With the unofficial end of summer upon us, I felt as though I needed to share some thoughts about this special time of the year. First of all, a quick history lesson. Though Labor Day means a lot to us now, we need to remember that it became a Federal holiday all the way back in 1894. This day was singled out to pay homage to the workers who built this great country into the industrial superpower that it became late in the 19th century. That’s it for the educational portion of this post, I promise!
First the things I like about the summer season. I am a huge proponent of buying as much of your food as you can from local farms. Summer is a perfect time for this because of the huge numbers of farmer’s markets, farm stands, and other opportunities that enable you to really support local farmers and the local economy. I have a farm stand that is less than one mile from my house that I look forward to every year. Why? If you have ever heard of a type of watermelon called a “Sugar Baby” you will understand. These seedless watermelons are small and super sweet. They are the taste of summer to me and they become my breakfast and/or lunch during most of the season. Sorry, but these melons will completely take over your thoughts. By the way, if you ever see one for sale, buy it! You will not be sorry. I, like many other people, also like to grill outside. There is a lot that can be said for cooking outside so that the kitchen doesn’t get hot when the temperature outside is nearing 100 degrees! This isn’t something that you can really do when you have a few inches of snow on the ground. Well, you can, but I wouldn’t advise it. There are a lot of other things about summer that I do like, but there are also aspects about this season that I’m not a fan of.
I prefer cold weather to the heat, particularly with snow on the ground in the winter. I also love to travel, but not with the prices that the summer travel season brings. One hint came a long time ago from my mom. She told me that she and my father would always plan their yearly, two week vacation in October. She always said that it was a great time to travel, plus very inexpensive compared to the middle of summer. I am also not a huge fan of bugs and there are a lot of them here during the summer. Enough said about that!
Now that you know my feelings about summer, both good and bad, I wanted to talk about what Labor Day weekend is to me. When you grow up along the coast you have three major holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Labor Day is the one that a lot of coastal communities welcome and dread. It means a major weekend payday, but it also signals the “end” of the summer travel season. Locals will tell you that Labor Day signals when we can finally start enjoying the beach because it’s not so crowded.
Labor Day is special to me not as the end of the summer season. Labor Day weekend means time to spend with my family. It means grilling on the back deck, pealing some steamed shrimp, and general taking some time to enjoy the simple things in life. I have a lot of friends who rush around during this weekend trying to get one last bit of travel in before summer is over, but travel isn’t meant to be squeezed into such a short amount of time. Instead of trying to get to a far away destination, take some time this weekend to search out the local points of interest that you’ve never thought of. Take some time to visit that new café in town, stroll though the park (with your dog, of course), and, in general, try to discover (or rediscover) where you live. By doing that you will enjoy the weekend, return to work well rested and you will also help the local economy.
Please know that I love to travel to far off places like anyone else, but there’s something special about discovering the local places that so often get overlooked by the locals. Now get out there and (safely) enjoy this last weekend of summer. Before you know it the leaves will be changing and fall will be here!