My 15 Favorite Summer Things
Summer is in full swing in the Twin Cities Metro, and I couldn’t be happier! Admittedly I struggle with the long Minnesota winters, but I can only describe the summers as exquisite and all the sweeter for the anticipation! Although I admit, every season has its charms; summer wins hands down in its ability to motivate and inspire me. So with no further ado, here is my list of 15 favorite summer pleasures that prove you can have beautiful things.
1. Long Days, Blue Skies and Sunshine
Daylight is a mood enhancer. In summer we enjoy longer hours of sunshine to catch up on our Vitamin D! The cold Minnesota winters keep the less hardy among us indoors and so when we feel the warmth of the summer sun we want to get outside and enjoy our beautiful parks, trails, and lakes. In addition to sports and other traditional outside summer activities, here in the Twin Cities we listen to great music, watch movies, eat, drink, and shop outdoors as well. We put those extra daylight hours to good use!
2. Sundresses and Bikinis
What a sense of freedom and lightness, as we shed our heavy winter coats, hats, and mittens for shorts, sundresses, and bikinis! I love all those breathable, soft, comfortable garments made of pure cotton or linen dyed in bold, bright colors and soothing pastels.
3. Flip Flops
These comfortable sandals are synonymous with summer. They appeal to young and old, men and woman and come in a variety of colors and styles from the most casual to elegant. Not only are they easy to slip on and off, but they are also the next best thing to going barefoot. Even the ancient Egyptians as far back as 1500 BC thought they were cool. Personally, I like the sound they make slapping against the soles of my feet when I walk.
4. Water, Water Everywhere
Floating atop it or submerging yourself in it, water is therapeutic to the body and relaxing to the spirit. Here in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes we appreciate our water. In the Twin Cities metro, there is a plethora of lakes and ponds, beaches, water parks, pools as well as 9 Mile Creek, Minnehaha Creek, and the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers to enjoy. Remember Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha? The famous Minnehaha Falls featured in that poem is here in Minneapolis and a favorite spot of mine.
5. Farmers Markets
Summer is the season for fresh produce, and thankfully the Twin Cities communities are teeming with Farmers Markets! Peaches. Strawberries, Raspberries, or BlackBerries. Melons. Watermelon. Market stalls featuring just-picked produce artfully arranged, beckoning and wooing. Sweet corn, and green beans. Eggplant, and Peppers sweet to hot in vibrant colors! New potatoes, beets, summer squashes! We take it all home, we eat it raw or cooked and savor every crisp and sweet bite! Minnesota Public Radio has done an excellent job with their list of area markets and hours of operation.
6. Summer Outdoor Eating
Speaking of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, I think they taste best when eaten outdoors. When at home I enjoy my meals on the deck weather permitting. I shamelessly use any excuse and every reason to get family and friends together over a huge meal eaten al fresco. I bring my lunch on walks or bike rides and turn them into a picnic!
7. Sweet Corn
Kernels of pure Minnesota sunshine laced with creamery butter and grains of salt, sweet corn is my absolute favorite summer vegetable. Our local sweet corn is outstanding, and I love it so much I devoted an entire blog post to this amazing veggie last summer.
8. A Slice of Summer
While we are on the subject of fresh and eating, another of my favorite summer foods is fresh blueberry pie! In a pinch, raspberry, blackberry or strawberry rhubarb will do, but blueberry is my favorite. When I lived in Rhode Island, the woods behind my home filled with wild blueberry bushes. Every summer when they ripened my son would pick a bucketful, and I would bake a fresh blueberry pie with a hint of cinnamon.
9. Cold Drinks With or Without Umbrellas
Have a cold drink by the lake. Drink on your deck or a patio. Enjoy a happy hour. Sangria, Vinho Verde, cold beer on tap. Mojitos. Iced tea, coffee, or lemonade.Take it up a notch and stick an umbrella in an ice-cold drink and it feels like an instant vacation. Add a slice of orange or pineapple and a maraschino cherry, and you’re practically on a tropical isle!
Studies show that the beautiful colors and the sweet perfume of flowers can help us be happier, less anxious, and more creative. I agree. Flowers bring color and life to summer. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is an explosion of color right now. Plan a visit and get happy!
11. Ice Cream
I know ice cream is a year-round pleasure, but doesn't it seem more satisfying dribbling down the sides of a cone on a hot summer day? Or consumed at an outdoor concert or sporting event? When was the last time you enjoyed an icy treat purchased from a truck that makes music as it cruises down the street?
Have you noticed that a slice of watermelon is shaped like a smile? I love this iconic summertime fruit. It’s refreshing, low in calories, and healthy. We all know it makes a great snack but it is also fabulous in salads, soups, drinks and frozen treats. If you don’t believe me, check out 17 Reasons to Love Watermelon on Buzzfeed.
13. Outdoor Movies, Music and Festivals
Long days and hot summer nights mean outdoor events and festivals. Many Twin Cities communities offer free weekly flicks in the park as well as free concerts. There are usually several festivals going on each and every summer weekend in the metro. Check out your communities website for local events.
14. Vacations and Travel
Kids are out of school, making summer the perfect time for family vacations. Whether it’s hiking in the mountains, camping in the forest or road trips to nearby events, this is the best time of year to hit the road and see America!
15. Moonlight Fairies
It’s well past dinner, the sun has slipped below the horizon, the air is languid and evening has arrived. This is the magical time when moonlight fairies appear in the garden. You may know them as fireflies, but whatever you choose to call them, I love to watch these enchanting creatures sparkle as they dance among the greenery. Did you ever catch fireflies in a jar?
So there are my 15 favorite things about summer. My least favorite thing - summer is over too quickly, much like that ice cream cone or slice of blueberry pie! Still, the memory of the flavor lingers and keeps me going through the long Minnesota winter until summer comes around again.
Have a totally awesome, inspiring and fabulous summer!