Summer Lovin’

I know that summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s already here.

What is my unofficial calendar marker? Not Memorial Day or the last day of school…

Nope…It’s the fact that the Tony Awards are on tonight!

Ever since I attended my first Broadway show in the Spring of 1987 (the year of Les Miserables and Me and My Girl), I became an obsessed Tony’s viewer, and the first Sunday in June became my unofficial marker for the summer season.

So after a long, cold, horrible winter, how am I going to spend this summer?

Laura’s Summer Bucket List:

#1: Everything is more fun outside

  • Outdoor Music – Who doesn’t love sitting on the grass in a park and listening to great music? My town hosts a summer music series, and there are many more in neighboring towns that I plan to attend as well.
  • Outdoor Movies – I love, love, love watching movies outside on a warm summer night and plan to take in as many as possible this summer.  Luckily, the Greater Portland area has several different summer film series to choose from, including: The Portland Summer Film Series and The Bug Light Summer Movie Series.
  • Outdoor Dining – After a winter spent eating beef stew, chili and other meals that you can warm your hands over while trying to warm up your insides, there is nothing better than the thought of a nice, crisp salad and chilled drink on a patio overlooking the ocean.

#2: Summer Food

  • Old Orchard Beach Pier Fries – The Tonys notwithstanding, summer doesn’t really begin until you’ve had your first cup of pier fries, dripping with vinegar and salt.
  • Lobster Roll – There are a number of recipes for lobster rolls both online and on The Food Network, and they all get it wrong.  Here is the way you make a true Maine lobster roll:
    • Go to a genuine seafood market (preferably on Commercial Street in Portland where they back up the lobster boat to the store) and buy fresh lobsters or lobster meat.
    • Mix a lot of roughly chopped lobster meat with just enough Cains mayonnaise to make the lobster stick together (pardon my scientific measurements).
    • Put as much of the lobster mixture as will fit into a toasted, split-top hot dog roll.
    • Add a little more lobster.
    • And just a little more.
    • Sprinkle with paprika.
    • Eat and enjoy!


  • Fried Dough – It used to be that you could only get fried dough (funnel cake in other parts of the US) at festivals and fairs, so that leads use easily into the next item on the list…

#3: Festivals and Fairs

  • I’ve actually already checked this item off the list for the year by attending my hometown’s Westbrook Together Days last weekend. There was a parade, a carnival, vendors, fried dough, french fries, fireworks and an opportunity to shoot water into a clown’s mouth. Really, what more can you ask for?
  • Just because I’ve already been to one fair doesn’t mean I’m finished for the summer. I also plan to attend the all-important Maine tradition that is The Moxie Festival! Here’s a picture I took at last year’s parade:


#4 Outdoor Sports

  • Swimming is my #1 sport of the summer. Whether my parents’ pool (thanks Mom & Dad!), a nearby lake or even a dip in the chilly ocean, I will spend as much time as possible this summer swimming.
  • Kayaking, canoeing, boating, etc… I love water crafts, but unfortunately don’t have ready access to them.  Luckily, I have a number of (generous) friends who do, and every summer I am able to beg, borrow or wheedle my way into paddling away on Maine’s many lakes and rivers.
  • Baseball – Again, I’ve already crossed this item off the list by attending my first Portland Sea Dogs game of the year, but there are many more planned for the next several months.
  • Horse racing – While probably not on everyone’s list, in my family a trip to Scarborough Downs to watch the horse races has always been an absolute summer “must do.” As a matter of fact, my Ultimate Bucket List includes the following item:
    • Sip a mint julep at the Kentucky Derby while wearing a fabulously ostentatious hat.

#5 Summer Theater

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is enjoy all of the amazing summer theater that Maine has to offer.  Of course, the grandaddy of summer theater in Maine is the Ogunquit Playhouse and the Maine State Music Theater.  I’ve seen more plays at both venues than I can count, and I always walk away thinking that each performance was better than the last.

If I had to choose a favorite theater, though, I’d probably go with Ogunquit only because of its long history of summer stock which they proudly display.  There are headshots of most of the actors who’ve performed at Ogunquit filling every wall of the lobby, and at even a glance, you can tell that all of the greats have passed through at one time or another: Bette Davis, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Jerry Orbach, Lynn Redgrave, and my own personal favorite, David McCallum.


Okay, summer, I’m ready!!

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