same time. Talk about a match made in heaven! Side note, Lone Pine Brewery is positioned right off the Eastern promenade and is great for dogs. My dog Ella happens to love it there, and gets tons of belly scratches from everyone we meet.

Both Guliana and I sported our Toad and Co. Swifty Vent Tanks and Sun Kissed Pull On Shorts for the afternoon’s excursion.  Let me just say, this combo has quickly become my go-to outfit of the summer.  Regardless of the low-key occasion, it’s perfect.  The high neckline of the tank covers whichever sports bra I wear and keeps my chest from getting burnt.  The stretchy, lightweight material is breathable and quick to dry – perfect for a sweaty back after biking with a backpack. And the shorts are a game-changer.  With a super stretchy wide waist band, they accommodate even my most beer-filled afternoons, and with fabric so lightweight and breathable it’s easy to forget you are wearing anything else at all.  The front pockets and zippered back pocket take these shorts from cute to useful and I don them for all kinds of summer activities from backyard barbecues, to kayaks, to tennis to biking to breweries.

 

We hopped on bike paths from different parts of town (Giuliana coming from Back Cove and I near the wharf at Commercial Street) and rendezvoused on the Eastern Promenade.  We swung around the tip of the Portland Peninsula to arrive at the Bayside neighborhood brewery. The Portland Trail System has a convenient digital map so you can plan your ride before hopping on one of the many trails in the Portland area. But of course, winging it is always fine too!

My partner Kaleigh met us at Lone Pine with Ella and we enjoyed some Korean style tacos and a flight of beer. Giuliana loved the Tessellation Double IPA, while Kaleigh’s favorite was the Portland Pale Ale and I preferred the Brightside IPA. When we finished our flight sampler, we decided it was time for some tacos! Kaleigh and I often joke that Mexican and Asian style foods are the best for bringing people together – whether someone is gluten free, vegetarian or has another food restriction, there is usually something for everyone.  On this particular afternoon, I was really feeling tacos but Taco Del Seoul also has really good rice bowls if you’re so inclined.  Ella loves food trucks in general – so many opportunities for unintentional scraps on the ground! With our bellies stuffed full of Korean beef and pale ale, we hefted ourselves back onto our bikes and pedaled slowly home.

It was nice to spend a leisurely afternoon at one brewery and one food truck, but there are so many options for great food and beer in the Portland area. If you’re into craft beer, add Maine Beer Co., Allagash Brewing Co., Rising Tide Brewing Co., and Foundation brewing Co to your list. Aside from Tacos Del Seoul, I would recommend El Corazon for delish mexican food, Urban Sugar for  donuts and other tasty treats, and Mami Japanese Street Food for all-time Japanese fusion cuisine.

Shop the Swifty Vent Tank Here! 

The Ultimate Trail to Tavern 3-Day Weekend in Portland, Maine

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Known for lobster, miles of coastline, and landscapes that have inspired artists for centuries, Portland may be our coziest Trail to Tavern® city yet. Once the capital of Maine and still the largest city in the state, this industrial town has turned into a true foodie destination with about 200 restaurants and more than 20 breweries (and that number grows each year). Pair that with more than 70 miles of urban trails, and you’ve got a full weekend ahead.

But with so many options, how do you make the most out of three days in Portland? Even just walking, eating, and drinking your way across the Forest City would be considered a major accomplishment. But we’re going to get you off the peninsula, too, and pack as much as possible into the three days you have here.

Day One

The Eastern Promenade is easily accessible from downtown, and is a popular spot for locals.The Eastern Promenade is easily accessible from downtown, and is a popular spot for locals. murphman61

Start your first day at sunrise (trust us, it’s worth it!) on Munjoy Hill. The spot is located in the Eastern Promenade, and you’ll have the best vantage point for breathtaking views of Casco Bay, Fort Gorges out on Hog Island Ledge, and other nearby islands. The “Eastern Prom” offers a 2.1-mile paved and stone trail along the water that is perfect for running or biking, and also connects to the 3.6-mile Back Cove Loop if you want to add in more mileage.

After finishing your run back at the Eastern Prom, take a dip in the ocean at East End Beach, or bring your kayak or canoe and launch right off the beach or the boat ramp. (You can also rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board at the promenade.) Paddle around the bay, or go under Tukey’s Bridge to the calm Back Cove.

