I don’t know if there is anything more glorious than the early days of summer.
This year, this summer, feels particularly sweet, especially after over a year of navigating a worldwide pandemic that turned our world upside-down.
Summer has always been my favorite season, but last summer, was about the saddest time I have experienced in a long time.
Instead of celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of three months of memories, we spent a lot of time mourning the loss of milestone celebrations and a lot of days of staying home, longing for the normal sweet summertime memories that made this season such a wonderful time for our family.
This year, I have a little glimmer of hope and resolve that not only will this summer be better than the last but will give my family the chance to make up for what we lost during last year’s pandemic summer.
To honor the season — and yet remain vigilant in my own vow to live a safe and simple summer — my family and I have come up with our own summer bucket list.
Nothing can bring back what we lost last year but as we look ahead to brighter days and a return to a world that resembles the one we might have taken for granted before March 2020 and that pandemic that we are still working through, I encourage you to make your own summer bucket list.
Savor the Season: The first item on my list is to simply take time to enjoy the summer season.
If you are a teacher or someone who is not commuting to work on a regular basis, you probably already have some ideas on how you plan to accomplish this.
For those of you who may not have this luxury, take at least three days — in a row — to simply enjoy everything that summer has to offer.
Call it a “staycation,” a family camp-out, but sleep in and make homemade lemonade
During your mini break, you can even take some time to enjoy some of the hidden gems that your own local community has to offer.
Love Your Hometown: I live in a large tourist area and when I was younger, I used to roll my eyes at the tourists that took over my small town’s downtown area each weekend, thinking of all of the much cooler places where i would spend my time when I was an adult.
Now that I see the error of my ways — and see that those silly tourists knew what they were talking about, I try to take time to enjoy the hidden gems that I might not frequent in my daily hustle and bustle to the grocery store or gas station.
I don’t know about you, but I forget about these sometimes, especially in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Take a walk through your local downtown area.
Window-shop or do some early Christmas in July shopping at a local shop that will surely appreciate your visit.
Stop by your local tourist shop and pick up a postcard or two to send to friends who live far away.
Do a local ice cream or pizza tour of the best shops within driving distance to your home.
My kids and I spent one summer touring the state for the best ice cream — and it is still a summer they talk about.
Every time we took a day trip, we would find an ice cream shop to sample — and by the end of summer, we definitely had a great list of favorites that we still frequent!
You can get super creative with this and tailor it to your family — do a barbecue tour or rate the best cheeseburger in your ZIP code.
So many ways to make this a fun family outing — that lets you enjoy the best of what your hometown and the neighboring areas around it — have to offer.
Get Your Green Thumb On: Last summer, we relied a lot on our local producers, without whom, I am not sure I would have been able to navigate quarantines, fear of being in busy stores and supply shortages of our basic staples.
What I found was that our local farmers markets, produce stands, greenhouses and dairies took care of us in ways I had not fully appreciated before.
While I will never be able to grow enough food to feed my own family, last year’s pandemic made me realize just how special it is to be able to grow some of your own food — and so I have found that gardening, even a small backyard plot, gives my family a great deal of happiness that I never knew I was missing.
My weekly visits to my local produce stands are always a highlight and I get downright giddy when I find something that goes well with the lettuce and herbs that my boys and I are happily able to grow in our own home garden.
Whether it is a few potted herbs or a full garden, let yourself try your hand at gardening this summer.
You may find a new hobby that you never realized you had a passion for!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)