Here in Charlotte the stay at home order has been lifted, but there are still many things that I used to enjoy each summer that either haven’t reopened, or I’m just not comfortable doing yet.
So instead of wallowing, I’ve come up with a new list of traditions to look forward too. This summer may be different than last year, but there are still ways to enjoy it.
1. Visit specialty stores and try a new food
I’m using the phrase speciality store loosely. Farms, bakeries, ice cream shops, a Korean grocery store, any small business selling food. Make a habit of visiting (or ordering online from) a few you’ve never been inside before, and try something new. You might discover a new favorite food, and if your a writer, unexpected inspiration from owners and other patrons. Given the recent events in the news, now is an especially good time to search out and support black owned businesses in your community.
The first new place my husband and I are testing out is a dairy farm a few miles from our house. They’ve recently updated their website with an online store that lets shoppers place an order for Saturday pickup at the farm. The new foods we’re trying? Pork shoulder steak and a family recipe for kale soup.
2. Explore local history
I’m talking real local. Not the closest major battlefield or historical sites you see on vacation, I’m talking about the local history of your hometown. Research the significant events and places that occurred where you live, and see if there are any sites you can visit.
If you live in a city or town famous for an historical event, research its place during other points in history. For example, Gettysburg is well known for being the site of a Civil War battlefield and President Lincoln’s pivotal address, but did you know it was also the site of a POW camp in Word War II?
I live on the outskirts of Charlotte, a mag or city with lots of history, but I’ve also enjoyed visiting historical sites in neighboring towns, like Reed Creek Gold Mine.
3. Map out scenic viewpoints
Enjoy some beautiful scenery while practicing social distancing from your car. Look for scenic highways with designated viewpoints, airport overlooks, and any other spot with a scenic vantage point where you can park. My husband and I like to visit the overlook at Charlotte Douglas International airport and watch planes take off. It’s also a great place to watch thunderstorms roll in.
4. Celebrate old world pagan holidays
I’m not talking about casting spells or sacrificing small animals. Ancient pagans saw the passage of time as a wheel, and celebrated experiences that were universal to everyone, the change of seasons and the position on the sun. Celebrating these holidays usually involves appreciating nature, sharing meals with loved ones, and inner reflection.
You don’t need fancy equipment to enjoy spotting many planets, constellations, and astronomy events. Finding a open area free from light pollution will make observing the night sky easier. I like to look for meteor showers, nights where planets pass close to the moon, and eclipses, all which can be observed with the naked eye.