By now, everyone else will probably be awake, so make your way down the hill for coffee at Coffee by Design on India Street with some of the friendly locals. Committed to the environment, their partners in South America, and the community, the micro roaster offers up perfectly brewed flavored coffees (and single origin black coffee, too!) and tasty pastries like handmade donuts from The Holy Donut.

After a little breakfast, head over to the Casco Bay Lines’ terminal for a 20-minute ferry ride out to the biggest nearby island, Peaks Island. The first boat leaves at 5:45 am, and then every hour after that until the last boat at 11:30 pm. The schedule may vary, so check the ferry website.

You’ll need fuel for your upcoming adventure, so stock your backpack full of bread, cheese, meat, and delicious spreads from Rosemont Market or Standard Baking Co. before boarding the boat.

Once you do get out to the island, beeline it to Brad’s Island Bike Rentals & Repairs. Making your way around the island via pedal power is the best way to take in all in. You’ll find birds to watch, beaches to explore (check out the back shore), and Battery Steele, a fortification from World War Two. The Umbrella Cover Museum is a quirky little place featuring (you guessed it!) umbrella covers, and with a motto of “Celebrate the Mundane!”

Of course, paddling is almost always an option when you’re on an island, and the Maine Island Kayak Company is the place for rentals or guided tours. There are half-day and full-day options that are suitable for beginners or those with a little more experience, and your guide will take you out to “secret” areas that are tough to find on your own (think a lighthouse, a lagoon with starfish and lobsters, and more). If you have self-survival skills, they will rent you a kayak in the warmer months of July and August, but the tours are worth checking out.

It’s 100% okay to bring a boat beer for the ride back, so stop by Hannigan’s Island Market (about a three-minute walk from the ferry) for a wide selection of local brews. Sometimes you can even snag a seasonal beer that is sold out on the mainland!

Once you get back on the mainland, head over towards the Back Cove to the family-owned Rising Tide Brewing Company. Making small-batch beers with an “aim to create well-balanced beers that are inspired by old world traditions but with modern twists,” they offer tours and tastings throughout the week. You’ll also find a food truck there most days.

If you didn’t find something to snack on at Rising Tide, wrap up your day with dinner at The Thirsty Pig, serving up house-made sausages and local beer. With options ranging from a pork sausage with Thai chili sauce to a Lithuanian Kielbasa, this place is a must stop for good beer and food. You can even get vegan chili and vegan hot dogs for the non-meat eaters in your crew.

Where to Stay

Portland has several chain hotels, but for an authentic experience, look into a bed and breakfast. There are several in town, each with their own character. The Danforth Inn is just south of downtown, near the Casco Bridge, and is housed in the renovated Old Port Mansion. A few blocks away, the Inn at Park Spring is a little smaller with just five rooms in an old brick house dating back to 1835. A third option is the Inn at St. John, which is a little closer to a hotel than a B&B. With 39 rooms, it’s the oldest continuously operating Victorian inn (built in 1897).

Day Two

Founded in 1995, Allagash Brewing Company focuses on Belgian beers.Founded in 1995, Allagash Brewing Company focuses on Belgian beers. Allagash Brewing Company

After filling your first day around and on the water, we’re heading inland for day two. Before leaving the peninsula, though, fuel up at Tandem Coffee Roasters on Congress Street in the West End. The cafe is known for espresso and drip coffee, as well as muffins and mouth-watering cinnamon rolls.

A 30-minute drive from Tandem will get you to Pownal’s Bradbury Mountain State Park. The park is home to nine trails ranging from flat and easy to steep with sharp turns, all converging at Bradbury’s summit, with views of Casco Bay and Portland’s skyline on a clear day. The trails are short (the longest is 1.5 miles), but it’s easy to link them up for more mileage. All of them are open to foot traffic, but a few are open to mountain biking and horseback riding, so be aware of who might be coming up behind you.

After working up an appetite, drive just a half-mile back to Pownal Center to Edna and Lucy’s, a locally-owned cafe serving up a menu of quick bites like sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups. The options change daily, but make sure that you save room for dessert—they have some of the best old-fashioned German donuts in the state!

