Introducing my new weekly post, Tom’s Top Ten on Tuesday. Every Tuesday, I will present my top ten favorite on something. The categories are random and fun, so stay tuned! You may learn something cool! Or not. This could be your Tuesday time-waster.

This past Sunday was the “official” first day of summer. Ahh the summer. There’s a youthful spirit about the season. When I was a kid, every day was like a scene from the movie, The Sandlot – hanging with buddies, staying up late, campouts in the backyard, chasing summer love, embarking on new adventures. As an adult, summer is one of the busiest times for me as a real estate agent. I love showing homes during this time of year. Homes look better with yards in full bloom, and the city is inviting for those moving to Portland. Judging by the weather this week, this summer is going to be a hot one!

Here are my Top Ten places to cool down and escape the summer heat:

1.Get Naked and Go Beachin’.

Sauvie Island Beaches – Reeder, North Unit, Walton, Collins and Warrior Point public beaches are located along the island’s north/east coast (Columbia River). Stop by Bella Farms on your way home and do a little berry picking.

2. It’s 5 o’Clock Anywhere There’s a Patio.

Rontoms Covered Patio is large, airy and provides the perfect 60s-style shield from the sun. Sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail mixed with one of their many locally produced liquor choices. Plus, it’s the perfect place to take your out-of-town summer guests that want to experience the Portland ‘hipster’ vibe. Rontons does Sunday Funday up right with FREE concerts featuring the best local and touring artist.

Rontoms Patio
Rontoms Patio
3. Go Ghost Hunting.

Heat rises, so the best way to get really cool is to go down, down, underground down, to the Portland Shanghai Tunnels in Old Town. Take a guided tour of Portland’s dark history when able-bodied men were captured on the Waterfont and sold to ship captains for work and no pay. Walk through a dark labyrinth connecting catacombs used by these unscrupulous individuals who also captured women and sold them to slavery.

This is one of the most haunted places in the U.S. confirmed by many unexplainable experiences. Travel Channel uncovered concrete evidence of paranormal activity when filming an episode of Ghost Adventures in the Tunnels. People visit from all over the world to encounter the Ghost of Nina. Is she really there?

For tour information, CLICK HERE. Remember, if the temperature significantly drops while your down there, that could only mean one thing…

Shanghai Tunnels
A room in the Shanghai Tunnels photographed by the Salem Spirit Hunters. Look closely. Do you see what I see?
4. Run Through Water Fountains in Your Clothes.

A frolic in Salmon Street Springs at Waterfront Park is always a good idea on a hot summer day. Take the kids or let your inner child run free through the arch-shaped streams of water. To access a self-guided walking tour featuring 15 downtown Portland “splash pads”, CLICK HERE. The artwork you’ll encounter is an added bonus!

5. Find a New Hobby Involving Bad Movie Cliches

Avengers: Age of Ultron. Pitch Perfect 2, and Fast and the Furious 7. Jurassic World. The Blockbusters, the sequels to sequels, and the multi-million-dollar box office record breaker that hit theatres last week – love it or hate it, but summer movie season is upon us, and there is no better way to cool off than in an air-conditioned theatre. If you’re not into the air-conditioned multiplexes (or the overinflated prices), luckily, our little city is home to many independently owned and operated theatres that offer a variety of movie genres. You can still get your cinema fix and even discover a cool new part of town.

The Laurelhurst Theatre is cheap entertainment ($4 general admission) and shows mostly independent films, Hollywood second-runs, documentaries and cult-classics. It features four screens, showing eight movies at a time.

Living Room Theaters in downtown Portland is an experience for the true indie film lover. It shows mostly independent movies, foreign films, and limited-release documentaries. The chic lounge and snack bar serves gourmet food and has a full bar.

If movie night takes you to the historic Hollywood Theatre, you might leave with a new hobby. B-Movie Bingo! It’s a bingo card that evolved from bad movie clichés in the 80s. The same bingo card is applied for each movie in the series. It’s genius and funny when you realize every 80s movie included multiple mustached men. B-Movie Bingo is the second Tuesday of the month. Invasion USA is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7th at 7:30 p.m. I can’t think of a better movie than a Chuck Norris film for the B-Movie Bingo neophyte.

