Can I be honest with you here for a moment?
Summer might be my least favorite season of all. Because the truth is, I’m just not the biggest fan of being hot all the time. I don’t like sitting around in my own sweat. So, if I’m not chilling by a body of water, chances are I’m miserable (or hanging out inside in the air conditioning). And since I’m living in a landlocked state, it’s safe to say that I’m not sitting with my feet in the sand. Or visiting the local pool since the effects of COVID (and attempting to get a membership) is still a real issue. But I’m also thinking that hanging out inside all summer wouldn’t please the little one, so I’ve devised a summer time bucket list – kind of like I did last year for autumn and Christmas – to help push us to explore Pennsylvania and maybe do a few things we’ve never done before.
1. Go Blueberry Picking
I’ve been blueberry picking with Audrey before, but not at Paulus Mt Airy Orchards, which has quickly become one of my favorite spots in this area, so this was definitely going to make our list. We went to Paulus Orchards last autumn to go apple picking, and once I found out you could also pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries I knew we had to return. Audrey and I spent the afternoon picking as many blueberries as we could in between summer rain showers and then ended our outing eating some Hershey’s ice cream over at Karen’s Kitchen.
2. Visit Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Every time I talk to one of my co-workers about things to do in the area, she mentions an activity over at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Whether it’s swimming at one of the two lakes: Fuller or Laurel, hiking part of the Appalachian Trail (the park is the halfway point of the entire trail!), or climbing up Pole Steeple to witness the entire park from the overlook, I figured it was necessary to add this to my summer bucket list. Not to mention, we’d be in proximity to the Italian Taxi, so we could swing by and try one of their specialty pizzas (like their Holly Special or their Appalachian Trail Buster).
Also – note for future bucket list: Laurel Lake hosts ice fishing and ice skating in the winter!
3. Walk the Army Heritage Trail
When we first moved to the area, we were driving back to our Airbnb from my office building and were able to see this trail from I-81 that was dotted with military vehicles. I had absolutely no idea what it was, but it piqued my interest. So, once we got inside, I quickly looked it up and saw that it was an Army Heritage Trail. Since COVID was still going strong and there wasn’t much else to do, I decided to take Audrey and Prince on a walk around the trail and we fell in love! The mile-long, self guided tour takes you on a journey through the history of the U.S. Army, with full-scale exhibits from the French and Indian War era all the way to OEF and OIF. Since we enjoyed it so much last summer, we thought we’d take the opportunity to visit it again this year, but this time make our way inside to the museum as well.
4. Visit Dutch Wonderland
There are quite a few amusement parks in Pennsylvania: Hershey Park, Dorney Park, Knoebels, DelGrosso’s, Kennywood, and Dutch Wonderland to just name a few! I figured since we already go to Knoebels every autumn for their Hallow-Fun Days, it was time to branch out and explore a new amusement park. So, I settled on Dutch Wonderland – an amusement park that is geared towards smaller children which is completely ideal for my family.
Also, take note for future bucket list ideas: Dutch Wonderland celebrates the autumn season with Happy Hauntings and the winter season with Winter Wonderland.
5. Stop By Every Stop on the Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail
Does anyone really need an incentive to eat ice cream all the time? I mean, I don’t. But I recently saw the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau write a blog post on 15 ice cream locations spread out across the Cumberland Valley and I immediately thought: challenge accepted. So far on the Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail, we’ve stopped at Kristy’s Whistle Stop where I grabbed their Monkey Bones flavor [photo above], a banana ice cream base made with real banana puree, chocolate chunks and swirls of peanut butter. Absolutely delish.
6. Go to a Drive In
Audrey and I saw Hocus Pocus and the Santa Claus last year at the drive-in and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to add it on the list to do this season as well. Unfortunately, due to COVID and the current situation with the film industry, they haven’t brought out a film schedule, so we haven’t caught a movie we actually want to see. And the one time I did see something we were interested in, it was over before I had the chance to get to it. But I’m hopeful that we will be able to view one movie in the drive in before the summer ends.
7. Turkey Hill Experience
This activity was at the top of my list of things to do this season – mainly because I absolutely love Turkey Hill ice cream. The Turkey Hill Experience takes you on a journey from milking cows to making your own flavor of ice cream and creating the packaging. There’s also a section where you can discover each of the teas they make, take a quiz to find out your tea personality, and then sample each flavor they have available. Also, if you spend a little more money, you can experience a hands-on taste lab where you create your own Turkey Hill Ice Cream flavor by starting with a base ice cream and adding flavorings, add ins, and sauces. This is such a fun time, and such a great way to cool off in the heat of the summer!
8. Visit the Beach
Since we no longer live within a short drive from the beach, I’ve added this to the bucket list because it’s a necessity in the summer time! There are a few beaches that we could possibly make a day trip out of: like Rehoboth Beach and Cape May but I wanted to make our beach trip a little bit longer with a lot less stress. So, the beginning of August we’ll be heading somewhere tropical – and I cannot wait!
9. Visit the Haines Shoe House
This is our first, and hopefully not our last, roadside wonder we have on a bucket list! The Haines Shoe House was created in the 1940’s by a man locally known as “Haines: the Shoe Wizard” who wanted an iconic symbol of his business to passersby (he owned a shoe business). So, in the late 1940’s, he took one of his work boots to a local architect and requested he create a building that looked just like it. However, despite it being referred to as the Haines Shoe House, the man himself never lived in the home. He actually allowed the community to use the house – inviting those who were married for a least 50 years and honeymooners to stay in the home. These couples would enjoy the benefits of a live-in cook, a butler, and a chauffer who catered to their needs, all for free. Nowadays the home is set up museum style as you would have imagined it looked during the time it was operating, and the carport has been turned into an ice cream parlor. This cute little attraction is right outside of York and totally worth the $5 tour and opportunity to eat some locally made Beck’s ice cream.
10. Indian Echo Caverns
Last but not least on our summertime bucket list is visiting the Indian Echo Caverns. Last year we visited Penn’s Cave which takes you on a small boat tour through the caverns, but this year we decided to hike it out. Located just outside of Hershey, this attraction has become one of the most visited in the Eastern United States. Plus, with a constant 52 degrees F year round, I figured what better way to cool down in the heat of summer. (But you know – 52 degrees is still warmer than some winter days, so maybe it’d be a good way to warm yourself up when it’s frigid outside). Anyway, if you’re visiting in the summertime and you are waiting for your tour to kick off, you can head out to the discovery barnyard and feed some goats, or grab a gem bag and sift to find some treasures (and then make those treasures into jewelry!). I love outings like this!
I hope this gives you some inspiration to create your own summer bucket list! What plans do you have going on this summer season?