A Perfect Pitcher of Sun TeaI am kind of a sun tea snob. I like my tea super strong (thanks, Dad) and unsweetened (sacrilege). Recipe for success: take your standard glass (or plastic...if you're an amateur) pitcher, fill with hot water, place between 9-11 Lipton tea bags into the pitcher, put the lid on, and place that sucker outside in the sun until you remember to bring it inside, pull the tea bags out and SQUEEZE all the liquid out of them into the pitcher (more flavor!). Chill and consume. MMMM...now I need to make some sun tea this afternoon.
Movies In The ParkI live in an awesome little town that has a pretty spectacular outdoor amphitheater right on the river. During the summers, they put on all kinds of free things in the park and movies are no exception. Thursday evenings starting in July, you can find the park and downtown overflowing with people watching a wide-range of movies. This year's lineup is pretty on point: Jurassic World, McFarland USA, Hotel Transylvania 2, Jumanji, Inside Out, Avengers Age of Ultron, Star Wars The Force Awakens, The Breakfast Club, Zootopia, and Batman v Superman!
Music In The ParkThe same venue above, as well as the newly built on in the town where I work (two miles away...seriously), put on free concerts every week in the summer. Wednesdays are spent in the newly built amphitheater near the university and Fridays bring everyone back to the amphitheater by the river. The lineups this year: Petty Fever (a Tom Petty tribute band), Aaron Crawford, Infamous Souls (rock), Highstreet Band (10-piece, zoot suit band), Ty Curtis, Heart By Heart (a Heart tribute band), Longstride (reggae), Beth Willis Rock Band, Shoot to Thrill (an AC/DC tribute band), Ted Vaughn Blues Band, and Pyromania (a Def Leppard Experience). And that's just one of the lineups for these two awesome venues!
Small Town Summer FestivalsAnother awesome thing about the small town I live in: Summer Festivals! Aside from movies and music in the park, you can find a ton of festivals going on throughout the summer at the amphitheater. For example, there is the annual 4th of July celebration (of course) fondly called Western Days. How can you live in a town called Independence and NOT have a pretty stellar 4th of July set? It's not possible. We don't have just one firework show. Oh no. There are two: locals night and 4th of July. Needless to say, locals night is so much better than the show on the 4th. Shhh! That's a secret! There's also the Hops & Heritage Festival in September (Independence used to be the hops capital of the world). Community Fiesta is also a pretty awesome event celebrating Hispanic culture that takes place the Sunday after Labor Day.
Beach TripsWho doesn't love a good beach trip? I am down for heading to the beach anytime throughout the year, but Summer is the best because the weather is ALWAYS cooler than it is in the Willamette Valley and it's always a beautiful walk along the sandy shores. I love the beach and would totally live there if the opportunity arose.
CampingThere's something about camping that I love. It's a lot of work and you always smell like campfire, but isn't that the best at the time? Relaxation...water...nature...yeah, buddy! And s'mores. You can't forget the s'mores!
BBQ GatheringsI'm a huge fan of BBQ. All kinds. BBQing is even more awesome when you're surrounded by friends/family and laughing your ass off.
Outdoor DiningThere's something special about outdoor restaurant seating. It's not always perfect, but it adds another layer of uniqueness to your dining experience. With such unpredictable weather in the PNW, sitting outside for a meal is a treat and I love taking advantage of it.
Tasty/Refreshing Adult BeveragesThough there are great beverages to be drank year round, there is something about those that pair so nicely with warm weather that really make sipping on them a treat. Mojitos, Spritzers, Coolers...anything with some fresh fruit and herbs, I'm game! My fiancé is a bartender and he has this one drink that I equate to summertime weather...a Bourbon Cooler. Yum! Bourbon, Champagne (not my fave), simple syrup, lime, and fresh basil...down the hatch! I'm also a huge fan of Mojitos and Vault 244 makes a damn fine coconut lemongrass one.
Sporting EventsI love the Olympics (specifically the summer ones), the Euro Cup, and the World Cup. Sadly, these events don't happen every year. But when they do...watch out! You probably won't see me for a month or so. Currently the Euro Cup is going on and boy has it been an interesting tournament. Some crazy upsets and some great games! The Copa America just ended too...the US was a trainwreck... And the Rio Olympics are gearing up to begin. It should be interesting with all the controversy and health concerns in regards to the Zika virus. We shall see!
Whew! That was lengthy...and I apologize for it. What are some of your favorite summer activities?
Also, look for next week's Top Ten: Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings on Goodreads.