Monday, July 21, 2008

summer daze

Summer mornings are so fresh, and full of possibility.

I tend to wake up early in the summer, the birds start calling about 4:30, and Claude is jumping on the bed again to encourage me to get up and feed him. If it's light out, it must be time for breakfast, right? The colors of the eastern sky are like a light show, just for me (and the early morning joggers, and garbage truck workers...)

Even when it's muggy, the air is fresher. I throw open the windows and open the doors (quietly, of course, so as not to wake the guys) and start that first pot of coffee. I love having the time to myself, to slowly read the paper. Claude usually joins me for a morning snuggle, once he has finished his breakfast.

Today marks the halfway point in our summer. I consider summer to be those 12 weeks that Charlie is out of school, and the first 6 weeks were full of soccer clinic, Cub Scout camp, soccer practice and games, and Huck Finn camp. Tonight is the very last soccer game, and we have not one other scheduled thing to do the rest of the summer. It feels really good, but at the same time, I wonder what he is going to do?????

I do have an actual job that I still have to do in the summer, so I can't just spend every day at the pool with him. Although I could bring my laptop there... (and have before!) That is one of the good things about getting up early, I can usually get a lot done in my office before anyone else is up, and can have the rest of the day free to play.

Here are some things we can do to make the most of the rest of the summer, if you have any other ideas please send them my way!

1. Pick blueberries at Rush River Produce. It's a gorgeous drive to Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. The berry picking is fabulous, love the farmhouse, and the view of Lake Pepin from the bluff is spectacular. When you are all loaded up with berries, stop at the amazing little bakery in town for a treat, you won't be disappointed! The blueberry farm is open Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun from 8 am -2 pm. Always call first (715-594-3648) to make sure they are picking that day.

2. Spend a day at Interstate State Park. The Minnesota side is in Taylors Falls, the Wisconsin side is in Saint Croix Falls. Either side you choose will be such fun.

3. Take a day trip and explore Wisconsin's Great River Road (35). We usually take 61 down and cut over at Prescott, they have a couple of great antique stores. Jump back on 35 heading south, and you will wind your way through Diamond Bluff, Bay City, and Maiden Rock (see number 1 if you stop in Maiden Rock!) Make sure to stop in Stockholm, they have some wonderful little shops and cafes, and a fabulous garden store just outside of the little downtown area.
Continuing on 35, you will come to Pepin. If you have saved your appetite, and want a gourmet meal worth waiting for, go to the Harbor View restaurant.
Quite spendy but completely worth it, (bring cash, as they don't take credit cards) you may have to wait a bit for a table. It's okay, go exploring while you wait. Then if you are still up for it, head down 35 a bit longer and make the turn to Nelson. If you didn't eat yet ( by now you must be starving) head directly to the Nelson Cheese Factory. They make amazing sandwiches, or if you just want dessert there is delicious ice cream. Or a fabulous wine bar. (Have I ever told you how much I like Wisconsin?) They also sell all of the yummy cheese they make there (as well as ones they don't) and all kinds of gourmet foods, and of course wine. So you could pick up all of the makings for a picnic, and stop at a pretty spot on your way back to the cities, and watch the sun set.

4. Go to a drive-in movie. We haven't made it yet, each time we have planned to go the weather has been ominous. We are hoping to get there soon.

5. Head up to the North Shore.
We are hoping to sneak in a few days, midweek (when there are no dirt bike events). We love to stay at Superior Shores, and get a suite with a kitchen, and a fireplace for those cool evenings, and a deck on the grill.
We will explore Two Harbors,
Grand Marais, Split Rock lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, and all of our favorite Duluth spots.
There is just something about the air coming off Lake Superior that is so relaxing, and rejuvenating at the same time. Besides, we need to add to our rock collection!
6. Clean out the basement. Wait, that doesn't sound like fun! But if you pick one of those steamy, icky, too hot to enjoy anything outside kind of days, it makes sense. It's cooler down there, and you will have a wonderful sense of accomplishment. And more room. And things to donate to Goodwill.

I will come up with some more fun things to do, please send me your ideas too!

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