As the kids go back to school and the days become shorter, we find ourselves wondering how everyone's favorite season slipped away so fast. Even though the temperature has dropped, it's still technically summer, so If you haven't yet, now is the time to make (and follow through with) your summer "bucket list". It sounds morbid, but the only death it concerns is that of warm weather and carefree days. A summer bucket list will give you a place to plan all of the things you want to do before the summer ends. Even if your summer was full and fun, there's no reason not to get the most from the last warm weeks. Here's a little inspiration to get you started!

A Day in the Park
Pack the kids, the Frisbees, a picnic, blankets, and a board game, and head to one of Southern Maine's pristine parks. Late summer is the perfect time to relax on the grass and take a break from staring at a screen. Choose from Fort Allen park for a harbor view, Deering Oaks park for fountains and a Saturday farmer's market, for Fort Williams park for Lighthouse pictures and a plenty to explore. There are countless other parks in the area, so if you get bored at one, you can make a "park day" of it, and find another one within a short drive.

An Island Adventure
Peaks island is like a little oasis away from Portland's busy mainland, and whether you've never been or you visit regularly, it deserves a spot on your summer bucket list. The island is a short ferry ride away, and while the weather is still warm you're likely to see harbor porpoises and seals from the ferry. Once you arrive at the island you can rent bikes, walk to the beach, or check out the seasonal shops. It's the end of their tourist season, so you might get a good deal on a Peak's Island tee-shirt or another souvenir.

A Hike on a Trail
The expression "take a hike" usually means get lost, but with the stress of school season looming on the horizon, both of these things sound appealing! Luckily, the Portland area plays host to dozens of scenic trails, and late summer is the perfect not-too-hot time to hike them! A few of our favorites are the Jewel Falls trail, the Douglas Mountain Loop trail, the Mackworth Island trail, and Saco Heath Preserve trail. A quick Google search will give you details and directions for countless others, so you're sure to find one that fits your family's energy and skill level.

Head to Old Orchard
In mid-August, Old Orchard's prime tourist season slows considerably; making it the perfect time to gather the family and head to one of Maine's most iconic summer fun destinations. Old Orchard has its famed sandy beach, pier, and Palace Playland for the kids. Find all day parking, buy some "pier fries", a Sno-cone and bring plenty of sunscreen. Everyone in the family will find something to do, and you'll all make memories that will last through the colder months.

Dinner with Family and Friends
We're all guilty of saying "let's get together this summer" and never following through. It's forgivable! Summer is a busy time, and planning around everyone's schedule is tricky. Now is the time to make up for it and call everyone you've been cancelling on. Invite family and friends for dinner at Elsmere. Instead of trying to cook for everyone at a backyard barbecue, just call ahead for a reservation. Everyone can get what they want, and you'll have time to mingle and catch up, instead of staring at the grill all day.

Just because summer is ending soon doesn't mean the fun has to. Make your summer bucket list now, and just watch as your whole family has a blast crossing each item off, one by one. When summer is over, don't worry; Elsmere is open all year long, and we'll be serving up delicious food - even when the weather is way less pleasant than it is now. When you're hungry, we'll be here waiting.


Photo Credit: Douglas Merriam Food Photography