Friday miscellany: Pondering September

Yes, we are still in August. But the planning wheels are in motion around here. In particular, I’m pondering the family’s late summer schedule. Everyone is done with camps by August 26, which certainly sounds like the “end” of summer, but is not. Thanks to the calendar placement of Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah, the kids don’t start school until Sept. 9. That is a full two weeks later.

So…what should we do with the time? My husband and I both have work but we wouldn’t have to work every single day of that time (extra days around Labor Day are fairly easy to make happen). We could travel somewhere, which sounds appealing since it might be past peak season and the crowds some places, but I am pondering where. What is easy to do, last minute, with 7 people?

(I am not sure anything is easy to do with 7 people. But not horribly difficult. Ideas??)

In the meantime, I spent this week writing Chapter 7 of Tranquility by Tuesday (“Take one night for you.”). I got a few trail runs in, and I pulled a 500-piece puzzle out of the basement closet as a little amuse-bouche before starting some bigger puzzles. My husband took our oldest two boys to a live taping of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” in Fairmont Park last night. The main report I got (they got home late) was that they do a lot of “takes” when recording. Comedy only looks easy when you watch it.

(Much like traveling with 7 people.)

This weekend I hope to knock another item or two off the summer fun list. Then next week I do my last “Mommy Day” — though the 6-year-old hasn’t chosen his activity yet. He mentioned doing art together. We’ll see what he means by that. Maybe it will involve our hot glue gun (a source of endless fascination). I gave the glue gun a workout this week attaching Boy Scout patches to a new uniform. I don’t own a sewing machine, and some Googling turned up that this was the next best option. We will see if they stay on during the camp experience…


15 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Pondering September

  1. Fly to FLL, visit me, and then drive family to Hawk’s Cay and stay there. Swim with dolphins. Only potential issues would be that Sept is peak hurricane season.

  2. I’d recommend Ithaca, NY (3-4 hr drive from PHL) for some low-key summer lake fun. Lots of state parks with waterfalls to explore (Buttermilk, Taughannock, Robert Treman) and swim near, great food (a few favorites: Hazelnut Kitchen in nearby Trumansburg, Saigon Kitchen, Gimme Coffee, Collegetown Bagels), a few kid-friendly museums (Sciencecenter, Museum of the Earth). Cornell has a big campus to walk around — great botanic gardens and home of the ice cream sundae. Corning, NY is a short drive away and has the Corning Museum of Glass (with glass-blowing demos/activities the older kids might like) and Rivendell-like Watkins Glen State Park.

    1. Drive about 2.5 hours west of Ithaca and you can enjoy Niagara Falls (the Canadian side is opening up to vaccinated Americans on 8/9). Lots of history in the Buffalo area – tons of forts for example, Old Fort Niagara, which is more than 300 years old. Established by the French in 1679, taken over by the British in 1759, yielded to The US in 1796, recaptured by the British in 1813 and ceded to the US a second time at the end of the War of 1812. All over the strategic value of the Niagara River. They often have living history weekends and re-enactments.
      Buffalo has done a great job of revitalizing its waterfront too!
      For more info,

    2. Yes, to Ithaca/Watkins Glen it is a beautiful area to visit and explore. Our kids love hiking there (and they don’t always love hiking).

  3. Friends once took their kids to Dollywood the first week of September and found that was great timing. With most other places back in school by then, crowds were small and lines were shirt. They gave it a giant thumbs up.

    1. We live in TN and live Dollywood. Great mix of rides and music. Great for all ages. Toddler maybe not. But water park is great. Has fun rides and a great big pool area to hang out

  4. We used to go to Western NC around that time. A bit of a hike in the car but gorgeous. We stayed in Waynesville because my in-laws had a house there, but Cashiers and Highlands are a bit easier to find places to stay. It is near Smoky Mountain National Park and the tail end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I miss it and hope to head back some time soon.

    1. I went to Asheville, NC several years ago and loved it. Lots of great food and craft breweries, very cool downtown area. Mount Mitchell is close by and is a super easy hike, and the Blue Ridge Parkway was gorgeous. Not sure about other kid stuff since this was a pre-kid trip, but it seemed like a family-friendly area.

  5. For the scout badges, I’d suggest Badge Magic. You can probably find it on Amazon, or buy it at a local scout store.

    Good luck with the trip planning. You’ll probably have better luck heading south since school is already starting down there.

    1. Seconding Badge Magic! And yes – many schools in the south and midwest start in mid August so the crowds will be way down, especially during the week.

  6. Folly Island just outside Charleston, SC! I can even recommend a specific beach house we’ve rented, where at high tide you step straight into the water from your lowest porch (and it sleeps, like, 12, so room for your brood). Folly is very chill – a classic beach town – but is 20 minutes from Charleston in all its historic, architectural glory. Great restaurants, a nice aquarium, a museum that punches above its weight, history galore, gorgeous buildings, a boat ride to Fort Sumter. There’s a solid week of fun. We typically do a city activity in the morning, lunch in town, then beach in the afternoon followed by cocktails and chilling on the porch as the sun starts to go down. Great rhythm for the family.

  7. I went to a taping of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” once in Portland. It was really fun. I will always remember it because it was the day of the Brexit vote. At the beginning of the taping they said the vote results hadn’t been announced yet so they were going to record jokes for both results. At the end of the taping they told the shocked audience that Brexit had passed.

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