Check out this YouTube for a better explanation of what you’re getting into

6. Go Floating in Space.

As an alternative to mediating in a hot outdoor park, try floating in an indoor pod of water, suspended by 1000 pounds of salt! Schedule a 90-minute Float at the Float Shoppe in NW Portland or Mudra Massage on NE Broadway. It’s not only refreshing, but it’s a new method of self-discovery and relaxation. After 30 minutes in the tank, your mind will wonder into the theta state – the mysterious state between consciousness and sleep where the mind is more imaginative and inspiring than actual sleeping. Floating makes the body so relaxed that it rids us of our daily stresses by releasing cortisol into the bloodstream, causing an endorphin-like effect and happiness.

Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Floating

7. Experience the Willamette River at Mock Speed

The Willamette Valley Jetboats are open for business in their 18th summer season. They were the very first company to give jet boat tours on the Willamette River, and they are the very best. Gather 129 of your best buds and book the Downtown Bridge & Harbor Tour. Once aboard these open-aired boats, get ready for take off because it’s like strapping yourself to a rocket!

All the jet boats are powered with THREE clean burning diesel powertrain engines that put out almost 1000 horsepower and over 1500 pounds of torque. The route takes you all the way down the Willamette River, to the St. John’s Bridge, turning back around at the ships in the shipyard to return to OMSI, and all within ONE HOUR. A quick and scenic tour filled with historic bridges, splash and FUN.

Red marks the route

8. Take the Path Less Traveled to a Hiker’s Utopia.

Every Oregon summer brings new opportunities for outdoor adventures. If you’re looking for a new hike to try, I know a short, but stunning waterfall hike to the Gorge’s Oneonta Falls. Even on a scorching day, this hike will cool you down because the trail is the river. Start your journey at the Oneonta Bridge, cross over the gridlock of logs and on to the mossy walls. Then Into the river you go, becoming chest-deep, as you get closer to the falls. The water part is chilly but not even a mile, and the spectacular scene at the end is worth the “wade”. Only a 37-minute drive from Portland, and not many locals knows of this place. It might be because they can’t find the trail…

Sea Cave
Moss covered walls to the Falls
9. Peek Behind Nature’s Curtain.

When temperatures rise, Portlanders love day tripping in search of that perfect swimming hole. Half the fun is getting lost. The joy is in the journey, not the destination. But when the path ends at a curtain of thick old-growth fir and reveals the edge of Buck Lake’s emerald green waters, the destination never looked better. It is a lake so serene and secluded with crystal clear waters your able to see every rock, log and fish beneath the surface. This hidden gem is only 70 miles from Portland! The only thing that makes Buck Lake better is bringing a raft (see featured picture at top).

pretty forest with lake
The emerald green waters of Buck Lake revealed
10. Become a Strategic Fan Master.

Just like life, the summer can take you to many unexpected places, but  love always brings you home, whether you have AC or not. My home is my own private urban oasis. It’s the place I want to be the most, but like many homeowners and apartment renters in Portland, I don’t have AC. By the end of this week, we will be in the 100s, and it’s not even July! Here are some tips to stay cool in your own home this summer:

The Strategic Window Schedule – temperatures are mostly mild in the Northwest, even during hot 90-100 degree days. Even when it’s 80 degrees, temperatures drop at night to 50s or low 60s. Open your windows at night and let the cool air in. In the morning, immediately close the windows and draw the blinds or curtains. This will trap the cold air in during the day and keep the sun from shining in.

Grilling Not Baking – Turning your oven on when it’s already hot outside will quickly raise the temperature of your home, especially if you live in an apartment. Grill more or make food that doesn’t require much heat like salads or cook a crockpot meal that requires low heat.

Buy a Fan or an AC unit – Don’t wait until temperatures reach 100 to head to Freddy’s. You’ll be out of luck! Plan ahead. If you buy an AC unit, window air conditioners are more powerful and efficient. Single fans that sit on the ground or on a table and blow air directly on you help sweat evaporate and lower your body temperature. Oscillating fans are great for circulating in a single room or area of your home. Combine multiple types of fans to find the right cooling combination for you.

Have a great summer!

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