Summer is just around the corner and while this would normally mean getting ready for fun in the sun, afternoons spent by the pool or traveling to a new and exciting destination , summer may look a little different year.
While coronavirus is seemingly beginning to fade and normal starts to feel familiar again, much is still not running as it was before the respiratory virus gripped our nation. Businesses are reopening. Vacation rentals are becoming available again. Restaurants are allowing dine-in service. Amusement parks are putting plans in motion for the public to return. As exciting as these prospects may be, those of us with compromised immune systems need to remain cautious of potential exposure to the virus. After all, corona did not disappear from the world just because it vanished from our news feed.
Long summer days and getting out of the house are just what most of us need right about now, but if a vacation isn’t in the plans for you this year, I have a few ideas on how you can still have a fun summer in 2020.
If a stay-cation is more your speed, you are in the right place. Last month my husband and I decided we wanted to focus of budgeting our money so a week long family vacation to somewhere fabulous was not in the cards. Our new budget coupled with all of the uncertainty currently happening across the country made staying closer to home sounded like the best idea to us.
In anticipation of the additional time we knew we would be spending at our house, we decided to make home a little more vaca-like. We made a few adjustments to our back porch and turned it into a place we actually wanted to hang out.
First we removed everything from the porch to pressure washed and clean the entire thing. Several pieces of junk, in the form of old toys and long-since-functional fixtures, found their way to the trash pile rather than continuing to steal precious real-estate behind our house. We scraped and sanded and painted the red outdoor metal side tables that had long ago seen better days. Paint chips and rust flew. Blue spray paint quickly turned the tables new. We bought and hung a porch swing! This was the most exciting thing I never knew I needed in my life. We already had outdoor lights strung from the porch awning, although they were rarely used. We never went outside when it was nighttime. We didn’t want to.
We have now used the porch more in the last few weeks then we did all last summer.
What would make your house more fun? More relaxing? More, well, different? What screams summer to you? Hosting backyard barbecues with family and friends? Splashing in the pool from sun up to sun down? Popsicles? Roasting marshmallows in the fire pit? Throwing those flaming ‘mallows on a s’mores? Getting lost in a book while the sun warms your skin?
Get creative in your ideas for how you can make your stay-cation memorable. A small group of friends are talking about renting an inflatable water slide for the 4th of July. For the adults. Can you imagine the fun that is going to be? Reverting back to a 10 year old for the day sounds awesome. How about a backyard camping trip? Throw up the tent and grab the sleeping bags. It sounds a lot more fun knowing a bathroom is nearby! Design and plant that garden you have been talking about. Tis the season for sweet potatoes, green beans, zucchini and melons. Hang up a sheet and rent a projector for an outdoor movie night. You can easily space blankets 6′ apart if you want to invite the neighbors. Maybe there is the huge tree in your backyard that a tree house for your kids would fit into perfectly. Get to building! Even a simple tree house can become a cool hangout for your littles. Turn off you phone for the day so you really get a break and feel like you are getting away from it all.
If you decide not to go far and away this year, or you hold off on that annual summer beach trip, your summer does not have to be boring. Maybe this will be one of the most memorable ones yet. If you put your mind to it and are creative enough, you can have a blast without changing your scenery too much.
Last weekend, gazing around my porch as I swayed on my new wooden swing, I inhaled the smokey barbecue as my husband tended the grill. My newly painted tables popped against the boring brown wicker, draped in their beautiful bright blue hue. The lights wrapped around the ceiling twinkling against the dusky eve. I watched my boys play in the yard, shrieks of delight echoing in the humid air, and there was nowhere else I would have rather been.
What does your dream summer stay-cation look like?