Gearing up for 2019 summer fun

Memorial Day weekend is almost here — which, in the US at least, signifies the start of summer. For the past several years, I’ve made summer fun lists. These activities celebrate the season. The goal is to hit Labor Day feeling like summer was rich and full of memories. Curiously, these lists become self-reinforcing. Certain things have appeared on the lists so many times that they’ve become summer traditions…and now need to keep appearing!

So, here we go:

Go strawberry picking. There’s something aesthetically appealing to me about bright red berries in the patch. And the berry season is short! So this needs to happen by early June. I also want to take time to notice the smell of honeysuckle wherever I find it (a trail I run on frequently has a lot; this section is preferable to the section located near the sewage treatment facility).

Go to member night at the zoo. The Philadelphia zoo has extended evening hours on a few nights this summer. I want to go and try out the food trucks (and beer garden…see below).

Go to a beer garden. My weight loss journey has meant skipping alcohol, for the most part. But half a beer, outdoors with little lights and picnic tables, feels celebratory. There’s a beer garden at the zoo, at Asbury Park, at Longwood — so I’m pretty sure this will happen this summer at some point.

Eat at Aquavit and French Laundry. I love great restaurants, and I have reservations for both places in the upcoming months. Both have their own memories associated with them. My husband and I ate at Aquavit on our third date. We went to French Laundry with his extended family a few years ago to celebrate his brother’s 40th birthday.

Eat ice cream at Days in Ocean Grove. Another treat I’m not skipping. We go to Ocean Grove, on the Jersey shore, a lot, and we always visit this ice cream parlor. My 9-year-old tasted his first ice cream here lo these many years ago when he was about 9 months old. I can still picture him throwing his little head back in ecstasy (as in “man, this beats rice cereal and pureed carrots”).

Go on a longish bike ride. When I put the back seats down, I can shove my bike in the trunk of my car. We have some great bike trails within a half hour drive, so there’s no reason not to do this if I’ve got a light afternoon.

Swim solo. I spend a lot of time supervising other people in pools. I’d like to spend some pool time not doing that. As a side note, my big kids are all very strong swimmers (on a competitive year-round swim team) but my 4-year-old is still learning. I want to make sure he gets enough practice this summer that he’s more water-safe.

Do Mommy Days with the kids. I started this tradition in 2016, and the kids start asking about it each spring. I spend a day, solo, with each kid, doing something the kid requests. It’s often an amusement park (Hershey or Dutch Wonderland) but we’ve also gone to the American Girl Cafe in NYC, and to the Zoo in Washington DC (good to use those Amtrak points for something!) I think the 4-year-old is now old enough to be aware of the various amusements in our area, and can choose his own adventure this year (I chose for him the last two summers).

Go to a Phillies game. I’ve been reading a lot of baseball books lately, as well as attending a seemingly endless parade of Little League games. I’d like to go to a major league game, probably with the older two kids.

Listen to music outdoors. I don’t have any big concert plans (though I do have tickets for one of the Longwood Gardens fireworks and fountains shows) but I would like to be on the lookout for opportunities to enjoy this quintessential summer activity.

Hike in Yosemite. I’m really excited to cross this one off my list of 100 dreams later this summer!

Edit my novel…and keep all other professional expectations low. I’m going to spend some time this summer not thinking about what I’m doing next. I’m going to keep doing the things I’m currently doing (speaking, podcasting, promoting the existing books) but I suspect that I’ll come up with something more creative for the future if I don’t narrow my focus too much. The plan is not to plan. Wish me luck!

What’s on your summer fun list?

13 thoughts on “Gearing up for 2019 summer fun

  1. I’m going hiking in Yosemite this summer too! Great list. I always love seeing yours to jumpstart me thinking about ideas for my summer.

    1. @Sarah K – definitely make a list! And Yosemite should be fantastic. It’s been on my list for a long time.

  2. I’m interested as to why you are switching gears and trying to plan less and reduce work on talks etc?

    1. @Julia – I’m not reducing work on talks. I’m giving a large number of speeches over the next few months. I’m just not going to push myself to come up with the next thing (book, or big new project like a new podcast). I think I need to survey the landscape and think about what I really want to do.

  3. Yes, love seasonal fun lists!

    Here’s my current version:

    1. Weekend in the Blue Ridge: This weekend we’re renting a chalet-style cabin in the Blue Ridge “mountains” with two other families. Lots of hiking and swimming by day, with wine and Cards Against Humanity by evening.

    2. Girlfriends’ Weekend: Renting a country estate with 8 girlfriends, visiting a distillery, and swimming + cocktails deep into the night!

    3. Pacific Ocean vacation: Renting a beach house outside LA with my husband’s family.

    4. DisneyLand: Two days. I will lobby for minimum Disney and maximum California Adventure.

    5. Horseback riding with the kids

    6. National Aquarium with the kids

    7. “Adventure Day” with each kid: basically, “mommy day.”

    8. Backyard campfires (in a chiminea, but stuff).

    9. Canoeing in a nearby lake.

    10. New York City: My littlest has never been, so we’re doing Labor Day weekend with Amtrak and hotel points. We plan to start up at Columbia (my law school alma mater) and walk down to Chinatown. Many pretzels and ice cream cones along the way, topping it off with dim sum!

    1. @Kathleen – this is a great list, and it sounds like it will be a great summer! I wish my kids were adventurous enough eaters that dim sum could be a regular thing in our house…

  4. I love your seasonal lists! Inspired by you I got my 11 and 13-year-olds to make one for our family for this summer. It is huge (like poster-sized) and they plastered it prominently up in the kitchen. It includes “make milkshakes”, “go camping”, “pick raspberrys” (sic), and “fly a kite”. I love having it hanging there and it makes me feel like we have a great summer to look forward to.

    1. @Sarah – I love the idea of making it a huge list that the whole family can see! All of those sound like great ideas.

  5. Laura- if you haven’t been to Tanglewood before, I highly recommend it. Over the summer the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays there, and there is something magical about sitting amidst the Berkshires under the stars, sipping wine and listening to classical music. They even have a family friendly movie night with John Williams featuring scores like Indiana Jones, Harry Potter etc.

  6. I did my first « official » summer fun list last summer thanks to one of your posts and because it felt so great to look back at the end of the season, have been working on this year’s version for weeks now. One item that I’m especially excited to check off my list is dinner with extended family at The Fireworks Feast (Inn at Bay Fortune, PEI). Also on my list is a visit to Mable Murple’s bookstore, a trip to Ministers Island, NB (where you visit during low tide as you drive across the ocean floor to access the island) and (at least) one day completely free from any obligations and technology

  7. Hey Laura! No trips to Cape May this summer? My summer list at minimum is what follows (😳😜)
    1. Build a car wash across from my real estate office. We should be breaking ground any week now…getting anxious!
    2. 10 year anniversary of my office Mountain Valley Realty, and we are doing 200 chicken halves free to the public.
    3. Hope to get to Cape May myself this summer with my boys. I didn’t make it last year.
    4. Sneak to our house in FL for some R&R with the family.
    5. Lots of time home at night in the pool with the boys.
    6. Lots of reading
    7. Thinking about starting my own blog…maybe actually start it.
    8. Collecting as many backpacks for the local kids’ upcoming school year at my backpack drive.
    9. Closing on a chalet on 10 acres near our house and will be turning it around quickly into an AirBnB. Hopefully will go live by 8/1.
    10. Make time to ride my bike on our local rail trail.

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