Summer Bucket List + Memorial Day Weekend Plans
Cheers to the unofficial start of summer!
Without fail, the week before Memorial Day always gets me daydreaming about the dog days of summer ahead. Particularly when you have school-age children, and vacations and trips have to happen around the academic calendar, I’m particularly itching to fill out my family’s summer bucket list with some fun day trips and local getaways. I love this time of year—you can feel the heat ready to burst, little by little, until all the spring flowers have fallen off and the first blazing day makes its grand entrance, and suddenly, we’re all kicking up our flip flops outside with a bottle of rosé or lemonade. This holiday weekend, I booked an impromptu trip to Washington, D.C.—partly as a birthday experience for my middle child who was born just outside the capital, partly because I’ve been feeling bored and stuck at home from solo parenting the last four months. Plus, it’s been 5 years since we left D.C. (unless you count the few hours we had in Dulles before flying out to Iceland three years ago) so I’m both excited to explore the District and nostalgic to revisit the home where we became a family of four. If you have any recommendations—send them my way!
In the spirit of revving up our engines for sunny days and road trips, I wanted to share some of my family’s summer bucket list ideas including an oldie but goodie right here in New Jersey that we do each year, and then some fun New York City adventures that we’ve been wanting to try. Basically, my summer bucket list is all the things I’m excited to jump into now that it’s totally appropriate to wear bathing suits as tops!
1. Berry picking at Terhune Orchards. Admittedly, my family and I do this every year but what is summer without fresh berries? Strawberry picking is happening right now at farms around New Jersey, so every summer I make sure to mark our calendar. We love to make a day out of it at our favorite local farm, Terhune Orchards, which offers pick-your-own and family festivals on weekends all summer long. (Check the festival calendar here.) Next up, blueberries in July!
2. Cheese-making class or farm to table dinner at Cherry Grove Farm. I’ve never really thought about the process that goes into creating the magnificent staple that pairs so well with wine and carbs—so when I saw ricotta cheesemaking classes happening at our own local Cherry Grove Farm, naturally I had to put this on my summer bucket list. This of course led me down a rabbit hole of searching the rest of their calendar–anyone else want a 5-course supper on a farm?
3. Glamping on Governors Island. Last year, via my savvy New Yorker friend’s Instagram stories, I discovered this exists right here in the urban jungle—who knew?! I’ve long been curious about this ever since a former boss went to the famed Resort at Paws Up in Montana, but since a trek out west isn’t happening any time soon, I knew I had to add fancy s’mores under the smoggy sky of New York City to my summer bucket list. There are tents large enough for families (with a/c!), or perhaps go sans kids for a romantic weekend getaway with a campy twist.
4. CAMP toy store in NYC. What appears to be just a cute, old-fashioned general store actually has a secret door leading you and your pack of tiny humans to a CAMP experience space. This area has a new theme that rotates every 8-12 weeks, and is currently cooking camp! There are activities and toys for the kids to do, touch, and play.
5. Giant water slide at Summer Streets NYC. I also heard about this on Instagram last year (does anyone else get all their news from IG, too?!). On three consecutive Saturdays in August, seven miles of Gotham turf along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue are shut down to cars—and instead, packed with games, arts and cultural workshops, biking, a zipline, and yes, a massive water slide, because why not?! There is also a children’s corner uptown at 51st to 52nd, too.