It’s Tuesday! Happy Heat Wave! It’s toasty outside, (but according to my favorite meterologist, 6ABC Philadelphia’s Adam Joseph, the humidity is at a minimum, so it’s just the way I like it!), so I figured what better idea than to share with you some of my favorite Summer activities to delight in?! This time of year, more than ever, I long to be outside in the warmth, soaking in the sun, natural Vitamin D, and enjoying nature. However, before I indulge you with some of favorites, it’s customary I share with you my morning nourishment:
Breakfast (Tuesday, July 16, 2013):
1 container Wallaby Pear Australian Yogurt (Oh boy, I wanted to like this, I really, truly did. My whole reason for deciding to purchase it was because of the flavor – Pear. Since first trying Chobani Pear several weeks ago, I’ve been on the hunt for other Pear yogurts, as well, finding the Pear flavor to be satisfying and refreshing. However, this morning, I opened the yogurt, believing it would be thick, as many other yogurts are, though I was gravely mistaken and taken aback! Upon me beginning to stir, the yogurt quickly began seeping out of the container onto the counter, as thin as water or skim milk! I couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t seen it pour out of the actual container with my very own eyes, I would have believed it to be thinned out milk! As disappointed as I am to admit it, sadly I will not be purchasing this brand of yogurt again. Hey, at least I tried it though!).
1 cup Giant Store Brand Puffed Rice Cereal (Understated, but an ideal addition when served with other cereals, yogurts and other assorted add-in’s, definitely give a try sometime, if you haven’t already!)
1 cup Kashi Simply Maize Cereal (This box is quickly approaching it’s end and I am saddened. It truly is a yummy cereal, with it’s subtle sweetness. I’m hoping a semi-decent sale will emerge in stores very quickly!)
1 Banana (Fun story with the bananas – I know, lately I haven’t been having such great luck with my friendly fruit, but all in good fun. Anyhow, the other day, I opted to purchase my stack of bananas at Target. If you aren’t are, Target now only sells Bananas wrapped up in packs of 3lb’s each for $1.79 – disclaimer: this might be regional pricing, so check before purchasing. I like my bananas on the colder side, so before consuming, I like to place them in the refrigerator to chill. This time though, I stuck them too far in the back of the refrigerator, in more or less the coldest spot, and ended up freezing the top half of the poor banana! Thinking about about it now, I should have photographed it to share it with you, but in any case, the top half of the banana was frozen and slightly crusted in ice, plus, the top half of the banana was browned, while the bottom was still an abundant yellow! Definitely made for an interesting look, to say the least!
Now, back to today’s musing, which I am highly enthused about: my favorite Summer activities! Today, I’ll be sharing with you just a couple (roughly 4 or so), some of which you may have very well already taken part in!
TOP SUMMER ACTIVITIES:
- Winery/Vineyard Wine Tastings/Tours: For a number of years, I have been a fan of wine tasting! Actually, a tradition was started amongst my mom, sister and I, where on my birthday (May 3) or on a day, a couple days prior or subsequent to my birthday, we would choose a different wine trail, or set of wineries to visit for a tasting and occasionally, a tour! Living in Pennsylvania, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, we are fortunate that the the wine trails and wineries are abundant (i.e. Bucks County Wine Trail and Brandywine Valley Wine Trail). We are also extremely close to New Jersey (i.e. Mercer County – Princeton area), which is also afforded with a host of wineries, so we have the best of both worlds. Many wineries offer complimentary tasting, depending on the number of people you arrive with and also depending on the winery itself. Other wineries, may charge a small fee ($6 or less) and also provide with you with the glass you try the wines in. Of course, naturally, there are other wineries who may charge a larger fee, but there are always those out there who are complimentary or whose fees are minimal. I do suggest checking out the wineries websites or calling beforehand to confirm fees, so there are no surprises, if you are trying to be frugal with your wine tasting, as I often am! For me, when wine tasting, I like the host to be knowledgeable about the wine and descriptive as I taste each pour. I tend to prefer wines on the sweeter side (Moscato is a favorite of mine!), so I will typically inform them of this at the beginning of the tasting, so they can customize my experience.
- Factory Tours: Some of my fondest memories of the Summer as a child, include my family’s visits to various factory tours throughout the state and elsewhere. Traveling west towards the country in Pennsylvania (i.e. Lancaster County, etc), we were able to visit the Herr’s Snack Factory Tour (if you’re unfamiliar with Herr’s, they make very tasty chips, pretzels and other snack foods and are located in Nottingham, PA). To my knowledge, the tour is free and during the tour, they provide you with a sample of a freshly baked chip! When I was younger, I was particularly excited to visit the Herr’s Factory, as their BBQ chips were a frequently lunchtime snack for me! Also, in Pennsylvania, Sturgis Pretzel Company still provides tours, where you can see the process of hard pretzel making and even have the opportunity to twist your own pretzel, which you can take with you, after it’s baked! Other states, such as Vermont, have a factory, you just might be familiar with… Ben & Jerry’s! It’s a factory tour I’ve aspired to partake in and one I think looks fun and interesting! From what I’ve heard, they even provide samples! Some of my fondest memories as a teen are of sitting at the kitchen table, spoon in hand, digging into a fresh batch of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia (in my opinion, Ben & Jerry’s just isn’t the same when it’s scooped into a bowl, digging into the actual container is the way to go!). It is also my understanding that one of my favorite organic yogurt companies, Stonyfield Farm, also provides farm tours in their New Hampshire location! Sounds like a plan to me! Last, but certainly not least, Yankee Candle has an entire “village” in South Deerfield, MA, dedicated to their candle-making process, complete with restaurants and other learning opportunities! As a huge candle fan, more specifically, Yankee Candle, this is definitely a spot on my list to visit someday!
Yankee Candle Village – South Deerfield, MA
Herr’s Snack Factory Tour – Nottingham, PA
Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour – Waterbury, Vermont
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery – Litiz, Pennsylvania
Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Works and Visitors Center – Londonberry, New Hampshire
- Seasonal Fruit Picking: Given I live outside of the city, there are many farms close by, some even just a couple miles down the road from my home, which offer seasonal fruit picking! During the summer months, at these farms, blueberries and peaches are plentiful and ripe for picking! Some of my favorite local spots for picking include: Styer Orchards, Shady Brook Farm, and my top favorite – Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ! Not only do each of these farms offer fruit picking, but each of them also has an abundant farm store, filled with lots of unique finds and foods to try and taste! In the Fall, each location offers apple picking, hayrides and traditional Fall festivities! For me, personally, I love local produce and love to support local agriculture and farming! Plus, the fruit is ripe, juicy and flavorful!
- Outlet Shopping: This time of year is ideal for outlet shopping at some of my favorite larger outlet centers, such as Tanger, Premium Outlets, etc. These outlet centers offer an array of stores, in typically an outdoor setting. Not only are there clothing, jewelry, and other merchandise available for purchase, but also unique restaurants, fast-food chains and other interesting food vendors are plentiful. It gives visitors a chance to indulge in the warm sun while doing some leisurely shopping and browsing!
- Sun Bathing: This time of year, without needing much explaining, ideal for sun bathing and relaxing in the sun! Of course, remember to apply sunscreen! When sun bathing, I like to bring a book or magazine with me and take a journey into the lives of my favorite book characters (Book Suggestion: “Beautiful Day” by Elin Hilderband – Hilderband’s latest on bookstore shelves, having just finished reading it, I highly recommend it! It’s exciting and kept me glued to the pages!)
Happy Summer! Whichever activities you choose to engage in, enjoy and have fun!
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite summer activities?