Now that summer’s officially here, I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do when the weather warms up. If you know me at all, you won’t be surprised to see that the list’s all about food and getting out into nature!
1. Enjoy the great outdoors.
One of the best things about living in Charlotte is how easy it is to flit away to the mountains. Every year in June I head to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see the synchronous fireflies and hang with the elk in the Cataloochee Valley. It’s a 10/10 on the relaxation front – and the fireflies never cease to amaze.
I’ve been doing lots of hiking and waterfall chasing this year, too. Some of the highlights have been Chinquapin Mountain and Coyote Falls in the Nantahala National Forest. I love a good swimming hole after a hike, even if the mountain streams are too chilly for this Louisiana girl to stand for long!
2. Eat all the summer produce.
You might remember that I started hosting a monthly supper club this year. I’ve been having so much fun with it that I got a huge outdoor table for al fresco dining - at least for as long as the weather and the mosquitoes cooperate!
There’s nothing more delicious to cook with than all the fresh fruits and veggies of summer. This past weekend’s dinner featured the last of the strawberries in a delicious coconut shortcake with green beans and the first of the sweet corn in my favorite summer succotash. July’s all about peaches and watermelon and heirloom tomatoes.
Check out this Brown Butter Blueberry Peach Crisp for an easy late summer dessert. I like to mix up the spices sometimes and use ginger or cardamom instead of cinnamon. It’s delicious with a scoop of mint ice cream or dollop of mint whipped cream. Did I mention I have a forest of mint I can’t ever seem to use up? There will be mint in everything for the foreseeable future.
3. Feeding the travel bug. And finally, what would summer be without a good adventure or two? I will of course be scuba diving for a week and can’t wait to meet the mountain goats on Scotchman Peak in late July. I’m already getting the camera ready!
What are your favorite summer highlights? Drop a comment and let me know what you’re looking forward to this year!