You could accuse Ibex of being Vermont-centric, and you wouldn’t be wrong. We love us some “freedom and unity” (our state motto rocks, does it not?). Though we’re proud of our New England home, we’re not so drunk on the maple Kool-Aid that we can’t appreciate the rest of our beautiful nation. With Labor Day on September 1, heralding the “end of summer,” what better time for a virtual cross-country trip?
We know you already have 20 ideas for camping and outdoor fun this month. But in case you’re feeling like a little something different, we’ve pulled together a mixed bag of things to do this Labor Day weekend – across all time zones.
Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone:
- Waikiki Roughwater Swim (Oahu, Sept. 1): 2.384 miles (to be exact) of swimming along Waikiki Bay. It’s a long way, but then you have the rest of the day to sip coconut drinks and surf the famed Oahu waves. Bonus: You can get 5 percent off airfare by signing up the swim.
- Kauai Marathon (Kauai, Aug. 31): If you’re going to run a marathon, why not turn it into a destination event? The Kauai Marathon is 26.2 miles of sweat-soaked beauty.
- Ka’anapali Fresh Signature Food & Wine Festival (Maui, Aug. 30): If your feeling less labor-some this Labor Day, hit up the 3rd annual Maui festival to eat, drink and live aloha.
- Camp and Explore Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska, anytime): If you find yourself near the Aleutian Islands this Labor Day, plan to hit up this stunning mélange of geographic and biologic beauty. Days are getting short up in those latitudes, so Labor Day may be one of your last chances for the year. Getting there? Not easy, but worth it.
Pacific Time Zone:
- Bumbershoot Everything Festival (Seattle, all weekend): Indulge the right side of your brain with this music, comedy, literature, ideas, theater, and arts festival. The coolest part is that with all this culture, Bumbershoot does not take itself too seriously. Bonus: It has its own ice cream.
- Portland PDX Beer Quest (Portland, all weekend): If three days of tracking down the best microbrews on the left coast doesn’t satisfy your need for adventure, join the Haunted Pub Crawl through old town Portland. Spooky!
- San Francisco Base Camp (in and around SF, all weekend): There’s so much going on in and around San Francisco around Labor Day that the city becomes the perfect gateway to fun. A few ideas: The Sausalito Art Festival, the Matisse Exhibit at SFMOMA ends in September, it’s the perfect time to see blue and humpback whales migrating south, Shakespeare in the Park offers free outdoor plays, and then there’s simply gorging yourself on fresh harvests and sourdough bread from one of the many farmers’ markets around town.
Mountain Time Zone:
- Wydaho Rendezvous Mountain Bike Festival (Grand Targhee, Wyoming, all weekend): Get in your last charging rides of the year or just cruise the Teton Valley on one of the 2015 demo bikes from top bike companies. Either way, you’ll still be in one of the most gorgeous places on the planet at one of the most gorgeous times of the year.
- Salsa Fiesta and Mountain Run (Creede, Colorado, all weekend): After you walk, run or race your preference of a two, 12 or 22-mile course outside of the cool, cultural mountain hamlet of Creede (Southern San Juan Mountains), head into town for a salsa tasting with tomatillos and New Mexico green chiles from the 2014 harvest.
- Santa Fe Fiesta and Zozobra (Santa Fe, all weekend): Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the U.S., so there are lots of stories to tell from its 400-plus year history. The weekend kicks off with Zozobra on Friday night, August 29, when a five-story tall puppet named ‘Old Man Gloom’ is ceremoniously burned – taking all of our cares and worries with him. The Fiesta officially begins on Saturday with food, dance, art and the ever-popular Pet Parade.
Central Time Zone:
- Chicago Jazz Festival (Chicago, all weekend): If you want country, go to Nashville. If you want rock, go to Seattle. If jazz is your thing, Chicago is your place. This free festival is regularly named one of the best events around, with a mix of stages and intimate pop-up venues.
- Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, ends Sept. 1): We cannot, in good conscience, propose a list of Labor Day events without at least one good old-fashioned state fair, and Minnesota is a doozy. Over 1 million people attend each year with little more promotion than the promise of some rides and meats on a stick. (Not joking. It’s what they promote.) But this fair has much more going on, including: 5K runs, an EcoExperience, music, rides, talent contests, dog stunt shows, and art workshops to name a few.
- Mississippi Valley BOLD Tour (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, all weekend): This three-day, 150(ish)-mile, cycling tour is a charity event that supports the biking community of the Midwest. Beginning and ending in Dubuque, Iowa, the tour is a non-competitive ride through rolling hills and small towns.
Eastern Time Zone:
- National Bacon Day in Boston (Boston, Aug. 31): What a glorious coincidence that National Bacon Day falls smack in the middle of Labor Day weekend this year! Not since chocolate and peanut butter have two…nevermind. You get it. Anyway, Bostonians are no strangers to bacon. So while you tour the city on the hunt for the best BLT, also check out: the Mass Brewers Fest, the Boston Arts Festival, the Gloucester Schooner Festival, and of course, the Ibex flagship store on Newbury Street.
- Sunrise Drive up Mount Washington (New Hampshire, Aug. 31): At 6,288 feet, Mt. Washington is New England’s highest peak. You can drive or ride your bike up most any day, but the road opens only after 7:30 a.m. Three days each summer, the road opens early to take advantage of the sunrise, inevitably made gorgeous by the ever-changing weather and endless vistas.
- Jay Peak Trail Running Festival (Vermont, Aug. 30-31): If you haven’t yet begun to train, you may be happier with the 5K and a post-run beer. But if your feet have treated you well this season, cap off the summer with either the 25K or 50K Ultra run.
Whatever you do, we wish you a happy and relaxing Labor Day.