A Sweet Summer Bucket List
1. Swim in a lake. The best one in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut is Mashapaug Lake at Bigelow Hollow, where the water is clean, silky, and deep. Hint: if you swim out to the sandbar and around the point, Bacon Rock is a half-submerged, striped rock to jump from.
2. Grab a handful of candy at Sweet Emotions Candy in Storrs, CT. Hint: If you answer the trivia question correctly, you earn a free candy prize.
3. Step into the year 1790 at Old Sturbridge Village to ride a stage coach, see a working saw mill, and hear the parent goats call after the baby goats that crawl out under the fence and run away. Hint: ask the potter about throwing chamber pots.
4. Ask your local librarian about the Great Scavenger Hunt Contest, a free, nation-wide program that provides trivia question challenges and prizes for MG and YA readers in the summer. Hint: you can access the questions for hundreds of the books, like Birthmarked, online.
5. Take a picnic to the beach and go boogie boarding. Hint: it’s better with waves, but fun even without.
6. Zip on the zip line and climb through the trees at the new Adventure Park in Storrs. Hint: if you see a Labrador in a bandana, he’s probably Rusty, and he’s friendly.
7. Take a road trip with an audiobook the whole family can listen to together. Hint: in honor of Audiobook Month, all audiobooks at Tantor are half off during June.
8. Make a movie. Gather the neighbors, brainstorm a story from history or the future, include a couple of battle scenes, dress up, and get filming. Hint: the more seriously you do it, the funnier it will be.
9. Learn to play the ukulele. You know you’ve always wanted to. Hint: on Youtube, an absolutely adorable boy can teach you five chords and a strum pattern to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in under 9 minutes.
10. Bike a rail trail. The stone dust surface of the Air Line State Park Trail that runs through East Hampton, Colchester, Hebron, and Lebanon, CT, is rugged enough for fun, or try the paved Norwottuck Rail Trail in Northampton, MA for a smooth ride. Hint: agree on a stopping point, or the kid in front will keep going forever and you’ll never catch her.
11. Write a novel. Start on page one and write to page 250. Add pictures and a map. Hint: pass around the pages to your family as you go. They’ll love it.
12. Visit with friends. Hint: invite them over for an ice-cold glass of home-made lemonade on the back porch. Here’s the best recipe ever.