A checklist for summer

summer checklist 2017 composite

The summer solstice -- with the longest daylight of the year -- has arrived. You know how in winter you dream of doing all those summer things? Get out there and do them! That time is now!

So we've put together a checklist of summer stuff to do...

❑ Pick something

box of blueberries at samascott

The greater Capital Region is blessed with many nearby farms that grow all sorts of produce. And a bunch of them open for pick your own. Strawberries just started. The brief cherry season will be here soon. Then it's blueberries. And, of course, apples will be along in late summer. Sure, it takes extra effort and time to pick your own, but you also get the freshest, ripest fruits and vegetables and often for a cheaper price. Also there's something peaceful about walking through a field or orchard in the morning.

Related, but not quite the same: This area has a bunch of farmers markets during the summer that are worth shopping. Among them: The Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, the Delmar Farmers Market, the Saratoga Farmers' Market, the Schenectady Greenmarket, and the Spa City Farmers' Market.

❑ Wander the garden

Schenectady Central Park Rose Garden
The rose garden in Schenectady's Central Park.

Winter lasts a long time here. Spring is very often dull and gray. But summer is absolutely green and lush. So lap it up. Amble through the rose garden in Schenectady's Central Park. Head over to the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Embrace your inner contemplative literary figure in the gardens at Yaddo.

❑ Spend a day on the water

grafton lakes beach
Grafton Lakes State Park

There are plenty of lakes around the region with public beaches. Or maybe you're more of a pool person, so a day at the lovely Victoria Pool in Saratoga Spa State Park is in order. And the ocean isn't that far away...

❑ Eat outside

Would you like to sit inside or outside? "Outside." The answer is always "outside."

❑ Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream

moxies exterior

Because ice cream. There are plenty of seasonal stands for soft serve. But it's worth seeking out some of the spots with interesting hard ice creams -- like the newly-opened The Dutch Udder in Troy (try the Wit) or tour of vanillas at Moxie's in Wynantskill.

❑ Take a day trip

Warren Street Hudson
Warren Street in Hudson

There are so many great spots to check out within a few hours' drive of here. You could spend a whole day checking out art museums in Western Massachusetts. Or head down to Hudson and swing through Chatham on the way there. The Woodstock area has plenty to do and see. And that's just a small sample.

❑ Take in the arts

Chances to take in the arts are absolutely abundant around here during the summer. Park Playhouse in Albany's Washington Park. Saratoga Shakespeare Company in Congress Park. All the different types of performances at SPAC. Tanglewood. The Williamstown Theatre Festival. Dance at Jacob's Pillow. And that's probably not even half of it.

❑ Catch a free outdoor concert

Rockin on the River Troy Riverfront Park 2016

There are so many overlapping outdoor free concert series in the Capital Region, that you have options most nights during the week.

❑ Watch a movie -- outside

There are many free outdoor movie series around the area, including the Capitol After Dark series in West Capitol Park in Albany and screenings in various neighborhoods. But this region also a handful of drive-in theaters.

❑ Go for a hike

kaaterskill falls
Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills.

There are so many hiking destinations: the Adirondacks, the Catskills, the Hudson Valley. And there are a bunch of closer spots that are easy for half-day excursions, such as Thacher State Park or the Huyck Preserve.

❑ Go for a long walk

Think of it as an urban hike. Summer afternoons -- and those long lasting summer evenings, with dusk stretching into the night -- are great times to take long walks through neighborhoods and cities. Ride the bus to spot across town and take the long walk back home. You'll see that place in a different way.

❑ Hang out with your neighbors

One of the great things about summer is that people are often outside a lot more. So when you see your neighbor, stop by chat. Hang out on the stoop together talking about what's up. Offer them on a drink on your porch. It's good to know your neighbors.

❑ Nothing

And if you have the opportunity, summer's a good time to do a little bit of nothing. Relax. Sip a drink. Read a book. Watch the clouds float by.

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