Pownal is very rural compared to Portland, but it’s a mere five miles from downtown Freeport. This former sleepy village is now a busy retail outlet town, so Main Street offers all kinds of shopping for clothing, jewelry, and outdoor apparel. Turn off Main onto Bow Street and see what’s new in the local Toad&Co store while you’re in town.

After leaving downtown Freeport, point your GPS south towards Maine Beer Company on your way out of town. While Maine Beer Co. is all about their beer, they’re also a brewer with a conscience, committed to reducing, reusing, and recycling. Knowing that you’re supporting a company who cares about the environment might just make their Lunch IPA or Maine Peeper taste even better than they already do!

If you want to grab one more drink on your way back to Portland, stop by Allagash Brewing Company right off the Maine Turnpike. Allagash focuses on Belgian-inspired beers and is known for their flagship Belgian white. They offer 10 beers year-round, plus some limited editions, and a few brewed with spontaneous fermentation, a traditional Belgian method of cooling hot, unfermented wort overnight with outside air. They offer free tours and tastings daily (by reservation), just get there before they close at 6 pm!

Right across the street from Allagash is Foundation Brewing Company, with a core line of more traditional beers (an American IPA, a brown ale, etc.), but also unique flavors like the cherry Magnus and an apricot sour ale.

Once you get back to town, meander over to the other side of the city for pad thai or drunken noodles at Boda, then watch the sun set over the Western Promenade.

Day Three

There’s plenty to discover when hiking the trails in Portland. Terry CockburnThere’s plenty to discover when hiking the trails in Portland. Terry Cockburn

Spend your last day in Maine hitting the trails in Portland. Portland Trails, a nonprofit urban land trust, maintains the 70 miles devoted to hiking, walking, and mountain biking throughout Greater Portland. Visit the Presumpscot River Preserve, a 48-acre public preserve, for a tough 2.5-mile route through a ravine and wooded areas to the Presumpscot River. Another solid option is taking Andrews Avenue out to Mackworth Island, a legislated bird sanctuary. The 1.25-mile loop on Mackworth is relatively flat and follows the perimeter of the island. There are fantastic views of Casco Bay, and also a few side trails that lead down the steep slopes to the beach.

What better way to wrap up a Trail to Tavern weekend than with a trip on the environmentally friendly Maine Brew Bus? Rarely does a month pass without word that yet another brewery has opened, so the easiest way to hit some of the best spots is to hop aboard the bus and leave everything in the capable hands of your tour director and bus driver.

The company offers several different tour options, from the Southern Crawl through southern Portland to Breaking Brews (exploring the newest breweries) to the Curling and Brew Tour that throws in a trip to the Portland Ice Arena for some friendly competition before heading to two local breweries.

Before you leave town, we highly recommend taking your time to enjoy a family-style meal at Empire Chinese Kitchen in the heart of the city’s art district. Known for their dim sum (tasty Chinese dumplings filled with things like mushrooms, pork, and lobster), their extensive menu offers something for everyone, including vegetarians and vegans.

Right about now, you’ll begin to wonder how the last three days have flown by—and there’s still so much to see! The good news is that the friendly locals will welcome you back to the Portland of the East whenever you’re ready, but you’ll be planning your next trip in no time.

Originally written by RootsRated for Toad&Co.

Featured image provided by Allagash Brewing Company

The Best Trail to Tavern Pairings Near Portland

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Situated in the Willamette River Valley, at the base of towering mountains and sprawling forests, Portland is a city that needs no introduction in terms of its outdoor offerings. Giant urban parks like Forest Park are located within city limits, with easy access to the stunning Columbia River Gorge and its endless amount of trails and waterfalls. Portland really is a place where you could spend a lifetime and still not experience all that it has to offer. Especially when it comes to the craft beer scene. Oregon is home to more than 200 breweries, with nearly 85 in the Portland Metro area alone, making it one of the best places in the country to enjoy some adventure and ales. Trust us, we know – our store, the Lizard Lounge, is in the Pearl District so we’ve been sampling the local fare for years!  Here, we bring you a sampling of some of our favorite trail to tavern pairings in The Rose City and beyond.

1. Coyote Wall to the Labyrinth | Backwoods Brewing Company

Admiring the views of the Columbia River GorgeAdmiring the views of the Columbia River Gorge. Abby Joffe.

