Time flies when you’re having fun! The sun is setting earlier, the back-to-school commercials are creeping back across our screens and mutterings of “pumpkin spice” are happening at Dunkin’s all across the state.
Annually around this time of year, my family used to enjoy a tradition that was created to savor the last moments of the season. All summer long, my family was usually bombarded with plans and schedules, dates and obligations. We would drive past all sorts of interesting Connecticut attractions and my mother eventually felt guilty because each time we would ask to stop, the answer was often along the lines of, “Maybe some other day.”
What we called “Summer’s Last Hurrah” was the “other day” of our dreams: A semi-spontaneous excursion that would often lead to incredible memories – the final destination of each Summer Last Hurrah was always planned ahead of time but the rule was that we could make any stop at any time for any reason. If there was a lemonade stand, we would stop. If there was an interesting sculpture that had caught our eye, we would stop. If we were in the mood for ice cream at noon, we would stop. Through all our years of exploring, we have memories on the Jersey Shore, at a horse race, at a zoo and on an alpaca farm. You name it – a trip that would ordinarily be a simple one or two hour car ride become an extended day of fun-filled side quests that would sometimes be more interesting than our final destination! If an unplanned adventure sounds like a great way to wrap up your August, here are a few tips to keep in mind for your own Summer’s Last HurrahSwitch on “Avoid Highways”
Turning off the use of highways on your navigation app will certainly add minutes to your arrival time – it will also undoubtedly add layers of excitement and charm to your trip. You can still have a great experience if you travel on a freeway, but the odds of your car crossing paths with a little country store or locally owned businesses are slim. Preview possible stops along the way
This tip seems like it goes without saying, but in our travels, we’ve definitely gotten caught up in “spontaneity” and then looked back to realize that if we had done a quick Google search, we could’ve saved a lot of time and energy. If you have a side stop you’re hoping to reach, make sure you check the hours and look out for any other information you might need to know the day of. This tip is a segue into another thought regarding spontaneity; don’t get caught up in trying to keep the trip completely unplanned. The whole point of a Summer’s Last Hurrah is to make the drive consist of whatever your squad wants. If you’ve had your eye on a local attraction and it’s a little out of the way, go there! It’s your day– no one minds if you make it an enjoyable one!Plan for imperfection
We’ve all heard the term “expect the unexpected” – this is the best attitude for a Summer’s Last Hurrah. We’ve run into restaurants closing earlier than their listed hours, unexpected rain, and the realization that our final destination was not actually a feasible final destination. As long as you go into your adventure with an open mind, everything will turn out just fine. What seems like a catastrophe might even make for a funny story a few months down the line so if something doesn’t go as expected, just roll with the punches and move along to the next activity!
If you have a whole weekend to spare or even just a few hours, try a Summer’s Last Hurrah of your own. As long as you have good company and gas in your car, there’s no way you won’t have a good time. You’ll never be bored on the eastern seaboard!
Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves and surrounding areas. When she's not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at eastsidevibeswithcess@ gmail.com with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!