July 22nd, 2013

Fun Things to Do in Cecil County This Summer

Little Girl Blowing Dandelion SeedsAh, summer.  The season for enjoying nature, barbequing, spending time with family and friends, and hearing the dreaded three words… “Mom I’m bored.”  The further we get into summer, the more my kids are looking for something to do and looking at me to suggest it.  My usual ideas like clean your room, unload the dishwasher, and vacuum the living room only generate exaggerated eye-rolling, or blank stares followed by, “I’m hungry–what do we have to eat?”  Luckily, there are lots of fun things to do with your kids in Cecil County this summer, most of which are free or very cheap.  Here’s my top ten list:

1.  Take a hike on the Blue Trail to Turkey Point Lighthouse at Elk Neck State Park.

2.  Travel back in time with a visit to historic Mount Harmon Plantation.

3.  Attend the 60th Annual Cecil County Fair July 19-27 and make sure to stop by the Cecil County Public Library’s booth!

4.  Visit the animals at the Plumpton Park Zoo.

5.  Explore the historic Main Streets of one of Cecil County’s great towns. See the canal and bridge in Chesapeake City, admire the granite cliffs in Port Deposit, or window-shop the boutiques in North East.

6.  Drop by Hart’s Peach Festival for music, puppets, and peach goodies at Hart’s Amphitheater in North East on Saturday, August 10 from noon-4 pm.

7.  Wander the trails, walk the covered bridge and play in the creek at Fair Hill.

8.  Cruise to the Cecil County Dragway.

9.  Pick your own fruits for a healthy, delicious summer treat. Click here for a list of the many wonderful orchards and markets in our county.

10.  Don’t forget to sign up for summer reading! People often think it’s too late, but that’s not true.  Any reading your kids (or you) have done since June 1st counts, so sign up today. You have until August 3rd to turn in your reading logs and kids, teens and adults can win awesome prizes. The library also has a variety of entertaining (and free!) summer events for all ages. Click here to search the library’s calendar.

What are your best ideas for summer fun in Cecil County?


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July 15th, 2013

Win Free Tickets to “The Tempest”

the tempest cecil collegeHow does reading cause or calm the tempest in your life?  Comment about your favorite “tempest” reads at the end of this post and you could win free tickets to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at Cecil College, opening this weekend!

I believe that books hold a powerful sway over our lives, especially for those of us with a serious reading addiction. A good book can be a powerful and cheap form of therapy, providing escape from the woes of life or lending a deeper perspective on a difficult issue.  At the same time, there are a few books that have left me a little unhinged… provoking stormy thoughts and visions I never knew existed.  Here are a few of my favorites from over the years…

SOOTHE THE TEMPTEST

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The biography of a young Dutch woman and her family who risk their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis.  They are caught and the family is sent to a concentration camp.  Though this read has many tragic scenes, Corrie’s faith and purposed choice to love and forgive makes this my top read when life gets hard.

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty
A surprisingly deep read, this book details a marriage on the brink.  Tressa is almost forty, a successful food writer, but so lonely that she jumps into marriage with a man she doesn’t know that well.  When the relationship starts to require compromise, Tressa is ready to bolt.  Through looking back on her family history, she slowly discovers that like any good recipe, a good marriage requires hard work, revision, and willingness to change the ingredients.  This is a great read to make you appreciate the relationships in your life.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
After a massive stroke, Jean-Dominique Bauby awakens from a coma to find he can only blink his left eye. The former editor-in-chief of a famous French magazine is left with an active, alert mind, but a useless body. By blinking that one eyelid, Bauby wrote, edited and dictated an entire book to his assistant, distilling words down to their absolute essence because the task was so hard.  While the book may sound depressing, it’s actually incredibly beautiful and affirming of the power of the human spirit to keep going when all seems lost.

SWELL THE TEMPTEST

The Psychopath Test
Experts estimate that approximately 3% of the population is made up of psychopaths, people with no moral compass.  Investigative journalist Jon Ronson manages to make this topic entertaining with his witty and quirky investigations of mental health in our modern world, but the book also left me wondering about the gray nature of insanity and sanity.

The Sky is Everywhere
Lennie is 17 and trying to heal from the tragic death of her older sister.  Though this book is intensely sad, it’s also lyrical, moving and ultimately hopeful, taking the reader through Lennie’s journey of healing.  I sobbed my way through this book because the author’s depiction of deep grief was so accurate.

The Likeness by Tana French
Detective Cassie Maddox is called to a murder scene to find that the victim looks just like her and has stolen her identity.  The squad hatches a crazy and dangerous plan for Cassie to go undercover as the dead girl, pretending to her friends that she was only in a coma.  When Cassie takes up the dead girl’s life, what ensues is a twisting psychological thriller of constant suspicion and surprise.  French’s books often tackle the theme of identity and if we truly know who our friends and family are, and this book doesn’t disappoint.  It certainly left my mind swirling.

Leave a comment about a favorite read that causes or calms the tempest in your life and you could win! We will pick a winner at random.


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