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?