20 things to do before summer ends
By The Howl Street Team
Have a shack attack
When you want to brush off the sand and go straight for some delicious clams, chowder or lobster rolls, you simply can’t beat the fresh ocean fare at landmarks like The Clam Box, 246 High St. in Ipswich; Woodman’s, 121 Main St. in Essex; The Clam Shack, 2 Western Ave. in Kennebunkport, Maine; or Browns Lobster Pound, 407 NH Highway 286, Seabrook, N.H.
Pretend to be Gatsby
The gilded mansions of Newport Rhode Island are places where us penniless plebes can live out our wildest aristocratic fantasies. Tours are available and average from about $10 to $26. Make sure to put the Green Animals Topiary Garden on your list. The oldest topiary garden in the United States, wandering around these giant verdant figures feels like stepping onto a Tim Burton set.
See a movie outdoors
Buckle up and take your friends and family for a real nostalgia trip. In today’s IMAX and HDTV era, the simple chirping of crickets alongside your summer blockbuster is refreshingly low tech. The Milford Drive-In Theater, 570 Elm St., Milford, N.H.; The Medford Twin Drive-In, 35 Milford St., Mendon; and The Wellfleet Drive-In, 51 U.S. 6 in Wellfleet, are close enough for a one-night excursion.
Catch a wave
Channel your inner Johnny Utah and head to Hampton Beach (if you don’t know the name, then you should also put watching Point Break on your to-do list). You’ll find adult surf camp for novice surfers 18 and older every Thursday from 6-7:30pm. Reservations required and equipment provided, $25. Monday night is ladies night from 5:30-7:30, also $25 per person. Get more info at cinnamonrainbows.com
Fly a kite
Few things can take you back to your childhood like running in an open field with a kite flying overhead. The Anne Welcome Regatta Field along Pawtucket Boulevard in Lowellis a perfect spot.
Sip a fruity drink by the water
Nothing says summer quite like drinking an exotic beverage while you relax in balmy breezes. We recommend checking out the Nashoba Valley Sunset Tiki Bar for crossing this off your to-do list.
Eat local ice cream
Chill out with a cone or cup of your favorite frozen treat sourced from local cows. Try Kimball Farm, 400 Littleton Rd, Westford; Shaw Farm, 204 New Boston Rd., Dracut; and Sullivan Farms, 176 Middlesex Rd., Tyngsboro; Great Brook Farm, 984 Lowell St., Carlisle.
Taste summer in a glass
The season’s garden and farm-fresh bounty translates beautifully to backyard cocktails. Do it yourself by muddling up a few large fresh strawberries, and adding a leaf of basil to an ounce of your favorite chilled gin, vodka or tequila, and you have the perfect farm-to-table cocktail. Also experiment with combing cucumber and watermelon, peaches and mint, and blueberries with lemon juice, brown sugar, ginger ale and rum. Summer never tasted so good.
Go on a picnic
Pack a lunch, grab a friend and head to the Merrimack River. Lowell’s River Walks — along Pawtucket Boulevard and behind the Tsongas Arena — have ideal spots for planting yourself along a patch of grass and watching the world go by.
Explore the Polar Caves
A network of granite caves formed by glaciers during the ice age, you’re guaranteed to find some underground adventure in rocky passageways that have names like Lemon Squeezer, Orange Crush and the Judgment Hall of Pluto. 705 New Hampshire 25, Rumney, N.H. | 603-536-1888
Eat homemade pasta at a farmhouse
Fat Moon Farm hosts outdoor dinners monthly at their beautiful and rustic Westford farm. A professional chef cooks a full-course meal with most ingredients sourced right from the fields. Thefatmoon.com
Play with fire
The lighting of 100 bonfires just above the water’s surface at sunset in Providence, R.I., is something to behold, and 2014 marks the 20th years since the installation was created by Barnaby Evans. That means the city’s carnival atmosphere centered around the fiery showpieces will be bigger and better than ever. Check waterfire.org for schedules.
Shop a local farmer’s market
Nothing tastes better than food plucked right from the vine. Check howlmag.com for a list of area farmer’s markets and hit one up before the season ends.
Visit a lighthouse
The beacons of light along the rocky shorelines of New England are some of the most stunning in the world. The Stonington Harbor Light in Connecticut has a museum and panoramic views of New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut from the granite octagonal tower. Eastern Point in Gloucester is a close commute and for some beauties to explore along the Cape, try Sandy Neck in Barnstable, Highland (the Cape’s first lighthouse) in Truro, and Nauset in Eastham.
Go back in time
Wild Bill’s 45-acre Nostalgia Center in Middletown, Conn., has an oddities store, a fun house, and a massive jack-in-the-box. Kitsch doesn’t get any better.
1003 Newfield St., Middleton, Conn. | 860-635-1226
When the beautiful day beckons from your office windows, heed the call. Take a lunch break outdoors. See howlmag.com for a beefy guide to alfresco dining.
Be fast and furious
From thundering top fuel dragsters to fire-breathing jet powered funny cars, the New England Dragway is a playground for motorheads and speed demons. Channel your inner Vin Diesel and count how many mullets you can spot in one place.
280 Exeter Road, Epping, N.H. | 603-679-8001
Gaze at the stars
Impress your date by heading into the city for a glimpse of the night sky up close and personal. Boston University’s Coit Observatory is open to the public from 8:30 to 9:30pm every Wednesday, weather permitting.
725 Commonwealth Ave., Boston | 617-353-2630
Ride the liquid lightening
Canobie Lake Park’s Flume ride combines the thrill of a roller coaster with the relief of a water slide. The ride’s climax is a 40-foot drop that plunges you into the water. Thrill-seekers can opt for The Boston Tea Party ride, with a 50-foot drop that creates a wall of water 100 feet wide.
85 N. Policy St., Salem, N.H. | 603-893-3506
Find a food festival
Foodies can get their fix at plenty of summer’s biggest events showcasing all kinds of culinary delights, including the Lowell Folk Festival, The Southeast Asian Water Festival, The Lowell Food & Wine Festival and The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.