I've been busy. Like super busy. I can't complain. Summer kicked off with some heavy duty freelance work that had me out straight up till and after my 10 year old finished the school year. It also provided much needed funding for our hefty summer calendar of camps and camping and day trips and summer lobster shacks and concerts, the planning of which brought me to this post - Some cool stuff to do on and off Cape Ann this summer, with kids (the adult version will be next - too much for one post).
This week was the 4th and the local July 3rd Fishtown Horrible Parade. It's an old Yankee political procession in its origins in that the horribles are a mockery of the government and spoofs on current events. Unfortunately, there were more politicians and firemen in this year's parade than floats and foot soldiers in costume. So first order of business for summer: begin planning next year's float or themed group costumes. I do love a good sewing project. And any reason to put on costumes...
Next up - Good Harbor Beach, of course, for what turned into an 8 hour beach day. We had invites to two evening soirees, one on the rooftop deck of my UVM roomie/BFF at her sweet penthouse in the North End and the other at my beloved nephew's place in the Diamond District in Lynn, one block from the beach and a great spot for the Nahant Fireworks. Both were grown up parties. So we hung at the beach with the other families with kids. For 8 hours. Not crying.
And just like that, the holidays were over and the rest of summer begins. Here's what we will be doing:
YMCA Camp Spindrift for Julz several times this month. Readers know that I am a huge supporter of our Y, our Y camp and our exalted Y leader Rick Doucette. Camp is a summer must for the Amero kiddling. It's not just A summer camp, it's THE summer camp. Game changer for our artsy only. Huge.
Cape Ann Art Haven Passport to Art - I heart Art Haven and all it's super cool courses and it's quirky lovable staff. As the mom of a very creative kid, we have a real appreciation for this place and it's fresh and fun offerings. Art Haven donates time and staff to every important local event and has managed to triple it's size when other non-profs folded. It's a great resource for local kids.
This summer's lineup at Art Havenis based on a trip around the world through art. Each week, another country is represented and the art of that culture is the theme for the entire camp week. My little mythology-phile chose Greek Week (different than any Greek Week I remember at UVM ). They'll be making Grecian Urns, learning about mythology and even doing some games around the Olympics.
Later in the summer, Julz is attending Camp Windward H2O. We live on an island. Kids beach about 5 times a week if even just for lunch. Learning to swim and sail is kind of a big deal for a Gloucester kid. Traveling by boat is much easier that through town, by car and cooler than by foot. And lucky locals do so often. So Julz is attending this new camp program (also through the Y, pluggity plug) that blends Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), kayaking, snorkeling, a trip to the newly renovated New England Aquarium, lessons on water safety and even daily sailing in a comprehensive week-long aqua camp. I'm not sure who's more pumped.
And speaking of the Aquarium, on the less-pre-planned side of summer we have a few "rainy day" or "sunned out" things in mind including accessing the Sawyer Free Library's discount passes to our favorite cultural centers (non-Gloucesterites can get them at most local libraries). For passes, we are aiming to hit Museum of Science, MFA, New England Aquarium and Peabody Essex. The Children's Museum pass is also available but I'm told "That. Is. For. BABIES". Doh. The library also has a great index of websites for cool cultural venues statewide. Here's the link. http://sawyerfreelibrary.org/links.html
And for shorter bouts of boredom, we will also be participating in some of the library's cool summer offerings including a summer Lego Club and a Cooking Club. Check out the calendar of events at their link above - programs range widely in content and age level and are run at great times for before and after other activities in the area.
On the local cultural and calooping (my mom's word for being "out and about") agenda I have a few summer favorites and new things to try mapped out. Sunset yoga on Good Harbor is on my mind for healthy mother-daughter time. Elaine O'Rourke of TreetopYoga and the Cape Ann YMCA teaches Monday nights in the sand. Julz loves yoga and it's a good way to start a summer week.
Living near the nations oldest art colony is cool (we're the only US own with 2 recognized cultural districts). What's cooler - getting there by boat, 2 ways. Trekking to Rocky Neck Art Colony for an ice cream or a sushi lunch at Madfish Grille and a visit to Imagine on Cape Ann Harbor Tour's pontoon boat "Miss Jillian" and a few stopped to play and sight-see on their route is always a fun day. Better yet, a customized land and sea tour with the cool folks at Sweet Shots Secret Spots can get us anywhere from Thatchers Island to Babsons Rocks in dog town fully cared for and narrated by locals Corey Newman and Violet McCarthy. I have known these two for years and I can't think of a more fun pair to host a day of trailblazing - his gregarious personality is almost as entertaining as her quiet, quick retort. Yin and Yang comedic tour guides. Right?
For the cultural day, we'll follow this funny map I made in my restaurant days to all these local sites. It's a marketing tool, but for our purposes, it's a nifty map. I've made the links point directly to the youth programming pages of the sites where possible because every little bit of time saved for busy parents helps ;-):
Cape Ann Museum - Youth Programs
Gloucester Maritime Heritage - Summer Programs
Cape Ann Cinema (ps Little known facts - Cape Ann Cinema has big couches and a beer and wine license AND a dvd rental program)
This is the local Indy movie house.
Gloucester Cinema - the mainstream movie theater.
Gloucester Stage Company - (check out the Youth Acting Workshop - we've done several sessions - comprehensive acting, writing, set design and dance for youth. Started by famous NYC playwright Israel Horowitz). PS also accessible by boat to Rocky Neck.
Harbor Walk - a beautiful oceanside, flower encased yellow-brick road path around downtown Gloucester with historical markers explaining the significance of landmarks in the path's site line.
Ravenswood Park Summer Programs - here's a list of educational stuff going on at this and other properties maintained by Trustees of Reservations.
Dogtown Common (this is a link to a site with directions and history)
Stage Fort Park - and other local playgrounds - link to the city site with details on all our
York Zoo, Strawberry Banke, Cranes Beach/Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series (Thursdays on the Grand Allee - breathtaking), Todd Farm Flea Market (Sunday Treasure Hunting in Rowley, MA), Salem Willows (old timey amusement park, low tech and so low key) Salem Toy Museum, and the New England Pirate Museum.
We'll also do some white mountain camping, canooeing and hiking on the weekends we opt to flee the beach. We tend to do cottage camping with the husbands, and tent camping when its just moms and kids (the boys were not raised as hippy camping kids like we were - they can't hang with the wet tent , no electricity thing with the same love of simplicity (and beer) as we can). There are lots of great campgrounds in this area but I tend to favor heading a bit further to the White Mountains - this is a link to the official handbook full of hiking spots, fishing spots, dining spots and camping areas in the cooler, greener north.
Hope I've covered all the "best ofs" for child-rearing in the summer, NOB. Please send any I missed - I'm always happy to add more info for parents listening to "I'm bored" for the 10 weeks of summer!)