The official end of summer is almost upon us. Even though the rules say we have to put our white jeans away, we can keep the summer vacation feeling around the house all year round. Think about the places and rituals that made you happy on vacation and try to adapt them at home. I’ll share some of my favorites to help get us started.
Set up a fire pit. Nights are getting chilly and a bunch of chairs thrown around an outdoor fire pit is the next best thing to being away on a camping trip. Actually, I think it’s much better, because after the fire burns out you can sleep in your own bed and enjoy indoor plumbing.
Hang a hammock. A hammock is a swaying piece of furniture that can really take you away. Enjoy one for as long as the weather allows.
Consider a hanging chair. These add resort-like fun to a bedroom, family room or study — especially in the study. When you need a mental break, you can hit the swinging chair and play a little Candy Crush.
Pause for tea time (or happy hour or wine o’clock). Whether your preference is Earl Grey, a mocktail or a chilled glass of rosé, these vacation rituals are a great way to mark the end of your day and help you transition from busy mode to relaxed mode.
Set up a kitchen garden — in the kitchen. Plucking fresh mint, basil, rosemary or lavender from the garden is one of summer’s big benefits, and many of us mourn the loss as our beloved herbs wither in the fall. Small herb plants are usually readily available at the grocery store for a few dollars. Place them near a sunny window (herbs need sun to thrive) with your other plants and enjoy their aromas and flavors indoors.
Keep vacation reminders around. Whether it’s a family photo from your mountain trip, a painting or basket you picked up on your travels, or a few shells you collected on the beach, display your mementos somewhere where you can enjoy them.
Make time for reading. Nothing says vacation to me more than being able to loll with a magazine or finish four books in a week without feeling the least bit guilty. While you won’t be doing it on the beach with a piña colada, it’s still a good way to recharge. My mom calls it “Joy’s 20 Minutes” and lets herself have the time every day. She’s on to something. (By the way, her name happens to be Joy, but perhaps we should all call it “Joyous 20 Minutes."
Unplug. Pretend you’re on a remote island without Wi-Fi, with zero bars on your phone every now and then. Put the phones on airplane mode when you’re with friends and family and connect with one another. Resist every temptation to pull out your phone. Trust me, your friends don’t really care about seeing your vacation photos (and they probably already did on social media).