outdoor activities

18 Ways to Soak In and Welcome Summer This Weekend (6/21 - 6/24)

By Siobhan DeRemer

We've had some hot weeks already but it's finally officially summer! Grab your yoga mat, paddle board, or drinking pants and start this season with a ton of fun and local events. 

Thursday

Celebrate the Longest Day with the Alzheimer's Association
Every summer solstice, the Alzheimer's Association calls upon those who wish to advocate for the end of Alzheimer's disease to do whatever they love today and raise as much as they're able to end this terrible disease. You can honor a caregiver that you know or pick the favorite hobby of someone you know who's been touched by Alzheimer's. The local Delaware Valley chapter also has a list of activities around the area if you need some inspiration.

International Day of Yoga (11:30am - 1:30pm / Free)
Celebrate health and harmony and start your summer off in a meaningful way by joining others in Allentown in front of the PPL Building for the International Day of Yoga. The first session welcomes kids for yoga and mindfulness and starting at 12:30, all are welcome. 

Summer Solstice Patio Party (4pm - 10pm / Free)
If you're all for starting the summer with a glass of wine or something from Victory or Troegs (we feel you!) then the patio at the Shelby is the spot for you. A Kan Jam tournament kicks everything off at 4pm with specials from both breweries all night.

Summer Solstice Detox & Retox (7:30pm - 8:30pm / $10-$35)
If you're searching for a combo of those last two events, yoga and beer come together at Saucony Creek Brewery in Kutztown. Tiers of tickets include just the hourlong yoga session or a VIP ticket for yoga plus a flight of beer (or wine/cocktail) and food. Grab tickets here.

Sounds of Summer at Forks Community Park (7pm - 9pm/ Free)
Come out for some live music, food, and BYOB now that outdoor concert season is in full swing. Bring a bag chair and enjoy the sounds of Crazy Hearts at Forks Community Park in Easton now that summer's here.

Friday

Restorative Community Acupuncture (4pm - 7pm / $35-40)
Reduce your stress this summer with a group acupuncture session at the Restorative Space in Bethlehem. You'll receive painless acupuncture to improve circulation and boost your mood and enjoy 20 to 25 minutes of meditation time.

Easton Out Loud (5pm - 9pm/ Free)
Every fourth Friday of the month, Easton lights up with a special event open to all. This month features a crawfish boil, fire twirling performance, ice cream cake, live music, and, most importantly, a scavenger hunt. Go around to participating stores and see if you can find the Big Prize. Parking at downtown garages is only $1 starting at 5pm. If you're headed down, bring a few school supplies for a drive at Suddenly Samantha.

American Spirit Series: Old Forester (6:30pm - 8:30pm / $60)
If you love history of liquor as much as you like drinking it (like me), this event is 100% for you. Ticket price includes after-hours admission to the National Museum of Industrial History along with a tasting of from the American Old Forester distillery. Grab tickets here (including DD tickets for the nondrinking history nerds).

Sabor Latin Festival (Free)
Tonight's the kickoff of 3 days of Latin music, food, and culture at ArtsQuest. Celebrate the region’s Latino culture with live music by local, regional, and national musical acts, as well as cultural programming presented by community organizations. 

Saturday

Summer Fest at Lake Nockamixon (12pm - 6pm / $40-50)
This Saturday is a family-friendly event at Lake Nockamixon filled with yoga for all ages, mindfulness meditation, essential oil and plant-based nutrition info, and stand-up paddleboard opportunities. Food from Nellie's Rae's kitchen will also be available. Grab tickets at the event or here.

WDIY's Homebrew Fest (2pm - 5pm / $30)
See what the homebrewers of the Lehigh Valley are cooking up in this meeting of the minds at the Ice House in Bethlehem. Taste over 40 handcrafted beers and vote for your top 5. Sure to have awesome background music from WDIY. Grab tickets here.

Weyerbacher's 23rd Anniversary Party (4pm - 9pm / $15)
The Easton brewery turns a ripe 23 this year and they're celebrating with a circus-themed bash. The event "will be full of surprise and intrigue as you wind your way through the food trucks and libations leading you to the debut of their 23rd Anniversary Ale." Live music, food, and plenty of lively activities. Grab tickets here.

Yoga at Asbury Village Farm (5:30pm - 8pm / $20)
Hosted by Easton Yoga, this event lets you set your mat out on the field of the organic greenery at Asbury Village Farm in New Jersey at sunset. After class, there will be a potluck dinner with BYOB option (and fresh lemonade). Bring a food item, mat, and picnic essentials and check out their CSA options while you're there. 

Sunday

Start of Historic Bethlehem Restaurant Week (6/24 - 6/30)
Visit some of your favorites this week for special lunch and dinner fixed price meals: McCarthy's Red Stag Pub, Tapas on Main, Urbano, The Flying Egg, and Tavern at the Sun Inn...just to name a few!

Yoga & Mimosas (10:30am - 11:30am / $20)
Can you guys even BELIEVE how many yoga/booze combo classes we have in the area?? I am not complaining—I love options! Teachers from OM-azing Yoga in Easton and the brewers at Boser Geist are offering an hourlong class with a mimosa or bellini after class (with other beverages available, too).

2018 Lehigh River Sojourn (7am - 5pm / prices vary)
Join the PA Wildlands Conservancy for a trip down the Lehigh River from the Poconos to Easton. Enjoy this guided tour over the course of 3 days or rent a canoe and join for one leg if you can't make it the whole trip. Grab tickets (discounted for all 3 days) here.