Located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, the hike from the Coyote Wall Trailhead to the Labyrinth is a 5.8-mile loop that has it all. The views of the Columbia River Gorge as you trek through this unique fluvial landscape to the Labyrinth are incredible. But before you make it to this grassy area high above the banks of the river, you’ll travel through groves of oaks, past a beautiful waterfall, up through a small canyon, and over basalt outcroppings. If you plan your visit during the spring and early summer, the grassy hillsides are often exploding with wildflowers, but truthfully any time of year is a great time to hike this scenic trail.

Just 30 minutes away from the trailhead, Backwoods Brewing Company offers up the perfect place to enjoy a post-hike brew. Founded in 2012, this brewpub has quite a close connection to the Columbia River Gorge: The water used in its beer is sourced from nearby Bear Creek, its interior is adorned with a stark wooden bar, and its beer names (including Log Yard IPA, Clear Cut Pale, and Ridge Run Stout) reflect the regional lexicon. And with freshly made, hand rolled, tossed out pizza, it’s a great place to unwind after a hike with some good grub and great beer.

2. Salmon River Trail | Base Camp Brewing Company

With easy access and a beautiful riverside trail through lush old-growth forests, it's no wonder the Salmon River Trail is a popular option for Portlanders.With easy access and a beautiful riverside trail through lush old-growth forests, it’s no wonder the Salmon River Trail is a popular option for Portlanders. Abby Joffe.

With an easily accessible trailhead and a beautiful riverside trail through lush old-growth forests, it’s no wonder that the Salmon River Trail is a popular option for Portlanders. Situated in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, the Salmon River meanders gracefully through untouched forests, plunges off hidden waterfalls, and swirls into deep inviting pools. Running parallel with this river for roughly 8 miles, the Salmon River Trail is easily one of the most inviting trails in the area, as you’ll be hiking under a thick canopy of towering old-growth forests for much of the way.

Once you’re done, head back into town for a visit to one of Portland’s most outdoorsy craft breweries: Base Camp Brewing Company. It’s almost as if this place was created to deliver the ultimate trail to tavern experience. The interior feels like a cross between a Portland brew pub and a sleek REI. A canoe is suspended above the bar, numerous outdoor action photos hang above the taps, exposed wood graces the interior, and clear lights twinkle in the ceiling, evoking a starry sky after the sun sets.

3. North Portland Loop | Occidental Brewing Company

Okay, so it’s not a hike, but the North Portland Loop is an urban bike trail that takes cyclists through an area of the city known for its diverse landscapes, but which nevertheless rarely shows up in Portland tour guides. Many Portlanders consider the Portland peninsula to be one of the furthest, tumbleweed-laden, lawless outposts of the Rose City, but, in reality, it’s actually a fine place to get a little fresh air via bicycle. From the bluffs of Willamette Boulevard to the serene Smith and Bybee lakes, there’s a lot to appreciate on this 19 mile bike ride around North Portland.

For the best trail to tavern experience along this route, take a break along the way at Occidental Brewing Company, one of Portland’s best-kept brewery secrets, in the St. Johns neighborhood. Occidental serves German-style beers—including a dunkel, kolsch, and hefeweizen—with nary an IPA to be found (sorry, hopheads!).

4. Hoyt Arboretum | Cascade Brewing Barrel House

With an awesome outdoor patio and a huge selection of sour beers, Cascade Brewing Barrel House is a fantastic place to wile away the hoursWith an awesome outdoor patio and a huge selection of sour beers, Cascade Brewing Barrel House is a fantastic place to wile away the hours. Christopher Murphy.

Located in Portland’s Washington Park, the Hoyt Arboretum is home to over 2,000 species of trees and plants from all over the world. There are 12 miles of trail spread out over 189 acres, and the well-manicured paths take you through groups of trees, including larch, spruce, oak, and even sequoia. With trail surfaces that range from hard-pack dirt to gravel and pavement, this is the perfect place to enjoy an easy stroll through a diverse and scenic landscape.

Like Hoyt Arboretum, variety is paramount at Cascade Brewing Barrel House. The Eastside outpost specializes in all things sour beer, with nearly 20 taps available and almost 25 bottles for sale. Catch it on a Tuesday, and Cascade Barrel’s Tap It Tuesday events introduce beer aficionados to a new sour every week.

5. Angel’s Rest Trail | Thunder Island Brewing Company

All smiles at Thunder Island Brewing Co.All smiles at Thunder Island Brewing Co. Christopher Muhs.

