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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Vacation
by Mauverneen Blevins

Summer – the word positively steams with heat, especially this summer.  Summer school, summer camp, summer solstice, summer job, summer home and the dog days of summer. But I think what most people associate with summer is – vacation!  The kids are out of school so pack up the car and let’s hit the road.
Trips out West used to be a big thing for a lot of Midwesterners – probably still are.  I know some of my cousins made several trips out there when we were younger. My uncle had a movie camera and when they got back we always got to see them on Pike’s Peak in the middle of summer making snowballs, or scary videos of them riding the mules down into the Grand Canyon.   My own memorable summer vacations as a kid included going to a Wisconsin dude ranch and a couple of trips to Mackinac Island, in Michigan.
I didn’t make it out West until I grew up.

When my own kids were small, in summer we either headed to Arkansas to visit family or packed a camper and drove up to Door County, WI.  A few hours drive from Chicago, Door County is a little peninsula that juts into the water, separating Green Bay from Lake Michigan. 

Fishin' off the pier
When it’s hot, people tend to head for the water. The breeze off the lake always feels so refreshing, instantly making you feel cooler. And cooler near the Lake is what the weather forecasters always add – at least around Chicago.

 Up in Door County one of our favorite things to do as a family was to rent a pontoon boat and go out into the bay.  Just tooling around on the water for a few hours or trying to catch some fish was always a great way to spend a summer afternoon.  You can still do that, or you can rent jetskis or go parasailing!  I’d be more apt to try the parasailing myself.  I love being near the water. I love the feel and the smell of the lake air and watching it’s color change with it’s moods, but I am not crazy about being IN it.  Go figure.  Maybe I am a teensy bit afraid of it. 

Perfect spot to relax
I went up to Door County last summer – first time in a long time – and I got to go twice! The first time I dropped a grandson off at Birch Creek where he was signed up for Jazz Camp and then spent a few days by myself enjoying the alone time, taking pictures and seeing what, if anything, had changed. I was fortunate enough to be able to make a jazz concert before I left and was totally impressed with the kids at the camp.  After only a few days of practicing together, they sounded like anything but amateurs!

Kite flying on the beach
  I went back about a month later with my boyfriend, who had never been there.  I wanted to show him why Door County is one of my favorite places in the world.  It was early fall and the colors were beginning to change. We saw the lighthouses, art galleries, scenic views and fishboils.  Getting up there twice in one year was heaven for me.  Plenty of photo ops - from waves crashing against the rocks on the lake side to glorious sunsets on the bay side.  Cherries were in season the first trip, so I brought back plenty of those – in all forms.  Cherry wine, cherry pastries, cherry jam, cherry salsa, canned AND frozen cherries to bake pies with in the middle of winter when I need a little Door County fix to keep me going.  Yep – definitely one of my favorite places. 

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI
I haven’t been to Mackinac Island in years so maybe it’s time to plan a little trip there.  I wonder how much it’s changed since the last time I’ve seen it.  Always charming, with it’s ban on motor vehicles it’s a bicyclist’s paradise.  You either walk, bike, or take a carriage ride wherever you want to go.  And everyone treks up to the beautiful Grand Hotel, which was famous even before Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour filmed ‘Somewhere In Time’ there.

King's Beach, Lake Tahoe
From Reno, NV, it’s a short drive up to Lake Tahoe and we always managed to make the trip several times in the summer. Especially if we had out-of-town company who were on their summer vacations. It truly is one of the most beautiful blue spots on this planet, with the majestic snow-capped Sierra Nevada looming in the background. And everybody wanted to see it. There too, parasailing, boating, swimming or just enjoying nature’s beauty makes it a positively great summer vacation destination.  I think it’s pretty much the same around the world.  If there’s a beach, it will be full.
Millenium Park, Chicago

Chicago has one of the prettiest skylines anywhere and one of the longest shorelines (26 miles). A walk along the lake takes you past yachts, world class museums, parks, even a dog beach! 

I guess this week I’m singing the praises of large bodies of water.  Not such a bad way to cool off if you ask me.

Summer vacation is all about relaxing, enjoying yourself, and maybe trying something new. But sometimes it’s about just being able to unwind and get comfortable by going to a place you are familiar with, that you feel at home in, like a visit with an old friend. Either way, enjoy it!

It’s summertime summertime sum sum summertime.  I still love that old song by the Jamies.  Simple, basic, talkin’ about the good things of summer. There are lots of good songs about summer.  I picked 8 more songs with summer in the title.  They make my list of Positively favorite Summertime songs.

A Summer Song – Chad & Jeremy
Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole
Summer of ‘69 – Bryan Adams
In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
Summer Nights – Olivia Newton John & John Travolta
Summer In The City – Lovin’ Spoonful

As always, words and photos are my own work unless otherwise noted.  Should you like to forward Postively Tuesday, please do so in it’s entirety and give credit to the author(s).  Thank you!


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