Summer Food and Music Festival (10am - 6pm / Free)
About an hour from the LV, Peddler's Village is closer to New Hope and is hosting a music and food festival for the weekend. Live music and food and shopping from 60+ vendors and food trucks. Snag VIP treatment tickets (priority seating, guaranteed parking, refillable mug) for $25 here.

Music in Dimmick Park Series (6pm - 8pm/ Free)
You know it's outdoor concert season and if you're closer to Hellertown than Allentown, Dimmick Park is filling your concert need. Tonight features Flirtin' with the Mob and food from Flying V (their poutine is INSANE) and Licensed to Grill and beverages from Lost Tavern.


*Got an event we should list in upcoming weeks? Shoot us an email here or leave a comment to be considered. We have final approval for all listings, but we love suggestions!

Photo by Jenna Anderson on Unsplash

Rise & Grind: This Free Outdoor Fitness Class Is The Lehigh Valley’s Best Kept Secret

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By Stephanie Eckelkamp

Do you smell that? It’s that weirdly intoxicating combination of dirt, new plants, and rain hitting warm pavement. And it can only mean one thing: Spring is coming!

For me, that’s the smell that puts an extra pep in my step after a long winter and what motivates me to get my butt outside -- and far, far away from the stuffy gym.

But, if you’re anything like me, motivating yourself to get up and go on an early morning bike ride or jog can still be difficult, even when the weather is glorious. There’s no one to hold me accountable, so I’m never quite as consistent as I want to be.

That’s why Lehigh Valley Rise & Grind is so awesome. This free outdoor fitness group meets every Wednesday morning (rain, snow, or shine) in Allentown’s scenic Trexler Memorial Park -- and its members seem like they'd be the best accountability partners, cheerleaders, and workout buddies you've ever had.

I chatted with LV Rise & Grind founder Alexa M. Huzela to find out what makes this group so special -- and why you should be a part of it.

SE: What exactly is Lehigh Valley Rise and Grind, and what are the workouts like?  

AH: LV Rise & Grind is a free fitness movement that I started in October 2016. We meet at 5:45 a.m. every Wednesday in the main parking lot of Trexler Park. We started with just seven people and soared from there.

It’s a place where anyone can come to workout for free, have fun, and leave to start their day feeling better about themselves despite what’s going on in their lives.

Our workouts incorporate running and cardio using just your body weight – no props required! Every week the workout is a little different, but many of our workouts include intervals of different moves like these:

Burpees
Planks
Squats
Sit-ups
Jumping jacks
Jogs and sprints
Mountain climbers
Push-ups

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SE: Do you guys really meet year-round?

AH: We are #WeatherProof! And on the rare occasion that we do need to cancel, it’s announced in advance in the Lehigh Valley Rise & Grind Facebook group.

SE: Do you have a background in fitness?

AH: I've played sports my whole life and I recently got my personal training certificate for extra knowledge and the safety component. 

SE: I have a bad knee. Do you make accommodations for people who have minor injuries or aren't super fit?

AH: We’re open to all age groups and fitness levels. For each workout movement or skill set, a modification is offered. I try to ask before we start if anyone has any injuries or needs modifications so that I can keep an eye on them during the workout. There's also a big focus on stretching to prevent injuries.

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SE: What's the vibe? Competitive, supportive, a little of both?

AH: The vibe is definitely supportive! When we do partner workouts, everyone is always encouraging each other; and when we do individual workouts, I make sure to tell everyone that no one cares how fast you are or how quickly you do a burpee – you should only be competing against yourself.

One time we were doing partner sprints and I overheard someone say, “I’m sorry I’m so slow.” I caught it and said, “No one cares how slow you are, you’re out here pushing yourself and doing this for YOU.”

We do throw in a little competition when we do burpees to the Bring Sally Up, Bring Sally Down song. The goal is to stick together as a tribe to complete the challenge. We also do plank challenges.

SE: It can be tough to get any new project off the ground. How did you make your dream a reality?

AH: My inspiration to start LV Rise & Grind came from a similar free fitness group called November Project, which takes place in various cities across the country. They came to Bethlehem two years ago for the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival and I attended their 6 a.m. outdoor class.

Afterwards, I thought, I CAN DO THIS! I can start a movement in the Lehigh Valley that is totally free, inclusive, fun, and makes a difference. And now, here we are celebrating almost a year and a half of Lehigh Valley Rise & Grind.

I keep myself motivated from the feedback I get. When people come up to me and say that this one-hour weekly sweat session has changed their lives and their outlook on fitness, or simply helped them form new friendships, it makes me feel amazing. That’s exactly what my goal was, and I can't wait to make an impact on even more lives.

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SE: How has starting LV Rise & Grind changed you personally?

AH: It has shown me that I can actually make a difference in other peoples lives. I never thought in a million years that I could create my own workout, stand in front of 35 people, coach them, and be a fun mentor.

It’s also made me so appreciative of our community and the continuous kick-ass turnout that we get each Wednesday. Sometimes I drive there and wonder if anyone will even be there. But sure enough, all of the car headlights turn off, the doors open, and people are ready to sweat and have fun!

Our motto is #JustShowUp!

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For more information on Lehigh Valley Rise & Grind, request to join their Facebook group. Or you could #JustShowUp and see what happens :)