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The Simple Joys of Summer

With the warmer weather comes longer sun-filled days full of the simple joys of summer. For instance, I remember ice pops dripping down my arms, sand between my toes, a bit of sunburn and feeling lazy laying in the green grass under a maple tree in our yard. Playing with friends until your mom called you in for dinner. Bedtime was extended til sundown and everyone came out for a baseball game after dinner. These are the simple joys of summer.

In addition, other joys I remember from my childhood are cookouts, block parties, town movie nights, farmers markets and festivals. These activities are quintessentially summer. Our block was only one-quarter mile long and every summer we had it blocked off for our block party. There was a barbeque brought into the street and tables set up with food. LOTS OF FOOD! Everyone brought hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, fruit, drinks, and salads -all kinds of salads. The ice pops always came out later.

hitting a pinata at the block party, simple joy of summer
And of course the pinata and games always come out during block parties.
kids finding their prizes from the pinata at the block party, simple joy of summer
Must have prizes.

Block Parties

As the warm weather has finally reached the northeast and the kids are out of school, it makes me long for the days of these simple summer joys. We still partake in block parties. Getting to know your neighbors and kids makes the neighborhood feel more like home. You don’t just come and go but you live and enjoy the people who live there too. However, as life has gotten busier we seem to have gotten away from simply slowing down and enjoying each others company over a meal. I think block parties are a good way to make us slow down and get to know the people we live near.

Block party crowd, simple joy of summer
a little rain never hurt anyone

For our old block, we had the party even in the rain. We just put up an open tent. We’re tough New Englanders who can handle a little rain. The barbeques still came out and we grilled all the food. Try this grilled salmon recipe for a good summertime treat. The kids still brought out their bikes and people still sat and had a conversation with their neighbor. In other words, It makes it all the more memorable and somehow more fun for the kids.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are another one of my favorite summertime must do’s. The age-old ritual of farmers bringing their produce to market each week and selling their goods to the locals. It’s been done for centuries so why did we ever get into large supermarkets where our food is made on conveyor belts? I’ll never know. Therefore, I will happily pay a little more to keep my local farmer in business. Heck, the whole resurgence of the farm to table movement was born out of getting back to buying local and using the fruit and veg in season. It’s healthy and above all – it just tastes better.

Farmers Market, simple joy of summer
Everyone enjoying the farmers market

While traveling I always seek out a farmers market. We love to get a whole picnic lunch from a farmers market then find a park nearby to enjoy our treasures. I love walking around farmer markets and trying the different foods that are offered. I’ve tried snails, many kinds of cheese, beer, bread, and some different fruits. Farmers markets are also a great way to know what’s in season and what to order when in a restaurant. I like to order the special of the day. I know the restaurants buy from the farmers first so it’s going to be what’s in season and most likely the best on the menu.

Farmers markets are also where you can find handmade goods. I’ve bought so many different things from hand-painted glass soap dispensers to doll clothes, to wool dryer balls. If you can make it it is probably sold at a local farmers market. Trades are also becoming a part of farmers markets. The idea of the merchant coming to you idea. In our town’s market, a gentleman comes who can sharpen your knives. How awesome it that?

things to buy at the farmers market, simple joy of summer
Evelyn can’t decide on just one outfit for her doll
Playing Jenga at the Farmers Market, simple joy of summer
Anyone for a game of Jenga while we wait for our parents to finish shopping?

Outdoor Movie Nights

As a kid, I remember going to the drive-in movie theatre each summer. We had a station wagon os my parents were in the front seat while my brothers and I would lay down in the back with our sleeping bags and pillows to watch. It was a thrill and something I always looked forward to every summer. I believe there are only two drive-in movie theatres left in Massachusetts and they’re far away from us. However, towns and cities have started movie nights. The idea of a free movie on a warm summer’s evening is very appealing. We’ve enjoyed this summertime treat more than once. We bring beach chairs, blankets, snacks, drinks and of course, candy. The girls also bring their stuffed animals along. We’ve seen Disney movies as well as classics like ‘The Sandlot’ and ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’. I’m glad our town is participating in this summertime tradition.

Our town alternates movies nights with music. They hire musicians from all around playing all different genres to perform. I love seeing the parents and grandparents coming with the kids to enjoy an evening of summer fun. In addition, most people bring a picnic dinner. The kids run around playing and dancing and enjoying their friends. After that, they might even eat a little.


Another summer activity I love is festivals. I love to see enthusiastic people ‘get into’ the theme. Whatever the theme is. I’ve seen Pickle Festivals, JerkFest (Caribbean food), Strawberry Festivals, China Town Festivals, Portuguese Festivals, Pie Day Festivals, music festivals even Dogapaluzzla Family Festivals. I really enjoy watching the craziness and above all, partaking in the fun. For Instance, there was a lot of craziness and fun during the Pie Day Festival we went to hosted by Gillette. They equipped us with all the rain ponchos and goggles we needed. Everyone was a good sport about it. Getting hit with multiple pies of shaving cream was an adventure for everyone.