Angel’s Rest is one of the most popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge—good luck finding parking near the trail head on a sunny Saturday afternoon—thanks to the 270-degree views at its summit. On the way up, hikers gain about 1,500 feet over 2.5 miles, traveling through many different landscapes, from lush green forest, to charred remains of trees near the summit (the result of a 1991 forest fire). Once to the top, the views unravel as far as the eye can see with sweeping views of the Columbia River, East Portland, Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain, and Cape Horn.

Thunder Island Brewing Company in Cascade Locks, not unlike Angel’s Rest, offers some of the best Gorge views this side of Hood River. Sure, it’s another half-hour east, but it’s worth the trip for the brewery’s outdoor seating, mere feet from the banks of the Columbia River. Enjoy the shade of a few fir trees and watch the river roll by while enjoying Thunder Island’s citrusy IPA.

Inspired? Stop into the Lizard Lounge for all your Toad trail to tavern needs! Visit us at:

LIZARD LOUNGE, 1323 NW Irving Street, Portland, OR 97209

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Originally written by RootsRated. Featured image provided by Bill Automata.

11 Best Hikes in the US

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Roan Mountain Highlands, NC – Photo by Robert Aberegg and RootsRated.com

From the rolling mountains of the southeast, to the jagged peaks of the west, to the canyons, waterfalls and old-growth forests of the Pacific Coast, these trails are ones for the bucket list. By no means an exhaustive list, here are 11 hikes across the country that simply have to be on your radar. Let us know which ones we missed!

1. Roan Mountain Highlands | Asheville, NC
Criss-crossing the Tennessee-North Carolina border for 14-miles, this section of the Appalachian Trail is easily one of the most beautiful stretches along the entire route from Maine to Georgia. The views from these ethereal highlands are stunning and constant, and bring to mind visions of Scotland and Wales.

2. Baxter Creek Trail | Knoxville, TN
In truth, almost every trail in Great Smoky Mountain National Park is eligible for your hiking bucket list, but one particular route that highlights the very best of this park is the Baxter Creek Trail- a 12 mile roundtrip with 4,000 feet of climbing, sweetly smelling spruce trees, and a lush rainforest understory.

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Baxter Creek Trail, TN – Photo by Miguel Vieira and RootsRated.com

3. Enchanted Rock | Austin, TX
Enchanted Rock is a 425-foot pink granite dome that shoots up from the flat Texan landscape and offers hikers an amazing place to explore. With its Native American folklore, fascinating geological formations, and sweeping views, this place is truly enchanted.

4. Superior Hiking Trail | Minneapolis, MN
Located in northern Minnesota, the Superior Hiking Trail is a 296-mile route that affords an epic adventure on the banks of Lake Superior. Whether thru-hiking or day-hiking, this trail, with its dense forests, deep gorges, and fast-flowing rivers (not to mention lovely views of the largest Great Lake) is an absolute must-experience.

5. Indian Peaks Wilderness Area | Boulder, CO
With over 75,000 acres of wilderness, plenty of towering peaks, and 133 miles of trails, visiting the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado is an adventure that every hiking enthusiast should have. The Mitchell Lake Trail is one particular route that features high-altitudes, breathtaking views, and a pristine alpine lake.

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Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, CO – Photo by Steven Bratman and RootsRated.com

6. Paint Mines | Colorado Springs, CO
Located in the prairies of Colorado, the Paint Mines are a geological and archaeological wonder to behold. Sculpted over millions of years, these gulches now form a clay and sandstone labyrinth of butterscotch yellows, burnt oranges, and ruby reds, reminiscent of South Dakota’s legendary Badlands National Park.

7. Oneonta Gorge | Portland, OR
Though not much of a hike, and more like a .6-mile scramble over slippery and wobbly logs, Oneonta makes the list because it is truly one of the most stunning gorges in the country. Carved into a little cranny of the Columbia River Gorge, this picturesque canyon features lush green mossy walls and a wonderful swimming hole and waterfall at the end of the tunnel.

8. Sleeping Indian | Jackson Hole, WY
The 12-mile roundtrip up Sleeping Indian is quite possibly the best hike in all of Jackson Hole- which is saying something. What makes it so great? Well, aside from the pristine pine forests and wildflower meadows, Sleeping Indian has the best views of the Tetons that you can find anywhere in the area, and it’s not even in the Tetons.

