Summer Faves: Alex Gurtcheff

Jun 18, 2018Alex Gurtcheff

All summer long we are celebrating what we love about summer and our community! Members of the Sherwood Oaks Staff & Leadership will share some of their favorite summer activities, places, and ways to connect to your neighbors all summer long! 

Today's blog is from Alex Gurtcheff, our Youth Ministries Creative Producer.

Ah, Bloomington summers.

If you are new to town you may have never experienced one. Or, if you’ve lived here forever, you may have lost touch with their glory, but as someone going on their 7th year as a Bloomingtonian, the summertime in B'town still carries a certain unique goodness.

I remember my first summer in Bloomington, right after graduating from IU, the summer of 2015. I was only working part-time then and I had plenty of opportunities to enjoy and explore the summer version of Bloomington. I’ll share some of my favorite spots and activities I experienced that summer and the ones following in Bloomington.

Cascades Park

I’ve said to plenty of people that Cascades Park is my Bloomington happy place. I used to live walking distance from the park, and when I felt overwhelmed, bored, or was in need of distraction-free thinking, I would always walk to the park. No matter your age and the ages of those who may be with you, you can find value there; there is a little walking path to and around the falls (my highlight of Cascades), shady places and shelters to sit, and of course the big play park for kids. Cascades was my place of choice for a solo afternoon, but it can also be a great spot to invite a friend or neighbor to join you for a walk or to arrange a playdate with kids.

Take in a Kids Baseball or Softball Game

This may seem silly but stay with me. Little League baseball or softball is one of the best spectator sports around. Hall-of-Famer Bob Lemon said, “baseball was meant for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up.” You’ll see what he was talking about if you drop in on a game at Winslow, Twin Lakes, or other Bloomington ball fields, in witnessing the fun-filled and pressureless version of the games the kids are playing. If you want to see the ruined version of the sport Lemon talked about, however, you can come watch my adult slow-pitch softball team on Wednesday nights (would not recommend). And, you most likely know someone who has kids playing ball this summer - ask for their schedule and show them support by taking in one of their games.

Otis Park Golf Course

Now, this one is technically in Bedford, but if you’re a golfer, you know that every course in Bloomington is out of commission to some extent right now. My new favorite place to play a round in the area is at Otis Park in Bedford. It’s not a far drive from Bloomington, and at only $20 for 18 holes and a cart, it’s a great deal. Plus, what better way to really spend quality time with someone than a few hours together on the golf course?

Play Trivia at a Local Restaurant

When you’ve had enough of being outside, getting a group of friends and neighbors together to play trivia is a great way to spend time together and get in the AC. So many restaurants in town have weekly trivia games; just check out your favorite spot’s website or social media to find out when. These games are a lot of fun, and you’ll inevitably learn some obscure knowledge that your friends somehow have lodged in their brain. Those points of expertise that others have are also great conversation starters - you can learn about someone by asking about their passions.

Enjoy Great Outdoor Seating

Perhaps my favorite thing about summers in Bloomington aishow all of my favorite places get so much less crowded. I love college students and the energy and life they bring to Bloomington, but that extra space can be so relaxing, especially at some of the spots with great outdoor seating. Hopscotch Coffee carries my favorite coffee drink in town (Thai Iced Coffee - wholeheartedly recommend) and has a really nice front deck overlooking the B-Line Trail. Downtown, Quaff On has a huge outdoor seating area that gets even better at night, that also often has live music (and the best nachos in Bloomington). Crumble Coffee + Bakery at Renwick Plaza also has a large, great outdoor space if you are in the mood to crank out some work. There are so many more other places in town where you can enjoy tasty food or drink while sitting outside. And of course, any of these spots would be great to invite a friend or neighbor (or me) to join you for a meal or a drink.

Bloomington summers really are unique, and a great time to make a real effort to connect with those in your neighborhood, your office, or your network. What are your favorite activities in Bloomington during the summer? What’s your ideal spot for good conversation?