Celebrate The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice, which falls this year on June 20th, marks the beginning of the summer season. This day is also the longest of the year, giving us around 15 hours of daylight. With the return of the long days of summer, we get an opportunity to release old, stagnant energy and welcome in the new season’s warmth and abundance. Below are some ways examples of how people past and present have celebrated this day, and ways that you can start your own summer solstice traditions. 

Spend Time Outdoorsgrill outside with meant and vegetables on it.

Make the most of the longest day of the year by basking in the sun and warm air! This is a great day to visit a nearby farm for a tour. If you’re lucky, you might see baby animals – the summer solstice marks birthing season on most farms. You can also support local farms by visiting farmers markets. This is a great way to get local produce, meats, breads, and cheeses. Having a backyard BBQ or picnic dinner of locally harvested foods is a beautiful way to end the solstice. 

Nature’s Abundance

a variety of vegetables in a basket.

Many cultures spend this day giving thanks to the bounty of nature. Farming communities, like many of the indigenous tribes of this country, will spend the day tending their crops, often working from sunrise and continuing under the full strawberry moon. Honor their efforts by planting something yourself! You don’t have to start your own farm, but you can start a windowsill herb garden, pull weeds at your local community garden, or plant flowers in your backyard. 

You might take a page from Northern European countries and make a midsummer flower crown. Before becoming a fashion statement at music festivals, these crowns represented the earth’s fertility and were worn to celebrate a bountiful summer’s harvest. You can use fresh or fake flowers and find tutorials online. 

Give Thanks to the Sunsilhouette of a woman sitting outside with the sun in between her hands.

Other communities spend this day in appreciation of the sun’s energy. Some yogic traditions call for doing 108 sun salutations at sunrise on the day of the solstice. You might not want to wake up that early, but this tradition can be adapted to meet anyone’s lifestyle. The important thing is not when you do sun salutations, but that you fill your mind with gratitude as you go through the poses. 

The Start of Summer

However you choose to celebrate the Summer Solstice this year, it’s a day for appreciating the natural abundance we all enjoy – from fresh air and sunshine to the food we eat. A day spent in gratitude is one well spent! 

Do you have any start-of-summer traditions or rituals? Share them with us in the comments below!

Unknown Summer Getaways For Every Type Of Vacation

Your Guide to Beautiful Places Off the Beaten Path

What do you think of when you first decide to plan summer getaways? Hawaii? The Caribbean? Club Med? But, then you may have visions of sweltering attraction lines, crowded beaches, or endless waits for that frosty beverage you ordered. Nothing takes the fun out of a vacation like the stress of the crowd or worrying about things going wrong. Take a look here for travel insurance.

Have you taken a look at the ones farther down on the list? Beautiful places that are still safe and well-taken care of, but perhaps not as big of a draw. It’s a shame for most people that overlook these hidden treasures, but not you.  Here are some dream vacation spots no one ever thinks of…

For Beach-Goers

sunset on a beach vacation
Who doesn’t want this view? Beauty, peace, and relaxation!

Plum Island, Massachusetts – With Newburyport nearby plus clear beaches, this barrier island is a good choice for those that want to get away and skip the crowds. It has a family friendly atmosphere, coupled with local restaurants, a wildlife refuge, and the accompanying range of animals.

Roatan, Caribbean –  For those that want to stretch their dollar, this island is a cheaper choice. Not only that, but it’s less crowded. You can experience the second largest barrier reef within swimming distance of the shoreline. While diving and snorkeling are the popular choices, you also have horse-back riding and butterfly gardens around.

Culebra, Puerto Rico – Stunningly beautiful and private, this island is home to only 2,000 people. You’ll find amazing sea creatures, a historic lighthouse, and a bird refuge. You will have to trade some creature comforts though. No giant resorts here!

For Campers

Devils Tower, Wyoming –  Ever seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind? This is the area where all the spookiness happened. They even have showings of it on site! If you’re a mystery fan, check this place out for a camping trip. Another benefit is that Mount Rushmore is nearby in case you want to bundle the outing. It’s a bundle for summer getaways.

a dinosaur model for camping vacation
Dinosaurs! What else could put a bigger smile on a kid’s (or your own) face?

Fairy-Stone State Park, Virginia –  This park is known for its interesting crystal formations or “faerie stones.” If you’re wanting outdoor activities with natural beauty, this is a perfect choice. You can camp, hike, fish, picnic, or even just take a rowboat out. Don’t forget to choose a good luck rock on your way out.

Vernal, Utah – I’ll bet someone in the family wants to go to “Dinosaurland.”  Vernal has tons of dinosaur bones and tracks right out in the park. You can camp nearby and enjoy kayaking near cliffs. If you visit here, make sure to pick up your “Dinosaur Hunting” license from the deputy lizard warden, Al O’Saurus.

For City-Lovers

Hvar, Croatia – Allegedly, this has become a hotspot for celebrities to go to thanks to its mild climate and position on top 10 most beautiful islands. It’s got a vibrant nightlife with exclusive bars. Get tired of that? You can take a dip into its rich history or just hit one of the beautiful beaches nearby, truly the most versatile vacation spot.

a croatian summer coastline for your getaway
All this beauty can be yours, and you only have to share it with a few others in the know.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee – Bursting with events, Gatlinburg is a great place to visit for those who love to just soak up the atmosphere. The gorgeous green backdrop can make your vacation photos stand out. They have fireworks, summer-long street performances, a craftsman fair, and a songwriter festival. This is just summer.

Ayrshire, Scotland –  Do you have a fascination for castles? While not a contemporary city, Ayrshire offers tours of beautiful old castles. Can you imagine running your fingers across the aged stone, taking in the history of by-gone ages?  Fun activities, cheeses, and, my favorite, beer await you.

Everyone deserves to cut loose a little and enjoy themselves, but you don’t have to do it standing shoulder to sweaty shoulder. With all of these fun places available, you should have no trouble picking out a location to relax and unwind. What else are summer getaways?