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Sleeping Indian, WY – Photo by Dina Misner and RootsRated.com

9. Big Basin Redwoods State Park | San Francisco, CA
Located in California’s oldest state park, the Pine Mountain Trail, in Big Basin, is a thigh-burning journey that leads hikers through a dense forest of scented pines, ancient oaks, and towering redwoods until they reach the spectacular viewpoint known as ‘Buzzards Roost.’

10. Tequepis Trail | Santa Barbara, CA
The best part about the Tequepis Trail isn’t the smooth single track, or the 3,000 feet of elevation gain over 9-miles, or even the gorgeous views of Cachuma Lake. The best part about the Tequepis Trail is that it’s the closest trail to the Cold Spring Tavern– a rustic restaurant hidden in a sycamore forest offering blues music, craft brews, and delicious Tri-Tip sandwiches.

11. High Rock Lookout | Seattle, WA
The view from this old fire tower yields some of the most unbeatable views of Mt. Rainier that you can find anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. While it’s only a 3-mile roundtrip, this hike is not for the faint of heart, as it features quite a bit of elevation gain as well as dizzying, vertigo-inducing heights. But the views… wow.

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High Rock Lookout, WA – Photo by Douglas Scott and RootsRated.com

Enjoy That Extra Hour

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Carpinteria State Beach, CA, photo by Jack Rogan and RootsRated.com

Now that we’ve fully recovered from losing an hour of sleep, we’re ready to embrace this extra hour of sunlight. From post work powder runs to extended happy hours, we’re maximizing on the new-found sunlight. Here are our suggestions for the best use of that extra hour:

Hit Your Local Trail
Throw hiking shoes and a change of clothes in your car and hit the trail straight after work. Sure you can go with friends or co-workers, but taking an hour at the end of the workday to decompress and reflect without any distractions… now that’s relaxing. Hit your favorite trail and focus on just enjoying the beauty around you – you’ll probably notice a few wild flowers cropping up. Be sure to bring water and a headlamp in case you go for a longer hike and catch the sunset at the top. You’ll start the next day rejuvenated and ready for action.

Apres-Ski in Aspen
Après is a way of life in Aspen. Literally meaning “after skiing” in French, it is a tradition that has become a day-to-day ritual. The mountains in Aspen are still prime for some post-work Spring skiing and snowboarding. And after a quick but intense workout, there are plenty of options to kick your ski boots up and enjoy a cocktail. We like the Ajax Tavern, situated not more than 20 feet from the Silver Queen Gondola and Red Onion, the local “ski bum bar” that’s been in the business of pouring drinks since 1892.

Try the Newest Local Brewery 
With the craft beer movement sweeping the nation, it seems like there’s a new brewery popping up every month. There’s probably a new brewery in your town, so why not try it out after work with some co-workers? If you’re in the Portland, OR area we like Cascade Brewing Barrel House. The eastside outpost specializes in all things sour beer, with nearly 20 taps available and almost 25 bottles for sale. Cascade Barrel’s “Tap It Tuesday” events introduce beer aficionados to a new sour every week.

Go for an Evening Ride in Charleston 
You can see a lot in an hour when you bike through Charleston, SC. And with the additional hour of sunlight you can see twice as much! Take to the streets with 2 wheels and watch the sun set on old southern history and primo architecture. And you’ll see a fair amount of this Southern gem since Charleston proper is actually quite small. The city lies on a peninsula that measures about 3 miles long and 2 miles wide. There are even a few streets where you can see the Ashley River at one end, and turn around to see Charleston Harbor at the other end. The compactness of the city and it’s lack of elevation allows you to cruise all over town with ease. Pair it with your happy hour spot and you’ve got an evening for the books.

Catch a Few Waves
There are few things that rival the awesomeness of watching the sun sink below the horizon from the comfort of your surfboard. Some people say there’s a green flash at the very moment the sun dips, others say it’s just an illusion. But one thing is certain, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the horizon. Check the surf report and hit the break. If you’re not much of a surfer, try your hand at stand up paddle or kayaking. And now’s the time – it’s not quite summer yet so the crowds are low and the beauty is at an all time high.

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Charleston, SC, photo by Logan Waddell and RootsRated.com