Anyone living in the northern United States can still feel the shivering, remembering our long frozen winter. Starting earlier than recent years, the winter of 2013/2014 seemed to give us something new to shudder over on a daily basis. Between keeping our cars on the road in the snow storms, and keeping the furnaces and wood stoves running, our collective mantra was 'just get summer here!'
Now that it's here, in all it's glory- we're loving every minute of it! Loving every minute at the lake, on the blow-up mattress, on the jet ski, on the boat, on the water ski's, even trailing our toes in the water as we sit on the dock. We're loving every minute at the ocean, walking, wading, swimming, on the boogie boards and wake boards, throwing the ball in the water with the dog, and enjoying the breeze from our perch on the beach. We're loving riding in the car with the windows down, our hair blowing in the wind, on our motorcycles with the rush of the breeze, loving our bike rides that are so refreshing they don't even seem like exercise; we're just plain loving the release that summertime gives us.
Vacationland is not just a name, not just a slogan- it brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to our shorelines every summer. It creates traffic on Route 1 and Route 302 the likes of which we thankfully never see at other times of the year. The heavy traffic and back-ups on the I95 are so anticipated every Friday and Sunday that the speed traps are notoriously in place every week.
So if you're a Mainer- this is your time to revel in the knowledge that you have the inside secret on where to go for local prices on freshly caught Maine seafood, the best Sunday brunch spots, and the best time to head to the beach to beat the traffic. You know where all the free parking spots are, the best beach spot to watch the weekly fireworks at Old Orchard Beach, the best prices for boat rentals, and what lakes to go to to hear the loons singing.
This is the time for all of us Mainer's to take a day or weekend out of our usual habits, stretching our ideas on recreation, and act like a tourist just for a day or two. Ask someone on the beach where they've been visiting while here on vacation, ask that person in line behind you at the lobster shack what has been their best day trip, ask your neighbor who works at the marina what are the favorite places people want to explore. You can rent a canoe, a kayak, or a bike. Go check out the twists and turns of that river near you, go explore the salt marsh at low tide, take the time to check out the Eastern Trail with a friend or your kids, or take a hike.
Just do it. Summer is short. You'll be glad you took the time, and you'll be surprised to discover opportunities for fun that never occurred to you. Because as we all know.....the lake and the ocean aren't going to stay as warm, waiting for us. The slant of the sun isn't going to feel like 'summertime' in a few months. The autumn breeze will bring the return of school and the return to a less carefree feel to our days. Just do it. You'll feel glad that you did!