I have written at length about how much of a hardcore summer junkie I am. Like sweet nectar of the gods, I try and squeeze every drop of summer I can from each day, which I feed off of and store up to get me through the cold, gray, icky ca-ca winter. I'm like a seasonal squirrel.
Rhapsodizing about summer is not hard to do. The majesty of a single day that represents the beauty and splendor of life. The fleeting freedom to run free and play that is akin to the freedom of youth. The knowledge that the leaves will soon dry and drop, that (as I have been informed by many deep, meaningful tattoos) nothing gold can stay, and to live every day to its fullest before the harvest. Basically, just watch the Fourth of July scene from "The Sandlot."
We are now in the death throes of summer. Canfield Fair commercials are on TV (Sheryl Crow this year! The "something to crow about" puns are already written!). Band nights are in full swing. Steelers fans are already making up their Super Bowl ring-rhymes.
But there is still time! Weather permitting, we can still cram a whole lot of summer into these next few weeks before the door is slammed on sun-soaked freedom. So, I offer five must-see spots to enjoy before we all become winter hostages again.
Lake Glacier at Mill Creek Park. The park is gorgeous any time of year, but during the summer, Lake Glacier is especially lovely. The boathouse will be closing up soon, so while you still can rent a pedal boat or kayak and float out into the middle of the lake, which reflects a clear sky above and fish below. Or, have a picnic on the shore.
Craig Beach at Lake Milton. Another great place to boat and picnic, but here you can also swim and Jet Ski. The water is usually pretty warm, and you can soak up the sun like you're tanning at a vacation spot. And since kids are back in school, your odds of getting sand dumped on your head are slim to nil.
Nelson Ledges. Though you may think that you can't go to the Ledges without having to step over heaps of grungy hippies and hackey sacks, the glacier park is actually a nice place to hike and enjoy nature. On a sunny or overcast day, a trip through the caverns and glacier-cut rocks will make you work up a sweat, which can be remedied by visiting the Devil's Ice Box cave or the waterfall.
Handel's. Just go to your nearest Handel's and get something. Anything. Though Handel's is also good all year round, a scoop of Spouse Like A House just doesn't go down as well when it's not in danger of melting. Then, you can use your particular ice-cream-eating strategies. While some prefer to bite, I prefer a from-the-cone-up lick technique to combat ice cream dripping. You can't play that game in winter.
Eastwood Field. Nothing says summer like a ballgame. See the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, have some peanuts and popcorn, do all the wonderful, magic baseball stuff that fuels those magical, wonderful baseball movies. No one ever minds an excuse to watch "The Sandlot." Go on a sunny day, or see a night game with the crack of the bat echoing through the dark.
Other wonderful summer sites include front porches, grassy farm fields, and hilltops underneath a sea of stars. Enjoy the cool glass with a cool drink inside. Listen to the lazy, low cricket hum and watch the fireflies glitter in the dark. Expose your legs below the knee. In three months, I won't say I told ya so.