Readers Share Favorite Summer Rituals
15 ways you celebrate the season.
By the Sea
I love to walk along the shore at low tide with friends or family and look for beach glass. Ocean-polished hues of Coke-bottle green, iridescent clear, lapis blue, and dark green all look beautiful in a shallow dish or a clear vase at home. Trash becomes treasure. I began this hobby with my grandmother in the 1960s, and it continues to provide wonderful memories of time spent with those I love in my favorite part of God’s creation.
San Clemente, California
It wouldn’t be summer where I live without going scalloping. We head to the Gulf Coast and spend the day on a boat out in the peaceful waters, snorkeling and diving for scallops. It’s both relaxing and adventurous: I’ve seen huge stingrays, giant flounder, and amazing starfish. At night, when we’re hungry and pleasantly tired, the reward is a fabulous dinner of sautéed scallops that couldn’t be any fresher.
My signal for the start of a great summer is when, after a long winter, I can take my two dogs to the park so we can all jump in the creek and play. It’s my own personal fountain of youth.
My favorite summer pastime is eating watermelon with my kids, then running through the sprinklers with them to rinse off the sticky mess.
Just after we moved into our house, neighbors started putting a sign out on Friday afternoons inviting people to come to their backyard for drinks, snacks, and conversation. A group of regulars formed, and several years, close friendships, and kids later, that sign has come to represent lazy summer evenings spent with friends.
My husband and I are huge Shakespeare fans, so every summer we attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. One of the best of its kind, it stages all the classics with great sets, amazing costumes, and famous actors. We love spicing up our romance with Shakespearean love stories.
As the days get longer, I change my decor to suit the season. The deep red and orange pillows and throws that warm my living room’s white upholstery during our cold, rainy winters are replaced by cool blues and greens. A dhurrie in the same colors is all that decorates the bare floors; the Oriental rugs are stowed away in the attic.
I bring as many fresh flowers as I can into each room of my house. It makes it feel as if summer is all around me.
Santa Paula, California
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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