Pie Day Festival, simple joy of summer
Pie Day Festival. Mathematical pi – 3.14. Shaving cream pies thrown at everyone. A lot of fun.

We are already booked to go to the Water Lantern Festival in late July. I can’t wait. The girls have this vision of the scene from Rapunzel with all the water lanterns on the river. In other words, an idyllic scene. I have my fingers crossed for good weather and a fabulous festival. It will be our first time at a water festival so I’m really looking forward to it.

Water Lantern Festival, a simple joy of summer
Water Lantern Festival. Photograph provided by the festival organizers

At the water lantern festival, you decorate your own lantern and let it go in the water when it starts to get dark. I can’t wait to see what art the girls will make on their lanterns. They are both us artists I’m sure it will be lovely. I hope the scene will be similar to the photo above with all the water lanterns lit up. Check back in late July for that post.

What summertime fun do you have planned this summer? Are you going to any barbeque’s, farmers markets or festivals?

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Pam

    I love farmers’ markets and festivals. We try to visit as many as we can, both at home AND when we travel!

    1. Peter

      Us too. We love the farmers market in Rutland, Vermont. We get fresh eggs, honey, maple syrup and the last time we were there we got fiddleheads and mushrooms that were fabulous.

  2. Alison

    Oh my goodness – block parties are such a fond memory for me too! Summer is just fantastic in general… since we’re staying closer to home this year, I think we’re going to try and find some new farmers’ markets!

    1. Peter

      We love farmers markets too. I love eating the veg from the farmers in the area.

  3. Taquia

    Oh, how I love the summer! I have such great memories of block parties, festivals and visits to the farmers market. We are planning look for new farmers markets over the summer.

    1. Leeanne

      Me too, Taquia. I love finding new farmers’ markets. My daughter spoke to an artist the last time we were at the Rutland, Vermont market and she learned a new art technique that she wants to try out. Super fun.

  4. Sara

    I had forgotten that we used to have block parties when I was growing up. The place we live now is a little too rural for block parties. I hate that my kids are going to miss making memories like that.

    1. Leeanne

      It is a fun childhood memory. Our old neighborhood has a block party every year but our new neighborhood only does them when we have new people on the block. I might push to have one later this summer.

  5. Karie Babbitt

    Neighborhood parties and outdoor movie nights are some of the best summer nights. Great memories

    1. Leeanne

      I’m really hoping my town does the movie nights again. They are so much fun.

  6. Stacey Billingsley

    Great summer memories! I love ice cream on summer evenings, lightning bugs, and sunsets. I hope you’ll be able to go to the water festival. That looks so pretty!

    1. Leeanne

      Lighting bugs definitely remind me of summer nights too. We are putting in a new patio so we hope to enjoy our yard more this year.

  7. kmf

    Love all these ideas…we’ve had neighborhood block parties, backyard posts and talent shows over the years. I would love to attend that water lantern festival.

    1. Leeanne

      I’m sure you will love going to a lantern festival, Karen. It really is a great time.

  8. Eva Keller

    Great ideas! I’ve always wanted to go to a lantern festival (probably ever since Tangled came out).

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, the lantern festival is a lot like Tangled. It was super fun and the girls loved launching their lanterns into the water.

  9. Missy

    There is a new botanical garden opening soon. We are looking forward to visiting.

    1. Leeanne

      That’s awesome Missy, I love botanical gardens. My favorite is the Booth Bay Harbor Botanical Gardens. Their children’s garden is fabulous.

  10. Chantelle

    Yay for summer! It’s funny you mentioned Rapunzel because I immediately thought of Tangled when I saw the lanterns! I would LOVE to see that in person!

    1. Leeanne

      It really is a magical festival, Chantelle. I’m sure you will love it. Check the link to see if they are doing a festival near you.

  11. Lisa Manderino

    I love summer festivals. So much fun!

    1. Leeanne

      Me too, everyone is having fun at the same time.

  12. Cindy Mailhot

    My grandson just asked me when we could do a pinata…thinking his birthday! I also think I need an outdoor Jenga game because he tried to play it with our outdoor dominoes…it worked..kind of.

    1. Leeanne

      That’s great. I think we might try to make our own outdoor Jenga game this year since we will have a finished patio to play on.

  13. Cindy

    There’s a great farmer’s market in my town. I love visiting it! And with movie theaters still closed, our local indie theater is offering outdoor movies. I’m looking forward to attending a movie there!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m jealous. I haven’t heard if our town is doing any outdoor movies yet. I really hope they do.

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