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Readers Share Favorite Summer Rituals

15 ways you celebrate the season.

L.A. Dodgers cap and baseballAndrew McCaul

Simple Pleasures

Planting pots of petunias is a summer must because it brings back childhood memories of Jones Beach, in New York. The walkway from the parking lot to the sand was always lined with fragrant petunias, which thrived in the hot summer sun. Now the sweet smell of those flowers on my deck reminds me of the excitement I felt as I got closer and closer to the ocean.
Valerie Ritter
Manassas, Virginia

Although they are a dying breed, we are fortunate to live near two drive-in movie theaters. We get there early for a good spot, a picnic dinner, and a hefty dose of people-watching. It takes us back to an era when people spent time enjoying an activity instead of worrying about rushing to the next one.
Kelly Tyner
Evansville, Indiana

I love taking walks at night. There’s something about the way the air feels, still slightly warm from the day. Everything is so awake and alive―insects and frogs chirping; laughter from a backyard barbecue; the scents of flowers, fresh-cut grass, wood smoke. I walk and relax, taking it all in.
Jennifer Long
Chicago, Illinois


Family Affair

Many afternoons the family gathers in my uncle Nick’s backyard, and for a while it’s almost as if we’re in Italy. His garden has a simple, rustic feel to it, and despite the New England climate, Nick can coax practically anything out of the ground―plump, juicy tomatoes; flavorful grapes; fragrant basil and rosemary. Sitting there sipping homemade vino, eating fresh vegetables and cheeses, is not only the most relaxing way to spend the days of summer; it also keeps me connected to my family’s heritage.
Stacey Maselli-Finn
Lincoln, Rhode Island

I get just as excited as the students I teach when summer rolls around. My four sisters, two brothers, and parents, as well as my husband’s relatives, are scattered around the world, so each summer my husband and I pick someone to visit. We get to tour a great destination while spending time with family.
Maria Isabel Cruzalegui
Houston, Texas

Ever since my four-year-old daughter was big enough to ride in a stroller, we’ve spent our summer days at garage sales, antique stores, and flea markets. While “junking” has always been a hobby of mine, it is even more fun since I’ve gotten my daughter involved. Giving her one specific thing to look for makes her feel as if she’s on a treasure hunt. This summer her three-month-old brother will be tagging along, too.
Katie Van
North Manchester, Indiana

I look forward to the first wood-fired sauna of the summer at my parents’ Minnesota lake home. I sit in the searing heat until I can’t stand it another second, then burst through the door onto the dock and into the cold lake for an exhilarating dip. On a clear night, it’s heaven to float on my back and watch the stars as the loons call.
Ginger Luoma Anderson
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
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